Wednesday, April 30, 2008

188. I am Seeing Ghosts that Don't Exist in Reality

I'm happy
I'm feeling glad
I've got sunshine
In a bag
And I'm useless
But not for long
Because the Future
Is coming on
Is coming on
Is coming on....

I think Gorillaz lyrics and melodies are genius.
At first I thought it was synced up with the usual Hollywood messaging.
But it's all about questioning existing convention and dreaming and destroying utopias.
The melodies and beats capture you, and you don't even realize this work is totally rebellious.

One more ingredient to keep me pumped up.

I was singing that song before my ghosts were dissolved into thin air.
At least I enjoyed them for however long they lasted.

Below is written by my best friend, ANONYMOUS in DENIAL. I helped her. Some consultation. Not that I have any experience or can be of any help. Which I don't know why she comes to talk to me. But I thought what she wrote was interesting, and she said it was okay for me to post.

You know what?
It comes down to I have no hope and faith in males.
You have hope.
Then you get burned.
Time and time and time again.

Today was embarrassing.
I have been seeing ghosts since Friday
That do not exist in reality.
I was told to arrive / call in between 3-4pm.
No response on phone.
I show up live in gratitude to turn in a cartoon
For a birthday
And apparently as if no conversation
Or time syncing occurred the day before.
I struggled to talk and stammer
And then I dashed out as quickly as possible.
My mind was going the speed of light.
I was going through a time-warp bubble.
And then it's as if my brain just crashed
Into a wall going 100 mph.
Dxmmit! Don't give me fxcking ideas if you don't mean it!
Don't touch me! Don't fxcking touch me!
Don't give me ideas and then crash me to a wall!

I abandoned my work in Riverside.
Just for this 3 or 4 pm deadline.
I would have stayed longer at home.

Perhaps in all this, I got a taste of what it is like
To swim in the infinite creative mind of Michel Gondry....

And I also got a taste on the techniques on how you make people cry.
You are very good at manipulating emotions, making people cry... and I fell victim.
Good job!
I'm not playing anymore.
I'll kill myself if I do.

I don't want to think about this anymore.

And I hope no one reads this.

177. Biologically Incorrect with Terra and Buz: In Honor of the Zone-out Dog (ZOD)

Also in PDF format.

I wrote this little dialogue snip-it during my struggles at UC Riverside in the schoolyear 2005-2006. I guess I had a few light-hearted moments. I was inspired by Frannie and Franklin, two mut-like dogs (so mixed in breed they're not worth teasing apart) owned by Dr. Tim Lyons (Earth Sciences) and Sarah Simpson (science writer). These dogs were psychological relief to me. I even wrote poems about them. I now have a new set of dogs to work with--Mini Miss Einstein and Onyx Megafauna--but this will be a blog for a later time :-). In short, Mini Miss Einstein has been so inspiring to me, I will be incorporating her into my script writing. I even wrote one time about how Mini prances around like an Unwritten Book.

176. Living in a State of Paradox of Space and Time

"What I have come to realize in the passing of my grandmother from Alzheimer's disease is that there is a level of artificiality in how we live and what kind of meaning exists to live a few functionless years longer. In more cases than not, the elderly are kept alive through immense medical-technological crutches, not that these individuals have significant contribution to the human system, but more so a psychological one: to keep their children in denial a little bit longer of the inevitable: death. As if the elderly were merely pieces of living jewerly who would keep their children's memories still projected onto them and in one piece, rather than dispersed, muttled, and buried in the ground and the scattered in the sky of their own minds.

In the end it does not really matter how long we live. Whether you live 30 years or 70 years or 100 years or only 10, if you found a way to wake up every single day with a sense of purpose and passion and curiosity and productivity--whether these mechanisms of living have been worked out subliminally or consciously--and in the end of every single day you have someone meaningful to share your experiences with, and in the happiness of mental and physical exhaustion, you have found a way to sleep in peace, feeling okay with yourself...

... and that every single day of your life, you have lived with meaning and fulfillment derived from your self and surroundings...

And though the 'future' is an arbitrary vision of any particular human mind, you have come to exist in a paradoxical state such that you live for the day to create a new tomorrow, yet you live for the day as if it were your last."

187. Poem, A Secret of My Triune Mind

Victoria's Secret?
Yes, yes, enough cliche.
But I have a secret.
Lots of them.
But here's one.
Have you ever heard of the Triune Brain Model?
Have you ever heard of Evolutionary Psychology?
You think you are Battling the World Outside
But ultimately the Battle Lies Inside You.
Because you have multiple, simultaneous neurological programs
Firing off at once at a given time.
So for example, I am staring at you.
But there are multiple layers of neurobiology
That are firing right now.
Like this rational engagement,
These past series of rational engagements,
Of all the things I love to talk and think about all the time.
But there is this emotional component I try to keep maintained and managed
But it has already melted like butter over a stove
Because you have found a lot of code
To crack the hard outer shell.
And I know this is an oxymoron,
I want to be an individual and independent
But at the same time
I am a eusocial mammal
And unavoidingly cannot deny that
I need others--
Otherwise I go nuts and grow that hard outer shell so thick...
And so I need to share my independence with someone else.
And that is an oxymoron in words
But ultimately a "logical" thought of the human mind
Just to compromise rationality with primitivity
And so
That's what I'm thinking about when I stare at you
And I'm sorry I think that way
I can't help it.
It's evolutionary wiring in me.
It's not like I can scoop these programs out of my brain
And toss them in a trash can.
So that's all.
That's a secret of my triune mind.

194. A Game Called "Jumping Through Hoops"

Made up this game called "Jumping Through Hoops."
Played between 2 or 3 or more people, but they are always one-on-one sparred matches.
It's kind of like Truth or Dare.
The fun part of the game is that you get to know your friends in a way you NEVER knew before.

There are two people.
One person states (a) I will ask a question (b) I will make a statement.
The person does (a) or (b).
If it is (a), the other person MUST respond to the question.
Then the other person must decide (c) it's true or false, and (d) I accept or reject it.
If it is (b), the other person must decide (e) it it's true or false, and (f) I accept or reject it.
Questions and statements must be paired off to make even trials.
The goal is to get 10 "truth-accept" pairs out of your "rivals."
You cannot keep track of your own score.
Someone else keeps track of your score, and you keep track of another person's score.

If a friend asks an "embarrassing question" that may put another person or everyone in a vulnerable position, before you ask the question or make the statement, you have to go through the ritual saying: "We solemnly swear that after this question or comment and acceptance/rejection, we shall remain friends and in good terms afterwards." Then you must also ritualistically shake hands with the person you spar off with.

The winner can force anyone in the group to do something he or she has NEVER done before in his or her entire life. The winner has the satisfaction of observing this Rite of Passage of Novelty

Best add the ingredient of beer to this game, especially post-21 years of age.
It takes off a nerve!

Some fun questions to ask:
(1). If you had one day left to live, what would you do?
(2). What is a quirk you have (acquired from childhood, your parents)?
(3). Any near-death experiences? Spill it.
(4). What makes you desperate?
(5). What makes you cry?

186. Terra and Buz' Adventure / The Landscape of Skin

The Landscape of Skin

What would happen if I penetrated?
What I see is that Terra and Buz entered this seeming underwater planetary system.
They emerged from this dark, narrow rabbit hole, which then expanded into this entire Reality of the Landscape of Skin.
They were swimming and floating and slipping and sliding and poking and nudging...
And some areas were mooshy and gooey and other areas were crusty and wrinkly and even other areas were hard and boney--some smooth, but some sharp--and they were like mountain peaks, and some were just rounded-off mountains and others were valleys and gullies of moosh, some squeezy, some more tough and toned.
And in this vast, vast world, Terra and Buz were overwhelmed by the Landscape of Skin's simple, abstract Beauty, but they were glad they were together and stuck close to each other--back-to-back--always glimpsing, bumping into each other, in occasionally awkward and occasionally synchronized ways, making sure they were still there, because they were both excited and scared at the same time.

175. "Lucky Find" An Incomplete Resurrected Poem I Wrote Fall of 2004 (my goodness, time flies and ideas rot!)

Lucky Find

Tonight I met an other of my kind
and made a surprising lucky find
to probe another beautiful mind
and now I can sleep knowing I'm
not alone.

Inspired by Dr. Eric Riggs, a professor at Cal State San Diego, integrative research in Education and Earth Sciences. He's left-handed and we hit it off *bam* like that. We met at the 2004 Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting. Dr. Riggs was a former Ph.D. student at UC Riverside. Before Earth Sciences, he was an English major. We both agreed that scientists fail to acknowledge that science is done by humans, and therefore we must question the definition of "objectivity." And objectivity merely represents human personality and human perception of Reality. From individual to collective. Best be called "intersubjectivity."

