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Posted 20 January 2006, 10.13 am by Villager

Almost four years ago on this page I wrote of my anxieties concerning the impending doom of pre-university exams. Now, as graduation looms, the contrast between anticipation and reality is stark. My worries were of achievement and choice, that attending university would, one way or another, have a substantial impact on the rest of my life.

The past three and a half years have been a waste. Academically, I have learned little of real value. With a little much-begrudged effort I should qualify with a First, but a First in English is not much to boast of. As a qualification it is nearly useless, demonstrating mere competence for further training. Perhaps the only thing of value I take from the whole experience is that, as a by-product of loathing (with a peculiar intensity) my work, I am vastly more efficient in my study, whatever that may be.

So, what to do now? The 'easy' option would be to enrol in teacher training, and begin to claw back the debt I have built up (though nothing by American standards, almost ten thousand pounds of debt is enough to be a burden when you have no money and no income to speak of). I have worked with children and find them tolerable and occasionally enjoyable. It is the easy option because it is about all that I am immediately qualified to begin doing, and have no obvious alternatives. I have had some success in getting writing published, even getting paid for it on occasion, but once the novelty of having my name in print wore off it has become an unrewarding, unreliable and difficult pursuit. Even if I wanted to pursue this I know better than to dare: coherence comes to me only in fits, and deadlines would meet only one fate.

But do I really want to teach? Pondering this question leads me to a rather stark realisation: I really do not want to work, at all. It might sound like a statement of the blinding obvious, especially to those of you who have bills to pay, but in my naïveté I had previously harboured a vague but assuring notion that somehow I would find a career (or a job, at least: I have never had conventional ambition) that would suit me in such a way as to cancel out the fact of servitude. I wish to lead a life of leisure, as has become my habit right here at university, only without the assignments. You see, I have come to be rather contented in my indolence; I read that which interests me, exercise, socialise and have every luxury of time and freedom I could ask for. And I would really like it to stay that way.

A little over a year ago I met a man in a fish bar in Olympia, Washington, Suleyman his name. Suleyman is a man of some forty years, of three wives (three present wives, that is) and some seventeen children. He was born Texas but moved back to his ancestral home in Bangladesh during his teens. Every four years he leaves his home in Bangladesh to spend three months aboard a fishing boat leaving from Seattle. The money he earns enables him and his impressive household to live as royalty at home for the next four years. He despises the time spent fishing, but feels it to be a small price to pay. He wants to retire, but assures me that his wives would not countenance a compromise in lifestyle.

The modern world has brought a vast improvement in the luxuries and comforts that we are able to joy, but it has not brought anything like a commensurate reduction in the time we spend working. It may be the foundation and lifeblood of the consumer-capitalist world; it may be habit and "normal" to the point where it constitutes an unchallenged hegemony, but is it really worth it? Why is it that most of us spend most of our lives working for luxuries when much less work would earn sufficient wealth to survive? Is there so little of worth that a human can experience and obtain without money? Have we finally, totally and irrevocably surrendered our souls to the ungodly dollar and its cunning progeny of frippery and tat?

I gave little thought to Suleyman’s tale at the time, partly because my insides were burning with an uncommon vengeance after whatever it was that I had eaten, but it returns to my thoughts with increasing force. I have no connections in Bangladesh (aside from Suleyman, who writes to me occasionally) but, given my lack of attachment to my present position, it appears to me to be eminently plausible that I should be able to find a poorer country with a culture that I find amenable enough to live in, and do likewise (Well, sort of. I am not persuaded that having three wives would lead to anything except an early grave). For a time this notion has been beaten away by some innate caution, but as I seriously examine the idea it becomes more and more appealing. Partly to this end I am resolved to spend the forthcoming summer in travel, if not to search for such a place as to put myself into a more realistic environment in which to consider the matter (I admit that this was not and is not the primary motivation for the trip: I have always regretted not taking a 'gap-year' and I want an adventure). I have by now collected invitations to hospitality in many places, most invitingly Alexandria, Pondicherry and Istanbul, as well as with Suleyman. I suppose it is ironic that I am now working feverishly to afford the trip (though my present employment chafes as ever it did, I am adequately motivated to endure it) and will go as far as I can afford to. Do I so despise work as to leave everything behind to escape it?

