Wednesday, July 30, 2008

247. "You Eat Alone, You Die Alone" Disturbing Poem by Anonymous 18-year-old Female

I found this written on a quasi-folded scrap sheet of paper lying on the side of a street in Isla Vista. Honestly, I didn't know that there are some minds of brilliance residing within this Center of Purposelessness. I wonder if someone will ever speak up to owning this tragic, yet beautiful, and very simple poem.

"This poem cost me eight dollars and sixty nine cents of inedible Mexican food. I am 18."

why do i eat?
why do i consume?
take laxatives
until i puke?

there is no one
right beside me
to set aside
all'o my worries

gimme-the illusion
that i'm beautiful
and-in my disgust
make myself full

of all the food
that was already
---inedible

you eat alone
you die alone
you eat alone
you die alone

why do women
self-destruct
and all the men
tend to explode?

alone at night
i yell and cry
in hope one day
you're by my side

for all you are
a healthy to-do
instead of destroying
i'd rather my mind
---consume you


why do i drink?
why do i consume?
all the six packs
until i resume

to shed my rage
punch holes in the wall
Shriek-at Shorty in the corner
with pool stick and ball

there is no one
right beside me
to set aside
all'o my worries

gimme illusion
that i'm brave and strong
and in my disgust
the bar i've belong

of all the liquors
already made
---my senses gone

you drink alone
you die alone
you drink alone
you die alone

why do women
self-destruct
and all the men
tend to explode?

alone at night
i yell and cry
in hope one day
you're by my side

for all you are
a healthy to-do
instead of destroying
i'd rather my mind
---consume you

246. Poem "The Blank Slate" Poetic Advertisement for Question Reality / Shock Doctrine Response

Blank Slate Question Reality ad poem. Page 1.
Blank Slate Question Reality ad poem. Page 2.

Please see the pdf file below.
Tariel was telling me all this stuff about The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein that I can't shake out of my head simply because all the ideas were fitting like a glove within my pre-existing molded Question Reality mindframe.
Shock Doctrine ideas keep haunting me so I'll just do some constructive writing here.
It's just that there were certain "buz words" that Naomi Klein used quite a bit: shock therapy, shock doctrine, blank slate, blank mind. Disastrology-based terminology (disastrology comes from Michel Gondry, my film director hero).

After exposure to "someone else's point of view," I start adapting my own language such that we have matching mindframes. I have been doing this all along in my department- and university- and industry-hopping I have been doing for the last 9 years or so.
I have learned to communicate my brain (Question Reality) to people through this language-adapting method. When I wrote QR, I was in relative isolation. I created artwork and a communication system with my own mind. Even my own lingo and overall language system.

Then I go out in the world, and I start to talk to people in attempt to communicate as well as trying to understand how people think. And through this understanding I come to adapt my language such that they can better understand me.
In the poem above (Shock Doctrine, Part 2, Fight Club, Part 2), I made sure I used the words shock, disaster, blank slate, blank mind....
Even the term, "Milton Freedman."
That bastard. Economics is not some number-crunching math model game, especially when it deals with people's lives. Economic system design should be a cognitive map, a visual video game. A football player diagram on how to organize humans and resource-landscapes. I don't know why all these people continue to produce stupid, useless video games and people continue to play them when you need to create these PRACTICAL video games on designing societies, eh?
Another thing that disturbs me is the notion of scientific experiments on humanity. My journey out of anorexia I consider to be a scientific experiment. Glory amen. I am a live. Dr. Jared Diamond treats history as a natural experiment RETROACTIVELY. And Milton Freedman's Chicago boys? They were "advising leaders" in other countries CONSCIOUSLY KNOWING they were engaging in nation-scaled "social experiments"?!! Give me a nightmare, will you?!! Oh, experiments on entire societies would be against the law within the United States, but since they are trans-national experiments with no rules in between countries, they could get away with WHATEVER.
Man, I am pissed.
Fxcking definitions of science.
And all these environmental scientists playing the game of "denial science," saying I don't wanna get political with my science when POLITICS IS SCIENCE. POLITICS IS A GIANT EXPERIMENT. AND YOU'RE IN IT, BUDDY. YOU'RE THE GUINEA PIG IN THE RATBOX. Welcome to the sustainability experiment, bimbo!
Wow, my blog is getting foul here. I need to jog. But to remind you I am a field scientist and I am in "laboratory mode" every single time I step out of the room of my mind and venture into the world outside. Shxt happens a lot to field scientists, so they have a right to cuss. My undergrad advisors at UCSB cussed, and they have Ph.Ds. Those words just never end up in the scientific methodology within their scholarly articles.

The other thing I noticed is that in Question Reality, it is not necessarily my writing expresses a new idea in every sentence, but the overall "organization" of the ideas, the overall fabric of spacetime that the writing paints and sculpts is novel.

I have had fairly frequent experiences of multiple "independent origins of common thought." IOOCT. Like the evolution of mechanisms of flight evolved a dozen-or so times in high unrelated species of organisms.

For example, Naomi Klein uses the word "shock." I have been using the term "desperation." So Klein terminology, my experience with anorexia was "shock," because it wiped my mind to a blank slate (dxm right, I was blank slate). The issue is that I have a novel idea and then it turns out someone else already coined it, independent of my knowing it. "RETROACTIVE REALIZATION," I like to call it. It's frustrating sometimes but I still use the terminology because I feel through my independent fabrication, I have come to master and own the term. The language fragment has real, spacetime meaning in my mind.

The first conscious experience of this independent origin of thought was with the term "evolutionary psychology." I never consciously was aware of the term. Then I formulated it over spring break of 2001. I returned to school at UC Santa Barbara, and low-and-behold it turns out there is an entire cult of evolutionary psychologists raiding the Anthropology and Psychology Departments (maybe even the Ecology and Evolution Department) too! It's not that this ev psych clique is good or bad. But they are everywhere at UCSB. Like some invasive species mentality. UC Santa Barbara is perhaps DAH ev psych hub of the world. Originated by Drs. John Tooby and Leda Cosmides.

Since this first experience of independent origins of common thought, I have encountered several other such circumstances. I boohoo for an hour and then I oh-flippin'-frickin'-oh-well it. I am glad that Naomi Klein is scaling individual human psychology to entire socoities. In 2004-2005 I terms that as Environmental Mass Accumulation of Individual and System Structure Effects (EMAISSE). Now I am calling it SCALING LAWS OF HUMAN BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY (hot sexy shxt terminology I'm talking here). Then I encountered Dr. Ben Halpern, ecological modeler GURU who was first to implement "mass accumulation effects" on ecological models on how the world is going to hxll. Or at least the ocean parts of it. But all the models and fragmented data are all in one place on one scientific paper. Sigh (I left the classroom depressed all day after a presentation of THAT paper). But anyway, Ben and I are on the same page in terms of scale and mass accumulation effects. I'm just not that into modeling.

Another term that I created before I knew it existed "out there" is Ecosystem-Based Management (or EBM) rather than small-scale endangered species micromanagement. It's not necessary to know every single factor in an ecosystem, but you need to take a step back and look at reality as Monet would: "From a distance, shxt looks like a garden." (Quoted from the Ultimate Shxt List). But you have enough precision and accuracy and enough data collected to have confidence to report your findings to society when you the scientist operate on Uncertainty and the public wants Definity.

Then again, it makes sense for all the West Coast Ocean Scientists (some loosely structured cross-university society) to adapt ecosystem based management (EBM) because micro-scale management in one big oceanic soup--excuse me--swimming pool--is not feasible, like how it's done in terrestrial management. So, EBM is out of management convenience, eh?

Maybe I need to write an article on EVOLUTION OF SCIENTIFIC TERMINOLOGY. Maybe I'll just be a historian of science because not only I like doing science but I like documenting the human elements of scientific practice. All the things that DON'T get published in scientific articles. You can't tease apart the notion that science is done by humans, so at least science journalism and history of science can account for these factors while many scientists are in the process of denying that they are humans. "Humans aren't animals. They are mammals," as Tariel would tease.