Dr. Riggs gave me advice that if I want to tolerate a person for a long time, it best be a Southpaw. I thought it was just for the purpose of soulmates, but this also applies in terms of finding a Ph.D. advisor. He he.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

174. A Snipit of an Essay on Male-Female Relations Written a While Ago

"... and all televised representations of male-female relations just faded away. The commodified dinner date sleeze movie ear-nipping of sweet nothings of mental emptiness but primal sway of human wetness just utter rational nothingness and I thought I was staring at someone who is far beyond and defied all technocultural rules of male-female relations I felt safe from sweetie pies and honey buns and buying stupid rocks on rings that you can go find a shiny rock in the mountains and not pay anything and the shiniest rock anyone could own was just two heads and forms outlined on a porch late in the night exchanging a common warp of space and time, that is a jewel of rarity in modern society... and a jewel of my own experience..."

I guess I have a few mastered metaphors in this snipit. Wow, that came out!

Monday, April 28, 2008

173. Great Friend Oscar Flores Starts a Blog

My generalist cinematic guru and great friend Oscar Flores started a blog, and his first blog was on honesty. I made such comments below!


I thought this article is very well thought out. The underlying logic structure is to take a very personal, hurtful, painful experience, and then extrapolate this experience to a broad-scale “mass accumulation effect” or a summation effect of all humans and their organizations of resources/technologies/communications. This is how I tend to write as well.
I am glad definitions are used in the dictionary to understand the “root definition” of honesty, but I also invite people to just think about your everyday experiences and try to define words yourself without looking at the dictionary, like the word “honesty.” Just for fun. Though dictionaries are great baselines, or starting points.
In short, I think human behavior is very confusing when you just study humans. I actually studied human behavior when studying biology. I studies the lives of all these freaky organisms, some I knew existed and some I didn’t, and through their own ecologies and evolution, I was able to start formulating my own methodologies about human behavior… including issues of honesty, lies, and all gradients in between.
I learned what honesty meant not through humans but through a course in animal behavior. I learned about reciprocal altruism / synergetic symbiosis. I realized in order to maintain a stable interaction between another organism (human, ha ha) that there needs to be a two-way street of communication and resource exchange. If this starts to become skewed: e.g. one person starts to distort communication and takes more than their share of resources, the interaction becomes strained and the other person starts to question the benefit of pursuing such an interaction. Costs start to outweigh benefits and then the interaction and exchange is broken. I am detecting that such is the case with such a personal interaction.
I have been there and done that. I was quite used in high school for my school work and didn’t get much back. I got quite trampled but I allowed it. The result is a void in my self, and in college I finally learned how to address this void and what “underlying rules of human behavior” allowed me to feel good as well as the other parties I was interacting with.
It is important to listen to internal callings and untangle all the little things that bother you–and even trying to find the underlying mechanisms for these bothersomes. A lot of them have to do with human relations, honest and deceit.
So, as you can tell. I am rambling. I am breeching skewed communication. To spare us all, I shall shut up!

This is an update from May 27, 2008. Oscar and Julio just spent a lot of time designing a website for a production company called Black Velvet Productions. It is really complex--a lot of elements added to the website I do not know how to do. It has a very mysterious feel to it, as if we are under-cover journalists/reporters or something. He he he. Always wonderful to dream!

Please check out!

172. Biologically Incorrect Cartoons: Non-Traditional Pick-up Lines and Terra the Plasma Lamp

Non-traditional pick-up lines.
Clueless and Curious Terra, as usual.
Terra the Plasma Lamp.

The truth is that these cartoons have been very old ideas in my head and laying around as incomplete scrap paper, but I was INSPIRED (key word as of late) by ~#~ ("Brennie" grad student) last night and the next time I see him I want to show him these cartoons... they were kind of based on our elaborate and extensive conversations. AND... it goes to show a little bit how it feels to meet another plasma lamp and not another wall of silly putty.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

169. Rock Crab and the Evolutionary Design of Cuteness

Vic's Rock Crab. An Investigation of Evolutionary Design of Cuteness.
Vic's Rock Crab. An Investigation of Evolutionary Design of Cuteness.
King Crab by Robert Hayes in The Brave Monkey Pirate,

King Crab by Robert Hayes in The Brave Monkey Pirate,

This is in celebration of finally designing a list of questions in order to complete and "frame" the rock crab film with an organized list of questions. I will be needing to create a "matrix" of spacetime knowledge of what people know and don't know about rock crab. How certain people know very well certain pieces of the puzzle and certain people don't. And why? And how this reflects value systems. And how this reflects management and future visions of long-term sustaining fisheries.

There is an open niche space in the American Market for the design of "cute crabs." Nearly all the crab stuffed animals and cartoons were just un-cute and un-cuddly and just flat out un-attractive. Except for the King Crab of Robert Hayes, my most favorite and influential cartoonist of all time. It's all about "Bluebison" (check out the website!) and Calvin and Hobbes. Most of the rest can eat dirt. So Robert Hayes won the crab cuteness contest. Second cultural representation of cute crabs was actually the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). I am considering in becoming a Pastafarian. It's almost like becoming a believer of "skeptical absurdity." Please visit for more information on the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

[blog fragment] My father commented on "charismatic megafauna" only policy for non-profit organization agendas. "It's just human nature to fall for cute and cuddly creatures, mostly for females. For the males, you have to get those big, ferocious organisms with blood and fangs--wolves and the like--they are like "super-macho-megafauna-trucks" for the environment. They are endangered. There you go! Donate to the NGO!"

The idea of Evolutionary Design of Cuteness is very crucial, simply because the Cuteness Factor is a surface value dimension that convinces relatively uninformed audiences to donate to non-profit groups or not. Rock crab in true biological representation is not exactly "cute." So if you placed a photograph of a rock crab on a brochure, and went door-to-door to convince a lay audience to save rock crabs and donate 15 dollars to the Defenders of Sea Insects non-profit group (subsection of UO, UN equivalent for organism-centri non-profit group, their agenda cneterd around tehd declaration of humans as invasive species, incumbent umbrella organization, ) most likely people would not do it. Instead, many people fall for the the more popular biological runway model poster children: sea otters, butterflies, snowy plovers (a local Santa Barbara fave). It's not like we exactly EAT sea otters. So, basically, our own evolutionary brainwashing tremendously influences consumer decisions to donate money to a non-profit group for some environmental cause, in which the money ultimately ends up being used towards maintaining bureaucracy and people's jobs rather than solving and managing the problem itself. Many non-profits are very economically inefficient entities and exist for two reasons (1) there is an issue that needs to be addressed that is not being tackled by business, government, or academia and (2) rich people want tax write-offs so they donate money to non-profits.

Non-profits need to exist because they are entities that can easily sprout and die based on the current, fleeting issues of a given human system. They are like ephemeral weeds (weeds can be good, it's a matter of perception). But the tragedy right now is that many non-profits have grown large, incumbent, conservative, and massively inefficient. E.g. Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, a few others I can't think of off the top of my head. As there was an essay on the Death of Environmentalism (Shellenberger and Nordhaus, mispelled?), which called for an overthrow of incumbent megafauna of environmental non-profits. Amen.

[blog fragment] Phil Freeman the rock crab fisherman has a friend who is in great agreement with me in terms of the running of non-profits. I need to find that guy and interview him.

[blog fragment] I think the goal here is to challenge people into seeing alternative beauty. Finding beauty in a typically-defined, non-aesthetic creature, like a rock crab. Or more its sublime properties, and all that a rock crab can mean. Most people find a redwood forest "beautiful." What about a land fill? Why? Why NOT? ~#~ would say.

[blog fragment] It's tragic that foundations only give money to inefficient non-profits and not individuals who refuse to construct and conform to absurd bureaucracy, who will be more productive as an individual than operating in a larger, incumbent system.

Now the questions that I skipped over are "What is the Mathematical / Spatial / Temporal formula for the Evolutionary Design of Cuteness?" and "Why does this phenomenon exist?"

The answer for the first question is the "baby alien formula." Big head, small body, big eyes, small nose, smiley mouth. Pretty standard stuff. Barbie dolls. Brats dolls. Sea otters. Dolphins (well, they have a different form of evolutionarily attractive design). Frogs from rainforests. Mini Miss Einstein the Cairn Terrier (my housemate's dog). Sanrio. Hello Kitty. Kerroppi. Pichacco. Parasite Pals. Even stick thin models in New York. It's an economic driver. It's so obsessive that stupid teenagers like myself get compulsive about Sanrio and we are willing to pay five extra dollars for a pencil with a Kerroppi frog on it rather than just a regular pencil. Shut up. I was in high school and I was stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Now I figured it out and I'm over it.

The answer to the second question is that before we humans knew about evolution, natural selection, genetics, Darwin, and Mendel's Saturday Night Live with his pea plants, mothers used to still take care of kids, without any genetic incentives. Human babies are basically parasites. They slow you down, consume resources, and pee and poop them out in an unconstrained fashion. They're just helpless living blobs. Babies are dependent on the host mother for survival. In order to compensate for the initial parasite-host relationship between the mother and child, the baby was "alien designed" and the mother's mind was evolutionarily designed to detect this visual proportionality and ultimately receive a euphoric pleasure center high for keeping this "cute little baby" alive, even though it just cries, eats, poops, pees, and sleeps. Evolutionary design of cuteness is basically a form of disillusionment for the mother such that the initial parasite-host relationship is obscured. Then I think as the baby grows up and learns more and self-sufficient, the relationship becomes more mutualistic. And the cuteness fades away most times. *Sigh.*

So that is my grand theory on cuteness.

