Saturday, September 29, 2007
Bella Nova Productions Logo Sketches, with Oscar Flores and Dulce Osuna, My Mind is Drifting Elsewhere
Introductory aside note: the websites of Oscar Flores and Dulce Osuna have some of my photographs on them!
Last weekend, I had a couple of free days (though the shxt hit the fan a few days later), and Oscar had a Quincenera to film on Saturday. I volunteered to help out, and it was a lot of fun! It was a blast and a total escape from my current anxieties of trying to transfer back to UCSB with an interdisciplinary Ph.D. As another random aside, I met Edgar, who is one of the managing heads of the famous Freebirds burrito restaurant in Isla Vista, and I don't know how he related to the quince girl, but I said hello (he teased me for my late night purchases of chips and raids of pico de gallo in large water cups) and said that my dad absolutely cannot wait to come up to UCSB all the way from Riverside and have a Freebirds burrito!
Towards the end of the Quincenera, Oscar and I got really bored. We didn't take the event too seriously because we weren't getting paid, though it is indeed a resume item. Oscar needed help with making business cards, and I gave him some pointers. Also I did a photoshoot of Oscar right then and there, and he liked a few of the images! He placed a few on his website! Happy Vic. Then we also sat down and talked about how the BellaNova Productions logo (Bella Nova Productions is a production company that Oscar and Dulce are starting, and I am going to try to help as much as possible, though right now I am SO stressed out). Yesterday and today I worked on the logo, and the best drawings and photoshop manipulations are above.
The process of making the layers of the logo can be seen on this website:
I want to do better, but I am so full of anxiety, my mind is not focusing like it optimally can. Especially yesterday, when I got blasted with an unexpected phone call from the assistant Dean of the Graduate Division at UCSB (phone call? HOW INHUMANE! THIS IS MY ACADEMIC LIFE HERE. MY BRAIN. DON'T CALL ME. JUST TALK TO MY FACE, PLEASE!). She was nice but discouraging at the same time. And I talked to Shine, Miriam asked me, "Why isn't there a CCS Ph.D?" I'm shrug my shoulders, "I don't know." And I told Shine of this. Shine Ling. Like my undergrad role model in CCS biology. He has profoundly impacted my life intellectually. Shine, who has compiled an extensive history of the College of Creative Studies (an education and philosophy of science journalism project he has been working on) Shine told me two things (or 3) based on my circumstance: (1). In the Conceptual Plan of CCS a long time ago, they had an idea of creating a graduate school, (2). Since Bruce Tiffney is el heffe for now, he is the type of person who could really carry through such an idea (but shxt, it's a frickin' hassle!), Shine further stated that after Dr. Ashby retired, this is the first time in a while where CCS can operate in "non-crisis mode" (3). Though CCS advertises itself to be "graduate school for undergraduates," this is in great part, highly untrue. There kind of needs to be a CCS graduate school because CCS has very different philosophies and operations than typical graduate school. Shine also has found some interesting statistics that many CCS alumni who have attempted graduate school have actually not carried through (though many have, and sucked it up).... I am literally in the middle of a human graduate education guinea pig experiment! I think, and Shine agrees, that many CCS graduate students are suffering in the outer world in general. Because society can only accept and deal with people who FIT into boxes, and don't know what to do with people who CREATE their own boxes. In the end of the evening at Quantum (an academically-named, Japanese-architecture, high-class, locally-distributed, organically-rich, swank American burger joint, okay... only in Santa Barbara....), after all my griping and bullshxtting to him and Jay and Eleanor (and poor Sam, CCS Literature, she doesn't need to hear this!), Shine said he would talk to Bruce about some kind of CCS grad school, whenever he saw him next.
As you can see, my mind is NOT involved in making the logo. My mind is wrapped around my institutional re-incorporation of my brain. It's about mental survival. And physical, consequentially... affecting eating habits, sleeping habits, exercise habits, affecting my emotional stability--I had a mild panic attack yesterday but managed to express it through my voice recorder.... And writing about this has been therapeutic as well....