Key words: poem, blank slate, shock doctrine, Naomi Klein, Fight Club, shock, language adaptation, buz words, Milton Freedman, denial science, independent origins of common thought, IOOCT, retroactive realization, disastrology, evolutionary psychology, EMAISSE, Scaling Laws of Human Behavioral Ecology, mass accumulation effect, Dr. Ben Halpern, ecosystem-based management, Monet, evolution of scientific terminology, historian of science, science journalism

245. I Love Lulu Logo / Cartoon... and T-shirt Design!

"I Love Lulu" final draft cartoon and thank you note.
"I Love Lulu" final draft cartoon with inverted colors.
Presentable Rough Draft.
Presentable Rough Draft. Abstract Neo Art.

Due to the "recency of memory" and "recency of emotional stimulation" effect I decided to work on the "I-Love-Lulu" cartoon (sequel to "I Love Lucy"!) I was inspired to draw just an hour ago. The first two images above are final drafts and the last two images are "presentable rough cuts." This is my thank you present to http://www.lulu.com/. I am considering in emailing Kenia Caze, informing her of my little card I made!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

244. Question Reality Manuscript Published on Lulu.com!


A little Lulu Television box widget for the Question Reality storefront! Here is the new "revised abstract" for QR (after being exposed to a bit of Shock Doctrine): Question Reality is an arduous journey of re-organization of the mind of an anorexic, academic female in fight for her own physical and mental survival. In the process of Reality being wiped "blank slate," she re-invents the wheel of ecology and science, systematically designing novel organizational maps of human interactions with the environment. Written in a synergistic, satirical dialogue between two graduate students--Terra the Biogeek and Buz the Geobum--who venture on a fictional road trip up the California Coastline. Part 1 of a two-part edition. Keywords: human-environment interactions, environment, humans, self, philosophy, ecology, evolution, earth science, psychology, health, value systems, perception, language, human ecology, shock, blank slate.

A postcard advertisement of "In Her Bathrobe She Blogged," by Robin Amber Kilgore. Through meeting this humorous, witty, spunky author at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival, I reached a "Tipping Point of Trust" in terms of being finally convinced that I should publish through http://www.lulu.com/. Robin's work is now available on Lulu, Amazon.com, Buy.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and perhaps quite a few other retailer websites! Talk about GLOBAL distribution! Please first check out http://www.lulu.com/content/1818646.
I can't help myself incessantly promoting my most influential cartoonist on the face of this planet, Hayes Roberts, who also inspired me to publish at Lulu.com. Roberts has two hilarious children's books available: The Wiener Dog Magnet and The Brave Monkey Pirate.
I also had the opportunity to meet Kenia Caze, a very kind, outreach/multimedia representative at Lulu. It was the most wonderful experience to put a human face onto an internet-technology interface! My days of electronocommunicatiphobia (ECP) are over!
I was handed an advertisement card from Lulu at the LA Times Book Festival. It is my little keepsake and I modified the images here to bright green (to compliment the bright orange)! My good friend and writer, Robin Leigh Anderson, advised me to make neon green and orange business cards, because they will stick out of a pile of thousands of anonymous business cards!
As you can tell, I worship Lulu promotional items. I wish the Lulu concept of "blank slate" creativity could replace the Disney concept, such that imagination is standardized into Mickey Mouse. I think if everyone were given a blank slate (and not through shock therapy!), the collective intelligence of our society would skyrocket.
Some more Lulu promotional verbage found on the advertising card I received at the LA Times Book Festival.

I am so excited to announce the publication of the Question Reality manuscript! Wow, it has been nearly three long years since the "completion" of writing (during the leave-of-absence academic year 2004-2005). What an immense release of weight I have been carrying on my shoulders! (Now, to consider what I have exactly been doing that last three years, that is another interesting question that I myself am trying to figure out! In a whirlwind tour, I was learning geology and environmental media theory and practice, and I largely trained myself in nearly all possible methods of multi-media storytelling such that I have the ability to engage upon my ceaseless "organized yelling" without WAITING or RELYING upon anyone else to perform of filter my work for their own profitable benefit. I am now a self-sufficient zen-film-maker and zen multi-media storyteller. In addition, I had to come to terms with the whole concept of why-publishing-companies-don't-publish-1000-page-books-from-new-authors. Hmmm. There is only one Harry Potter author for this entire planet, and I don't anticipate to be Harry Potter author number two. I had to slowly convert my "get-straight-As" academic mind into an economically-ecologically savvy-mind. Why this took three years for me to figure this all out, it is perhaps because I didn't have a mentor and had to expose myself to painful trial and error before figuring out what finally works!).

Retroactively, coming to think about it, let's just say the last three years was about a chaotic exploration of "Victoria's potential ecological niche space" in this human leaf cutter ant colony. After so many years of trial and error, now I am ready to pursue certain discoveries of opportunity to make it "actual niche space."

The publication of Question Reality was made possible and AFFORDABLE (to poor graduate students) by Lulu (please visit www.lulu.com). One day I would like to hug the CEO and all the heads of Lulu who gave "blank slate" technology to the people, withough any megacosts of implementing filtered, agendized middlemen. Through DIRECT access to technology, Lulu (just like Google) gave power to the people. Not only is it redistribution of wealth, it is redistribution of INFORMATION FLOW, disintegrating hierarchal structures and constructing "two-way-street" pathways. In a society embedded within Laws of Mass Numbers, technology is what can save democracy, is what SAVES democracy. Some joke states that "republicans rain down shxt on you and democrats bother to give you an umbrella." But Lulu? This company is beyond definition. Lulu doesn't even rain down shxt on you. Instead, they provide you a bouquet of flowers and a blank slate: the opportunity to dream and create and use your mind to design a better society... and minimize technological hassle along the way. Your voice doesn't need to be filtered through third-party agents. Your creations simply represent the purity of your very own thoughts!

Sorry I tend to become overwhelmingly, emotionally philosophical about technology shaping a global human leaf cutter ant colony (and wowee, now I am conscious that I am a PART of the experiment!). Before I forget, the specific internet location of my manuscript is at:

http://www.lulu.com/questionreality.

I had the opportunity for my manuscript fo be “reviewed” three times already—in a serious and also a more hilarious way. Please see the first set of reviews here:

http://www.lulu.com/content/2435315.

Coming to think of it, in the last three years, I have had the opportunity to discuss Question Reality with so many people, ranging from family and friends to very well-respected musicians, actors, authors, and most importantly… professors. Thankfully, being the daughter of a fire ecology and climatology professor by default surrounded me with people who had credentials stamped on their foreheads. During my struggling year at UC Riverside (2005-2006), I had incredibly insightful conversations with a whole slough of professors: Dr. Dolf Seilacher (a highly respected paleontologist), Dr. Pete Sadler (a most humorous stratigrapher who debunked some claims of loudmouth Jay Gould), Dr. Eugene Anderson (a retiring anthropologist who specialized in Chinese culture and perceptions of the environment, wrote a book called Ecologies of the Heart that I currently owned), Dr. Sharon Walker (a new professor in hydrology/engineering, “faculty brat” of a professor at USC), and of course, Ann Aasen, my counselor at UC Riverside who helped me make it through the year as “psychologically presentable to the university” though I was internally shattered to pieces… in a state of chaos.