[blog fragments] weeds, fleeting ephemeral, I am really glad I am representing organisms that are not under the mainstream popculture cuteness cult. I represent the underrepresented. Crabs. Worms. Smelly salt marshes. And the like.

[blog fragment] Evolutionary Disillusionment

168. Three Biologically Incorrect Jokes of the Day on Graduate Schoolism

**Kyle Meisterling on Ph.D. research: "It's all about skipping pebbles across a pond. It's not that skipping pebbles really matters. It's just something to do."

**Lisa "Progressive Edge": "A Ph.D. is not a matter of intelligence. It's a matter of endurance."

**Bumper Sticker: "Not all those who wander are lost."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

167. First Environmental Media Abstract to be Submitted to the AAAS Pacific Division Conference in Hawaii, June 2008

“The Elephant and the Oak Tree”: an Environmental Media Campaign

This paper will explore how principles of public communication campaign design and evaluation can be applied to environmental information disseminated to first- and second-year college students within the Santa Barbara region who are in transition to young adulthood within higher education learning settings. “Sense-making” methodologies for “communicating communicatively” are key features of the campaign. Rather than a top-down approach, students develop critical thinking skills through discussion- and collaboration-based interactions with various local scientists and community stakeholders. One campaign element is that of “The Elephant and the Oak Tree,” a short narrative that addresses the dichotomy between knowledge mediated through educational institutions and the mass media versus knowledge acquired through everyday life experiences. A desired outcome is to establish a protocol for individual inquiry and self-reflection on environmental and life issues. Reminding students of their innate, childlike curiosity and questioning in relations to science and the environment may be viewed as the first step in assimilating information and deriving meaning in their lives. Then students are potentially one step closer to decision-making in concern of taking responsibility for helping to create a sustainable way of life for themselves, their community, and beyond.

I have been working with Dr. Carl Maida and Dr. Robert Chianese the last couple of months. My presentation would most likely be under the "New Sciences/Humanities Convergences" panel. Both professors have been very encouraging and patient with me.

I remember the first time I met Dr. Chianese, he told me that I was in the process of "epistemologizing." No shxt. Add THAT to my resume. I know how to epistemologize, as if that were a meaningful function in society. At the time I was in a state of shock. I am 26. The first time I conciously heard that word "epistemology" was intro to philosophy at Riverside Community College, age 17. I cringed at that word. I thought Plato, Descartes, and nearly every philosopher I learned about were all on dope. They probably were. And now I join the group? I still don't even know what epistemology means! But I'm doing it. Hmmm. Dr. Chianese also said I am one of those people who are kindasorta reinventing the wheel, kindasorta like Gregory Bateson. I am a Batestonian and I don't even know it. Bateson wrote a book called An Ecology of the Mind, which I read fragments and I thought the guy thinks in zigzags. Not very linear, nor non-linear as a matter of fact. A bit chaotic for me. Bateson's wife is Margaret Mead. Go figure.

Did I mention? Dr. Robert Chianese is an English professor at Cal State Northridge, but he commutes all the way from Ventura. Good thing. I would shoot myself within a week if I lived in Los Angeles again. I thought at first, how can an English professor teaching in an urban-located university actually bother to teach about environmental issues and non-human-dominated landscapes? As soon as I found out he lived in Ventura, then I understood. Dr. Chianese feels a bit isolated in his pursuits because most English professors focus on the usual issues of race, gender, class. He clamored on how university institutions frame what the agenda of a department should be. "INSTITUTIONAL FRAMING" I call it. I was shocked he stated this. I only thought this was an issue in the science arena... but an ENGLISH department as well?

Dr. Carl Maida is an anthropologist through the School of Dentistry at UCLA. He works with anthropological issues related to natural disasters--e.g. flooding, fire, earthquakes, the usual. This is how he got involved in issues of sustainability. At first I was worried that he taught through dentistry because my teeth and my mouth is a little microcosmos environment of un-natural disaster of human addictive consumption of werther's original candy. More later. Dr. Maida also teaches courses at Cal State Northridge. He was very helpful with better understanding public communication campaigns. He recommended Dr. Ronald Rice's (and Atkins) public communication campaigns book, which ironically Dr. Rice gave me a complimentary newer edition of the book on the very same day. I visited Dr. Maida at UCLA, and it was the first time I had been on campus for a few years. I awkwardly passed by my old home of the Botany Building, by Mildred Mathias. I vividly remembering the fumes from construction work pouring out of the vents in my basement office, giving me head aches every day. Spring of 2004 that was. Dr. Maida's office was on the sixth floor of a maze of interconnected, yet disparate buildings. There's a building attendant downstairs who has to help everyone get their way around. I would say it's the perfect suite of buildings to shoot a Matrix movie. All these corridors and mysterious doors, and you can easily get lost, as if you got list in a maze of your mind.

Monday, April 14, 2008

166. Update to Resume in Photography, and Where I'm at in Life in General, Post Acceptance to Bren, UCSB

Man, do I need to VENT! Intellectually barf to the nth degree!

Before I elaborate my thesis of "falling apart, putting back together again," I will sketch out ADDITIONS to my resume, breaking through a few milestones here. I am sure they are not everything... it will be mostly photography-centric.

(1). THE BREAKTHROUGH. MY FIRST NEWSPAPER OPINIONS ARTICLE/LETTER WRITTEN FOR THE UCR HIGHLANDER. Unfortunately not on line. Will put on line a later time. A satirical 420-word letter/editorial called "The Stigma of the Yellow Envelope" documenting my receiving a parking ticket on Easter Sunday (in front of my pissed-off father) within 15-minutes of parking by the tennis courts. I told Dr. Young in our meeting that it is a great tragedy my first article was not science-related. What irony. I broke the ice. That's all that matters. I have my first official "clip" to show people for future newspaper entries.

(2). My photography has been spreading all over the place (around UCSB).

(2a). For example, I didn't notice this at first, but the ocean picture in the above brochure is mine. Photographed and photoshopped. Funny. The conference was on March 18 and it took me till April 14 to notice it as I shifted through the papers.

(2b). Photography for Oscar Flores and Dulce Osuna. Website boosters.

Oscar's website is and

(2c). Cheryl Chen used my "Day of filming at Goleta Beach" collage in a poster advertising the "Shifting Sands of Goleta Beach" film.

(2d). The Goleta Beach posters and postcards I made. Of course, they're my pictures... because I made the poster and postcard. Duh.

(2e). This Environmental Media Website that is being built through Bren and Dave Panitz website design course. They posted a few of my Blue Horizons images. Woohoo.

(2f). Dave Panitz' environmental media course this past winter 2008 used a lot of my very best photographs in my past collection. Wow.

This photographic usage really makes me feel very very useful. I am thankful for that. Very thankful to feel useful.

(3). Basic traning in the Canon XL2 from Oscar Flores. More on that later. Makes my Sony VX2100 seem like a video camera for 3-year olds. *Sigh* Remember, Vic. Never get an HD camera. Why? Because to upgrade to HD will require an upgrade to a supercomputer, and I am not going to cut off any limbs to get a mega-thousand-dollar supercomputer to process HD digital film.

(4). Helped Oscar Flores, as videographer, for The Great Wall of Los Angeles. We used my camera.

(5). Helped Dulce Osuna and Oscar Flores with a news clip for Channel 62 (Los Angeles Spanish television station) pertaining to Chicano Women's Appreciation Convention/Ceremony in downtown Los Angeles. Aired a few weeks ago. They used my Sony VX2100.

(6). Interviewed by two Brooks students (Kirsten Silva aka "bodhiseeds" on and Noel West) on issues pertaining to Myspace and Facebook. Aka human communication mediated by technology. It was quite an accident actually. I had just come from a Sustainability Newsbeat meeting with Katie Maynard (my first one) and here were two students sitting down at the Arbor, eating pizza, right next to... a beautiful, black, new Sony HD camera. I passed by and I couldn't help asking what the hxll was going on. Apparently Brooks Institute of Photography is changing its tune because no one can really get hired as photographer anymore. Combine photography and videography, and voila. Apparently Kirsten said that videography is "easier" than photography. Well, I think Brooks might be beating photography like a dead horse, based on the experience of one of my relatives, Brook, who tried attending Brooks Institute and dropped out because they spent an entire quarter analyzing one photograph. Talk about hitting my head with a frying pan. 100 times. Really hard.

