"the deadliest bullshit is odorless and transparent" - William Gibson

Monday, June 28, 2004

If you have any doubt who is the best James Bond, let
Roger Moore's eyebrows of fun! charm your Connery-loving pants off. I dare you.

In the Monday NYT, the folks at adbusters are running a full page ad for their Unbrand America campaign. Even though i cancelled my subscription to adbusters early this year, i still have their corporate logo version of the the American flag hanging in my bedroom.

Adbusters billed itself as "an ad free critique of consumer culture and the machine that drives it:, and for a while at least, they delivered on their promise and provided an interesting read. With their March/April 04 issue, where they singled out the "Jewish Neo-Cons", i had to draw the line and cancel my subscription.

While, unfortunately their quick descent into witch hunts and Jewish World Domination Theories shouldn't be that surprising, it hurt me and caught me a bit off guard. Don't they realize that they're sabotaging their own mission. They're subverting their own cause, constricting their own voice. I paid $40 a year for someone to hold up the mirror, for someone to poke fun at our consumerism, for someone to show us a glimpse of what the future of this country and our culture could look like if consumerism wasn't kept in check. I didn't pay money to hear some mean half-baked political opinions, even if they weren't biggoted.

the Unbrand America campaign states:
"We must seize the day. We must propose a better country during this anti-corporate mood, an America where the corrupt system is shaken to its foundations, an America where politics and the flag are put back in the hands of the people"
Yes. great. I support this cause entirely. The checks and balances in this country have gotten out of whack and the corporate roots run too deep. But to use the powerful image they created with the logo flag to make temporary political turmoil is asinine and counterproductive. To launch this mission on July 4th is just plain stupid.

The logo flag is great, it simply holds up the mirror, no more no less. run that as a full page ad. Don't ruin it by sticking it in some garbage about neocons. Don't destroy the power of that image by trying to draw media attention to it in some poorly executed ad campaign timed for maximum exposure and minimum impact. Seriously, what is the one day a year when the logo-flag image will be least noticable? what is the one day, when no matter how many they get out or get people to fly in public in the next week when the flag to logo-flag ratio will be highest? Oh, and if the message wasn't diluted enough already, lets unleash this campaign on a three-day weekend when everyone is feeling the worst about their crappy job and lousy treatment by the big nasty corporations. Absolute worst day of they year to actually get their version of the logo-flag message out.

The only reason to do it on July 4th is to be self-serving contrarians. They want the negative feedback. they want the talk show hosts and easily offended people on the street to yell at them, b/c then they feel that they're really giving it to the man. please. I'm keeping my logo-flag at home this fourth. I can enjoy eating hamburgers and watching some fireworks and smiling at kids w red, white, and blue face paint, and standing respectfully when the national anthem is played without one drop of irony or politics. There's some real problems out there. Problems that truly threaten the republic. but for just one day spare me the petiness and spare me the preachy revoltuion speak and spare me the agenda.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Fuck the FCC, Fuck Michael Powell, Fuck Parents Television Council, Fuck Sam Brownback, Fuck Elizabeth Dole, Fuck John Edwards, Fuck John Kerry, Fuck Infinity Broadcasting, and Fuck John Winthrop and the rest of the puritans while we're at it.

I hope the enraged ghosts of Thurgood Marshall and Oliver Wendell Holmes pay all of these paternalistic, spineless, short-sighted, election year bastards a visit tonight while they are masturbating to Teen People and remind them what the fuck the First Amendment is all about.

they say they're doing this b/c "Our children are watching." I fucking hope so. I hope they are paying close attention. I hope they pick up their copy of 1984 (if they are still allowed to read it), and they beat their parents with it for trying to turn them into such protected victorian pussies, and then i hope they march up to the Capitol and beat down all of our cowardly lawmakers for pissing on the constitution from behind a defense bill rider.

Senate Passes Nebulous Indecency Fines Hike and Eased Media Ownership Rules stuck on to a defense bill 99-1:

Sunday, June 20, 2004

For father's day, i got my dad a dvd on Extreme Ironing.
I'm not really sure what it is or why it seemed to have struck a chord with him, but the other day he couldn't stop talking about it. Apparently, he saw something on it on one of those discovery channels.
My dad wears t-shirts to work. he probably has 2 suits total, and some has to die or graduate for them to get worn, but he still likes to iron while watching hockey. He takes pride in the work. I think that's what he really liked about the crazy extreme ironers, yeah they were jumpinging out of planes and whitewater rafting and trying to not die, but they were also trying to make a shirt look like it had been blessed by the most horntoothed english butler.

Friday, June 18, 2004

i have a little present for all of you techno-fetishists that are fascinated by my proximity to "robots".
i give you the robot song

Thursday, June 17, 2004

I was trying to find a cetain painting byJasper Johns and i came across this great quote about art.