I have an alternative name for a Production Company. Since I am into "The Matrix" so much, I decided that a cool name would be "NeoNova." It has a COOL ring to it, plus can make a NIN-nine-inch-nail type of logo to it. I think New Star more accurately represents me and "a new birth of thought." Bella Nova is great. Beautiful Star. But in certain ways to me is a bit static. I think I need that sense of "birth" and "change" and "renewal" in a name for me. Bioweb. Evoterre. Eklektecos. Stokastika. Biomathematika. I mean, these names spur images of flow and change and shifts and growth and birth and death and ... and... systems moving in general. Don't get me wrong, Bella Nova is a great name for this production company, but in my own fictictious circumstance, it would be NeoNova.
A last thought. I told Shine: CCS versus graduate school. Graduate School is a socially acceptable form of entering a gang. Instead of getting physically beat up with blood and guts, you go through bureacratic constipation paperwork and interviews, "mentally beat up" "firing squad." And not only that, they pass your through first year entry classes to make sure that you thoroughly think like their little Intellectual Ingroup Thinktank--little clones of them--and then you are a part of the "ingroup." So there. Undergraduates in Letters and Science get hearded around like numerical cows, branded with a pin, who have the illusion of choice, taking classes because it "satisfies 1 from column A and two from column B" as Bruce Tiffney would say. How mind-numbing! So, there's the epitome of bureaucratic cow-herding and gangsterism of undergrad and grad school. Now, what is CCS? CCS is like lifting all constraints and walls and arbitrary and irrational bureaucratic rules of all departments and disciplines, and rules of society in general (not ALL of them), and let students run around and play in the university like little ADD kindergarteners, who are curious about everything, and just let their intellectual growth be guided by their own INDIVIDUAL INTERNAL QUESTIONING, rather than being ditcated by intellectual gangterism and cow-herding! CCS promotes integrative thinking and renaissance thought (fosters INDIVIDUAL INTELLECTUAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF INDIVIDUAL INTELLECTUAL IDENTITY). CCS allows you to take bits and pieces of knowledge from any department, field, person, inside and outside the university--and integrate all these bits and pieces into something new. A bunch of people of all different disciplines shootin' the shxt in a beat up couch in an old World War II building. CCS is the romantic notion of the university that USED TO EXIST in the past that basically... no longer exists anymore... except for CCS. In the end, I take a step back, and I find this all disgusting. Bureacracy is mentally constipating and killing me, and I am tired of fighting it. "What is rational versus what is bureaucratic convention are two ENTIRELY different entities." This is truly a Rage Against the Machine. The summation of human society across large numbers of people and resources across several generations, has created a MONSTER, INHUMANE system that people can barely exist in--to a point where most of American society is drugged and cell-brain-dead (college-based ritualistic rite of passage) in order to stay in their "molecular places" where society wants them to stay.
It's like this entire illusion of choice. This gradient to a degree of mental freedom to degrees of constraint. And what maximized degrees of mental freedom? CCS. CCS. CCS. And what constrains it? L&S. Grad school. And what program fosters INDIVIDUAL INTELLECTUAL IDENTITY? INTELLECTUAL WAIFS WITH A HOME BASE? ORGANIC-FREE-RANGING INTELLECTUAL THOUGHT AND NOT-MASS-PRODUCED CLONES? CCS. And the rest is just prison. Period. Dxmmit.
I AM A GUINEA PIG. THIS IS HOW SYSTEM BUREAUCRACY IMPACTS, INFLUENCES, AND TORMENTS INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY. THIS IS ME. DXMMIT. I REFUSE TO TAKE PILLS, DXMMIT. I AM NOT SICK. THE SYSTEM IS MAKING MY SICK. DON'T QUESTION YOURSELF. I'M FINE. QUESTION THE SYSTEM. THE SYSTEM IS MAKING US ALL SICK.
AND I'M NOT GOING TO WAIT FOR A 25-YEAR ACADEMIC INTELLECTUAL RITE OF PASSAGE (Ph.D. tenure, etcetera) IN ORDER TO BECOME AN INTELLECTUALLY ORGANIC FREE-RANGER. The problem of the environment is NOW. My survival is today. My survival, our survival, and the EARTH'S PROBLEM IS NOW. NOW. NOW. We need solutions and changes NOW. Every day a scientist conforms to existing bureaucracy and stays in the comfort of his air-conditioned office. Every day a bureaucrat goes about his or her business without questioning the way how he or she has framed or constrained this university environment. Every single day, these people are giving up on themselves. Given up on future generations. Given up on this planet. We are a PART of the experiment of sustainability! All these godxm repeat plaguing thoughts in my head! Get them out!