I am watching the video right now. Level 1 contributor. It's mostly about myspace and facebook and dating. Interesting. It's hideous, dating and facebook. Clever overlay interviews with facebook b-roll. There is no music. Really sucks. They twisted it. I'm in there with just one soundbite. Meeting people at bars intimidating. Bars verus on-line.
There's no music in the background. Online thing. Best side on line. I asked someone what would you put on Craiglist. Your life becomes a TV show. Care about what people think than what you are experiencing. They had old footage of images, dating in the past. I thought the film was very conservative. No spunky. No wild music. No fast-pacedness. Very stoic. They did a set up with an internet date. I was more interested in philosophy of human interactions. Shxt. Internet dating. It was 11:37. Current bought the television article. I was in the collage in the beginning. They didn't tell me that this was about DATING myspace facebook. I thought it was about technology and human interactions in general. I can't believe these are Brooks students. I can do this. Noel West and Kirsten Silva. It's so interesting. People get whatever they want out of it. At least I got a soundbite in there. At least NOW I know how Phil Freeman feels like. Spending so much time and so little footage. That's why filming needs to be a two-way street.

I just made a decision to place my rock crab film on See what's up with Current TV. Just to get into a good habit. You know? Break the ice.

Kirsten said they had a hard time getting interviews, but then she asked if I wanted to be interviewed. I was like, sure. No problem. She also said, "You have a nice face." What? So, you are ultimately deciding who to interview based on "who has a nice face"? What the hxll? It's like saying I'm going to interview fisherman X over fisherman Y because of aesthetics and not quality and content of character. See? I think that is the modern sin. Surface value reasoning. Racism is just a small piece of the problem. Screw if I have a hideous face or a nice face. Right now I feel like I look like an OGRE! I would interview an ogre. Because my own curiosity overpowers mere aesthetic.

I said several clever "soundbites" they might use. These soundbites will be incorporated in my own essay on "human communication / how to manipulate humans." Their 5-10 minute video will be aired on in less than two weeks. In attempt to reflect upon what I remember mentioning:

(a). Victoria Minnich, environmental media Ph.D. student at Bren, UCSB (boy, that felt SO good saying that)

(b). I used myspace and facebook. I was dragged into it. It's a one way street. I put things out, but I don't pro-actively search for friends. People tend to find me.

(c). Direct human interaction overpowers technology-mediated interaction. Whether computer, cell phone, video conferencing, whatever technological medium. Direct interacting helps me get published. Helps me get into graduate school. Etcetera. Helps me "get pulled up the capillary tree" of bureaucracy. I only add people on facebook and myspace if I have met them in real life.

(d). Reverse. Meeting someone on line then meeting real life. Happened with one guy on Craigslist. Will never do it again. Total waste of time. The guy was dull, apathetic.

(e). Technological-communicative hypersaturation. Evolution of technology and communication. High school. First giant boxy computer. First email induced by Jonathon Tao (high school best buddy, now Ph.D. student at UCSD). What's the point of this? Email is useless in my life. Why would anyone need email? Beats snailmail. Went to UC Davis. Email. Ethernet. BAM. Blasted by information. Fall off a log. Learn how to use laptop. More rapid internet and accessibility. Filling up cyberspace. Development of social networks. I talk to family and friends in person. Then the cell phone. Then emails. Now social networks. FXCK. Too many layers of maintenance in life. I have 38 messages in my phone box. I am not going to cater my life and time to maintaining social networks.

(f). Communication-technological saturation (inputs-outputs) leads to ECP. I have electronocommunicatiphobia. ECP. Real disease. I made it up. It's called the balance between expriencing REALITY versus COMPUTER-TECHNOLOGY-GENERATED reality. Being addicted to screens/shells/plugged into the matrix system versus being plugged into your mind's internal TV box of reality. Balancing mental inputs and outputs.

(g). I have no crazy stories to tell with myspace or facebook. Tried to make one up. Became a dud. I tell the truth. Interesting or not. Not into making whoppers just for show. My two stories came from craigslist (the dud guy) and email (the UC Davis chemistry listservice fiasco, which I shared at Toastmasters).

(h). Facebook and Myspace are CLUTTER AND CHAOS OF AMERICAN SOCIETY. Unless you use them strategically for marketing purposes. Total zen. Eliminate unwanted clutter in your life.

I wrote this down because I DESERVE CREDIT FOR WHAT I SAID. Like I'm giving away ideas like they are worth a little less than a penny. I hope Joel and Kirsten are good editors so maybe their video will go a bit farther than on

(7). I joined Toastmasters, local chapter. Haven't paid my dues yet. Went for two weeks straight. Will have to miss this week due to dentist/doctor. Was hooked up through Grace Rachow, poet, presenter, publisher, coordinator of Volunteers at the Santa Barbara Writers' conference. Oh. SHXT! The deadline for the SCHOLARSHIPS IS TOMORROW. SAME AS TAXES DAY. DXMMIT. DXMMIT. DXMMIT. Okay. Finish writing this ASAP.

[random blip]
My first impromptu. Tabletopics. Most embarrasing moment. The chain reaction email at UC Davis. I emailed a TA to complain about a grade based on teamwork not individual effort and accidentally emailed the entire class with the list-serve reply button. I received hatemail for a week saying I was a whiny baby etcetera. Roommate Phil posed as my cousin and send hate mail to a girl who said very hateful things to me and said he was going to beat her up. My sister Jenny remembers. People responded very well.

Also won one Tabletopics. And did a talk on film "getting to know who I am based on how I think." The topic was on comfort foods. And I had no secret recipe of comfort foods but advised everyone on what NOT to eat. My mother's recipe: two pieces of soggy bread, mayonnaise, brocolli, corn flakes, and beef liver. I told them that my relationship with food is very bitter largely due to my mother. She is the type who is Greek. My big fat Greek wedding. The father became obsessed with Windex and you spray everything with windex, it will solve all your problems. My mother's version of windex was garlic. She would make me and my sister gargle raw garlic in our throats and told us it was painful because it was killing bacteria. Uh huh. So this is my meager relationship with food. Back to the infamous sandwich, supposedly great tennis food. I had a bite and started to cry. People laughed but I talked right through it, perhaps because it is an old story in my mind, and I didn't find it particularly funny to go through. Grace Rachow, one of the leaders of this experimental Toastmasters group, told me despite my mother's qualms and quirks, she must have done something right to have raised me. She scanned me top to bottom. I guess so! My Greek mother has interesting quirks but I am still alive and functioning somehow. He he.

[more fragments]
Forgot other add-ons for resume. Sigh. I know there are a few more. I forgot.

I guess after making use of all this photography... I can understand why Lauren labeled me as a Goleta Beach production associate. I am thankful for the appreciation. From PA to PA. Production Assistant to Production Associate. I like being the volleyball retriever. Filling in all the holes that no one else seems to be proactive at covering!

[Brain pause]
I am looking how my photography is being used and I've been paid jack. With Oscar and Dulce, we trade a shxtload. So, it all comes back to helping me. But I am starting to feel used a bit. Oscar and I talked about that. The feeling of being used. Both Oscar and I work hard and we're both nice and sadly, intrinsically people-pleasers. But we have to learn to draw the line of getting trampled.... I photograph close friends as presents. But yesterday I just snapped amidst my chaos (mostly the chaos phobia of paying taxes). The only thing that is preventing me from charging is ownership of a professional flash. So? I racked up my Chase gift certificates and sunk in the money for a Nikon SB-800 flash, the flash my cousin Mike Dillin trained me on about a year ago. Amen for Mike. I even got a cheap 13-dollar equivalent to the Gary Fong flash effect plastic hat you put on flashes so you get really nice lighting in dance clubs and bars and coffee shops. If people ask for a photoshoot, I will ask for $50 flat for three-hours max at first or a $25 appreciation-of-skill-and-labor donation fee. I don't take food as trade. Food in America makes people fat. I already sit on my xss enough. I do take other items for trade. Most likely electronics-related.

I have some bad news for myself. My life simultaneously falling apart and being put back together again. All the basics that I was ignoring--my teeth, the car, accumulation of papers--all came to a giant collapse of problems as soon as I signed the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) at Bren, UCSB form. As for my teeth, I drove to Corona last week because I had a panic attack at UCSB. I was overwhelmed with information the day after Bren recruitment day, and I had to stop attending Art Sylvester's geology course. It was difficult and I am still going through withdrawal, but my level of personal information management is absurdly horrible. Too much input and not enough output. My life the last two or so years has been 50% daily input and 50% daily output. Now it must be 10-20% input and 80-90% output, progress toward a real Ph.D. in an academic environment of people who I am in agreement with philosophically, in a place where I find meaning and value in getting a Ph.D. I didn't know that "Ph.D" didn't have different meanings in different schools and places. At UC Riverside (engineering school) for example, students get Ph.D. but they pump you in and out the system like a cow. 3 years. You're out. I go back to Fall of 2005 while Bruce Tiffney was telling me about the interdisciplinary Ph.D. Bruce stated that a Ph.D is [paraphrased] "a student who is able to identify a problem and systematically solve it, with consent and collaboration of a small committee of elders who have passed through the university capillary action before you, and have got their Ph.D. union card stamped on their foreheads. If they are in common agreement with your work, you get your union card" and then one day it will be much easier to publish books. Screw publishing books. Film dah bomb. I'll still publish books, but... they will co-evolve with acoustivisuals.

