Thursday, January 21, 2010

503. Poem / Song "Absurdity" Just Invented in the Car!

Absurdity

Will you play this game with me? (aye-aye-aye-aya)
I'm trying to save humanity. (aye-aye-aye-aya)
I've given up: it's-ah mockery! (aye-aye-aye-aya)
There's nothing much out worth saving, (aye-aye-aye-aya)
Except my own sanity. (aye-aye-aye-aya)
Sparing my own sanity. (aye-aye-aye-aya)
What a noble, sacred deed. (aye-aye-aye-aya)
Quite a noble, sacred deed. (aye-aye-aye-aya)

Well, why don't we go on watching-- (aye-aye-aye-aya)
This global tragic movie (aye-aye-aye-aya)
I think it's called "Absurdity." (aye-aye-aye-aya)
I guess you can, count on me (aye-aye-aye-aya)
On showing up for this viewing. (aye-aye-aye-aya)
At least we won't be lone-ly (aye-aye-aye-aya)
Watching this show unfolding, (aye-aye-aye-aya)
You-oh-you and me. (aye-aye-aye-aya)
You-oh you and me. (aye-aye-aye-aya)
You-oh you and me. (aye-aye-aye-aya)
You-oh you and me. (aye-aye-aye-aya)


I have a hunch that I might be expanding this song. There's lots of potential, and the theme is very timely: how I and several other people have come to this naive, ephemeral burden of saving the world when they get to college, and then one day they wake up, grow up and start first pursuing the task of saving themselves before they get into grander, convoluted thought processes.

This song is fresh out of my head, like fresh eggs right out of the chicken. I went to the grocery store and on the way back, the song poured out *bam* like that! No struggle! Now I have to get over the complex of sharing my raw voice and melody in some attached mp3 here. I first have to learn logic studio pro. Big hurdle to jump over!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

503. Wild West Commercial Fishing Graphic Design / Multi-Media Package (Completed in Early May of 2010)



Blurb for the Multi-Media Collection Above:
Wild West Commercial Fishing Graphic Design Multi-Media Package. Wild West Commercial Fishing Logos / Graphic Design Package. Graphic Design Packets Can Include: (1) logo(s) "brands" and (2) other associated logo elements (3) personalized fonts (4) letterheads (5) banners (6) optimized website graphics (7) business cards (8) cartoons (9) posters (10) bumper stickers (11) t-shirts (12) posters (13) gamut of products from the "cafepress / zazzle / printfection" portal (14) complete website design (15) short film.... Logo features Rocky the Rockfish with his cowboy hat and gun in a holster, hitching a ride from Mr. SeaHorse. Jules requests wordings as this: "locally caught seafood" and "Mission Bay, San Diego, CA" accompanied with simple images of SPINY lobster (NO CLAWS like the east coast lobster!), fish, and crab (rock crab of course, continuing the "rock theme" here).

I don't believe in "love," but I am aware in being "addicted" to someone--a person--at multiple levels and multiple scales--and that is most certainly a truthy-ism. From visceral to emotional to super-conscious, over various disparate landscapes, over short and long periods of time. From two little fuzzy reptiles under the bed sheets to the adventures of cavefolk in the boonies of Mexico to the satirical commentary of everyday life of science and fishing and politics "culture of the masses" of America. And for such compatibility to occur over all these complex layers of strings enables a complex, growing, symphonic relationship, I would perceive it to be a whole symphony of inner and outer instruments that would enable the stability and growth of such a relationship.

(Though it has taken me a couple of days too long) Being heathily addicted to someone has driven me to produce beautiful things. For example, this near-complete graphic design multi-media package for Jules (except a film at the moment)... as an act of reciprocation for housing and good food and friendship and a few fancy dinners at Cass Street and Emerald Bay (fine seafood! the most expensive restaurant I've been to) and the least I can do when Jules swept me away to the Bahia de Los Angeles after a hideous Winter Quarter 2010 that destroyed my health and morale and nearly overall outlook to life. I literally was "frozen" after that barbaric quarter and the best possible thing anyone could have done for me was TAKE ME AWAY FROM MY LIFE and ALL FAMILIAR LANDSCAPES. Implant me in a novel environment and play with me exploring the world like a little kid all over again.... Anyhoo, the best part about this graphic design multi-media package is that it's a first professional package I have done, and I can showcase this to others who need this done (except next time I get paid and probably no bartering).

There was quite a bit of frustrating "trial and error" that was involved with the design of the Wild West Commercial Fishing Logo. To start me off, Jules suggested that I watch Blazing Saddles (with Mel Brooks, 1969) which seems to be a cult film among the fishing community. I held onto that film for about a year; it was sitting in the car. And finally I returned the film to Jules in February of 2010 and said I can't watch the film alone. I will have to watch the film with you. Ironically, I never watched that film until AFTER I finished the final designs of logos. And I can see how Jules and several fishermen can relate to this film: a humorous wild west comedy film about the interactions with the wild west characters, and African-American "slaves" at the time with the boundaries of "uncivilized civilization."

Blazing Saddles was refreshingly absurd. I began to notice that since Hollywood had no access to special effects, the quality of acting from the characters was refreshingly superb (and parly improvisational, you could tell!) and I walked away from the film thinking that I could EASILY make a film like that today, in 2010 (with digital film and final cut pro). But I have to transport myself back in time and think about how film technology has evolved through time. Back then, people had to manually cut and paste slides and strips, which was fairly messy... so given the time and technology, the film was of course, great quality. I walked away from the film also feeling like any form of moral attachment to a film about the insanity of interactions between the Wild West and Civilization was a very sophisticated person. And so yes, I have Jules by my side, eh? Yay, Jules Citizen Scientist. Lucky me.

I recall that my first drawings came about in April or May of 2009. I think at that time, our relationship was fresh and that I was experiencing hesitancies in my art. I drew the rockfish and the seahorse as Jules requested (independent from the Blazing Saddles movie), but the first iteration rock fish was a bit too chunky and the seahorse didn't exactly look like a seahorse (at least to Jules). Jules suggested that I move the mouth to the end of the snout, that the seahorse have "poofier hair" like a "mohawk" kind of look that I imposed, and that the little fins on the seahorse' back had little "motion lines" to make the fins look more like fins. I remember Jules pointing me in certain directions with images in local papers like the San Diego Ocean Magazine. I also remember negotiating with Jules about what information to place on a t-shirt and logo, and we settled with "Wild West Commercial Fishing" "Locally Caught Seafood" "Mission Bay San Diego CA." At one point we were thinking of words "fresh" and "sustainable" but I think those words have so much rhetoric and baggage (especially with the enviro community) that it might repulse certain people. But "local" is a very attractive word, and I think it will work just fine. After the second round iteration, which took me 2-3 days of cranking out variations of the logo into headers and banners and t-shirts and sticker and poster forms... Jules and I thought we had a winning logo. Jules showed my work to about 5-6 of his buddies around October of 2009 and two of them mistakened the cowboy hat as a "big nose," as Jules and I were both frustrated with TWO of these strange remarks that were not apparent to us. So, by that point, I was super frustrated and didn't want to look at the work for a while, though Jules proposed a simple solution. Placing a sea star (maybe with a smiley face) on cowboy hat. My interest in finishing the logo project re-sparked in April as I became addicted to drawing bazillions of Biologically Incorrect cartoons and was in the "Cartoon Mode." Jules lured me in and made me forget all my past work. He said over the phone, "It's so simple. All you have to do is add a starfish on the hat and a squiggly line to show the hat in motion." Ya ya, so simple at the core, but I would have to re-modify every variation of this logo such that it's suitable for headers and banners and stickers and t-shirts and pins, etcetera... Shxt!