I see the university structure more like an experiment in human behavior... and it sucks I have to be the victim of it... as of this mentally perilous moment.
I need to see Armand next week. Bruce next week. And Ron Rice next week. And Zia next week. I don't think I can write the letters yet until I know what they have to say.
Sorry if I have any strange cuts-and-pastes in this partially frustrating, cuss-out blog.
Key Words: bella nova, CCS graduate school, Dulce Osuna, graduate school for undergrads, logo design, NeoNova, Oscar Flores, production company, quincenera, Shine Ling, cow-herding, intellectual gangsterism, intellectual identity, university romanticized, rage against the machine, bureacuratic monster, illusion of choice, organic-free-ranging intellectual thought, guinea pig
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Victoria's First Podcast, Featuring Music and Monologue-Narration from the Movie-Beginning "World's Easiest Catch: The Zen of Rock Crab." Please visit:
I am announcing a personal breakthrough. I HAVE INITIATED MY FIRST PODCAST!!! I am so excited! Woohoo! I find it incredibly ironic that creating a podcast has been more hassle for me than creating a video-log (vlog) or even this blog right here. At the end of two or three days of personal research and painful trial and error (I can't wait to jog after this!), I come to announce that the best websites to host podcasts are:
There are trade-offs with BOTH websites. At first I was going with http://www.mypodcast.com/, simply because it was a "bubbly-style" user-friendly interface (same as clickcaster), but Mypodcast offered UNLIMITED hosting and bandwith, whereas clickcaster only offered 125 MB free. In the END OF THE DAY, I vote for CLICKCASTER? Why? Because this morning I was having a panic attack simply because Mypodcast was lagging like SLOWER THAN A SNAIL in terms of uploading files, and with clickcaster, everything was up and running *bam * bam * bam!* What else can I say? I support programs that fire just as fast as my neurons. I am into instant gratification and speed with computers. Mypodcast really failed me today, though it seems to have lots of potential. I have not done research on these companies' relative success. I SUGGEST GOING TO WIKIPEDIA AND SEARCH "PODCAST" BECAUSE THEY PROVIDE AN EXTENSIVE LIST OF PODCAST DIRECTORIES FOR YOU TO SURVEY AND EXPERIMENT WITH.
In the end, I highly recommend composing your own music, because though it's temporarily more work and beating your head against the wall for a few days to spontaneously create music, in the long run, you eliminate hassle of permits and rights and relying on other people for music and PAYING a lot of money for other people's music. It's a faster, cheaper ticket to enter your movie to film festivals if you have entirely original compiled audiovisual data!
I retro-actively thank my parents for quasi-making me and my sister, Jenny, for taking piano lessons as younger kids. And I am thankful for the presence of Bolek and Kuba for instilling competition and collaboration among the four of us for making the piano experience more of a personal, internal drive than a parental dictatorship experience. Thanks to Tina Guin for forcing us to learn piano theory! At the time was utterly useless information. Now, retroactively extremely useful and highly desirable knowledge! :-)
To think that playing all roles in making movies (from acting to directing to producing to editing to music-making to PAing to scouting to researching to etc to etc to etc) is the resulting mass accumulation and integration of all the elements I have learned in my life, it is such a rewarding feeling!
Monday, September 24, 2007
"Zen of Rock Crab: Parts to Whole" / Lyrics and Guitar Music Sheet for Song "Where Stuff Comes From, Where Stuff Goes"
I am staring at my music lyrics, and ironically I am a little panicky right now because I just found a CCS class at UCSB that involves around music videos. The class starts THIS THURSDAY and lab is on FRIDAY, and I am absolutely freaking out because this class is optimal for me, but in terms of time and energy allocation, and my unstable bureacratic circumstance, this may not be able to happen. Plus I was planning on leaving today for some peace and quiet before fall quarter "the shxt hits the fan" type of situation. I am thinking of speaking with the professor of the class before I leave to tell her my circumstance, and ask her whether I can audit portions of the class. I am more than mentally ready for such a course, my goodness! It's like I'm still re-constructing Blue Horizons around me all over again this quarter!