So back to the teeth. I was driving to Corona, and my back tooth was in such immense pain that I believe that day (in bad traffic as well), I popped about 20 ibuprofen and a few tylenols (the acetyminophen stuff that's bad for your liver) in one day. When I was in Corona, I cried myself to sleep. I cried and moaned for two hours before I went to sleep. That kind of pain humbles you. The funny thing about pain in the mouth is that a nerve is inflamed and exposed only in one tooth, but there is a chain reaction such that other associated, branched nerves get all activated as well, so I was also feeling pain in the upper front and lower left. The next morning, I woke to my surprise with no pain. The pain hit around noon or 12:30, so while I was going to Riverside to trade cars, I started moaning and crying again from pain. I was in no mood to switch cars, though it would have been gas-efficient to take the Toyota Tercel and not the Subaru Legacy. Hence comes in the car problem. This was a pivotal moment in my life. I was at home in Riverside, not able to function from the tooth pain. Had I switched cars to the Toyota Tercel, I would not be stuck in Santa Barbara right now, because when I rushed back that very day to the dinner at Beachside Cafe in Goleta, my water pump broke (in the Subaru) and the radiator started to overheat. I drove about 4 hours that day, and it was only the last few miles of driving in Goleta I had the radiator problem. Amen. What if that would have happened earlier? Like on the freeway? My car would have been toast.

I will get back to the continuation of this blog episode of the "basics of my life falling apart," but before I mention that, I will quickly address the "paper problems." One of the three problems besides teeth and car that occurred to me the last week or so. First off, I will admit that on April 14, 2008 I finally finished my 2007 taxes. AMEN! Woohoo! Beer for that, for sure. This year was the first year I ever filed a 1040 form, and not 1040 EZ. I paid $13.50 at, which I highly recommend. I don't mind paying $13.50 at all. Basically this website helps you fill out all those threatening-English government forms. I do not understand the English language of government forms, whether copyright service or taxes. They are quite frightening. It's not like it's Shakespearian English. Shakespeare is close to incoherent to me, but at least has a level of poetic, acoustiaesthetic taste to the words used. Taxes language to me sounds like... abrupt, harsh... like German English. English transformed to Slavic. That's how it feels like. Then there's free tax USA that helped transform everything into regular English. I don't think I will ever fear paying taxes again now. I think through freetaxusa, I saved $150 in taxes than if I just filed 1040 EZ without any help.

The second paper issue I had was with the Toyota Tercel. Apparently I am "delinquent" in paying registration fees. I have delt with so much paperwork passing through me the last few months, I didn't keep tabs on everything. So here I am, driving to Corona in sheer pain, stuck in traffic (there was a bad accident that closed the entire 15 freeway, which ultimately affected all neighboring freeways), having to go "offroading" on the Imperial Highway. Amidst pain and chaos and drama, my mother had to call me and lecture me on how I'm not responsible because I didn't pay the car registration on time. Now it's double the cost and it hurts my parents' insurance because the car is under THEIR name. Well? I thought it's their car and I just use it. My mom said that she would change ownership name to me. We'll see. I didn't appreciate this comment. It was bad place, bad time. The night before I car-camped in Ventura, and I also cried myself to sleep in tooth pain. That made me really groggy the entire day. So by the time my mother called me on the road... hearing about my careless paper trail is about the last thing I wanted to hear. It's so bipolar compared to the week before. My parents treating me and Justin and Jenny out to Templo del Sol because we all made it into grad school. *Amen.* My mom can be pretty bipolar in a certain way, but she has to put up with a lot of shxt at work.

So, that was my papertrail problem. Back to the car problem. Radiator is busted. I received tremendous help from Kyle Meisterling, carbon expert and generalist-of-all-things. He taught me how to check out my radiator and water pump... in addition to the oil. So, now I know how to check TWO things in my car. THAT goes on my resume.

[fragments of thoughts] biology technology ecology and economy. they're all systems, input output systems. I think them the same way. same analogies. why so different, and why studied by such different sectors of the university. got metal. got oil. got water. and they flow through pipes right. and there different parts of the car engine, like organs. I think the only way. I know how to check the radioator and the oil now. I seem to learn new things "not in my field" as soon as they break in my own life. Richard's auto import service... highly recommended.

Accurate Import Services
401 Santa Barbara StSanta Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 962-1741‎

The other problem is information overload problem. It comes from multiple sources. Art sylvester. The younglab dinner, guessing how to label our selves. Meeting with Dr. Young. One-liners. Bren school recruitment day. Vicodin from the doctor. My roomies house is stashed with vicodin. Good deal.

I was supposed to get my car today. Shxt. I was cleaning papers, so I stopped. Stay in delusion, papers sprawled all over my room, I don't want to feel trapped. I'm starting to focus / ignore the unnecessary clutter, it feels good... ucla, ucr... everything negative of my past transformed to a positive audience, as soon as you find your right niche space....

Rock crab, driving me NUTS, saw troy, sam shrout, california fish and game... shxt... I need to get my act together. photography. [end fragments]

Friday, April 11, 2008

165. Song / Poem Called "Downsize" Pertaining to Alexios Monopolis' Research in Voluntary Simplicity

It is very funny to think that people do research on certain things, and my mind's like "Oh ya. I wrote a poem on that." Same with Alexios' situation. He is doing research on voluntary simplicity and why/how people come to choose such a lifestyle. And the impacts of such a lifestyle. And the first thing that came to my head was this poem / song I wrote quite a while ago called Downsize. I have rough recordings of how the song is supposed to sound like, which is actually partly melodic, partly tribal, partly arabic. Based on observations of California Sound Studios, my music has a tendency toward tribal / primitive sounds. I have been lately adding quite a few tinges of jazz to music, like Beautiful Boy and Manufactured. Like Scott Joplin's been haunting me. I started out liking the simplicity of Nick Drake, and then I started to sound boring to myself, so then I started branching out toward the direction of Bjork and quasi Alanis Morrisette.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

164. "Nipping the Nerve" Mega Toothache and Dinner with the Young Lab at Beachside Cafe

I am at a Starbucks in Goleta (predictably), and I don't know how much I can crank out here. Why? Because of a toothache. An infection in an upper left molar, second from the back. Whatever number the dentists call it. This toothache is a humbling experience. Last night (at Jean's and Chuck's in Corona) I cried myself to sleep. I probably will have to cry to sleep tonight. Tomorrow night. Sunday night. Then Monday I might get a root canal. A medicated shot/injection at least to get rid of the bacterial [end fragment]

The consequence of working hard, getting into graduate school, is that you forget about the basics of your own health. Which I admitted to Dr. Young today. I signed the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) form about two days ago and the next morning I slithered to the floor. All the pain in my body I had neglected for over two years came over me. Most prominently the infected molar. [end fragment]

I invented a song called nip the nerve / nip from the tooth to my mind to my microcosmic world [end fragment] I guess I would be pretty desperate person to create a song about teeth and pain.

The pain is so strong, it overpowers any form of rational thought so my cerebral cortex ordering my pain sensors to shut up and of course my primitive brain doesn't listen... what xssholes. I am just cussing at the insides of myself. [end fragment]

Couldn't pain be so great that your brain shuts off itself from the pain so you can co-exist... Like that whole morphine effect? [end fragment]

First dinner party at the Beach Cafe. Whole Oran Young lab. Very cool. Dr. Young has returned.
Alexios said he saw my blog. He smiled. What the hxll did I say? [end fragment] I was quiet. I hadn't jogged. I was a wreck. Super fast drive from Riverside. Hadn't talked to Dr. Young before. Will talk to him tomorrow. Friday. Julie Robinson shot some footage for Blue Planet with her Sony DVX 2000. Wow. That is cool. So I guess my camera is legit. Every image for Blue Planet and Planet Earth are like photographs. I like behind the scenes stuff with the camera crew. The true jarring elements of film-making. Sat next to Dr. Young. Was in pain from tooth ache. Almost made me late. Since then emailed Dr. Young about universal scaling laws in biology applying size and scale to reasoning in ecological systems. Whether this could be quantified in terms of biomass and energetics, all the better. [end fragment]

Dr. Freudenberg. Psychology of Size. Altered human behavior given the size of a group or a system. People care about each other in a tribal group and let a dead man lay in the street in a city for a couple of days. Alexios research. Idea of voluntary simplicity. Downsize. I made a poem about that. Dxmmit. People's values and perceptions change with group size. Voluntary simplicity. Technological coat. Technological coat we carry around with us. What do we truly need. What we truly don't need? [end fragment]

I was quiet for the dinner. The whole irony being at Goleta Beach. Both Alexios and I shared some degree of awkwardness. I thought it was most appropriate to listen because I am new and need to "learn the ropes" and start mapping personalities and histories of lab members. [end fragment] I think Dr. Freudenberg is left-handed. I recently saw Alexios presentation / Goleta Beach film for the MFA presentation with Lauren. Very cool. [end fragment]. Tomorrow "oil" what does that mean?