But just this past Saturday, I woke up with a confident, blazing work ethic (largely derived from the epic trip to the Bahia de Los Angeles) and was able to unravel the tangled knot and modify all the parts and pieces and variations. And then on Sunday I went to Kinkos (FedexOffice) to print out about 15 sheets as color prints on regular size paper and, and I was lucky that two of the Kinkos employees had difficulties black-and-white poster printing the Wild West Logo, and they ended up giving me three posters (two correct and one mess up) for free (which was about a $17 value). It was super cool--just in the last two days having this Wild West artwork laying around, I attracted the attention of three different people--mostly commentary-based conversations, and one guy for "It's Clickable" was more like a salesman, and he ended up trying to recruit me to sell products, which is not very... enticing to me.... I told Jules that he was going to win over the girlz with his logo because they're going to "cooo all over you" about how cute your Rocky the Rockfish and Seahorse are....

Also on Sunday afternoon, I spent time decorating Jules house--living room and office--and ended up taking pictures of him and the Wild West Poster, which kind of looked like a movie poster (so cool!). Jules was all cross-bug eyed too, just like the rockfish and the seahorse! And finally of course, this prompted Jules' ultimate commentary: "I have lived this long--for fifty years--and my life has amounted to this: a bug-eyed fish, a bug-eyed sea horse, and a Chinese Bunny Rabbit." (referring to the great Mr. Bun, a stuffed bunny rabbit I rescued from Kmart a day before our trip to the Bahia de Los Angeles). "Well," I said. "You asked for it. You said you never wanted to grow up. You are 5.0 years old." And then Jules said, "Well then, that makes you 2.8 years old." We then established a new metric for age. I think it's nonlinear... or we just shift the decimal points....

To think of the insanity of scientific consensus... I just endured three or four rounds of artistic consensus with Jules. The most important issue is that I ENDURED... and that I FINISHED MY PROJECT (or finished a crucial phase of my project), as Michel Gondry greatly emphasizes, "to start... and to FINISH your project, no matter how much you like or don't like your project." Unfinished projects will eat your brain alive... as I know. Creativity and creative projects is a SYMBOL of on-going commitment--continuous renewal--to an evolving relationship. When people commit to "wedding rings," it's a sign of laziness. Rings are usually made of metal and they rust slowly. But mostly, you wear them every day and they are static, unchanging in the human lifespan. It takes much effort to evolve a relationship before the grand "wedding" event, but after that the only thing left that can happen is stagnancy. But when I am making a sincere effort to tell stories with cartoons, with artwork, with poetic words... I am working every single day to perceive change in myself, in others, in my environment, and grasp and document and harness this change, whether gradual or sudden. Creative storytellling is a renewed commitment to your relationships classified as "addictions" (whether familial or acquired) but also is a commitment of relationship with yourself and your interactions with all other elements within you, and around you. Hence, my wedding rings take in the form of stories and artwork. They take the form of my two kids--Terra the Biogeek and Buz the Geobum. Chronic evolutions, eh? Ya.

And of course, this work is a symbol of attachment to Jules. As people would use the term "boyfriend," (which has horrible baggage in this country, it has more so a meaning of territorial ownership rather than mutual relationship) I describe Jules as "my rock" in a fragmented, ephemeral society of non-commital citizens. A rock of evolving stability in a universe of flakes. A rock rooted to himself and to the land, the ocean. And I'm lucky I found him... it's easy to root onto Jules. I'm his little epiphyte, yay! And since then... it's been nothing but TRANSFORMATION in my life!

In addition, back in April of 2009, I started designing a website for Jules through Blogger as well as a Picasaweb album of photographs of our ocean adventures--boat rides and the like. Both Picasaweb Albums and Websites are works of progress, but heck, I've got a solid start. I started the Picasaweb Album entitled "Whatever's Left of the Wild West" (I have a poem with such a title) at
http://www.picasaweb.com/wildwestfishing and it contains a MATRIX of folders of with themes of specific elements of the ocean environment, which is evolving (Whatever's Left of the Wild West Profile Shots, Pieces of the Wild West AquaTechnological Puzzle, Mission Bay Catch of the Day, ByCatch: Because the Ocean is a Goodie Grab Bag, Bait: Because Everything Eats Everything Else, Physical Elements of the Pacific Coast Environment, Freeriders of the Wild West Commercial Fishing Boat, Biological Elements of the Pacific Ocean Environment, Human Elements of the Pacific Ocean Environment, Wild West Seafood Meals and Munchies, Graphic and Multi-Media Design, and a Couple of Hidden Folders). It's funny to think I look back at this folder and I'm frustrated that I shot everything in JPEG now that I know how to shoot and edit in RAW format. I have so much to work on in terms of PHOTOGRAPHY! I met a San Diegan photographer Art Wager (http://www.artwagerphoto.com) and showed him some of this portfolio. He was impressed by the originality of the photographs, but he was overall concerned with the quality since they were small images--the sizes of the photographs were not acceptable to be submitted for stock imagery. But nevertheless, what a confidence boost, and I'm about to resubmit a portfolio to Istockphoto in a few!

As for the website, I bought a domain
http://www.wildwestfishing.net on April 28, 2009 and I guess we both forgot to renew it on time and now the dang domain is up for bid minimum $70 bucks. Just two days ago, I purchased http://www.wildwestfish.com and http://www.wildwestfish.net from Google Apps and GoDaddy / Enom ($10 bucks each) and they both point toward the Blogger Site... http://www.wild-west-fishing.blogspot.com. At first, Jules and I were irked at changing the domain name, but then we realized the value of shifting "fishing" to "fish" because most "wild west fishing" websites were sport fishing, and Jules is involved in commercial fishing. He provides "wild west fish" not "wild west fishing experiences." Plus "wild caught fish" and "wild fish" are buzz words in the food industries, scientific world, and especially the enviros.... so there are certain advantages to shortening the domain name. Over time, it became apparent on how to best organize such a website--see the sketch below:


Folders include: (1) Main Page with Mission / Summary Statement (eventual video?) (2) Longer Page on About Wild West Commercial Fishing (3) Ocean Products, local, sustainably caught seafood (4) Final Products, tips for seafood meals and munchies (5) Photoessays of Wild West Commercial Fishing (hence Picasaweb) (6) Quoteology and Short Stories of Ocean Adventures (7) Wild West T-shirts and Such, through Zazzle, most likely (8) Local Resources of San Diego, referred businesses (9) Jules in the News (news articles on fishing) (10) Contact Wild West Fishing. Quite a bit of information to include in a website! I completely recommend Google Apps and Blogger for websites because Google invented the search engine most people use, and so somehow Google products climb up in the rankings much faster than any of the other websites....

Perhaps I completed a First Phase of a Milestone of Artwork affiliated with Jules.... I look at what I have completed and have come to realize that if anyone comes to me for the design of a boring corporate logo... that won't be possible. There's too much personality and sincerity in this neck of the ocean's woods.