I was also chewed up and shooed away by Dr. Jared Diamond at UCLA (perhaps even in less than 5 minutes). Exposure to the author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse ended up being superb training ground on how to sell your soul in less than 15 seconds. Which ended up being useful for pitching my story idea to agents at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. I take pride in having the illusion that I managed to convince 5/6 agents to “check out my work.” Even though Dr. Diamond was a jerk to me, I can in part understand why—because he gets bombarded all the time with people and he has to be selective about who he chooses to interact with. And why would he even bother to give a shxt about me—some unknown grad student. I was informed that this man was aware he only has so much time to live and an agenda to pursue, so getting into his “ingroup” is a bit of a challenge. Despite these depressing encounters with Dr. Diamond, I still respect him very greatly of his work in “re-interpreting history with a biologist’s hat.” Which is breakthrough work for the field of historical ecology—which I am totally into! I refer to Dr. Diamond’s work of “environmental conditionality” (not “environmental determinism”) quite a bit!

Through this sampling of intellects and their reactions to my brain, I had come to realize several elements about human behavior in operation at intimate and mass scale. Ranging from lengthy one-on-one conversations with Dr. Sadler and Dr. Anderson to this brief, demoralizing encounter with Dr. Diamond, I have come to realize that the human mind constructs eusocial ecological niche spaces in place and time, such as to control information and environmental management for one single mind. I had also come to realize that the most liberal-minded intellects are the ones who are about to retire (Dr. Anderson and Dr. Sadler) and the risk-takers who just started their careers (Dr. Walker). People in the middle of their careers are more eager to gain and maintain university power and status… and as a result, leaves them thinking inside narrow boxes.

I also learned that professors hate talking about things that they wrote in their books or lecture about in class because I am sure they don’t like hearing themselves repeat what they already wrote and are paid to talk about. Sucks. That’s why I make films. Tell a story once, tell it well. And let technology do the repetition.

With all this said (also a little bit philosophical, and a little bit aside), when the time is right, I hope to encounter these people and ask them if they would be interested in reviewing Question Reality (saying a few kind words and some constructive criticism). I would actually be more excited to approach them upon my writing of future books. QR was my mistake as defined by the pre-existing arbitrary parameters of bureaucracy and society, and now I will try to create and complete projects that will fit inside THEIR boxes. In conclusion of all this epiphany-riddled jarble, it’s a very good idea to get reviews from people who have credentials. These are the dudes who will carry you up the oak tree of human society with the powers of their affinity-based capillary action.

Since my struggle of self-publishing and marketing since the fall of 2005, I had known about Lulu but was never convinced to publish because technology and computers on their own have NO human face. Hence, fall of 2005 was the birth of my disease (not listed in the psychological diagnosis books yet): Electronocommunicatiphobia or ECP. I also got this disease through a series of email transactions in New York with people that had no human face and I was strapped down in school. I couldn’t take a plane ride anywhere… anytime soon.

Overall, in the hierarchy of my self-perceived Reality and existence, my mind renders DIRECT and fairly ROUTINE human contact as “Reality.” Technology-mediated transactions are devoid of information, and most importantly emotional attachment. So I am not holistically stimulated. I came to realize also that people could get away with being rude via email and phone… and were much more constrained face-to-face.

But by late April of 2008, I went to the Los Angeles Times Book Festival at UC Los Angeles and low-and-behold, it was the first time I met a REAL lulu-published author, in which I was given a complimentary, TANGIBLE book from comedic author Robin Amber Kilgore (who compiled a series of adventures in Los Angeles, a spin-off of her myspace blogs). The book was an amazing quality print. No one would have noticed (or cared) whether it was published by Lulu or Penguin.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to hammer Amber with questions for about a half-hour. All these technical-nuts-and-bolts in publishing with Lulu. She told me about the straightforwardness of the Lulu publishing process (which later I suffered through a little bit, but now I am glad to say “I am a Survivor!”).

I think Amber (who was also a southpaw, I am left-handed!) was so impressed by my energy and enthusiasm (or maybe she was so annoyed by my endless bombardment of questions), that she provided me with a complimentary copy of her book (and signed it!). Or maybe she wanted to pacify me and get rid of me with a smile on my face (probably not the case, we are in great email correspondence)! I read a few excerpts of Robin’s book that night alone at a 24-7 Kinkos in Santa Monica that was full of sleeping hobos (I was a bit uncomfortable, but kept me alert), and that night I emailed Amber with such enthusiasm about the style and sincerity and pure comedy of her writing. And not only that, if she actually pursued science (she is a paralegal), she has a level of precision and systematism to her still poetic, everyday writing that she would pass off very well as a scientist. She already has it in her blood, her intrinsic mindset.

Later on, I took that email and modified it as a 5-star review for her book on lulu.com. Please see the review here (as well as Amber’s book):

http://www.lulu.com/content/1818646.

Amber also told me a few CRITICAL snipits: the LAST REMAINING BARRIERS IN MY MIND THAT WERE PREVENTING ME FROM PUBLISHING at LULU.

(1). Robin didn’t have a Table of Contents. What?! I thought all books were supposed to have a STANDARD format… like with a Table of Contents. She said that you could structure your book anyway you wanted to. LULU IS A BLANK SLATE. Get it in your head. The formats used in the major publishing houses are “conventional” but ARBITRARY. Write a book upside down, inside out. Put the beginning in the middle. Doesn’t matter. Oh! Because of that, I created a Table of Contents, but I was not overly stressed about including “page numbers.” Though next time I will include page numbers. (One thing though, if you wanted worldwide distribution, you have to have an ISBN code and a “copyright” page).

(2). Robin also had “minor editing” booboos and could not afford a copyeditor. Her book was not “perfect perfect perfect” (but dxmn close). She told me that the latest book written by Alan Greenspan (absorbed by a New York publishing house) also had ridiculous spelling errors. If New York publishing houses can reveal their condition of human flaws, then so can she. And so can I!

I also told Robin that if I hired someone to copy-edit my book (which my friend Lauren Wilson loves to copy-edit and even offered to do so, I was like… “are you sure?”), it would probably cost me 30,000 dollars since it would be a 1000-pager in 6x9-inch format.

(3). And finally, Robin told me not to worry about costs and distribution and such. It costs money for the car code but you can do everything else for free. As long as you keep your book on the Lulu marketplace. That is amazing news to hear—because at one point, I lost $1400 to a publishing house and that was only going to be half the cost to publish three books on a restrictive run.

Putting a human face on some kind of phenomenon puts me in this mentality: “Heck, if she can do it, so can I.” And after all barriers in my mind lifted, the presence of Amber instilled this zen-ish essence within me.

So, my Question Reality manuscript had its flaws. Its mistakes. But I let it go. I learned from my mistakes. I am ready to move on. I can’t carry this baggage anymore. I must let go and diffuse my brain into society and see how far some ideas may catch. I do admit the holistically inspirational presence of Tariel has been a most essential ingredient of my letting go of my past—I will resume to use his name in my blog, it is unavoidable. The presence of Tariel, with all other ingredients added—stabilized grad school, meeting Lulu, acquiring all my knowledge in earth science and environmental multi-media—has simply allowed me to let go, and move on.

My friend Oscar was kind enough to place on his review that Question Reality is a “Don Quixote for human relations to the environment,” but to harp on something earlier, I will not be arrogant to think that I can pull of a Harry Potter series from a major publishing company. That is my null hypothesis. The goal is to achieve the alternative hypothesis, despite its high, high, high unlikeliness. Sam Sweet, one of my most amazing professors of evolution, told me to “expect the unexpected”—with biology, with anything.

But then again, BIG BOOKS ARE NOT COOL. And Question Reality is one of them. So big that I had to divy the book into TWO PARTS. In spring of 2003, I took a picture of my friend Andy Simpson identifying a plant with this GIANT California Jepson Manual in his lap. It is horrendously inefficient to haul around some big fat book in a back pack when hiking miles upon end—and it ends up that the book weight takes up HALF the weight of the back pack. The whole California Flora class of UC Santa Barbara looked absolutely RIDICULOUS (this should go in my Biologically Incorrect script). So, imagine people carrying a Question Reality book with them? Ha ha ha. Funny, funny, funny. I didn't mean to break society's back. But society almost broke mine. Hmmm. I am trying to ameliorate the problem by having this accessible via ELECTRONIC FORMAT. Breaking the bad cycles here. The eye-for-the-eye syndrome. Otherwise this whole world would be a bunch of tribes killing each other off.