Before I moved into the new apartment at Santa Ynez (I had to move and end the contract with Joanna Deek, a very pleasant biochemistry graduate student), I was composing music for "Where Stuff Comes From, Where Stuff Goes." I could not see the "larger picture" of the movie since I was mentally stumped with this temporal-spatial constraint. Dulce has several connections with the UCSB mariachi group and beyond. And plus, Dulce has a BEAUTIFUL voice! She is aware of and can adjust subtle-ties and nuances in her voice that I do not have the ability to do. Dulce's website is: http://www.uweb.ucsb.edu/~dulceosuna/ She even has a small handful of images on her front page that I took right after the interview with Tam Hunt at Community Environmental Council! Boy, I feel glad to be useful! I remember at one point, I was still going through American-Idol post-pardum depression (a long story there as well), and then I had a vibrant conversation about music with Dulce out on the balcony of Kerr Hall. She asked me to sing aloud, and at that point I was embarrassed and sang very soft and stuttery. Or maybe this was BEFORE American Idol. But Dulce has been very supportive since I have told her my goals in music. It's tragic this song above had never been manifested, except in sketch form. Perhaps it can be resurrected this quarter? I need to get over this guitar complex and this public singing complex, as SOON as possible!
It's amazing how stress and anxiety tremendously impacts the way how you write. I am feeling it right now.
The root problem of the environment is the way how we PERCEIVE it, which is framed and imprisoned by our EXISTING LANGUAGE. So? "Metabolecological Heart" is a new way how to perceive things, if you release the chains of education and language, and let your mind go about freely to explore the properties of space and time....
[I just came home from a LONG day at school, meeting some people I am RELIEVED I met, and meeting some people that were of no help at all. I'm trying to get myself out of Santa Barbara, but people and meetings keep making me STAY! Ugh! I just want to go home and hide for a little bit!!! It's hard to write linearly when your brain is filled with *crxp* from learning new things the entire day.]
I think I will make an art-piece series that revolves around the new qualiative-based philosophy of ecology (ecology of size), all revolving around the universal scaling laws in biology/ecology. The mathematical portion of it is being worked out by Dr. Brian West (epitome of as-cool-and-as-flexible-a-physicist-can-get, I mean, a physicist has to be pretty open-minded to have the capacity to work with the rationally sloppy mind and world of a biologist, he's stationed at another "CCS" College of Creative Studies-like program in New Mexico), Dr. James Brown (my dad uses his Biogeography book for class), Dr. Brian Enquist (in Arizona, worked fairly closely with Bruce Tiffney in compiling paleobotanical data for scaling laws), and Melanie ? (forgot last name) who works with scaling laws and construction of human systems and technologies (Ack! What breakthrough research!) What an amazing, humble, cool group of people! How inspiring! Chinese dinner on the house in downtown San Francisco! If you can't beat them, join them. I suppose at the moment I am their subconscious collaborator. I hope to show them some of my work by the time the next round of AAAS comes about. Anyhoo...
Dr. Pete Sadler at UC Riverside works with scaling laws in geology as well... so I have to consult with him soon enough. The scaling laws folks are working on fractal math that is basically going to philosophically re-organize our ecology and biology textbooks. They are working on the math. And me? I'm working on the philosophical, qualitative re-organization of ecology in space and time. Their work totally justifies and correlates with my application of spacetime reasoning to ecology (just as in film and geology, why not ecology? why not anything and everything?) Spacetime reasoning: the same mechanism of how I wrote my Question Reality book. I think "The Day After Tomorrow" is the creative sci-fi version of climate change, and my "Question Reality" book is the sci-fi version of scaling laws in biology. Or is it sci-fi? Or maybe it may manifest a little more truth than you thought?