To Do List of What Remains to Be Done
**Start an Istockphoto Collection of Wild West Fishing (shooting RAW images)
**Complete the "Matrix" of the http://www.wildwestfish.net Website
**Create a Google Docs Survey Request for Certain Fish, Certain Times of the Year
**Upload T-shirt Designs on Zazzle and/or Cafepress
**Print up a Run of T-shirts Locally
**Develop a small advertisement for Jules for the Ocean Magazine
**Vinyl or Laminated Print for Fisherman's Market or Farmer's Market Eventually?!
**Continue developing a script for World's Funniest Catch

Thursday, January 14, 2010

502. Useful Philosophical-Scientific Thought Experiments That Cannot be Tested, Replicated, or Proven

Man, oh man! I'm on a roll. This is another list I have been wanting to make for a VERY long time.... This is just the start....
Philosophical-Scientific Thought Experiments That Cannot be Tested, Replicated, or Proven


(1). If Darwin had one wish from God, he would want Replicate Earths (would be very useful in the Sustainability Experiment!).

Please visit Blog 492 for more images!

(2). I can only know what life is, given that I know what life cannot be. Designing your own organisms and see if they can live (Jurassic Parkish, kind of). I had envisioned a montage of Terra and Buz falling into the phylogenetic tree of all of life, and they themselves morphed into all different types of creatures in order to test whether they could survive and replicate... or not. (Still yet to be done!).

(3). Planetary Systems reconstructions. I heard there is an astronomy modeler at Cal State Northridge who actually tries to reconstruct planetary systems to see whether they are physically and chemically feasible to exist in reality. How fun! (Kind of like Einstein, who theorized relativity, and then was observed retroactively, crazy!)

(4). Post-cataclysmic ecosystem and city-civilization (trophic) reconstructions. Hiroshima or Hurricane Katrina experiments are not considered ethical... though at the time, the situation beckoned such an experiment. This type of ecological reconstruction is explored in Mike Davis' Chapter 16, "Natural History of Dead Cities" (in Dead Cities, the book)... though I would argue to entitle the chapter "Natural History Reconstructions" since it was all about imagining how would the world look like after man destroyed it. This concept is also explored in a more recent book, "The World Without Us," (and illustrated book "After Man"!) which I thought was wretched writing... for example... the author kept referring to a world after human beings as "some Garden of Eden," blah blah blah. As Seth the graduate student said on a geology field trip to Nevada, "The bad news is the world is going to hxll. The good news is that the world will be a much better place afterwards."

(5). Designer Ecosystems. What kind of pastoral environment do you want to create out of Santa Cruz and the Channel Islands? What kind of Japanese garden do you want to make out of the ocean, the California Coastline?

(6). Thought Experiments on the Male Species.... been there, done that... to be indulged in another human being for a long time without even being in close physical contact... View This Blog.

More ideas to come!

I suppose this Blog Post is a continuation of
Blog 497, which details a growing list of very unethical, but very real series of experiments that are currently underway, or have already happened. Building on Blog posts with conversations/courses with Dr. Mike Davis (Blog 482, Blog 475, Blog 466).

501. Whacky Gibberish Poem Entitled "The Co-Evolution of Collective Action"

PDF for Poem "Co-Evolution of Collective Action" can be found here:
http://sites.google.com/site/stokastika2/coevolutionofcollectiveaction.pdf

Epic Tattoo of the Phoenix on the back of my great friend, Lauri Green. The Phoenix is a most appropriate metaphor in terms of exploring the simultaneous feedbacks between constructionism and deconstructionism in the above poem. Candidate for Vispo!

Epic Tattoo of the Phoenix on the back of my great friend, Lauri Green. The Phoenix is a most appropriate metaphor in terms of exploring the simultaneous feedbacks between constructionism and deconstructionism in the above poem. Candidate for Vispo!


Sunday night I was going on this philosophical stream of consciousness and "heading toward the right direction of my powerpoint presentation," and Monday morning, I woke up realizing that my day was going to be chopped up, and I wanted to give myself something to do in Barry's creative writing class (giving myself something--some fiddling project--to do ultimately keeps me more attentive in class for some reason), so I brought these two poems I had concocted, as inspired by readings from Mike Davis, Chapters 15 and 16 of "Dead Cities." Chapter 15 explored the notion of nonlinear contingencies in the history of life on earth, synthesizing some literatures in planetary geology (whoever's responsible for studying asteroids), ecology-evolutionary biology, and some social science sources. I was elated that Davis synthesized the often philosophically disconnected fields of geology and evolutionary biology (very much disconnected in mentalities I had experienced when ploughing through the coursework) in a way that I synthesized the fields, but through independent labors. I would write the chapter with slight differences, and also some additions, but overall I was a very happy, very inspired reader. Chapter 16 entailed "science and imagination," how certain scientists and naturalists envisioned post-disaster cities in "imaginative ecological reconstructions." (And on that note, I wrote Blog 502 on "thought experiments" that can't exactly be tested or replicated, adding to the trail of "Mike Davis" Blogs 482, 475, and 466).So, last quarter, these two chapters were superb, extremely inspirational readings I had spent quite a bit of time with. I was quite intellectually aroused, my entire "oak tree" or "coral reef" inside my head was shaking around, getting stimulated.... So, at one point, I was zooming up to Riverside to attend a Mike Davis-and-Bub-field trip (which was quite a bit of fun!) and I had one-point-five hours in the car to think about whatever the hxll I wanted, and that is the time I devised these two poems.... The Intergalactic Tide of Hyperassociations, featuring my Greek Mother, and The Co-Evolution of Collective Action, which is seen here.

The idea for the poem actually came much, much earlier. At the end of March 2009, I finished
CHESS and I'm still trying to find poems to include in the second edition (besides having intentions to illustrate and visualize the set of poems). April of 2009 I went to the Origins Conference and was exposed to the Medea Hypothesis of evolution, in which life itself mass accumulates certain properties and sets up its own "unnatural disaster," or collective suicide, much like humans. In other words, you need to have a mass accumulation in order to create a mass extinction. Medea is "kind of" in opposition of this whole Gaia (pansy-xss) mentality, and what is interesting here is that both theories imply some form of "super-organismic" evolution beyond genes, individual organisms, species.... And then my clever little brain... as I just had taken "environmental institutions" course with Oran Young, I started to think instead of associating these very cool phenomena with "superorganismic bullshxt," that we should borrow the term "collective action" from political science and call these Gaia/Medea/Shiva effects (Shiva is a metaphor that Mike Davis uses and represents as some form of destructive element imposed on a system, like a meteor impact). So, it's not just evolution by natural selection, it's evolution by collective action, but in order to publish such a beautiful idea, I first have to create some bullshxt math model from fake data and then the great idea becomes science. My xss. So, I publish in my blog... and maybe make a film, eh? Or, a nice little poem here. Theorizing with poetry, eh? I also further noticed that there are two modes of thinking in evolution, construction and deconstruction, and they go hand-in-hand, you need both in a dynamic dance, and so my ultimate metaphor for all of this constructive deconstructionism, deconstructive constructionisms is... THE PHOENIX (which is an ultimate tatoo of my friend Lauri)! American interpretations of Darwinian evolution is largely competitive and deconstructivist, whereas Russian and Eastern European interpretations are more constructivist. And of course, somehow capitalism and socialism gets factored into cultural interpretations of Darwinian theories... Bah! (So, all my past references to this past paragraph are in Blog 475 Untended Cemeteries, Blog 425, life-death cycles, Blog 424, Gaia-Medea, Blog 380, Poem, Principles of Scientific and Ecological Inertia).

As you can see, the construction of this poem has a LOT of recent historical baggage, recent evolution, intricate internal neural wiring that lays deep in my head.... So, the issue was... why did I procrastinate in writing this poem last quarter? This quarter is Anti-Procrastination Quarter, just to let you know, it's about Just Do It Now without any questions asked. And I'll be danged if I am going to procrastinate again. To think that I was going to be able to write such a complicated poem, Co-evolution of Collective Action, in a distracting classroom environment? HA! Ya right. Well, I always think I will get a project done in a jiffy, and I end up being a slow poke... oh well.