"When you begin to work with the idea of suggesting, say, a particular psychological state of affairs, you have eliminated so much from the process of painting that you make an artificial statement which is, I think, not desirable. I think one has to work with everything and accept the kind of statement which results as unavoidable, or as a helpless situation. I think that most art which begins to make a statement fails to make a statement because the methods used are too schematic or too artificial. I think that one wants from painting a sense of life. The final suggestion, the final statement, has to be not a deliberate statement but a helpless statement."

to me it articulates why political art even when good falls flat. ultimately, we want to see a "sense of life" from a painting or a film or a photo, not a statement. if your subject is politics or history or religion or something overtly polarizing, then show us a "sense" of that world of that life. don't be so conceited or narrowminded to think that you're going to affect change or that we'll agree with you. people will see what they want to see. i remember a vivid passage from Anthony Swofford's Jarhead(which is being made into a movie by Sam Mendes) where he describe his unit in the marines right before deploying to kuwait for Desert Storm. While they are preparing and enjoying a few last beers stateside they are watching all the classic Viet Nam films, platoon, Apocalypse now, full metal jacket.

Swofford says, "there is talk that many Vietnam films are antiwar...but actually Vietnam war films are all pro-war, no matter what Kubrick or Coppola or Stone intended...because the magic brutality of the film celebrates the terrible and despicable beauty of fighting..."

I apologize for butchering one of the most vivid and one my favorite passages of recent memory (the entire book is amazing) to make a point, but people see what they want when they look at art, or at least the artist is ultimately helpless to make a deliberate statement or message. so as artists we need to try accept this fact. we need to be helpless and try to paint our "sense of life" in as full a spectrum as we can stomach.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

article from Cincom re: Improvisation.
Improve Your Business Dealings With Improvisation

Nothing new here, but the pitch for improv's value in other fields is pretty coherent and illustrated if a little corny. this opening statement stuck out for me:

"What is improvisation? Trying to explain improvisation is like trying to describe to someone how to ride a bike. The actual experience of riding a bike is much different than the description."

Is this true of everything? is all experience "much different from the description"? or is this something unique to improv and other performance?

Intersting documentary on the biz lessons of Don Quixote making the rounds on PBS. no sign of it on the UNC station though.
Part of the equation here is that quixote is a much better subject matter than some ceo, but it does ring true that connection to reality is not exactly neccessary to succed. these days, it might even be a hinderence.

Stanford's Jim March sees Don Quixote as a model for business leaders:
Most new ideas are crazy, Dr. March notes. "Most of the time you will fall on your face. Society needs that.
"What was important to Don Quixote was his sense of himself," Dr. March emphasizes. "Consequences were secondary to him. What was important was being a proper knight errant."
"'A life of leadership requires passion and discipline -- being able to say 'I know who I am.''"

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

My knee's been bad lately. well, not bad, just not much better than before surgery. I can ride the bike longer, and i don't pay as heavy a cost for doing too much the day before as prior to the most recent surgeries.

But i still can't sit normal for over ten minutes. still can't run. still can't handle enough weight to strength my bad leg. still wake up in pain. still take unhealthy amounts of advil everyday. still sleep on the floor most nights. Fortunately, I still have full range of motion as i more or less did before. Maybe this is it. maybe this is what i have to work with from now on.

Went to the knee doctor yesterday. Waited for over an hour and a half before he could see me. I'm not complaining too much, b/c ususally i wait less than 15 minutes. Plus, since they have zero reading material other than pregnancy and senior citizen mags, i got to know some of the staff at the Duke Health center. my favorite is named Bunny Maples. I really don't know anything about her other than she has a name that belongs in a Phillip Marlowe movie and a gravely voice that take no prisoners, but if i ever have a problem with the billing or insurance at Duke (this will probably never happen), i'm gonna hit her up first.

Finally, they called me in. All my knee friends were there, the very nice PA, the nurse, the rotating intern, and the good doc himslef. After some time and pulling and proding and talking about how it has felt, the doctor told me that he thinks it will be another 6 months before i can really feel any improvement from the procudres they did during the last surgeries.
Part of me went, "there is hope, all is not lost. it may improve. i might yet kick a soccer ball or smack a forehand." the other half of me went, "6 months. are you fucking kidding me. why didn't you mention this earlier. no one ever said anything about the procedure taking that long to kick in."

to be fair, they did two procedures when they went in last. First they removed scar tissue which was pulling my kneecap out of whack, and then they cut my knee cap in a few places to trim away defective cartiledge and to restart blood flow and get some new cartiledge into that area. I think the first has been a success (at least for now), and it now seems that the second will take at least 6 months before i can tell a difference.

as i told the doctor, i would still willingly trade a testicle for a good knee. i mean that too. i think, at least i now have doctor that believes me when i say that. he told me that he will work with me until my knee improves enough for me to no longer contemplate such an extreme trade.

the fight goes on. I tried
Bikram's Yoga
this morning. My sister convinced me to try it. it was developed by some dude that had knee problems. first day wasn't too bad, i was just trying to learn the postions and keep up, don't think i got the full work out. but it is done in a heated room, so i sweated my ass off and felt a little better about yesterday's less than good knee news.