Perhaps I have not been sufficiently creative in my thinking. Perhaps there is a way I could avoid the slavery I fear through a yet unseen occupation. I covet not property nor luxury, so there would be no need for me to work 'full time', and perhaps the likeliest outcome is that I will work here at home, just as little as possible. I have grown accustomed to relative poverty as a student. After shelter, food and clothing, what else do we really need? A big house, a flashy car, holidays in Tuscany and sharp suits would do little or nothing for my happiness. I have a suspicion that they might even harm it. All I can be sure of at this point is that, if it can be avoided, I am unwilling to spend the better part of my life in miserable servitude. I have learned that much over the past few years, but I cannot say with certainty that it was anything to do with university. Perhaps a real education will begin here.

When They're Gone

Posted 10 January 2006, 4.29 pm by HockeyGod

We all have those people in our lives. The ones we rarely think about, the ones who we just take for granted; until they're gone.

For some reason or another we don't let ourselves get close to these people while they're alive. Maybe we're too busy, too shy, or let some handicap get in our way.

We hear about them going into the hospital and we pay it lip service; that is until they don't come out. We rationalize things about not letting it affect us since we didn't really know them.

But it does affect us, and it should. At the risk of sounding cliche, you truly don't miss someone until they're gone.

We all suffer a loss like this, whether it be an old friend we never talk to, an obscure relative we've rarely met, or that old man who lives next door and sometimes brings us vegetables out of his garden.

Thankfully, the pain of these losses strengthens us. We become more aware of the lives we're taking for granted; of the less significant people in our lives who won't always be there. These losses give us motivation to just sit down and talk with those who we don't see on a daily basis. They make us cognizant of life, and of what we all stand to lose.

RIP uncle Tommy.

Is Freedom Worth Dying For?

Posted 15 December 2005, 2.42 pm by HockeyGod

Germany just passed a new law that says all telecommunication companies must store all information to be searched at a later date by the government to help prevent terrorism.

This includes all Internet, Cell Phone, Land Line, SMS, text messages, etc. Anything that has a signal that travels through a medium that's not yours is now recorded.

Slashdot says it's 1984 in Europe, which begs the question: Is Freedom Worth Dying For?

A long time ago, our forefathers thought it was, but I can't say the same is true of today's society. We're willing, if not eager to give up any of our freedoms to prevent a possible terrorist incident.

You're cowards, all of you.

Since when are our individual lives more important than the ideals our founding fathers fought for? If Jefferson knew we were giving up so many rights in exchange for a false sense of security against "terrorism" he'd have a stroke.

With freedom comes consequences. A long time ago people viewed these concequences as neccessary for the good of the whole. It's because of them we can work the jobs we choose, live where we want, worship the Gods we choose, and think what we want to think. People died horrible deaths, but because of them society continued to prosper.

These ideals are slowly being challenged however, and in a self righteous bid to "protect the children" we're actually condeming them to an Orwellian future.

Stand up for your rights people. The terrorists don't need to attack our freedoms anymore, we're doing a pretty good job of destroying them ourselves.

Half A Man

Posted 12 December 2005, 8.12 pm by Andy

“Ever seen a guy blown in half?” My friend asks, as we sit down at his computer. “It’s awesome.”

It’s hard to really tell, through the glowing green haze of a night vision camera, what a man looks like when he’s about to die, but I’m guessing it’d be something like how he normally looks. But all I see is a whitish ghost, the representation of a heat signature that doesn’t realize it’s about to fade away.

“BOOM!” My friend screams as the sniper round enters the ghost's body, then rewinds the video. “There! Look… whole man whole man whole man whole man BOOM! half a man! How fucking sweet is this?”

And now it’s real.