I was quite amused when I was scribbling chicken scratch on the car on the way to Mike Davis' field trip. I told a very nice Asian student in class that I wrote that poem and she was amused. We exchanged emails, and I am dufous because I did not follow up. *Sigh.* I dont' know where the email is at the moment....

So FINALLY, after a two month lag time, I hammer out this poem, and I take a step back... it's engrossed with alliteration. I am sure Shelly Lowenkopf would say "gibberish." Same for Barry. It would probably drive him crazy in a good way. So, maybe if I email Barry and say, "if you respond to this poem as 'whacky gibberish,' then I think I may have done my job." Because I think it's as far as the poem is going to go in other people's heads.... Besides all this profound underlying meaning... Barry felt the same with my "Whatever's Left of the Wild West" poem. Oh well... and so it goes.

Ooo... blog 501 is a toughy. "01" makes me feel like I'm starting from scrap. The more and more I am blogging, the more I am coming to realize there are "narrative threads" (or more so "vertical stacking" over "horizontal spreading" of mental coral reef growth) in the blogs I write. Blog 52 connects to Blog 101 and the string of Blogs 455-461. Emergent themes, emergent storylines, I suppose? And the other trend I noticed, is the more that I write, the more I am associating. Creativity is a [scary] expansive feedback effect... and my own "recording/writing" head has a hard time keeping up with my right brain and prefrontal cortex. Definitely some internal neurological conflict of rates of processing... *Sigh!*

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

500. Prose Poem Entitled "The Intergalactic Tide of HyperAssociations" (oh ya, far out!) Greek Mother and Garlic


OMG! I can't believe it! It's blog 500! OMG! OMG! OMG! You would think this blog would contain "extra special content," but it turns out that it doesn't, really.... Just the continuous stream of enviroexistential consciousness... can never get enough of it (my own personal disease or blessing, however other's perceive it)!

The PDF for the above PROSE POEM can be found here:
http://sites.google.com/site/stokastika2/intergalactictideofhyperassociationspoemfinal.pdf.
What's the poem about: (1) modes of thinking in my family, Buddhist cousin-aunt who states everything relates to everything else, scientist father who needs data to connect the dots, and Greek mother who uses one thing to connect all dots... and not only that... solve all your problems... aka "The Garlic Paradigm" over the My Big Fat Greek Wedding's "The Windex Theory." My sister got my mom a "garlic" stuffed animal/plant at Gilroy last year... just to rub it in... I guess.... (2) mother also steps back and says that no one can control anyone else, it's up to your self, but then she has these subtle ways of controlling you, and impacting your life....

To take a step back from all this familial absurdity, I can say that everyone has their quirks, including myself, and despite my mother's passion for garlic, on the borderline of obsession (but then again, I've seen scientists equally as obsessed with their research), I love her very much, and I know that several other people have quirks that are much, much worse than the Garlic Paradigm.

Though my mother has strange theories, she was actually RIGHT and AHEAD OF THE GAME, in two particular situations. The first thing my mother did was avoid HYDROGENATED TRANS FATS. I even did a science fair project relating to this subject at age 15 and pissed off the Head Science Fair judge when I told him that trans fats are linked with cancer and heart problems. I would have gone to the state fair, but I pissed off... unfortunately... the head judge. And then ten years later, there is this MASSIVE BAN of trans-fat products on the market, from margarine to Cheetohs. My mom? "See. I told you so." I really wished I knew this was going to happen when I was 15 years old. Then I wouldn't have taken the loss as badly as I did. The second thing my mother did to the family was deprive us of beef, starting age 15. Man, that was TOUGH to swallow; I had to mentally X off bazillions of billboard signs advertising burgers from Carl's Junior and In-and-Out. I felt like my mother was placing me in a cage.... But then again... ten years later, people start affiliating this fast-food beef consumption with heart and a whole suite of health problems. Like DUH! And now it's kind of a big deal as to whether the cows were grass-fed... or fed gxd knows what otherwise....

[I was just interrupted by a stoner/tweaker at the Kinkos. This is the third stoner Cannibis seller I have met at this Kinkos. He lied to me saying he was going to call his wife, and he ended up talking on the phone and bugging me for 15 minutes. Then leaves without saying good-bye. Jules has a huge problem with the whole stoner/tweaker scene; they use you. I had an encounter with a stoner who survived a very bad beating up in Weed / Yreka, California (surprisingly). He was missing teeth, eating a sandwich at a gas station. He ended up interviewing me, though I was supposed to be the "interviewer" of Roadtrip Nation. He then showed me where he was growing his batch up in the hills around us, filled with pine trees. Very difficult to hunt down for a police officer. He informed me that this area was like the weed distributor for the whole country, particularly the East Coast. I can't believe this. Why do I encounter these people in the first place?]

Nevertheless, this Garlic Paradigm of my own family drama has been proven to be the source of others' kicks and giggles, as I had to write a mock op-ed piece for the first-ever Santa Barbara Write-off Competition, hosted by Dr. Cherie Steinkellner, at the 2008
Santa Barbara Writer's Conference. As a matter of fact, it seems like I am collecting quite a list here of comical family drama blogs, including "Full Moon Research" and "White Elephant Christmas Game." But neverthelss, the Garlic Paradigm of my Greek Mother was featured on Blog 237. It was fun to be able to make a whole room of writers (many of them professional and published) bust up laughing about my disastrous childhood relationship with food, through the medium of my mother's pseudo-science research. It's so old, so "normal" to me, that I didn't laugh. I was a total straight face, completely immune to my story, more so dead serious! But people couldn't even believe the Garlic Paradigm and the gargle-raw-garlic-down-your-throat-story was actually true! Yes, sad, but true. My mother regrets the garlic gargling....

So, the question is now... WHY and HOW did this Garlic Paradigm get revived in my head? I know this may sound a bit crazy in the way how I "hyper-associate" ideas (I'm a victim myself), but what happened is that in a lengthy conversation with Mike Davis, he recommended my reading Chapters 15 and 16 of Dead Cities, and one of the chapters (15) discussed the role of asteroids in shaping geologic time. In short, extraterrestrial objects are the geologic/planetary symbol that "break the endless cyclicity of geologic thinking" and impose a layer of nonlinearity to geologic narrative, the overall narrative of life on earth. But one part of the chapter I would say was on the borderline of science and science fiction or pseudo science, some of the most off-the-wall geology stories I have ever heard of. Some geologist was theorizing / suggesting the "cyclicity" of asteroid bombardments, as he was using these terms "Intergalactic Tides" and "resonancies," I almost choked laughing. Geologists already have it really rough in terms of having limited evidence to reconstructing Earth's history, but then to concoct some kind of multi-million-year-asteroid-rhythmicity was a little bit like a five-year-old trying to bullshxt his way through a science paper he had write for class the next day... so ideas tend to come from your behind. Except these ideas weren't that bad. We'll say the five-year-old kid was quite bright. Michel Gondry type. [Man, there are SOOO many weirdos, whackos at Kinkos Goleta today!]

I felt that this scientist's mind was quite "hyper-associative" with his thinking, trying to overly connect the dots without valid, tangible evidence to connect them--this is not Mike Davis' research, Mike synthesized this dude's asteroid research--and that's when the trio of thinking in my family emerged... Zen Buddhist Aunt, Scientist Father, and Garlic Paradigm Mother. The issue was not necessarily the garlic, but I compared this intergalactic tide scientist to the excessive hyperassociative mentality of my mother. Garlic just happened to be the asteroid.