I was quiet. I am new. I need to listen to people. First step with any human beings is observation. Then once you start to learn how to push people's buttons, then it becomes manipulation. You just have to be very selective about what types of buttons you want to push on what types of people. Most importantly, people that can help you with a future career. People that come to mind automatically are Steve Gaines, Oran Young, John Melack, and Nancy Kawalek. I need some real psychologists on my side.

Lectures seem to have some level of organization to them. But dinners are just fragments of information bits you pick up here and there that are important in the context of your own mind's oak tree of knowledge. I told a friend of mine that his mind was like an oak tree. It branches and everything has its place. And everything builds. And he keeps it all in his head. Just like my dad. And I just trail you around like some scavenger secretary, picking up all these trails of beautiful ideas and writing them down myself, giving you credit for them.

At one point he said that it's the "same old people" at the dinner table, he wanted to leave. Not very nice. Hmmm. Surrounded by girls. Outnumbered. Hmmm.

Maria Gordon was very clever and jovial and full of jokes during that evening. I was a bit off. I really was off actually. The tooth ache put me in a bad position. I shouldn't have mentioned tooth ache to anyone. Bringing my personal life in this. [fragmented]

I ended up jogging later on. It was nice. Very cool to have such a dinner. Oran was off on sebbatical all over the world. He's working on multiple international treaties.

We have our "labels" for everyone. I was labeled as "environmental media" with "environmental communications slant." Then I said that I was "environmental media as a cop out to do environmental philosophy." He he he. And Julie Ekstrom, my housemate, said that was more like it. Dead on. He he he. Alexios is voluntary simplicity. Pria is science-policy. Sarah is water. Sarah is out with this guy Charlie I met through Craigslist. He caught me in the ultimate low point of my life. He's nice, but uh... just as a friend. Julie is ocean. Or more controversially ocean mnagement. Maria Gordon is "generalist." I want to be a generalist too! Victoria would love to have "scaling laws" tagged with her systems of study. Scale-based reasoning as use.

Also met Dr. Young's wife. She seems very nice. Very cool. I heard they live out by Mission Canyon. Nice area to live. Dr. Young is a real trooper. He rides his bike to school sometimes!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

163. Reprioritization

Okay, Vic. Stop. Stop. STOP! You are becoming over-exposed. Information overload drove you to overeat last night. It is the trade-off of physical and mental consumption. You need to prioritize here. You need to rewind the clock. You need to be bold and daring and GIVE YOURSELF FREE TIME.

You need to build your reality THOUGHTFULLY AND CAREFULLY. How did Larry Page and Sergei XXX (Brin?) build Google? Thoughtfully and carefully. Vic, your to-do list is monumental. The mental size of Katmandu. That is not good. Right now you need to mentally CONSUME LESS and PRODUCE MORE.

I am not useful running around randomly like a freak. As if I was becoming a human molecule, becoming a victim of modern human society: hyper from being overexposed to too many people, too much information, all mediated through rapid technology. I can't let my own health fall apart here.

You need to collapse. Mentally deflate here.

Remember spring 2001? I just finished Principles of Evolution, Shoreline Preservation, and was admitted to CCS. I went home, Vic. I needed to deflate. Progress comes with free time. Lack of interruption.

Geology is addicting. Especially with Dr. Art Sylvester. But I need to go through withdrawal. This will have to be a future quarter. Perhaps in the fall.

I just talked with my father over the phone. He helped me with this mental reprioritization.

It's so funny. This blog is about human-environmental issues, and you also get to witness my dealing with my own borderline management of sanity and insanity. I think I am insane but I try to manage and conceal it very well. It comes out every once in a while. I'm sorry if any of you out there become a victim of it.

162. UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science and Management: Two Days of Playing with My Identity

Last night I was alone. My brain was fried from a nearly-entire day of orientation. It has been two days of playing with my identity. There are myriads of factors of my environment (my internal and external environment) that make up who I am, and one of them is the "social dressing," or "the social coat," because it is usually the people around me who provide competitive and collaborative drive to know what I know and do what I do. So I go from the UCR Earth Sciences at the Angels Baseball Stadium on Sunday to the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management on Monday. Plus, last night, in my freezing cold condition of t-shirt and vest with no sweater at a Starbucks, I mindlessly signed the SIR, Statement of Intent to Register, and the SLR, or Statement of Legal Residence. I wonder what Dr. Young thinks about all this university bureaucracy. Anyway. Geeze, I mean, I made my decision. Physically transferred my "strings attached" from Riverside to UC Santa Barbara. I wish I had some time to reflect upon the day before doing that.

Afterwards I was stressed and alone, and though I don't eat pizza, I ate pizza. I signed up for a credit card at Kmart, and I was approved. It is shocking that only 1/3 of all people who apply get approved for credit cards. Scary. I was supposed to get a free Little Caesars Pizza for applying, but the joint inside Kmart closed. I need to destroy the coupon. I ate an expensive Rusty's Pizza instead. It was tiny. I remember craving for cheese. Why is this important? It is important in terms of how stress can dictate your life and stress can lead to eating food you wouldn't eat if you weren't stressed.

Don't get me wrong, the day was quite fun, but I was in a state of information overload. I wished I didn't miss Dr. Sylvester's geology lecture. There were a lot of things that happened, but I suppose a few highlights stick out in my mind. (1). The day was mostly oriented toward Environmental Masters students, because there were only two new Ph.D. prospectives. Me and a guy by the name of Jaime who's also prime meat for Scripps Institute of Oceanography and a few other places. (2). I find the whole day ironic because it was a UCSB salespitch day as to why go to UCSB rather than one of the "other" big four schools (Bren, Yale, Duke, Michigan). I told everyone that I was trying to convince these guys for over SIX MONTHS to try and let me in, and you guys are trying to get conned

It is an interesting decision-making protocol as to why students choose one school over another. It is the summation of factors in a new place. Some primary factors include (1) distance from home (humans are victims of homing behavior!) (2) structure of the program (3) the people, access to the profs, student life (4) the town, the region, access to opportunity and "life outside of school" (as Hunter Lenihan said that a drawback of this place is that students surf too much) (5) financial costs. West coast people are weirded out by the gothic, ancient properties of the east coast, and the east coast people are weirded out by the west coast. It's all goes back to people's spatial baseline to when they were a kid. That baseline of environment is the foundation of comparison for all new places you experience for the rest of your life. People choose what they choose based on gestalt knowledge: people tend to go with what they know and then venture into the unknown. So, if you have a family and friend base in Michigan, it might drive you to be there, or family and friends might drive you away, depending on the circumstance!

All I can say is that changing your geographic position changes your entire point of view and world view. All variables and factors in your environment are in flux, and it would be nice if some of these variables were known or familiar so your knowledge base of a new geographic region is not completely starting from scratch.

Many students were still in decision phase, but I was adamant about attending UCSB. I told everyone that I was a UCSB promoter. I come crawling back after 4.5 years of struggle with university "red tape" elsewhere. Every single university claims they are "interdisciplinary," but the difference between UCSB and elsewhere is "practice" versus "lipservice." I warned them that if you talk to me I will be advocating your attendance to UCSB, but I am not comfortable doing it in part because in high school, I convinced my best friend Jonathan Tao to attend UC Davis with me (I pushed so hard, it was almost like a Hitler situation of repeat a lie enough times it becomes the truth), and then after one year of UC Davis I LEAVE while Jon STAYS the WHOLE TIME. Ever since that embarrassing shift in perception and change of my own behavior, every single time I offer advice, I provide the disclaimer: "This is just my advice. This is just my perception. Everyone is different, so you can take it or leave it." Which is what I will do with my films. "This is just my perception of Reality. You can take it or leave it."

I didn't have to promote UCSB much because UCSB speaks for itself. You just walk around the campus bluffs and get inspired. The landscape speaks to you on its own. You don't need anyone to tell you why this place is so great.

I know in my mind I have entered an academic position of utopia... back to the College of Creative Studies (CCS) and infinite mental freedom. Now bureacratic red tape to hold you back. Now it's a matter of "just do it." Though I am in utopia, I must remember my struggles, because it is these struggles that generate stories of environmental media. Struggle and desperation is necessary for creativity. You only appreciate what you have, given that you have experienced some time of withdrawal and absence. I think that it is a struggle for actors and film-makers to achieve "success" but once they made it, they slack off, because they no longer struggle. I must always impose self-infliction, otherwise creativity dies like an annual flower in Riverside (two week bloom and then shrivels to brown dust with the sun)

Here are some inter-related reasons why Bren and UCSB... in terms of more theoretical elements of organizational structure:

(1) small institution / organization
(2) young organization / institution (as opposed to 250-year-old east coast institutions entrenched in tradition, habits, rituals)
(3) ease of access to professors
(4) red tape? What red tape? (more for masters students, it's like two-year medical school)
(5) open, flexible, collective, collaborative, adaptive, willingness and ease of change of the program according to student and external changes, co-evolution of the university with the outside world
(6) as I would say before, most universities are like overspecialized rainforests: every creature has its own intellectual territory and guards it fiercely, and then at UCSB it's like a bacterial mat of primordial ooze: intellectually incestuous, I'd say!