And now I know the rules of the game of literary/environmental publishing, I am now ready to play it. It started with the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, but that is another blog.

In addition to meeting Robin Amber Kilgore on that very hot, hot day of April 2008 (to think we were only a few yards away from the book signings of Ray Bradbury!), I had the opportunity to meet with Kenia Caze, a very kind Lulu multimedia employee. She was occasionally tapping into Robin and my conversation (Kenia was attending to other interested parties), and I eventually shook her hand with sincerity, “Wow! It is so wonderful to see a human face of Lulu! It is so… overwhelming! I think I am over my ECP of Lulu.” Computers are just not real or human to me. Now I know that Lulu has human faces behind this blinking-light computer interface. I am not religious or anything, but I was in a “god-bless-your-soul” type of mentality (kind of when I thought I saw an “angel” out of Wendy the nurse who catalyzed my self rescue out of anorexia). “God bless! God bless! Like you people are REAL! You are my saviors!” Tell me it’s desperation. And tell me it’s all a matter of perception. I do say, desperation can make your mind think you saw angels. Uh huh. Been there. Done that. But now, I am rejoicing my state of desperation with heavenly existence of Lulu in a non-secular way. And definite non-New-Agey way. Don’t go New Age with me right now. We’ll take that subject at a later time.

I am still in this state of divine liberation from technological deadness into the realm of the Humanity of Lulu! Even as I am writing right now.

It is the most amazing, purifying feeling in the world to think that I have at least ONE PIECE OF LITERATURE THAT IS ACCESSIBLE TO THE WORLD AND NOT FILTERED BY A SINGLE SOUL. IT IS PURELY MY VOICE… full of copy-editing mistakes—

Whatever.

Though there is supposedly stigma to “a few tiny mistakes” and for “self-publishing” in general (an artificial stigma generated just so some intimidated people can keep their middleman jobs), there is a level of purity and romanticism and Don Quixote-ism and zen-satisfaction in the whole process. That I participated in the entirety of Question Reality, ground up, from a shattered brain to a partly organized brain, then to formatting and interacting and guerrilla marketing and who-knows-what’s-next. I did it all by myself (with the immense moral support of several people). I am from the dirt. I am from the people and I speak for the people and this environment that keeps us people alive in the first place. It’s a longer road than a short-cut to the top because you are Paris Hilton, but taking the long road step-by-step is worth it, because I have EARNED TRUST and RESPECT from people, I didn’t INHERIT it.

After I finished basic design of my Lulu storefront interface, I emailed three people. First I emailed Robin Amber Kilgore, thanking her for the life of me, for the inspiration. I directed her to my website and wished her all the best. I have to check if she emailed me back. For some reason, she gets listed on my SPAM box and that is annoying because she should be on a “top priority” email box. Second, I emailed Kenia Caze, thanking her so much for the inspiration and for having a booth accessible to the writers isolated from the major New York publishing houses in southern California. I know Lulu is doing some multi-media gigs and I would be excited to volunteer some projects in the future. The third email with to Hayes Roberts, my Cartoon Idol at http://www.bluebison.net/. I also wrote a review on Lulu and you can view it here.

http://www.lulu.com/content/1024811.

What gets me about Roberts is that he is not famous when he SHOULD BE. His work is not riddled on morning cartoon networks or Hallmark cards or t-shirts or mugs or the next big cartoon blockbuster film. Roberts is the next big thing to be discovered, and I honestly don’t know why he doesn’t take his portfolio and his website down to Hollywood and have a few drinks with some Pixar folks. Heck, I could hook him up. I just have to talk to my friend Connie (a math doctorate who worked for Pixar a couple of summers during grad school). Discovering someone like Roberts is like one of those things that would convince me to become an “agent.” Or include “agent” as part of my list of various humanly arbitrarily-overlapping professions. If Bluebison were everywhere, I would just melt on the floor overwhelmed with cuteness. I would want to squeeze and pinch everyone’s cheeks (Don’t worry. I don’t do that in real life). I am thankful that the vast majority of living organisms are not that cute as Bluebison cartoons, I would feel guilty for consuming anything. And then I would die, not out of anorexia, but cuteness-induced obsessive starvation. I think it’s a new disease of not being able to eat because the organisms that sustain you are too cute to eat. Aha. HYPERCUTENOREXIA. That’s what it’s called. I think PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) is promoting this kind of disease.

I told Tariel about Question Reality. It was wonderful to show him a tangible paperback, and I pointed toward the end—how I devoted the completion of this manuscript to him. How his inspiration allowed me to “build a bridge and get over it,” or BABAGOI (an acronym created by Robin Leigh Anderson). Tariel instantly told me that having this book published will be a very good thing to put on my resume. Oh ya. For example, what if there is a business or non-profit group that needs something published for their records or for educational purposes. They could easily consult me and that I would have the know-how to walk them through the process. Wow. I feel empowered that I know half of what I need to know to format a book for publishing. I just don’t know how to build a physical printing press and mass-produce a thousand copies of books. I only know how to painstakingly make one copy of a book Xeroxing away into the wee hours of the night and early morning—as the ghost of Seth approaches me in the middle of Xeroxing and expresses some interest in reading my manuscript (that was a crisp memory in September of 2005, it sent a lightning strike down my spine, he is one of the antagonistically synergistic reasons why I wrote QR in the first place… Rejection is painfully good. Falling down forces you to grow. The presence of Seth made me realize that if I didn’t write QR, no one would ever get to truly know me, heck I didn’t coherently even know myself! The funny thing is that I don’t even feel resolved. I think I need to stop by Stanford and pay a visit… Anyhoo. Talk about emergence of subliminality).

Lulu does the printing-press-mass-producing part at least. Amen. I had enough time consumed with an unruly copy machine and a couple of incompetent workers at Kinkos.

I guess now I am a zen-author and zen-book publisher. Wowee.

I want to be a zen-storyteller. They are multi-media generalists and take responsibility of all the layers of the project from the beginning to some form of “seeming end” (The other good thing is that it keeps your carbon footprint and production costs low, for all those environmental calorie counters). The goal is to impose as much work upon yourself and minimize the degree of reliance on other people. This minimizes waiting time, imposes lots of work on an individual, and can engage a high-energy person into activities of self-destruction, but in the end, I think the benefits outweigh the costs. You are no longer in a prison in your mind that is created due to lack of knowledge—which ultimately forces you to rely on other people.

With lulu and all the other multi-media gadgetry I have come to learn to use with some degree of skill, I now have control of my own intellectually-creative destiny.

Thanks to Lulu, I was given the opportunity and power to Question Reality with my own hands and brain, and distribute it to the people, my neighbors, all by myself.

Glory Halleluliah to Lulu! Ahem and Amen!!! (in a non-secular way)

Victoria, Now Zen Author, Fud

P.S. Amazon.com is trying to copycat Lulu via CREATESPACE at http://www.createspace.com/. This avenue might be better for film distribution. I spoke about this opportunity with Black Velvet Pro CEO, Oscar Flores.