Update #1 on August 15, 2010 ~ Two updates here. First update. It was just my birthday and my mother was so kind to purchase a flan (Maxi Fooods) and pecan pie (Ralphs). It's all great, but I barely ate any, my sister Jenny, barely at any, and my mother ate most of it. My mother, mumsy, Mama. Let's just call her Mama for now. Last time I saw my mother about a month ago, she was crawled up on a couch, eating an entire quart of full fat nasty fake ice scream. I noticed that she has gained some poundage around her waste. Like 10-15 pounds, she looks like she is 3 months pregnant. In a certain way it's good, but in another way it's bad. Ya, fine I have my own problems. I feed myself like insulin drip all day and have a big dinner at night, but I'm all about having meat and veggies and reduce the starch and junky shxt food at all the grocery stores (which consists about 80% of grocery store material).

My mother never had a healthy relationship with food. It's so unhealthy that every time I tell other people stories about "my mother's Windex Theories with food," everyone starts laughing. Her relationship with food is so pathetic is that she is a living joke to everyone else. I have made so many people laugh with my mother's food-obsession stories that I want to cry right now. And the worst part is that she imposes her fxcked up food theories on my father, my sister, me, and several other people. And this is where I am very upset, because right now, despite all her watching of religious television shows, she is a walking hypocrite.

So, my mother fixates on a few items and declares them "cure-alls." I'm sure the whole family rejoiced when my mother stopped eating garlic has her universal windex theory. Her breath and the whole house would reek of garlic. She would place garlic everywhere, in everything, in my father's tacos, in her water, anything! She also supplements her garlic theory with some bi-weekly "cure-your-body-because-the-doctor-can't" food, which has included potatoes, bananas, yogurt, peas, pepper, chicken, ground turkey. Well, ya, it sounds all healthy, but when you eat potatoes for 15 days straight, you get fxcking sick of it! But then one day she stopped... with the garlic at least... probably after ten years of practicing the Garlic Theory... or is it the Garlic Religion? And she said garlic was "too hard on her stomach." And soon after that she replaced garlic with the Pepper Theory. So, now, my mother places pepper on everything. She eats pepper, morning, mid-day, afternoon, night. She thinks that pepper will solve all her digestive issues. And the worst part is that my mother is supplementing pepper with some of the worst possible foods: eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs, ice scream, ice scream, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken... and hardly any vegetables. I mean, the egg situation is getting to be very out of control. My father complains how he is being fed eggs too often, and my father has a little bit high blood pressure, so he needs to watch out a little bit his health. My mother is eating sooooo many eggs that if she keeps it up, she can give herself a heart attack or something with an overdose of eggs. And then the icescream? The ice cream? My mother states that she "can't digest milk because of the fortified Vitamin D." And so, she eats a quart of ice scream every day, loaded with sugar, "but non-fortified with Vitamin D, making it digestible." That moment in the living room when my mother was devouring ice scream, I became very angry because I was just told a story by a fisherman who suffered from a "heart attack" because every day he at the most horrible foods... ice scream, cookies, eggs, bacon, and ham. I told Mama, "With all the repulsive foods that you are eating, you have absolutely no right to give me any food advice. And I have a complete right to not listen to you." Just go ahead, go ahead and sprinkle your ice cream with pepper, PLEASE!

And then, if not that, then she's eating a shxtload of chicken. My father is going nuts, and so am I. These are the worst possible foods to fixate on... eggs and ice scream. The doctor says 4 eggs a week, not 8 eggs per day!!! My frickin' gawdzeeks!!! But no, no, and NO! My mother refuses to go to the doctor because doctors can't solve her problems, because she knows MORE than doctors and can control everything in her body. She won't even go for a physical. Lovely, simply lovely. My only consolation is that soon my mother will be going to Greece, and changing one's environment and routine can either lead to a re-evaluation to one's past routines. The trip to Greece will force my mother to be more active and to re-consider her diet to some degree.

My mother ate like a pig at Don Jose, for my "2.9" or "4-year" birthday celebration, depending on what number scale you're on. She finished all these chips and her entire massive burrito (with only chicken inside, of course). I could barely finish 1/3 of my taco salad plus a few chips. And she devoured two massive slices of cake, and she can eat all this crxp food because she sprinkles herself with pepper. I was embarrassed when Marquis was there and my mother was spatting pepper in her water. I told Bubsy in the car, "Mumsy is crazy! She ate the whole burrito!" And then my mother and I took turns telling each other how crazy we were. She was a bit sensitive, but... well, it's true. Sure, laugh. My OCD streak inside me most certainly comes from my mother, that is for sure.

I told Jenny about how I felt and what horrible foods Mama is fixated on, causing her to look like she's 3 months pregnant. It's hard to watch her destroy herself. Dysfunctional mother with dysfunctional eating habits, ingrained in an entire society with a collective dysfunctional eating disorder, as my father said, "Fat people eating shxtty foods, and raising kids who become fat because that's all they look at, and that's all they do, eat megacorporate shxt." So, Jenny said about my mother, "Well, I feel angry. I feel upset. I feel the same way. But you know, you can't change her. She won't listen to you. So, either you can be angry, and make her feel more lonely, or you can just accept her for who she is. She never had a healthy relationship with food anyway. And we all know that." I guess my mother is punching me back since my "anorexic, 6-foot-tall-90-pound days." I remember my mom yelling and screaming at me in the car to eat food and I didn't listen. I couldn't even "hear" what she was saying. So now I'm in her shoes: it's hard to watch someone voluntarily-involuntarily destroy themselves, like I did to myself for a while. You want to help them, but they can't even help themselves. I was just absorbing myself in a depressing, tragic, and very honest book--no, graphic novel, called EPILEPCTIC--and David B had to deal with 40 years of his older brother's going through seizures that could not be controlled or contained. Epilepsy became just as much as the imagination of David B as much as his brother who suffered from it. In this case, his brother had no control. No one had control of the seizures. So, you just have to accept it, deal with it. But with food, when you wake up about yourself and your lifestyle, you can gain control, break and change bad habits into good.

The most agonizing and frustrating aspect about the food issue is that people have some sense of control, and some people have some sense of lack of control. It's a chronic internal battle of adaptation and manipulation of your own body as an ecosystem. You're always in a fine boundary in which food transforms from a survivalistic necessity into a comforting-stress-relief or a cure-all-obsession-medication. Is my mother controlling food, or is the food controlling my mother? It's a two way street, and right now the food, the sugar, the excessive cholesterol, is winning her over.... I hope that the trip to Greece will make her snap out.

My long-time-neighbor-since-I-was-born has transformed into an obese pig. My father has a little professor pot belly, but that's a normal form of human evolution. The professor pot belly is expected. I'm not concerned. But when an ordinary person you knew as a kid blew up into some balloon... you know that she gave up and the food took over her. She's operating on pleasured impulse, not rational control. Tragic. (My mother was viciously scratching herself at one point, like a dog with fleas, to a point of bleeding, but apparently all those scratches healed up and she doesn't have that problem anymore. Thank goodness!).