Friday, June 11, 2004

i started re-reading mamet's "on directing film" eventhough my roomate hid it from me, b/c he though mamet's influence was hampering our ability to write together. he might be right, but there were a few quotes i wanted to get right in my head as touchstones:

"the movie, finally, is much closer than the play to simple storytelling. if you listen to the way people tells tories, you will hear that they tell them cinematically. they jump from one thing to the next, and the story is moved along by the juxtaposition of images - which is to say the CUT."

this is totally true if you pay attention. people don't worry about transitions, they don't match cut. they go from detail to detail, backwards and forwards and tangentally.

mamet's demands that the images in a given scene or montage be uniflected and without value judgement.

"the images in a dream are vastly varied and magnificently interesting. and most of them are uninflected. it is their juxaposition that gives the dream its strength. the terror and the beauty of the dream come from the connection of previously unrealted mundanities of life."

"the shots are all you have. that's it. your choice of the shots is all you have. it's what the movie is going to be made up of. you can't make it more interesting when you get to the editing room....keep giving yourself over to the simple task. the dedication will give you great satisfaction. the very fact that you have forsworn the cult of self for a little while -the cult of how interesting you and your consciousness are - will communicate itself to the audience. and they will be appreciative in the extreme and give you the benefit of every doubt."

"the purpose of technique is to free the unconscious. if you follow the rules ploddingly, they will allow your unconscious to be free. that's true creativity. if not, you will be fettered by your conscious mind. because the conscious mind always wants to be liked and to be interesting. the conscious mind is going to suggest the obvious, the cliche, because these things offer the security of having succeeded in the past. only the mind that has been taken off itself and put on task is allowed true creativity."

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

some art toughts:

1. genre is forgiving. i need to accept the confines, the outline of the court. I tend to buck genre and any proven path, b/c after all if i'm in a class by myself, then there is nothing to compare myslef to right? no yardstick for failure.
genre gives some strength. here's a few bars from texas troubadour, chris knight. he gets away with the metaphor of a town called "sorryville" because he's coming straight from the Lone Star. from convention, from tradition.

There ought to be a town somewhere
Named for how I feel
Yea I could be the Mayor down there
And say welcome to Sorryville
It wouldn't be on a map nowhere
You might say it that it don't exist
But if you make enough wrong turns
It'd be hard to miss

2. i was reading the original treatment for jay's video 99 problems on the director, mark romaneck's site and i was struck by the way he presented his concept. obviously, the video and the song are crazy, but the way romaneck conveyed an abstract concept in 11 clear sentences is impressive. here are some of my favorite lines:

"per jay-z, it will be a more artistic cinematic exploration, filmed in and around brooklyn’s marcy projects."
"the piece will have a tough, natural, documentary look –  human, raw, visually poetic."
"it will avoid the clichés of “life in the projects." instead it will zero-in on rarely emphasized details of neighborhood life, showing both positive and negative aspects -- always with an artistic eye, never judgmentally."
"the final effect should have an unforgettable emotional impact. think of it as “reality-tv” with soul."

i wish i had the chance to use the phrase "per Jay-z"

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

you walk down the stairs in the morning and you step in hot carpet soup. congratulations, your hot water heater busted.

I spent the day ripping up wet carpet, shop vac'ing up goopy water, and waiting for the new water heater to get hooked up.

I thought about an interview I saw with retired tennis champion Jim Courier, where pat summerall or bud collins asked him if he had any regrets. He said he wished that he got more injuries. In hindsight, i'd do anything for a ankle sprain every six months or so, just to take a forced leave for a second, just to step back for a bit.

while, i don't wish water heater explosion on anyone (b/c it sucks), i really feel better about where my head's at after today. the growl of the shop vac, and the hank williams records i played for the plumbers proved to be a good soundtrack for some honest introspection.

While I was at home depot getting some post-flood supplies, i bought a few peace lillies because i remembered that Meta Efficient said they were they best plant for removing benzene, trychloroethelyene, and formaldehyde from indoor areas.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Today i met an old friend and we drove out to a house down Old 86 and further down a long single lane gravel road. and there miles from nowhere we shot a 7ft long potato gun. we loaded the barrel full of rave extra hold hairspray and triggered the sparkplug and kaboom.

the clouds difused the sunlight and the rust orange barn glowed, and the two dogs keep us company, too old to be starteled by the noise. homebaked-firepower brings such peace and joy to this country nerd. part science experiment, part mischief, part throwing rocks at the moon.