Knickers to you lot

Posted 14 November 2005, 6.29 pm by doggybag

What you notice, before anything else, is that the subjects of Keane`s brush have an unlikely beauty. They are banners aflutter in the shifting Garfagnana winds, their allegiances announced in the language of high art: color, form, composition, kinetic tension. Their subtext is the wonderful diversity of human experience, ranging from the dizzyingly erotic to the downright practical, and capturing, as graphically as could be imagined, our collective journey from infant to elderly. Mutande, their Italian name, is derived from the verb mutare, "to change" -- and it seems far closer to the remarkably dignified spirit of these paintings than its giggling English equivalent, "knickers."

Painting, in its most general definition, is an act of shared observation -- the visual statement of the painter, in conversation with the visual reactions of an audience. In that sense, Keane`s "Mutande di Barga" is an essay on the principal exchange of his art. But it is also an essay on the protocol of observation itself.

Put simply, mutande are everywhere in Barga, shouting out our secrets from clotheslines and drying racks strung in full sight on nearly every home; but the moot understanding is that they are not supposed to be seen.

Few artifacts of our material culture say more about us -- more about our bodies, stripped to their last shield against the naked truth of age and physical decline, more about our most intimate acts and fantasies. For that very reason, the expectation is that we will not observe them, in any meaningful way. We will not "read" them as would an anthropologist or a voyeur.

In Keane`s own view, the subject of "Mutande" is community, a central motif in his work for a quarter century, explored from the 20th century housing estates of his native London to the Ming courtyards of Nanjing, China, and from the sylvan hamlets of Finland to the fishing villages of Pantelleria island off the North African coast. Nowhere has he investigated the meaning of community in greater depth than Barga, his residence for 12 years, documented in hundreds of paintings and in thousands of photographs. His intention, his obsession, is to assemble a complete portrait of the town, comprised of individual portraits of its more than ten thousand people.

Community, as pictured in this massive undertaking, is about work and leisure, about who governs and who is governed, about property and its rights, citizenship and its responsibilities; in short, it is about the explicit, formal contracts that bind individuals into a group, a society.

Yet community is also -- and often more powerfully -- about the implicit contracts that bind us, the unspoken accords. It is about the Mutande of Barga.

Over the course of a lifetime in a town as small and densely built as this, neighbors come to know each other more intimately than do many husbands and wives in the transient suburbs and anonymous highrises of the contemporary urban world. Over the progression of years recorded by their mutande, the Bargagiani absorb an infinitely detailed and intuitive version of the portrait that compels Keane; they grow ever more closely acquainted with their neighbors` acquired habits and inherited pasts, their loves won and lost, their joys and sorrows.

They are bound, tightly, in the contract symbolized by those colorful banners waving from every home, the contract that says, in effect, "va bene, I can hang my secrets out before your windows, let them take the air and sun, because you know me -- and I trust you not to look." Frank Viviano 2005

http://www.barganews.com/keane/mutande/index.htm


You Suck At the Internet

Posted 9 November 2005, 4.28 am by HockeyGod

Attention readers: You suck at the internet. No seriously, you bore the shit out of me.

Many years ago, (as some of you may remember) I used to write actively (and passionately too). In fact, the only reason I got into coding is because there were no tools websites like blogger, wordpress or textpattern to help me. Does anybody else miss how the internet used to be back in 1995?

Boy, we sure fucked it up since then didn’t we? Thanks to the ease of technology, every 13 year old on your street now has their own blog. The web is littered with them. I know we all have a little voyeur inside of us, but how many people seriously care about what little Suzy thinks of the new Alicia Keys CD? I mean just look at some of the shit you post.

Then there’s the language we use. H0w d1d talkin’ lyk this 3VA bcum AcCePt3d? Why is it that you were able to read that just as natural as the line before it? Doesn’t it sicken you? I’m not even going to mention how Text Messaging has turned our nations youth into brain-dead zombies.

The internet was such a marvelous tool, but look what we did with it. We turned it into a giant billboard for Poker, Porn, Money Making Schemes

Listen up people, Nobody cares how much you suck at poker. Even if you Really really suck. You can’t make money with online poker, it’s mathematically impossible; but that’s an entirely different topic for an entirely different day.