Update #2 on August 15, 2010 ~ Speaking of which... I wrote a poem above called "The Intergalactic Tide of Hyperassociations" as inspired by reading Mike Davis' book, Dead Cities, which consisted of some of the most absurd theories about astronomical cycles of meteorites hitting planet Earth that... it was just sooo absurd... that it reminded me of my mother's whacko food "Windex Theories." I was able to share the poem to one of Barry Spacks' classes in the Winter of February 2010, which received chuckles from a group of clever undergraduates. It's hard to have high standards for yourself when you are surrounded by students who don't have much writing standards at all... and the worst part is that their egos have been masseussed for the last twenty years, that they think they're going to be the next Michael Chrichton or Danielle Steele (which I don't like either of them, I like Michael Chrichton's medical background, but he writes like an unfeeling robot).... *Sigh* All you can do is continue to encourage students... as B has said. Be more of a confidence coach than a writing coach! So, I had so much confidence, that I sent out a first batch of poems (three poems, actually, including "Sugar Free Sugar" and "The Can Collectors") to the poetry journal called Rattle, which is based in Los Angeles, actually! I was pissed that I had to take down three blogs in order to be able to submit my work to a literary magazine... I just re-posted the blogs back up!!! I suppose I was convinced to submit my work to Rattle because (1) Rattle is local, so I can relate, and I could actually meet the editors if I wanted to when driving through Los Angeles, (2) Tim Green, one of the major editors, is a veteran of the professional writing program at USC, and he was a chemist before he ventured into creative writing (Go figure he's a science-art hybrid! one of his books of poems is called American Fractal), (3) The literary journal actually LOOKS COOL! Most literary journals I have encountered have such bizarre art and formatting--so they say it's avant garde--I say is plain lack of artistic taste (even the editor of Rutger's Writer's Bloc has said so)! So, it was really awesome that I received a nice note from the editor about a week later: "Thanks for letting us consider some of your work, Victoria. We'll get back to you soon -- typically takes about a month, sometimes just a touch longer, but feel free to query if you haven't heard back by the end of March. Looking forward to the read. Best, Tim."


I submitted in the "humor" category, hoping that I would placed in a smaller pile of paperwork... but unfortunately and of course, my poems were "rejected." But that's expected! Even Ray Bradbury was rejected hundreds of times, three years in a row, in his early twenties before he had one story published. Still again, I go through all this psychological grief and effort to submit, and take down my blogs, and receive a rejection letter... by email. Ya, ya. I love you too. These poems are dxmn good, and I KNOW IT. So, I spoke with Barry Spacks about the experience, and he even admitted to me that his work has still yet to be accepted into Rattle. And then he told me something daunting: Barry has about 300 poems submitted to different journals all at once. And I guess he's fortunate if he gets a couple dozen published every year! 300 poems distributed all at ONCE??? What the hxll?!!

I started to feel how futile it was to submit poetry to magazines. (1) Too many people are participating (too many people have the supposed "capacity" to write poems, from five-year-olds to 95-year-olds) (2) So many people are participating that the editors of literary journals don't treat you with much care, and they don't respond to you anymore... as Barry said, "things are slipping" (3) Poetry as an artform is largely dead in a society of information overload, with menial value placement of the constructions and organization of words. (4) People publish your poetry because your poetry has been published before (Old Boyz Club scenario). And the list goes on. As I mentioned in a past blog, Barry stated that he is trying sooo hard to preserve intimacy in a society in which no one particularly cares about anybody anymore. He painted this portrait of him crawling across a scorching desert, bypassing any needs for food and water, and on the final utterances before his passing, he would crawl to a computer with internet, and write to all the failed writers who submitted their work (if Barry were an editor) and would provide them the most kind and personal email, "We are sorry we cannot publish your work, but we truly hope with all our hearts that your work will find a home." And I looked at Barry, wondering inside my mind, "Barry, how can you teach poetry and not tell them some stories of reality?! That poetry as an industry is an elitist cult of arbitrary fame and passing-on-of-torches, and that truly, the title of 'poet' as a profession can only be pursued as a teacher or as a poet laureat"? There are only a hundred or so fortunate souls who can make it in America as true "poets," but they most have their hands in poetry through other means, as an editor, a publisher, a teacher, or a show-man-laureat-Billy-Collins-type." And then, I also came to realize that my reading my writing on a computer, with some pre-set Microsoft font, has no personality to it. Has no visual umph to it. It's not home-made in it's entirety. And so, I myself would be willing, with all my heart, to make all my work, as home-made as possible... so adding a visual component to my writing... like cartoons... could only make more sense. Barry? And everyone? I am bitter, but rightfully, and rationally so.

Monday, January 11, 2010

498. Annals of "Anatomy of The Bad Day Syndrome".... Pardon the Navel Gazing, but Everyone Has a Right to Vent! (Let's Start with Medical Drama!)

Even though I am at the celebration of the 500-mark for blogs (geez-louise! a symbol of being a writer addict, I suppose), I still have yet a blog devoted to the Anatomy of the Bad Day Syndrome... though I do have plenty of those during the quarter system, and honestly, I think everyone has them many of the times. So finally, I have a blog here, here... devoted to documentation of very bad days.... The goal is to collect masses and masses of data on bad days and devise some underlying theories as to why "bad days are defined as bad days."

These are my preliminary theories as to why "bad days are bad days." In short, "Something unexpected happened, it directly affected you, and things didn't go your way."

(1). Something unexpected happens in a day full of pre-determined plans, and you have not enough time, space, energy, and resources to adapt to this unexpectation even though you are on some form of time deadline. The result of unexpectedness lead to a perceived negative impact in your life.

(2). You are experiencing pain (physical and/or metaphysical, expected and/or unexpected), and you have to drop everything that you are doing in order to address that pain.

(3). You are forced to expose to your advisor/peers "all the things you are going to do for the quarter," and then you wonder whether you are actually going to DO them, and you feel like a hypocrite (The story of my life the last four years, eh? I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THAT). I'm only happy showing people my TO-DONE LIST (or my finished project), rather than a TO-DO LIST (grant).

(4). Cars and traffic.
(4a). You get a parking ticket. By default... very very VERY... bad day.
(4b). You struggle with trying to find a parking spot for more than one hour of your life in any particular day (like in Los Angeles).
(4c). You struggle trying to get from Point A to Point B in southern California, and your mind is so numb from sitting in traffic for 2+ hours that you don't even know anymore that you are having a bad day.
(4c). Your car has a break-down at an unexpected place and time.

(5). Your computer (or other human-made gadget that you do not have enough knowledge to fix and control, like a copy machine) establishes a mind of its own, and acts at its own will, with great stubbornness.

(6). You throw off your routine metabolisms with (a) food (b) exercise (c) sleep (ignitions, sparks, to larger conflagrations, most of the time).

(7). You are feeling so overwhelmed with information, that you become paralyzed in mental and physical function, you can't move, and the only solutions are either (1) psychiatric (Ridlin, Prozac, etcetera) or (2) behavioral-environmental (change environment, "Screw you guys, I'm going home", go on leave of absence from school). Which is my state of mind right now.

(8). Some one close and dear to you is having a bad day (family, friends), and therefore they do the great service of dragging you down along with him or her (though you do drop all your stuff and obligations, and try to help them!).

**I'm sure I will keep accruing more liners for this list... at least TEN! There has to be at least TEN!

July 31, 2010 ~ The last 2-3 days have been psychologically brutal because ever since my exposure to Comic-con (at least ... and my personal epiphanies since this exposure), I have come to realize that my masterpiece of personal failure can be an ultimate masterpiece of complete success, when transferred to a different storytelling medium. Question Reality is a partially illustrated long-long-long story... Question Reality to an Ecopistemology graphic novel will become a conceptual, metaphysical exploration of the University Universe and human-environment relationships, from a conceptual level. Failure in one world leads to perceived complete success in another... and since this epiphany, I have come to feel like shxt because all these ideas (cartoon ideas, especially) that I left dormant inside me have just been pouring and barfing and pouring out, almost uncontrollably... and throughout the course of the last week, the most important thing I need right now is to get far away from the university, and cut strings attached for at least two quarters and a summer. Because I'm tired of being victim of Bad Day situation #3, how I always want to do things, but I'm strangled with distraction and never get anything done to my own personal satisfaction. Huh, Michel? Michel Gondry's first premise (or one of his firsts) are to START your project and FINISH what you have started. I'm tired, tired, tired of sitting on top of rubble!