Monday, July 28, 2008

243. Poem "My Life is a 26-mile Marathon" Written in Fall of 2005, Value of Communication of Science to Society


Please click below for the pdf file!
Though this poem is fundamentally simple, it represents the turmoil that I was in right after I finished writing my first round of Question Reality manuscript. I worked so hard and so long on a project with an original thesis, and after its completion, there was no one to greet me on the other side. I was the only person in the world who knew about what I knew (in the organized fabric of knowledge that I presented), and though that may be a romantic idea for a beginning scientist, at that moment in space and time it was a frightening notion. First of all, there was no one really around to pat me in the back. Even my parents weren't all that impressed. And secondly, my writing fabricated my mind to become interdisciplinary, and the questions I was asking led to a great problem in my academic/bureaucratic classification/existence at UC Riverside. I couldn't be a "geologist" in academic instituational terms because they only stare at rocks and have formal methods of a Ph.D. To make things worse, UC Riverside had no interdisciplinary Ph.D. program (like UCSB) that allowed creatively suffering grad students to ask the questions they truly wanted to ask and construct a supportive group of faculty that wasn't quarantined within one department with one set of rules.
Talk about conservative.
Even the assistant dean of UC Riverside Graduate Division admitted this. My counselor Ann Aasen advised me that I should not spend my graduate student career flipping and stressing out because university bureaucracy doesn't match the structure of my brain. Especially when my brain was asking PERTINENT and PRACTICAL questions in concern of human-environmental problem solving.
The poem reflects not only how my mind was going the speed of light, but also the value of "marketing." The first step of writing is to figure out how your own brain works. The second step of writing is to start mapping and distributing your brain upon the collective brain of society. Doing research requires periods of isolation, but there's no point in doing research if you keep it all to yourself. An isolated island of Reality stuck in your brain. It's not pretty.
So, the poem is something a 6 year-old could write (okay, maybe an intelligent 6-year old could write), but that was where my mind was at. I was a baby in terms of understanding the value of communicating research to society. *Sigh*
I shouldn't feel guilty that my poetry is as incoherent as Emily Dickenson. It is amazing how people seem to value poetry that is very difficult and garblish to understand. Same as scientists, the more complicated and incoherent you sound, the more people think you are intelligent and way above their heads.
Sarah Simpson said the most intelligent people are those who can communicate complex ideas most parsimoniously. *Sigh again*

Sunday, July 27, 2008

242. COMPASS Conference Session: Training Scientists to Write Opinions Editorials

Apparently Juliet Eilperin is a famous political reporter for the Washington Post, or something like that.

The above two sheets are a review that Nancy Baron of COMPASS asked me to write in concern of what the Bren students learned from how to write an Op-ed. It was amazing to be trained by Michael Todd and Anna Davidson. The pdf file of the above document is right here:
http://stokastika2.googlepages.com/4.trainingscientistsoped.pdf

One of the exercises for the Opinions Editorial session was to read and critique the above editorial. There were a few major problems, which included an awkward title as well as to what actually was the main thesis of the article. And whether the main thesis was actually stated in the end rather than in the beginning. Apparently the editor of the newspaper did some major change with the article.

I am including these documents merely because a couple of blogs ago I discussed my first ever op-ed/letter publication at the UC Riverside Highlander. About one week after this publication was a COMPASS conference at Bren, in which I had an opportunity to share the lede with a group of scientists.

By this point, I am frustrated with myself that I have only published one article and I need to publish more. I just did several hours of research of potential placement of my near-future writing. Like I said a couple of blogs ago, it's a hit-or-miss thing. A scientific experiment of chance encounter and developing compatibility with multiple media sources.

Good luck. I hope after enough trial and error, I get some success!

241. On the Origins of Newspapers and Photography in Victoria's Life


I suppose the theme for Surviving the Systems is that "You Spend your Entire Adulthood Getting Over your Childhood." I first heard this saying from Sarah Simpson, a science journalist and editor for Scientific America. In terms of getting over my childhood, I am upset that my parents literally stifled my intellectual and creative growth from the mere practice of not giving me a camera--let alone not giving me and my sister video games (which I am oppositely thankful for). I asked for a camera for so long and was so jealous that my father had this big old Pentax. Then at the same time, I cannot be to angry at them because unfortunately the predominant camera was still film-based, and it was only until college that digital camera became consumer-available. Otherwise, photography would have been a very expensive hobby... He he.
Since the first purchase of my Olympus camera in early 2001 with my UC LEADS grant funding, my memory and artistic inspiration has drastically improved and expanded. Photography is a recording crutch for my right brain essentially. Before, I could not function in biology labs because of the intense memorization of details in a short amount of time. We were expected to draw the organisms and mangled, discolored stuffed birds we were observing in lab. But with the inclusion of my Olympus camera, my biological experience had drastically altered... from failing grades and dropping classes to getting A+ grades in invertebrate zoology and California vegetation. Photography is now my method of systematic observation and recordings of my surroundings. It goes hand-in-hand with my writing. First I have visions, and then the writing just trails behind trying to keep up with my visions.
I have come to the conclusion that I have a visual, spatial-temporal memory. Duh.
Maybe that's why I was the best Origami Girl within my classes in elementary school. Whatever I was taught to make--a box, a bird, a lily flower, a fish, somehow I had this uncanny memory to reconstruct these objects, even to this day. I remembered spatial reconstruction, but I just couldn't get the endless pages of facts of US History straight. Scary thought.
The image above has two parallel stories. It was the 100th year anniversary of the Riverside Public library. At the time (when I was 7 years old), my mother was volunteering at the library and so it was a big family event to attend the ceremonies and activities. During the afternoon, I was sitting down in the back of a small crowd of similar-sized humans, cross-legged on the floor in the front main lobby, paying halfway attention to some lady up in front reading some book full of pictures. But subliminally in the corner of my eye, I saw some "other" lady dressed in darker colors, leaning against a book shelf, with a giant camera in front of her face. And then in a split moment of complete awareness, I came to realize that she was pointing the camera--as if it were some gun--directly at ME. I am sure I must have experienced some shock in my spine, but I quickly went into posing mode, looking fully alert and engaged and engrossed upon what this lady with the picture book was saying. The lady had the camera pointed at me for quite a while actually, without any faint distant click noise, and I was a bit confused. I still resumed to pose, and then I finally heard a "tsk!" and I partially released myself from my childish statuesque pose.
It ended up retroactively, that the lady photographer was waiting for my "balloon" I was holding to twist-and-turn such that you could see the "Happy Birthday Library" symbol on the balloon while taking the picture.
I do not know whether the lady photographer approached me or I approached her, but I vividly remember tagging along with her for a couple of hours all around the library. I was kind of a shy kid, but that big, juicy, clunky camera toy hanging around that lady's neck just broke all forms of social awareness and barriers. It was the most intrinsic practice for me to just start asking a bunch of questions about the camera--or whatever a 7-year old kid could possibly ask about a camera. Like how to operate it. Finally, the lady allowed me to hold the camera and gave me the license to take one picture. Just one precious picture. Wow, did my brain start cranking. Out of all the things that I knew and experienced in the world, I only had one picture I could take... within the vicinity of the library. I started scouting without being aware that I was "scouting." I started inspecting objects and backgrounds in chaotic intelligence, for I had no coursework and no methodologies. And in a regretful moment I snapped an image of a bland rock by a flight of stairs. I was so sad when I handed the camera back to the very nice lady.... I finally had to bid her goodbye. To this day, I can still feel an emotional tinge of loss from this farewell.
I faintly remember my mother being concerned about me tagging along and "playing" with a complete stranger. But I kept nagging about the camera and my overprotective parent let me loose on a day that was going to forever scar my mind and my life. Scar in a good way though.
Wow, I was the Press Enterprise Poster Child for the Riverside Public Library 100th anniversary. Not a bad modeling resume item. No pay though. Just lots of good PR. Gary Christmas, a manager of the public library and our neighbor, came over to our house the following week and gave us a snipit of a picture of me placed in the newspaper. My first experience with newspapers is to be visually published. People published me, and one day, I will get in a good habit of publishing, rather than to be published. Or maybe both. Whatever.
Since that snapshot moment, the whole sensation, the whole thrill of taking one single photograph with a giant heavy professional camera, though the photo must have been horrible, ultimately changed me, changed the functions of my mind. I knew I wanted to be a "Photographer." More so I NEEDED to be. Due to the structure of my mind. This whole Southpaw genetic deal I inherited from my father. That camera to me was like this glue, this necessary hypersensory appendage I needed to attach to my brain and body. This instant, divine fixation.
And why I cannot seem to forgive my parents about the lack of a professional camera for a shy kid who opened up from her introverted shell like some form of Awakening of life from the deadness of a child rock. Why couldn't my mother see that? See the enthusiasm? Instead I got tennis shoved down my throat. A sport my mind was never adapted to. Tennis was a whole other can of worms we'll just set aside for now.
It's not that I don't forgive my parents. I am just angry that my mother mostly imposed her own agenda on her kids rather than being observant and exploring what her kids really liked and experimented and poked with and worked on fostering intrinsic interests. My father essentially and elusively brainwashed me to become a scientific writer through his editings of my essays over time, but he was gentle and never authoritative... so I intrinsically grativated toward his advice.
I am also pissed off at the American School System because students were penalized with grade point averages for taking art classes and lauded for taking courses like physics. So, I was artistically deprived as a high school student. The only time I really had an opportunity to do art was decorating my posters for science fairs. Poor Victoria. No art = no brain blossom.
To get to the point, I am pissed because the lag time between the original exposure, spark of interest, and fixation to the camera to the actual purchase of my own digital camera summed up to be about 14 years. 14 LONG YEAR OF RELATIVE DORMANCY OF MY RIGHT BRAIN. Dormancy of being locked up in your own head and not having the capacity to become what I intrinsically would have gravitated to become. I think the lag time was a great tragedy. I didn't get that many toys from my parents. I wasn't oversaturated, but I wasn't exactly deprived. If I were "raised twice" and had multiple simulations of my childhood experiments, off hand I would have sacrificed the Barbie Dolls and a couple of family vacations. I would have liked to have been forced to play the guitar and a camera with a small monthly budget. I wished I were raised in a CCS environment that Bruce and Robin Tiffney are probably giving to Theo. My dad was CCS-like and my mother was like traditional rope-strapping university bureaucracy. Creatively stifling. I think it's good to sample both extremes of parenting, which scales out to overall methods of perceiving global governance and human-environmental management. Ha ha. That's a stretcher.
Since I was a partly-deprived child, my college experience was at first psychologically tormentingly overwhelming and a very steep learning curve of self-discovery. Finally having parental governance set aside to truly explore my own internal properties, rights, rules, constraints, values. Like my own brain has its own set of institutions. I should talk to Oran Young, my advisor, about that. I think he might be amused by the concept.