I remember when we used to be creative. I remember when we used to care. Now we’re too busy digesting pre-processed hamburgers in between meetings so we can be home in time to take Johnny to soccer practice to actually give two shits about the world we live in. Don’t believe me? Look at all atrocities occurring in government that nobody seems to want to do anything about. Even as I write this, Detroit is re-electing a mayor who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from them. Again, another topic for another day.

Today I just want to talk about how much you suck at the internet. All of you. YSATI!!!111!!one!!

Do us all a favor, get up out of your chair, put on some deodorant, Pour that beer on your computer, or just pull the fucking plug before you end up posting a piece of trash like this to your blog that nobody reads.

Dream Girl

Posted 7 November 2005, 11.37 pm by Andy

Sometimes I think about
my dream girl, and what she’d
look like on a warm sunny day,
sweating as she sits next to me on the grass at school,
holding her backpack straps
in her small fists of hands as we flirt until we’re late for class.
Or on a day so cold and windy that her nipples
pierce through her yellow tank top
underneath her gray hooded sweatshirt;
out of sight, but I’d still know they were there.
She’d shudder and breathe in sharply as goose bumps
spread across her arm like the crowd at a football game
doing the wave.
Or in the rain,
her mascara running down her face
like the tears of a corpse;
her hair stringy and dripping:
strands of straw hanging off of a scarecrow
that no birds ever land on because it looks too fake.

She’d have hair: piss yellow, no doubt,
and eyes so brown you’d swear she was full of it.
Her nose would be more rounded than pointy—
but not too round… too fat.
Thick lips, thighs and eyebrows,
with small feet and smaller hands,
and a stomach that, no matter how many sit-ups
or crunches she forced herself to do before bed,
would always have a pooch.
Her arm hair would be thin, but she’d still be self-conscious,
and she’d never be happy with her ass (but I would).

She’d cry on the scale and laugh eating ice cream,
as it freezes her brain and the back of her throat.
She’d wear red or pink polish
on her finger and toenails, trying to impress me
when all that really matters
is she thought it’d impress me.

This is my Dream Girl,
sweating and breathing and laughing and crying.
Loving that I love the things she hates about herself,
and hating the fact that I notice them.

I am a mess

Posted 27 October 2005, 2.43 am by Solitary Observer

I thought I would know how to start this. But I don't.

But luckily I can send this (almost) anonymously, if I will send this. Because I'm a mess. And I don't know how totell that to anybody. And that really means everybody I know. I am a sad person because I can't trust anybody. I have a cage inside my mind.

Can you imagine how that feels?

What do I have for comfort? What do I have that has kept me going unto this point? I think. About the whole world, and what is going on in it. And I'm quite sure I'm not the only one who feels the same way I do.


And, when I think about it all, I conclude I have a problem. A problem about My Identity. But, I don't think it is really my problem. The problem I sense in the form of my unhappiness and the feeling of unsecurity is caused by a problem in the whole world. The world (as we know it) is formed by the nature, and the people is only a part of it.

And the part of the world, which has became aware of itself (i.e. the people?), is, at the moment, shattered. It has lost the sense of what it is as a whole. Or, maybe it never had that sense, and is just gaining it trough pain?

Anyhow, that (the whole thing I described in the paragraph above) manifests itself in people in certain ways. And one of those ways is that people come too individualistic. They trust in nobody. They believe that every individual make their own future by the choices they make. And, in a sense, they believe, those who fail, must have made the wrong decisions.

But I sense differently. I feel I am nothing by myself. I need other people. But still, I somewhat feel uncomfortable among them. As I said, "I can't trust anybody". But I also sense there is no way I can continue that way.

Every mind cannot feel itself complete unless it has gained the priviledge of being a part of something greater than the individual.

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They were done for an exhibition a couple of years ago . They asked for something to so with the summer. They are mixed media and oil paint on metal advertising boards - for ice cream.


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Props to Green Mamba for bringing the weirdness

Hmph

80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

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