So, what I did last night was sit down with Jules and compile all my thoughts and feelings about my aggregated pains and feelings about the subject and the need for leave of absence.... I wrote it down on a piece of paper, so that I don't think about it anymore, or if I have another idea, I place it there, and I talked with my father about it again... the joke, the cartoon becomes true... either the university, or the mental institute, or going home.... I had to explain to Jules a little bit of extra so he can understand why it has to be "medical" leave of absence, and not the other items on the graduate division form. One way or another, discussing this with my father and Jules has been painful process; my brain doesn't feel good... the feeling of heavy chains, I do say.... But one of the final things that I wrote on this special paper was... "Don't think about things that you don't have control over." Everyone is doing their own thing over the summer, so it's impossible to talk about the logistics of this move. After speaking with Oran, I think he will be understanding of this situation, but the main strategy for me is, "I will be on leave of absence, but everything I will be doing will be toward the Ph.D, except that I do not want to talk to anyone or think of anything of the university at this point."

July 31, 2010 (SchoolYear 2009-2010) ~ I'm not understanding why my brain is so hyperactive at this point. All these ghost memories of the past years are sprouting up in the landscapes when I drove by. I spent a week in Santa Barbara that I did not want to spend--I did not want to be there, period. I have been avoiding the place, despite its inherent beauty... the sorrow and the chains come from graduate school. And just a simple little thing... very simple... Wednesday morning I go to the skin doctor at UCSB Student Health, with Dr. Bagalio, and she gives me the low-down about my skin. I have accrued a series of discolorations (light-skinned blotches), but they are not going away. We discussed where they may have come from.... And then I theorized how they couldn't have been pimples, and most likely they are spider bites, because I live in three houses that are infested with spiders that replicate prolifically and don't pay rent (to our impoverished chagrin). But these scars have been there for so long! Dr. Bagalio discussed the presence of scars, light and dark blotches, sunspots, moles, freckles, is just a product of living a long time, and that's a normal process. The only times when I should be concerned are (1) when a blotch or mole grows and changes very fast over a short period of time and (2) if the blotch or pimple remains an open-wound. I looked at the gory Google Image pictures of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, and then I realized... I seriously have nothing to worry about. I feel a lot more relieved about my skin spots, and apparently one of the "dark spots" I had on my skin peeled off today, how strange!
Before this appointment, I had an interesting conversation with a nurse who was gathering my "vital signs" aka "temperature, blood pressure, pulse, weight, and date of last period (for those female)." I told her how marine scientists are trying to figure out the "vital signs" or state of health of the ocean, in a hierarchical way, like five major measurements can lead to other forms of more detailed analyses *Sigh*

After reading this (if anyone does read this, ha ha), you'd think, awww... what is Victoria complaining about, a BENIGN experience at the UCSB Student Health Clinic! What is this girl in a panic about? Well, it's more so, how I have been mowed over the LAST YEAR! I have visited Student Health about 5-6 times the last year, completely unaccounted for... bad days, eh? Ya... For example, most recently I had an epic root canal done by Dr. Montgomery (I was in a dental chair for six hours total! and I crafted a piece of music in my head in the process). And before that, was a string of sporadic visits for various reasons... like a visit to deal with a foot fungal infection (bottom left foot only) with Dr. Sumner (I had to get a couple of creams, it was quick, dirty, boring meeting), the annual physical and pap smear (with Dr. Greenwald) as presently I have a regularly irregular period (e.g. I have 3/4 period for three days, and then a week later, I have the last 1/4 of the period), a quick visit with a nurse because I had skin blisters due to an infection from a band-aid (getting infected through the treatment, as usual, eh?),
and then I had an epic "surgery" and my first set of stitches on my head, working with Dr. Myra Howard. I could call that an unusual, day, potentially a "bad" day because I didn't know what to expect.


video

So the story goes, over the past year, I had discovered two moles on my head that I had never known about. The worst part is that the moles were rather huge and deep rooted. It's bizarre that these moles existed because they were buried in a very heavy set of hair. You'd think that moles would develop in regions of high sun exposure. I remember being fully conscious of them when I was traveling across Oregon flatlands on the 5 freeway and I had a long lecture from my sister Jenny on the phone and she was describing to me the warning signs of a malignant mole: Is it larger or smaller than 6mm? Is it asymmetrical or symmetrical? Does it have clear or vague borders? And does it consist of one color or two colors? Dr. Myra Howard (a rather pudgy, but a very hilarious, spunky doctor) was not too concerned, but since these moles were on my HEAD, and that they were rather voluminuous, I wanted them removed. "You're giving yourself a Christmas present! You are taking care of yourself!" Dr. Howard exclaimed, and yes I was. It was rather early in the morning I ventured to the doctor's office, and Dr. Howard and her assistant were in very chipper, entertaining moods. Dr. Howard explained how she had this device that was going to create little holes in my head as if we were creating little holes for golf balls to fall in at golf courses (like what Bill Murray was going in Caddyshack).


And instead of being some kind of woosy academic who couldn't stand blood and guts (like a previous history major she had), I ended up asking Dr. Howard tons of questions about what she was doing and how she was proceeding, and why (I'm always curious... I always look at my life as some form of scientific experiment, including the uncontrollable operations of my own body)... and honestly she and her assistant appreciated me as I appreciated them, and we were so into the whole surgery (I mean, we were having fun!) that Dr. Howard's assistant took pictures and video of my surgery on my cell phone (see above!), just so we could document and I had a visual keepsake of my Christmas present to myself, and I could see what the hxck they were doing. Even though the skin punctures were fairly small, my hair was a bloody mess (also full of antiseptic and anti-bacterial fluids) I didn't touch my hair (for considering in washing it) until a week later... so of course, I loyally wore my beanie for quite a while so that folks at school did not see the surgical mess.

I wish I recorded the experience on the spot, because the three of us in this surgery were a comedy routine, and we had great fun.... A week later, I visited Dr. Howard so she could remove the stitches, and contrastingly she was quite sullen, and stated that she (of all people) was suffering from depression, and based on our experiences last week, that seemed to make no sense. I think that was the third time I visited Dr. Howard (I saw her one time during the 2008-2009 school year). It is the most wonderful, most pleasant experience to be caught in the middle of an in situ, impromptu comedy routine. I do indeed, cherish this moment, rare moments like these, indeed. So, in short, the ANTICIPATION of the surgery marked the notion of "bad day," but after the surgery was over, I think I handled the day much better, such that all "unknowns" were erased from my head.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

497. The Growing List of Unethical, Yet Very Real Human-Social-Environmental Experiments

"Human flesh: the most untapped resource on Planet Earth, in more ways than one." (Dr. Sam Sweet, paraphrased)

Transforming Human-Environmental Issues into a series of unethical (yet sometimes very valide) scientific experiments... he he he... someone's gotta be a mad scientist, eh?! I'm sure there's more than enough of those... disguised as politicians....

TEMPERATURE-CLIMATE
>> The Global Climate Change Experiment: How will the world change if we change the climate? Can humans survive a Snowball Earth or a Cretaceous Hot House?