So, "Metabolecological heart" is something I drew that I need to improve. It was actually a very poor sketch with "rough-sharp" edges, when I desired more "smooth curves." Though, when I drew this sketch, I made the best of what I had, given my personal mental impairment due to the anxiety of temporarily moving towards the very end of the Blue Horizons program."Metabolecological heart" discusses that there is a pace and rate and metabolism of an ecosystem that is the summation or a bit more than the summation of the pace of its biological components ("metabolecological clocks" ohhh... another picture to draw!), intertwined with the rhythmicities and eccentricities-unpredictabilities of it sabiotic factors as well.... And I must say this human society has a mental and physiological metabolism that is close to inhumane, and drives people to insanity and pill-popping. I hide and isolate myself, and control my environment so much due to this pace of humanity. Like for example, I never watch television, only listen to techno radio, and all my walls are blank slate white. It's control against overstimulation of environmental stimuli that I refuse to be exposed to! "Rage Against the Machine" is quite an accurate name for a music band in terms of what I experience and do everyday, just to control the environmental exposure of information and resource inputs and outputs, just to maintain self-sanity.
[Relax, Vic! Consume Freebirds Chips out of Anxiety?! Time pressure is making me ask questions when I am not sure I am ready to do any of this...]
"Metabolecological Heart" is a drawing that related to a song I composed and wrote a guitar music sheet to: "Where Stuff Comes From: Where Stuff Goes." The song never manifested because I didn't have the opportunity to bond with guitar players in Santa Barbara due to time constraints of the summer sessions. Bonding with guitar players is definitely a top priority for next quarter. I shot out a couple of embarrassing Craigslist advertisements as well, and made internet contact with a few people I plan to follow up with. By the time I found out Keith Boynton played guitar very well, and I showed him my lyrics, he stated that some of the chords are tricky. Frank Wright at California Sound Studios (a professional guitar player working for Warner Brothers, of course) seemed absolutely unfrightened and uninhibited about the content of my song. Well, at one point, towards the end of the program ("time crunch" period), Keith just gave me this look that clearly stated: "Why are you bugging and relying on guitar players? If you know how to play the piano and record your stuff, then just do it YOURSELF!" Yep, he had exactly that look in his face, and I took it very seriously... and did just that. I bammed on the piano in a church in Mission Viejo, edited my music at Matt's and Mike's house by UC Irvine, and there, made the soundtrack all by myself. I am going to eradicate this guitar complex as soon as possible. Maybe there is enough time to take a guitar class this quarter...
I will write a blog later on the philosophy and symbolism of the plasma lamp in my movie "Zen of Rock Crab." It's a rather lengthy blog, so I'll spare you for now. It's best I write something like such in the evening, when I am more relaxed. :-) I will say right now that if you are interested in making a simple montage, it's more efficient to do it in powerpoint, NOT photoshop! I made these collages above in powerpoint!
And here it is! The infamous "consumer belljar" I used in the "Zen of Rock Crab" movie. This curvy yellow cup was a very unlikely, and very spontaneous prop. I came home to Riverside a few days after my birthday, and my mother unexpectedly showered me with a series of 99-cent store gifts (it's family tradition, "presents: it's the practical thought that counts, not the price). As an aside, my friend Jesse at California Sound Studios griped about how his ex-wife's mom gave him a pack of 99-cent store macaroni for Christmas. I guess that's unusual for his circumstaNce, but it's quite a commonplace, family-tradition act to me!). I was in very high anxiety, and actually didn't want to go through this present routine with my parents (as soon as I got home, too!) No anticipation! So, I hastily unwrapped presents and finally encountered this... yellow... cup. I was puzzled. Whatin the hxll am I going to do with something like this? Besides, it's yellow, like some infestuous pool of urine. Like city cesspool water, like in Dostoyevki's Crime and Punishment. I would be scared to drink out of it (retroactively, I did, out of desperation of being in Riverside's 110-degree weather for 5-days straight).
*Bingo!* A few nights later, I go foraging around the house for a "consumer belljar" prop. *Bingo!* *Bullseye!* That infestuous, curvy, see-through yellow cup for my 1-year old birthday! (Given that women don't mature till age 25, men till 50, just a reminder). So this potentially Goodwill cup (my mom raids Goodwill stores, and instilled such values in me) from my mom (who has immense difficulty shopping for presents for me), ended up being immensely symbolically useful with a few days of receiving it... ha ha HA! Thanks Mama! You did it this time!