240. "The Stigma of the Yellow Envelope" First Ever Op-Ed Published at the UC Riverside Highlander

My Easter Day Card from UC Riverside Parking Services. It's nice to know that the University really cares about me and the students in general.
First Op-ed Letter Ever Written was tragically not a scientific subject, but on parking tickets.
The original article. You can retrieve the pdf file of this article at this link:
They left out the photocartoon and the graphic title "The Stigma of the Yellow Envelope." Almost sounds like a modern blockbuster airport sleeze novel that is varying the themes of The Scarlet Letter.
The newspaper the article was published in. Date included. Sometime in April. Someone contacted me two weeks after the article was sent. Talk about "lag time" transactions.
I was honored to share the same "leaf" page with this clever cartoon above. A moment of brilliance in a not-well known student newspaper. Perhaps a little better than UCSB's Daily Nauseous (quote a geology professor for saying that!) simply because the newspaper is more conservative about the subject of sx and partying.
I also shared the VERY SAME PAGE with a giant Chipotle Burrito ad. That is just so awesome! Mexican food is overally very tasty and very unhealthy but Chipotle is a chain burrito place that you will leave not feeling guilty for what you ate--but perhaps feeling a bit full. The food is also a little bland for me. American version of Mexican food. *Sigh*

I am so excited to expose a monumental feat, the initiation of a good habit, a next step toward institutionally incorporating my brain into society... I had my first ever newspaper op-ed/letter published at the UC Riverside Highlander during the spring of 2008. It's a new layer I have added to my life, beside the usual self publishing on lulu and on my own blog. I am slowly learning to take the "next step" in the protocol of publishing: after you finishing writing a piece, you submit your work to multiple sources and see whether these sources accept or reject you. It's an experiment, you see. Right now, my strategy is to submit to the "top sources," and if that doesn't work, you submit to the "local sources." It's the same totem pole effect with scientific jourals. Sort of. There's a "hierarchy of prestige" in terms of where you get your verbage some published PR. The best part is that even though you get a few "misses" with publishing, when you do get a "hit," you start establishing a bond and relationship with the publishing source. Which then becomes fun. Your first "hit" is the hardest hit. But after that, you start establishing routine interactions. And that's when things can start getting on a good publishing groove.
I realized that I in part want to be some form of journalist--more so an investigative science writer (not one of those people who mindlessly crank out 700 word articles on a daily basis just to fill up space). I have been encouraged by this pathway ever since I met Sarah Simpson, the wife of Tim Lyons who is a Geology Editor at Scientific America. I was further encouraged after I met the whole gang of aspiring science writers in the Santa Cruz Science Writing Program. One science writer by the name of Brittany Grayson--who I clicked really well at the conference--is now an outreach person for COMPASS/Seaweb, which is a big deal and an amazing position. Brittany also pursued an internship with Discover in New York. Wow!
Despite this immense love for writing about science and environment--or investigating the Biologically Incorrect interpretation of Modern Reality, it is of great tragedy to admit that my first op-ed/letter I ever published was about... parking tickets. I suppose you can imagine my invisible Shiloh beagle tail tucked between my legs. Christina Allison, a writer and retired professional theater performer, informed me that if I were in New York, my first article would have been about taxi drivers.... Oh.
I suppose location matters.
It was an honor though to have my article published on the same "leaf" sheet with a cartoon called Deadend and a Chipotle advertisement, as explained above.
I first thought that publishing in a newspaper was the last "new thing" I needed to do before my Diversity StoryTelling Collection became complete. But it turned out that there are lots of things I still haven't done, like publish a piece of poetry or a short story. Or publish a book through a publishing house, not Lulu. Or publish a scientific article. *Cringe.* I thought all I was going to do all my life was write scientific articles. Wow. Was my brain trapped into one uni-direction. Well, I guess I have to keep experimenting.
[Break! My father just disturbed me. He pointed out a five-part series on the costliness of wildland fire fighting "CNN burns" on the LA Times. They didn't interview him. I saw the writing style and it was the writing of chaos. Those news reporters do not know science, nor have their ecological understanding straight--especially when trying to be ecologically metaphorical in describing the Zaca Fire "Pygmy Forests of Chaparral." That was just so insulting to what I learned in basic principles of California Vegetation.]

I am still slightly thrilled about having something of my work published. Even a meagerly article of trivial signifance. It's a start. That's all. The hardest part is always starting.
I vividly remember how my father was more pissed off than I was when I received the parking ticket. He told me that I should write an article to the school paper. We both drove to the 99 cent store and brainstormed the article. The next day, at a Starbucks in Moreno Valley, I hammered out the article in sweat and agony. Two weeks later, I received a response. The Highlander wanted to publish the article. [Sorry if I am being repetitious, my father really disrupted my train of thought!]
I have come to understand a little on how editors FILTER the writer's original writing. In my case, they didn't use my catchy title "The Stigma of the Yellow Envelope," nor my graphic cartoon Easter Card from the Parking Services. To me, the article looks boring now, simply because the "eye catcher" elements were eliminated. Maybe due to space issues. Maybe because the school paper didn't want to piss off bureaucracy too much. It would be interesting to interview the editor and ask him about the decisions he made to manipulate my article. And why.
I have come to learn that literary "editing" is not about editing grammar and spelling. It is about other parties imposing their views and values upon your own original work. Now that I am starting to get into good habits of submitting my work, I think it will be an interesting process to figure out my threshold of "how willing am I to bend" in terms of other sources manipulating my work to their agenda and purposes. Such is the process of industrial media ecology.
In terms of writing structures of op-eds, I suppose there is some degree of variation. All I know is that newspapers write to "sell," so they are more willing to sensationalize ideas and harp on human emotion over rational thought. There is a triangle mode: flashing people with the hot thesis and fun facts, and then the article tapers off with sparse, diffuse lines of nonconvincing evidence to support the flashy thesis. (I want to cry). Then there is scientific writing, as Milton Love likes to call it "strange and stoic. Devoid of emotion. Uninvolved. This bizarre form of distancing that doesn't represent objectivity, but merely represents detachment." (I am paraphrasing). My question is as to whether we can find a balance between holistic use of our brains: use emotion without sacrifice of rationality and intelligence.
A commonality of all writing structures is the thesis, or in op-eds, the "lede." I suppose a "lede" is a thesis with a schnazzy twist. In most cases, "forceful cleverness" that more than likely may backfire. The structure I like to follow in an article is "interpreting a personal experience to universal truths of society," as I did with this article: extrapolating a single parking ticket to the values of holidays and the structure of university bureaucracy.