**The fact that UCSB is my utopia is problematic because when I design films that are satires on the operation of universities, I must tell everyone that this is a far cry from a satire on UCSB but a satire to every experience I have had outside of UCSB. I must constantly remind myself of the emotional pain. Easy. Go to UCR. I was in pain two days ago from it.

The question is now: HOW DID THE UCSB COMMUNITY COME TO BE SO OPEN-MINDED? Relatively speaking, at least. Well, I have a couple of theories. One. Relative geographic isolation from southern California. There are no competing interests in the community, in addition no incentives to commute. Two. You are in a landscape that is chronic inspiration. I told Milton Love, "I think it's the ocean air. It keeps pumping oxygen in these people's brains. The incessant flow of the crashing waves couples well with the flow and evolution of thought of the UCSB community." Nothing is stagnant. Everything is in flux, from moment to day to years. And people feel it in their blood and their brains. The landscape becomes a part of the people, and the people become a part of the landscape. It is reflected in their art, their science, their scholarly essays, their daily lives. People also feel this way about the desert. I met an artist who said that people in Riverside are detached from their environments, and therefore detached from any representations of the Riverside environment (aka "art"). Same with the city. I could call it "limited" attachment. When you let the landscape become a part of you, suddenly you are open-minded. Automatically. By default. So, this is the quasi-poetic derivation of UCSB gestalt open-mindedness. Milton Love is laughing right now, if he were listening to me.

So, yesterday I was a FREE PROMOTER for UCSB. Ridiculous. I was a living, walking, breathing, talking commercial box for UCSB Bren. Before I have been known to be a Living Font (aka Calligrapher of sorts) and a living GIS unit (because I drew my maps by hand because I didn't know the fancy computer software).

I guess now with this crop of students I was exposed to today, I will come to see who are the people who choose schools based on... prestige or name-branding, or for everything else. I told a few people yesterday that I cannot attend any big-name school simply because almost everyone there has a heightened ego complex in their minds' hearts. Oooo. Yale. Duke. Big name schools. Prestige. Etcetera. Puke. Puke. Puke. I was at UCLA. Oh, did I feel the prestige factor. I vividly remembered a UCLA bio graduate student stating that we are grad students at UCLA because it distinguishes us from the ditch diggers. I had only been at UCLA for five weeks. It was the first day I had a thought in my mind that I wanted to leave.

When people have a tiny portion of their brains reserved toward institutional-prestige-stamping-of-their-foreheads, that automatically makes these people less open-minded. UCSB is UCSB and people are here to LEARN. People are here in the humble context of a Kant-like "beautiful" and "sublime" environment (yes, both), which just automatically spurs your thinking juices to flow. It's a yuppy intellectual community like Sebastopol, California, except that Sebastopol doesn't have a university and Santa Barbara does.

I am not sure if I am a yuppy. I thought a yuppy was a wealthy hippi. Relative to the United States, I am not wealthy (physically). Relative to the rest of the world, I am wealthy, simply because I was born by default in the United States. Besides I find more value in intellectual wealth than physical wealth. So, I don't want to be called a yuppy. Thank you for respecting me. And also thank you for not teasing me with Victoria's Secret.

Both Oran Young and John Melack (my brain sponsors) were busy yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to talk with them very much. I will be meeting with Dr. Young this week, hopefully before Thursday dinner. I was talking with Dr. Melack on the deck yesterday, very briefly, and he told me about Dave Panitz' website design class last quarter. I thought he knew that I was in that class. I was a bit sad. He did help admit me to the program, right? In the end, the only person who can keep track of your life is YOU, Victoria. Besides my resume was liks 20 pages long, so how can anyone remember every single detail of my life. Besides, Dr. Melack is a Dean of Bren. He must have so much on his plate, I don't know how he can handle that. I would go NUTS. I am already going nuts right now....

Other interesting factoids. (1) Bren only has 35 Ph.D. students, 120 masters students (2). UCSB is the retirement research center for Nobel Laureates. We have five of them now. Why not combine research and vacation retirement?

Let's see. I am mentally tapering out here. I'll jot out the order of events yesterday and call it for blogging on Bren Orientation Day. My mind can only process so much. The rest becomes... detailed nuance.

Slept over in Ventura. Woke up early refreshed. Still pissed from the Angels game yesterday. Drove over to Kinkos. Wrote a little about the baseball experience. Then jogged. Bought jacket at Kmart, which I returned. Went home. Cleaned up. A little bit. Went to UCSB. Didn't wear my beanie. Tried to be open-minded. Went to Sylvester's Geo 2 class. Implanted voice recorder. Said he was glad I was listening in. Missed the first part of Dean Ernst von Weizsacker's speech. I remember him saying that "These environmental issues are mostly our generation's fault. So now we work with you guys to create a better world." First time a senior authority admitted their fault. Wow. Sat next to speaker. Met a girl fro UC Davis. Lauren Fisher? She reminds me of Brittany Enzmann, the cool girl who sits right next to you on the first day of grad school, end up becoming best friends. I sat next to the speakers. BJ set them up. I need to help her out. Good experience with audio equipment. We ate lunch. Mexican. Halibut. Great salsa. Sat with Dr. Melack and Dr. Freudenberg. Met a cool student from Berkeley who's girfriend's into educational media. Dr. Melack joked about my condition of excessive school transferring. Good stuff. I'm staying at UCSB. Also met Sarah Anderson, new political scientist with environmental organizations. We had then a professor's panel: why UCSB. Starting to get bored. Then student presentation on modular housing. Won big prize. Didn't watch. It was a business plan. It's scary. Be careful what you specialize in because once you dig deep into the rabbithole, it's hard to get out. Eco-entrepreurship. Engineering partnership. Ran up to Maria Gordon, talked with her for quite a while. The EMI research focus group was a bit of a "dud," not much going on. Few students. Everyone is overworked. Short notice. Where is this going? Talked about Thursday's dinner talk. I have to come prepared. Questions. Collaboration. Focus. Etcetera. Maria was very busy. It's very nice she talks with me. I got great ideas from that. Ran downstairs. Met Breana Flanagan, carbon calorie counter for film production. Works with Disney. Unpaid internship. She's cool. Nice talk. Did campaign analysis for Zaca fire. Ron Rice blurb on Smokey Bear counter-intuitive to Bub's research. Must see air-quality control board campaign analysis. Give her an email when possible. Sat in discussions about student life and programming at Bren in "steep-angled" underground lecture hall. Assistant Dean Laura Haston is Frank Davis' wife. My god. 8 Bren marriages. My god. Intellectually and biologically incestuous is UCSB! Got bored. Took notes on communication.

I'm stopping here. Can't write anymore. My brain blew a fuse from panic attack and reprioritization.

161. UCSB Environmental Media Coop aka

On the Vague Principles of Organizing People

Vic wakes up the morning after the Donald Bren / UCSB Orientation meeting to find this on her computer. She already feels stretched out, but last night, Vic decided to start a UCSB environmental media coop for information exchange. The email is Great. The last thing she needs on her plate. She is not sure how well she can maintain something like that, nor if she can maintain this at all. The best part is that it forced her to write a little blurb on why something like this needs to exist. I had a hard time deciding the "enviromediacoop" because of my implied meaning of "enviro," as Charlie the fisherman and I agreed is that it means that you are "sadistically irrational" in the gradient of environmentalists one tends to encounter. At least I tried to start it. Don't expect much out of it though.

Hi y'all! Sorry to bug you with this email, but I had this idea for a little while I have shared with a few people: the idea is to create an environmental media coop google group for the UCSB community to speed up the process of communication and collaboration beyond research focus groups. I was inspired by googlegroups through the Goleta Beach film google group: how this tool can be effective with film collaboration and idea exchange. So, I felt a little bit more gutsy than usual tonight and decided to try this out and see how you guys feel about this. This is just an experimental test. You don't have to add if you don't want to. Just thought it was a starting point here. Maybe we can even shoot for something better like the Santa Barbara Indie Film-makers Coop created through "ning" at I was told by a couple of people that this group needs a little more direction and goals, but I felt you can't exactly do that unless you map out the "who's who" in UCSB EMI. My initial thoughts for this google group is (1) for people to post profiles in terms of who they are, what their skills/interests are, what they are willing to offer/trade in media (2) people to post resources in environmental media, ranging from funding opportunities to events to conferences to ideal classes to jobs, etcetera (3) opportunity for collaboration, whether it comes to need of help in film production or even coordinating events, such as film screenings (4) besides a hub to start collecting information on interested people and parties around UCSB and the community for environmental media. (5). Also I mean, people can rapidly post resources in environmental media in a random fashion and then there can be some kind of reflective moment where all these ideas can be organized and presented into the developing Environmental Media website. Oh ya. And (6), if there's any future development of environmental media programming through UCSB, such a googlegroup can serve as "evidence" of widespread support of environmental media on campus. I even spoke with David Parker? today (godzeeks I met 30 people today) with Bren and he was interested in developing career resources for environmental media for Bren students. Well, anyway, thanks for listening and any feedback would be great. You can join now but everything can be revamped later. *Whew* Ahhh. I feel better now. ~Victoria :-)

The description of the googlegroup is as follows: "UC Santa Barbara Environmental Media Coop is an information, resource, labor exchange / cooperative of individuals (students, professors, staff, community members) who are interested in the development, practice, analysis of "alternative" environmental media (beyond classroom teaching / technology)."