The silhouette of the girl inside the onion was actually not a part of the movie. I didn't want to look like a "flaming environmentalist" with that image. It makes me obvious, and it might turn people off. When the Reality is that I'm not an environmentalist, or at least an extreme version of them (Charlie the fisherman calls them "enviros," people who tend to be "sadistically irrational," I chimed in), but I'm more a mental-tripper-philosophy type about self-environment relations. And pro-bono for y'all, I'm not a religious-ecology person either. *Whew.* My philosophisizing of science and religion I believe has peaked, and I am mentally resolved in their co-existence.
Otherwise, these were the images used in the beginning of the movie. I represented Blue Horizons at UCSB first, for they have provided the context for allowing me to learn how to make movies, and then I included my own personal self-definitions: "box theory" and "thinking outside the box" in addition to the "two butterflies," which symbolize the interaction and bond between friends and the bond and interaction between the Self and the Environment (based on a poem I wrote my senior undergrad year at UCSB, sent cards to my good friends Meg and Maysha). Then again, you can be a gross male and perceive the "69" effect, for which one guy did, but I was naive of the existing incumbent human-social implications of "69," and due to my naivete, I still accept myself for innocently creating this logo. AND YES! I DREW EVERYTHING BY MYSELF!
These images above were CONSIDERED to being a part of the intro credits, but didn't make the final cut. They felt a little bit neglected, so I decided to at least place them in a blogspot for some degree of public viewing (to what degree is of great question).
Above are the "final cut" or the best outputs of my Photoshop Filter Experimentations....
This website link above is a collection of photoshop modification experiments I conducted on the Blue Horizons logo. Did I mention I "own" Photoshop 7? It suffices for now... The experiments served as very useful, for now I have some degree of a plot on how to approach my "Evolution of Art" project. I felt like using "filters" in photoshop is like using "plug-ins" in Sonar Home Studio or whatever music software in use... hopefully Protools. Filters for visual special effects. Plug-ins for audio special effects in mixing and mastering. I think I'm getting it. Analogous structures. Or maybe homologous? Okay, Vic. Stop being a Biogeek. I can't seem to beat it out of myself.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Photoshop has revolutionized the way how I draw my logos! I add layers and extra levels of detail I could have never done before, thanks to photoshop! I just recently learned the benefit of creating logos in Illustrator (vector-based, not raster). The deal is that these logos behave like fractals. You can zoom into the logo and never lose resolution, whereas pixelation in Photoshop involves lost resolution when zooming in... until you just see blurry boxes :-)
I created this Blue Horizons logo on a late night, primarily in response to the 5-minute student oral presentations for Constance Penley's environmental media course. I found out late in the program that Clark was receiving a stipend for performing promotional duties for Blue Horizons. A part of his duty was to create a logo. In class, he showed a very nice image of the coast and a bent streak, as well as Platform Holly in the distance. I politely asked him as to whether this image would represent the new logo, and he said no. I went home angry, wondering why Clark was given such a job when I have a TRACK RECORD for being a logo designer guru. Even since middle school! Come on! Wasn't that on my resume? I think the following evening, I revealed my anger in the first rounds of sketches seen above. The logo actually took form in my mind the night before. So here are the layers: planet earth + the eye lens + pupil sunset + camera lens (square + circle) + bent horizons (event horizons!) + oil rigs, islands, seagull silhouettes + blue horizons lettering = BLUE HORIZONS LOGO! Wow, that was a lot of layering, man. Like a twisted sedimentary outcrop in Death Valley or Anza Borrego. Ugh!
Ultimately, I don't know whether Constance Penley or Michael Hanrahan will have any use for my logo, but in the end, I had to do it myself to prove to myself that I can create such a logo for a program. And it's an internal calling for me to construct a gestalt logo for the Blue Horizons experience.
The following is the mathematical equation for the making of the rock crab logo: rock crab logo = late night + alone in apartment + techno music + wild creativity + slow neuronal activity + time pressure for project due tomorrow + photoshop + invert colors + philosophical spirograph drawing of ecological string theory of the rock crab + minor adjustments = again, the final product of the rock crab logo. You like? You like? :-)
P.S. Good coffee is an option. Only an option. Not a necessity.