The second part of this newspaper writing experience was that I had the opportunity to share the "lede" of the article to a group of environmental scientists at a one-day COMPASS training program spear-headed by Dr. Nancy Baron (director of the Aldo Leopald science-society training program). It was an amazing experience to have a room full of scientists wearing journalist/literary hats. Wouldn't it be cool to form a "Writers Group" at Bren? To have a group of scientists meeting once a week to share short stories and poetry? What a flippin' concept! That would be a dream. Simultaneously comical as well.
I also had an opportunity to interact with Michael Todd, an editor at Miller-McCune, a science-policy magazine that has started up in town. I am very interested in interning with him because in our extensive conversation that day, I have come to respect and trust Michael as a journalist and person overall. He was very frank and honest about how journalism works. For example, he informed us that he gets bombarded with emails all the time, and that if I don't follow up with a phone call after sending an email of an article, then the article I wrote will most likely get buried, as if there was a catastrophic mudslide of emails burying my original, pure ideas. My article quickly becomes a fossil email. Sigh. Uncovered after some technological geologists uncover it a few years from now. Michael also mentioned how in science, people become experts in a decade. In journalism, people become "experts" over night. Wow. That's cool. And that also sucks. It explains a lot about how society runs. After hearing those things, it started to make me doubt whether I wanted to truly be a science journalist, or be in the middle world in the university of doing research and simultaneously long-term science journalism.
So, I have come to trust Michael. When I am ready, after I do my environmental media philosophizing... I will contact him for an internship.
It is interesting to think that as soon as you add layers of publication to your original writing, there are not only added layers of editorial filtering of your work, but you acquire new layers of an AUDIENCE. The most important issue that concerns me is that when I am first writing something, the ONLY audience I should have is MYSELF. Because I must stay true to my mind's heart. The most difficult task in life is to internalize and untangle your own brain... let alone to think that you can untangle the brains of others? Ha ha ha. Writing has psychological significance. Writing is an alternative to drugs, psychiatric wards, and overall self-destruction. So the first step is writing is to untangle your brain. In the succession of re-writes you then start adding layers and coatings to your core onion and allow audiences and other people to impose their views upon your work. This filtering process can be good or bad. But the more filtered it gets, the more likely it will be "accepted" by society. Filtering is like a peer-review process. It's not right or wrong, it slowly over time becomes common agreement.
When I am writing, I cannot be preoccupied with the notion of "What do other people think?" Then I am not in the shell of my own brain. That question can stifle anyone's creativity. Besides, life is too short to worry about what other people think. That worry was subliminally the first 17 years of my life. Then the resulting anorexia took out that question and threw it in the trash bin. The most important thing is your own sanity and existence.
Now that I have been skipping back and forth, I am returning to the question of a career of journalism. I am in a slight state of discouragement from the COMPASS training conference, but I need to know that I need to experience journalism as an intern. It will perhaps be the next grand experiment in my life. The super scientific question of the day will be: Does my intellectual creative metabolism math the metabolism of a newspaper?--Daily or Weekly?
My creativity comes in spurts. I know I tend to be overstimulated and oversaturated with ideas rather than undersaturated (dxm my prefrontal cortex, won't it shut up!). Those are technically good things. Good signs for journalism survival.
But to overlay my creative metabolism with the metabolism of a daily or weekly newspaper.... I do not know whether I can do it or not.... but I can't wait to see how a future internship will go.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

239. "First" Photopoetry Piece: "Jackaranda Bloom" Poem

Final Piece.
Original photograph used. Pretty boring on its own. Photoshop can do amazing things!
Original poem.

http://stokastika2.googlepages.com/jackarandabloom.pdf
Pdf file of original poem.

Wow. Photopoetry has SO many layers to it. Bajeezus. First you have to be inspired. Then you have to formulate inspiration words and spacetime into a poem. Then you have to take a picture. Or you are simultaneously taking a picture and crafting a poem. Some things can go out of order. Then in your frantic efforts of data management, you have to match your finalized poem with a finalized photoshopped picture. You merge and integrate the layers. Then you have a final piece. It's as if I am composing a piece of music.

I had three old photopoems I created through powerpoint. But let's just say those were simple test runs and the origins of getting into good habits. They don't necessarily need to see the light of Internet's day. He he.

I suppose this is a form of storyboarding. In future elaboration of photopoetry, my intention is to handwrite the poems, scan them, and then overlay them on my cartoons and or photographs. It makes the whole photoshop experience a lot more personalized/homemade.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

238. Pilot Season First Annual Santa Barbara Write-off Reality Show Competition, Day 5, Creating a Musical for Climax Segment of Classic Literature



Please visit the pdf version of the poem below.
Though most people found this particular exercise the EASIEST, I actually found it to be the hardest. Shelly was testing us into more "commercialized" forms of writing (or writing that biases English majors over Science majors, two drawbacks for me!), which I think is superb for me and really taking me out of my box of writing for exploring the human-environmental condition. Shelly and her husband are currently working on adopting classical pieces of Literature into musicals (hence Shelly was going to New York the next day, perhaps to meet up with folks like Gershwin, sheeh). Everyone in the class had to choose a classical piece of literature, choose a key segment of the literature and create a musical piece. It doesn't need to rhyme. Amen. Sadly, my Crime and Punishment choice was not listed on Shelly's list posted in the front of the room--which had classics like Hamlet, Catcher and the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Stranger, Forest Gump, etcetera. Shelly was open to letting me do a Subconscious Tribal Chant for Raskolnikov in terms of whether he truly converted to Christianity or changed his ways due to a changed environment? Mine was a dark, psychological-environmental thriller. Many others were very lively and hilarious. Oh well. Though Shelly liked very much what I created within the half-hour time frame.
The question of the day is, why did my mind gravitate toward Crime and Punishement, of all the pieces of literature I had been exposed to in my life? First of all, I was in a very dire situation during my high school year, which was the same time I was reading Crime and Punishment. Raskolnikov went through Transformation, as I was forced to go through transformation to survive from Anorexia. And thirdly, I have come to realize that I have come to absorbe so much in terms of the way how Dostoyevsky thinks--the themse of emotions versus reason, science and reason versus religion. Raskolnikov was a young, complex character that needed change, just as I did. I was and I am Raskolnikov. I have become the essence of Raskolnikov just as Ray Bradbury became Herman Melville (at least for a short while)--at least partly. I think our egoes are completely opposite though. Raskolnikov had a Mega Ego problem and I had the Absence of an Ego, and had to formulate and Build and Ego. *Geeze* Wow.
Nice to know I can pull off some Bullshxt from my xss within a half hour. I am sure my AP/IB English Teacher, Ms. Ellen Fauver, will be pleased to know what I did! I'll send this blog to her some day soon!
If I had a second chance, I would create a musical climax for Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth. I already have a rough draft for a song. I just have to dig it out of my computer and finish it!
If I had a third chance, I would have written a musical for The Myth of Sisyphus, Part II. A Formula for Change, not Maintaining the Status Quo.