I took the back way home, and I remembered how i used to travel that road in my grandmother's big ol white crown victoria on the way to good methodist sundays full of pepsi and donuts and how there was this great dip in that road and you'd float in mid air for just split second and your stomach would jump into your lungs. even though they smoothed out that road, i floored the gas and i floated home, daydreaming of my own secluded farmhouse where i could sip coffe and send flaming potatoes in search of the horizon.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

one of the first video things i remember doing was a project i did in 7th grade. i think it was for english class, but i definitely remember that it was a james bond movie and i was james bond. i remember that i killed a bad guy with a toliet paper dispenser and there was a confusing climactic fight scene in the woods that involved shots with fishing line suspending martial arts weapons in mid air.

We filmed that fight scene in the woods behind my friend matt's house (the same location used in the 9th grade classic "no mare tatters" about the irish potato famine). today i shot part of a short in those same woods.In a lot of ways i think 7th grade erik would have kicked present day erik's ass for a whole variety of disappointment isssues, but i think 7th grade erik would have been proud that Today i made myself vomit gatorade and candy by ingesting syrup of ipecac.

Today, i also attended a korean-southern american wedding. the service was done in both english and korean. It was the pastors's first wedding ever, and the flower girl wore light up shoes, she was adorable. the bride and groom laughed during the service and looked a bit gazed and worn out at the reception. we ate allen & sons barbeque.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I just got back from my first jujitsu class since dec 2003. I got my ass kicked by just about everyone in the room. I can barely walk, i'm still light-headed, and i'm totally bruised up.
I feel fucking fantastic. just to sweat. just to feel exhausted. just to sink in one choke. all the bullshit of the day disappears.

I was pretty good about not trying too much and i left class early, before i tried anything stupid...still it'll be real easy to tell tomorrow if this was a good idea or not. i hope my work and woe over the last 6 months has paid off, because i almost forgot how good competition is. i even looked up the fall tourney schedule. its good to be back.

There is a god.

This morning, I went to check a P.O. Box we had just rented for a side project at work. It was full of mail. I'd used the address on a few url registers and in several emails, but i thought I had the wrong box when I saw it was full of magazines, letters, postcards.
I bent down and I pulled out the first letter, and when i saw the name on the address label, i actually writhed on the floor in maniacal laughter. I writhed and people stared. I was one coffee cup away from scooping the mail onto the floor and rolling in it like it was hot $100 bills...

ZOOM CULTURE recipient of millions, blight on name and spirit of online entertainment, and clueless self-important tartar on my beloved town has been reduced to absolute zero. I wrote return to sender on a whole pile of bills, magazines, and tax notices, and I savored each letter.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I still sleep on the floor. It's been 4 weeks since surgery and i still sleep NEXT to my bed, like I'm my own shadow, my own drooling golden retriever. At least, I've advanced past using the polar care 3000 ice machine at nights, but i still sacrifice sleep and comfort to purchase the assurance that during the night i will not find a position which will cause me extra pain the next day. Am i being ridiculous? the scene from above sounds weak and pathetic instead of somehow resolute and spartan. i'm really afraid of the mornings when the cozy of bed plus the pain of my knee might make me sleep to long and feel so lethargic and unmotivated. perhaps that's the reason for ths continued mechanism. crikes.

My anesthesiologist's name was John Booth. Young. Funny. Same dude i had last time. one family name short of infamy. He was a large goateed Brit, and told me how he playeed soccer, but gave it up for rugby because he was getting he was getting too old to run after people, but he still liked hurting them. The day he was to help operate on my knee was his last day at the hospital. He was moving north to greener pastures where the responsibilities and irks of teaching were replaced by more respect and a better paycheck. Maybe it was because it was his last day. Maybe it was just his personality. Maybe it was my hyper-aware pre-surgery state. He seemed truly honest in our brief conversation.
"I just want to be able to live in the country and help some sick people and go home at the end of the day and go fishing, he said." He looked wise and he looked exhausted. "i'm packing up the pick-up truck and leaving tomorrow morning." He was honest too about my recent medical woes: peculair but not that surprising, frustrating but that dehabilitating. "you'll be back in no time" he said.
For whatever reason, i usually never feel the breath of compassion from doctors. Any healing tradition or nobility seems to have been sandblasted off a long time ago. But here was simple honest connection. A sincere confession thrown away to a relative stranger that he was about knock out with a dose of the happy night night juice.
I wonder if he went fishing yet, and I wonder if he used nightcrawlers or minnows, and if he got his line stuck in a tree.

Today, a friend told me that all other things being equal, you should choose the option that scares you the most. he is a very smart person, and rational, and a bit radical. He has built a windmill and a huge deck and hiked the AT, and I could tell that he had given this philosophy a lot of thought.