I just started getting used to googlegroups and I made Oscar (the first member besides me) as manager. I don't want to be the owner. I don't want to be the manager. I think this will allow me to collect data about who's who at UCSB. Whoever I encounter interested in environmental media, I can plug them in, if they want. This will only fly if Nicole joins... and Dave Panitz. These people are the ones in charge who are hooked up with everyone in Bren and Film and Media. If this just sits, it's okay. I tried. I tried to be really humble about it, because I'm not usually the one who's into "organizing people." But, then again, I thought about a couple of chain reaction emails I sent out in my life, one in a chemistry class at UC Davis, and one UC LEADS discussion on the subject of GRE during the UCSB ARC summer research program. You never know if a simple email winds up being a chain reaction--even like those of the Santa Barbara indie filmmakers coop.

I guess I started this because I told Dr. John Melack about the idea, so since I told one of my co-advisors, I won't sit on it.

Whoever joins now becomes "manager" and they can invite WHOEVER. Oh well. Don't think about it anymore.

Monday, April 07, 2008

160. The Peak of Civilization: A Sports Absurdity at Angels Baseball Stadium

I believe it was Sunday, April 6, 2008. I was driving rapidly to the Angels baseball stadium to meet up with my father and the UCR Earth Sciences Department. I was convinced last week to go by Aaron, a new student in the department... I think under Mary. His positive personality and radiating smile convinced me to go... thinking maybe this was a chance to recooperate from the past. In the end, I felt like it was some kind of internal emotional mockery to me. I was far from ready. The experience was humiliating and drives me to further appreciate the situation I have right now at UCSB, perks and all.

I think I have a phobia of homogenization, similarity, and repetition. I appreciated Earth Sciences department when I was a questionner of reality. I was wearing a different hat and was looking into Earth Sciences with an outsider eye. Then I enter the department and I started to panic and freak out because everyone thinks all the same and there were close to no interdisciplinary outlets. So then I panicked because then I felt stuck. Now, the situation is I am at Bren and I am in film. I am surrounded by the most diverse, eclectic group of scholars, in the arts and environmental sciences. Not only that, film allows me to explore the diversity of roles and perceptions of the Santa Barbara community. I am attracted to difference. I live for difference and diversity. People. Tools. Organisms. Landscapes. Everything. And the College of Creative studies let me love it all. Thank you.

Back to my 80-mph car drive. I am a bit disoriented, hopping off the five freeway, from the 101, from Santa Barbara. Bub calls me several times from Mary's cell phone. I pay 8 bucks to park (shxt, that's a lot), and I am approaching the stadium, only to view lots of parking lot, cars, people, and two giant Angels baseball helmets.

Epiphany #1. The historical accumulation of human achievement has resulted in this: the Peak of Human Civilization. See photograph number one. My father is trying to wear a gigantic baseball hat.

Epiphany #2. People are paying lots of money to watch other human beings swing a stick at a ball, and run around a square. Including myself. The last time I was at a baseball game ... two games, summer 1999. I was in the process of exploring life outside of school. It was utterly meaningless. I watched two shut-out games. Angels got bageled. I don't blame myself for not going to a game for 9 years. Or perhaps more.

I am starting to get depressed very quickly. I am walking toward my father and I am already starting to feel very, very empty. Like I'm about to enter Disneyland. Close enough. It is much how I felt when I was playing tennis, even at a young age. My mother was pressuring me and my sister to play very well, and you get sponsors and glorified if you win tournaments. Then you become a pro and you are queen of the world.

I stare at the racket and the tennis ball, and I am subconsciously confused. All I am doing is swinging a stick with high surface area at a ball, trying to get it over this net and on the other side of some rectangle in a cage... and society glorifies you for this. My first conscious recognition of this idea was age 12. I asked: "What's the point?" I don't get it. Where did this come from? Why tennis over other sports? Why do we have the sports that exist in mass production today and not the origination and development of alternative sports, like nuts-and-ladders (invented by Kristin Hepper's new hubby, Jimmy). Not only that, I hated direct competition. I felt bad for winning and I felt bad for losing. In the tennis court, I was rationally stuck. There was no road or any way out to self-satisfaction and happiness.

EvPsych in my daily life. Primitivity in society exists everywhere. The overglorification of sports is a classical example. Music and Hollywood in general, as well. Humans construct a world around them that ultimately reflect and satiate their internal biology. Case in point.

Epiphany #3. My dad says... "We play sports because it prevents men from killing each other." It's a civilized exercise of primitive neurological programs of competition. And if we aren't playing sports, we're off into "recreational wars" like Iraq.

Ya. I know that. Triune Brain Model is Everywhere.

Epiphany #4. I showed my father an image I took of the crowd of speckled humans. As seen above, and the zombied, somber face of the concessions boy, selling junk food to the crowd. Though I saw them selling cups of fruit this time. My father commented: "I don't know how so many human beings can co-exist in one place." I felt like we were watching a modern bullfight match in an arena, except that it is mediated by ball and bat. We were all amused at the same thing. We were all amused with men swinging at balls with sticks and trying to catch them in the field, like Garrett Anderson, and then you get glorified and paid millions of dollars. And the salary of my English teacher Ann Camacho in 1995-1996 was $27,000. Such a discrepancy between what we value and what will keep the infrastructure of this society up-and-running.

Epiphany #5. I was starting to think about the anatomy of an audience. Loose clusters of family and friends, distantly knowing each other. Lots of kids, parents with kids who are little leaguers. We all in this stadium have one thing in common: space. We are all "Angelenos" or Southern Californians at least. I went through flashbacks with my dreaded experience at the Harder Stadium in San Diego in last summer's American Idol. But that is another blog on its own.

Epiphany #6. The Belljar of Advertisement. Buy! Buy! Buy! More, more, more! Every moment you are flashed with hundreds of thousands of advertisements in the stadium. Buy this do that. It's abnoxious. We have televisions now when we pump gasoline. We have advertisements before movies in movie theaters. We wait in line in a grocery store, and they pop a television advertisement there as well. Every single gap in space and time. Every single time a human being waits in line, we are bombarded with advertisements. And such is the baseball arena. Baseball players stamped with advertisements. Are we truly in control and in charge of technoogy, or the summation of coupled-human-technological behavior has taken over our lives? I do NOT wonder why people get depressed and take psychiatric pills, given the summation of the modern system humans have built around us. And I was born in it. I inherited this. Shxt. And we're supposed to clean up the summed mess of our past ancestors? We have to take responsibility not because we have any terms of endearment for dead people. We have to take responsibility because it's a matter of SURVIVAL.

I am in Santa Barbara, and I feel much better. This town gives me hope.

So, this is the Biologically Incorrect ambiance of the Angels baseball Game. Then add the social ambiance of the Earth Sciences department: mostly Mary Droser's lab. I thought I would be happy and excited to see everyone, but it ends up not being an ideal "social environment" for mingling. The loud noise. Mary was with her kids. Diana and hubby. Pregnant. Kristin and Jimmy. Married. Greg's friend. Aaron... and to-be wife. Getting married April 30. Wha? Bub was there and so I felt obligated to give full attention to him. I managed to congratulate Kristin and Jimmy for getting married. Summer of 2007. Bay area. Cool. I'm sad I missed it. But then again I was doing Blue Horizons, so... I wasn't exactly fully aware of what is going on.

A giant knot. I started to freeze again. I felt stuck. Stifled. One. The time gap with everyone. I haven't kept up to par with people and their lives. The sociology of scientists soap opera of Riverside I used to keep track of so carefully. Two. The severed relationships. I felt like a failure. I just wanted to crawl back to Ann Aasen (my social psychologist during 2005-2006). I also felt weird because everyone's getting married and having kids and taking care of kids, and here is me. I felt like this... freak. Simply because I value other things? Because I decided to give birth to ideas and not babies? I wanted to shrivel and leave. I also started thinking about re-defining my gender. I am a female, but I don't fully conform to all female attributes. I'm not gay. Whew. Or bi. Whew. I am a neutralist female, I suppose. Middle of the road. Female who's comfortable with tomboy features. Athleticism. Dressing drabby and casual. No desire for kids. For meaningless relationships. Maybe it's not a gender identity thing. Maybe it's a societal thing. How American society pressures people to be in relationships for the sake of being in relationships. And if you're not... then you're a "quirky alone." Some new lingo from a lady up in San Francisco. Which I feel is misrepresentative as well. So I decided to be ISI: Intellectually Self Indulgent. I live in my own brain. It requires high maintenance so I give it high attention.

Well, enough of that. Being immersed in UCR Earth Sciences in a social occassion reminded me emotionally and intellectually that I have a 2-3 year knot in my mind and my mind's heart. A giant knot to untangle. One day at a time. I am humbled and appreciative.