237. Pilot Season First Annual Santa Barbara Write-off Reality Show Competition, Day 4, Writing a Piece on Savory, Home Cooking, Greek Mother


Please visit the pdf file of the above story below.
On the fourth day of the competition, we had a celebrity judge who was involved in writing about home cooking. Hence, the very difficult theme was "savory home cooking." Writing about home-cooked food that reminds you of a very special place. Try to tangle the landscapes of food and home all in one piece. Oh boy. For those who know me, food is not a very pretty subject. With my upbringing, food was anything but savory and inviting pleasant memories--except for maybe Mexican food at Don Jose. Unfortunately, that food was not-home-made.
I had told this story at Tabletopics Toastmasters before, so my thoughts were quite polished in my brain by the time I entered this competition. The essay I wrote was so funny that I had a hard time reading it, and many people laughed. I even had a judge from San Diego come up to me and state how she thoroughly enjoyed my piece!
The next time I am ever asked to write about food in a Reality Show Write-off Competition, I will write a piece called Envirochondriac, which is about an individual going environmentally psychotic about that food that is on his or her plate, not only in terms of the health and contents, but where it comes from, how it's made, carbon and calorie counting, obsession, just like those Weight watchers people. Carbon counting is weight watchers for the environment, etcetera. Looking forward to writing that piece. I already have a song/poem. So I'll start with that.
LOOK HERE FOLKS, VICTORIA MINNICH INVENTED THE WORD ENVIROCHONDRIAC IN FALL QUARTER OF 2007 IN AN ESSAY ON AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. IF ANYONE USES THIS WORD AND DOESN'T GIVE ME CREDIT--ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY PUT THIS WORD IN THE ENGLISH DICTIONARY--I AM GOING TO HUNT THEM DOWN AND ASK THEM TO GIVE ME CREDIT FOR SOME CREATIVITY HERE. OKAY?!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

236. Pilot Season First Annual Santa Barbara Write-off Reality Show Competition, Day 3, Co-write a Conflict-Resolution Dialogue with FScott Fitzgerald




Please visit the pdf file below!


Though I do not think Lynn and I were very highly judged with our co-written dialogue with F. Scott Fitzgerald being our “ghost writer”—primarily because the first draft had less conflict and was more visual than oral communication (hence, my falling on the floor as a drunkard) (besides, the stakes were high; we had to compete with a hilarious dilemma between the plastic surgeon, a cripple, and her momma, as well as a Mamette interpretation of two women fighting intensely over a parking spot)—I still feel like that this event right here captures the essence of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, in so many ways. This exercise here was indeed the highlight of my experiences in the past week of “chaos”—or my perception of chaos (especially since it was the first time I had ever attended such a conference!).

This experience and the conference as a whole pushed my limits as a writer. Co-scripting a dialogue is a very intimate process, and I was forced to get to know a person—in this case Lynn—very, very fast. Like, within a half an hour. I learned quite a few things about myself: (1) I have the ability to bend and adapt to a great degree to the other person I am collaborating with (in this case, my mind was going the speed of light and my partner’s mind was much slower-paced, which is understandable, because I think my brain is naturally on speed, even though I have never taken meth before), (2) I learned that even though I am a rather serious, satirical writer when I am in my own brain, when combining my brain with other brains, I become increasingly and rapidly more slapstick comical, (3) since I thrive off of healthy competition, I was desperate and pushed my “acting” visual-communication limits and fell to the floor as a drunkard to compensate for our rudimentary script. Though, we had two highlights of our dialogue. The first highlight was when Roderick commented on how he could not keep track of everything in his life, let alone the number of martinis he had. The second highlight was when Jenny proclaimed, “What’s the world coming to when everything’s fine and everyone’s drunk?”
One more comment for now. After this experience, I have come to realize that an ultimate dream of my career is to become a part of a writers think tank in the design of a system, whether a film or television show, or whether it's protocol for colonizing Mars! Whatever!

235. Essay Sent to The New Yorker, "The Tragedy of Celebrity"



I don't know how I got to be so inspired to write this essay on The Tragedy of Celebrity, of course, from my Biologically Incorrect point of view, but I did it. And not only that, I took a step further. I told my dad and a couple of people about the essay I was writing and I was recommended to submit this to The New Yorker. Wow. Straight to the top. That's a big leap. He he. Oh well. I did. Since my confidence is so low and the likelihood of being published is SOOO slim, I decided that I best not wait a response and already resume with my life, assuming rejection. But given the alternative hypothesis of acceptance--which is about 1/10,000 odds (I am formulating probabilities from my behind) I shall swiftly drop and unpublish this particular blog and let others enjoy reading via New Yorker format.

Here is the entire 5-page essay below. I just attached the first two pages above.

It's the first time I ever submitted anything to The New Yorker. I'm still in shock. I assume rejection, but success will dramatically improve with each attempt :-).
Now, I must get back on task!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

234. Song / Poem "Resurrection", Inspired by Luis Alberto Urrea, "It takes a great loss to make a great find"


Here is the pdf version of the poem above:
I can't believe it took me so long to finally get to these poems. Three things happened after the Writers Conference that has made life unstable: (1) strenuous dental work (2) the Gap Fire in Goleta, California, a couple of miles from my rented house near by Dos Pueblos High School, and (3) major problems with my external hard drive--which I purchased a few external hard drives to deal with Fragmented Data Management (FDM) as well as Fragmented Mental Management (FMM), apparently Karl (my Dr. Jeff Dozier Ph.D. student super coolio housemate) also has the same problem. I wonder if we need to visit shrinks or just deal with our horrid fragmented data. I have come to realize in the world of multi-media I have generated some megamondo files, and I need to strip these files from my word docs and perhaps even my jpgs, which are now ALSO accumulating as megamondo files. Shxt.
I started formulating "Resurrection" right after the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. One of the most inspirational speakers I was lucky to witness and photograph was Luis Alberto Urrea. He told this rather graphic story of how his father came from Mexico with all that he had--his beat up car and 1000 dollars, just to watch his son (Urrea) graduate from UC San Diego. Along the way he was mugged and hijacked by the Mexican Police. And he was left in some hospital in Arizona (I believe) to die. His cousin got to him before he died. And then some famous author (Irving?) had some workshop at UC San Diego, and Urrea submitted some writing about the death of his father and how he could not process what happened to him. This famous author took him in and published his work. And through his father's death, he founded his dream life as a writer. What tragic irony. I also remember him telling a story how he got a janitorial job at Harvard by submitting his poetry and short stories, ha ha ha. I was so inspired by Urrea that I gave him an image of my "think outside the box" squirrel and bird. He signed one of mine. What a thinker-outside-the-box!
I wouldn't call this situation a Darwin Award. I would call it the Social Darwin Award. You die through the means of the fxcked up rule systems and lawnessness of a society. I think a lot of people have not been given Social Darwin Awards. And I declare the Father of Luis Alberto Urrea to receive the First Conscious Social Darwin Award.
I was also inspired to write Resurrection through a close friend of mine--who also lost a lot. I won't get into it.
And through my own experiences, externalized by Urrea and my close friend, I started a poem, "It takes a great loss / to make a great find / through your grievous death / I found my gracious life...."

Saturday, July 05, 2008

233. Song / Poem "The Mask"




I feel so good! Last weekend, I purchased a set of damaged masks from a yardsale off of Mission Drive (in support of some girls going to Norway for a soccer tour) and the following week I drove home--and suddenly (ironically right after an uninspiring dental consultation), after three years of desiring to write a decent poem about "the mask," a song starts cranking out of me... and VERY FAST! Oh my gosh! My dream song on the mask, has come through! Key words are mask and "discrepancy" aha. Wow. It might be modified in the future, but this is the first "Mask" poem I am pleased with. I told Oscar Flores I wanted to do a filmed monologue about the "Mask" and it ended up that I'm singing. Well, it's part song, part monologue-ish.