>> The Hurricane Katrina Experiment: What happens when you have over thirty years of accumulated city corruption and infrastructural fragility + hundreds-thousands (?) of years of sedimentary erosion, landscape sinking + an inevitability of a hurricane predicted to ultimately occur 10-20 years in advance?

OXYGEN-GASES
>> The Gas Chamber Experiments: What will happen when you deprive humans of oxygen and expose them to gases that are not processable to the body? (World War II concentration camps, of course)

WATER-FLUIDS
>> The California Water Distribution Crisis Experiment: What will happen when southern California sucks most water from northern California and the Colorado River without paying even a dime, and there is ultimately not enough supply to meet the demand? The explosion is waiting to erupt.

>> The Arizona Cactus Garden Experiment in Southern California: What if all of southern California re-landscaped itself into desert cactus gardens as opposed to unnecessary water-sucking lawns filled with non-native, non-Mediterranean-climate plants? Then we would have money to restore the stability of the University of California system? And tuition wouldn't have to be thousands of dollars!!!

FOOD-DRUG
>> The Megacorporate Food Preservative Mummification (Taphonomic) Experiment: How can we best preserve human bodies through stuffing mass-produced food-like substances with preservatives?

>> The American Obesity Experiment: What happens when you place each human in a technological womb (television, office-space-cubicle, computer) and then feed them food like substances stuffed with sugar, white flour, and fat?

>> The International Fishing Experiment: How much do we need to fish in order to run out of the major staple fish food sources (occurring at the international scale, e.g.s whaling, fishing in Japan)

>> The Anorexia Experiment: What happens when you don't eat? (Been there, done that. Don't recommend trying this at home).

>> The Psychiatric Pill Popping Experiment: What happens when you solve all your problems with some pills (legalized drugs)? Turning out to be another method collective pacification, opiatism of the masses. And so the world stays... as it....

>> The Smoking Experiment: How does smoking impact human health? (I think we're a bit over this experiment, but it was still going strong in the 1950s-1960s)

>>Medical Commercialization Experiment: What happens when you allow television ads to encourage people to tell doctors what pills they should take? (drives up cost of pills and medicine) What happens when you allow television advertisements to convince their viewers/audience members that they are "sick"?

DISEASE
>> The Antibiotic Experiment: How much does society need to be antibioticked until the point of which we facilitate the construction, evolution of a deadly, non-resistant strain of bacteria? (ticking time bomb experiment, any day now...)

BIOLOGICAL
>> The Reproduction Experiment: What happens to Planet Earth when humans have found a way to reproduce like rabbits, well-fed bacteria, yet... most of the rabbits actually SURVIVE and pass on genes to the next generation?

>> The Human Biological Invasion of North America Experiment: What happens when you convolute a few generations of "European misfits" with the illusory notion of "Manifest Destiny" through the pursuits of colonization of the "Wild West"? (The space fills, dxmmit!) What happens when you introduce native Americans to un-human populated landscape (12,000 years ago) riddled with megafauna? (Pleistoceine Overkill Hypothesis, Paul Martin)

TECHNOLOGICAL
>> The Cell Phone Experiment: Will humans in America be alive after thirty years of chronic cell phone use? Will we all have brain tumors?

>> The iRobot Experiment: When will all technologies merge into every human's iRobot? Will humans 10 years from now have any ability to retain information long-term since this society, with the prevalence of internet-etcetera, has become merely Information Retrievers? When will humans have completely lost the ability to have long-term memory storage? When will humans start to implant iRobot chips into fetal human minds, giving birth to the fully direct, integrated biotechnological evolution? (Biotechnological evolution is already happening in terms of the co-evolution of ecosystems and technology--cows-chickens-agriculture--and the co-evolution of the human body-the immune system-and medicine, the "arms race" so to speak) (chips will dictate the human's conscience rather than their own? To what degree of control the human has of his or her own individuality and individual decision-making anymore? To what degree of brain control?) (Technology reduces people's capacity to think--1984, Animal Farm, government or large organizations tells everybody how to think, George Orwell, corporate-private-capital-fancy-machines-economic-private-competition-economic-competition-more-dichotomy-between-intelligence-stupidity) (What if the first ten years, children are allowed to develop consciousness, but at age 12 or so, they are implanted the chip because consciousness is largely developed and the rest is about accessing-cramming-informational bs in your brain....)

SOCIAL-PSYCHOLOGICAL
>> The Human Torture-Shock Experiments: What will happen to the human mind when you you torture him or her for long enough (depravation of resources, stimulation, etcetera)? (see The Shock Doctrine)

>> The War Experiment: What are the psychological impacts of war? (World War II, Vietnam veterans, now the whole Iraq-Afganistan scene)

>> The Capitalism Experiment: What happens when a nation/political state becomes defined strictly based on currency/economics, in which all human behavior is assigned and valued according to the dollar bill? (Mothers and environmental problems aren't then well incorporated) Evaluate everbody on the basis of financial wealth rather than any other forms of values?

>> The Socialism Experiment: What if everyone were valued with true equality, even though everyone is unique and has different performance and contribution fo society?

ENERGY
>> The Global Fossil Fuel Experiment: What is the bottom of the well? How long will it take to run out?

LANDSCAPES-ENVIRONMENT
>> (Human Built-Environment) The 9-11 Experiment: How is human health impacted post 9-11 incident? In the immediate, and long term?

>> The War Experiment: How is human and landscape health impacted by war? (Europe, uranium, lead poisoning?)

>> The Ocean Oil Spill Experiment: How badly does an oil spill impact the environment (Dr. Jeremy Jackson, Panama, mitigation money research... uh-huh)

>> The Smokey-the-Bear Fuel Accumulation Experiment: How much chaparral and pine forest fuel do we need to build up past the 50-year cycle in order to construct a non-containable wildfire during Santa Ana wind weather?

>> The Pastoral Japanese Garden / Designer Ecosystem Experiment: What kind of an utopia-esque terrestrial or marine Japanese Garden are you trying to create? With what values? What baseline? Ecological engineering-sculpting / niche constructionism.

>> The "Hug Nature to Death" Wildland-Disneyland "Living Museum" Experiment: How much will you hug and save nature to a point in which you kill it? (Excessive Preservationism, isn't also like Protestantism in the beginning of America? The concept of saving every single human life, excessive pro-Life so to speak in which we keep vegetables plugged into machines with our tax-payer dollars?) e.g. situation with southern California wildland fire; most people perceive nature and outdoors as an "untamed Disneyland" ecotourist adventure without knowing the details and nuances of the landscape, a utopia-esque pastoral view, the game of adaptation and manipulation, over-manicur-ing landscapes... tree-huggers, shrub-huggers (my dad's neck of the woods), fish-huggers (some MLPA folks), cactus huggers....

This list sparked from a simple response from my fisherman friend residing in LA Harbor. I have been wanting to make this list for sooo long, and NOW is the time! I called my father, and he ended up helping me extend the list.... Another half-hour phone conversation indeed! I can definitely perceive this topic to be a syndicated newspaper column.

KEY WORDS: ecologically unethical, unethical human experiments, human flesh, mad scientist, cactus garden experiment, cell phone, iRobot, information retrieval, designer ecosystem, japanese garden, Disney satire, hug nature to death, manicuring, protestant

496. A Very Old Poem? Prose Poem? Flash Fiction? Revived Entitled "The Dent" ::: Initial Meditations on Earned Versus Acquired Wealth-Inheritance


PDF for "The Dent" unclassifiable piece (poem? prose poem? flash fiction? meditation?) can be found here: http://sites.google.com/site/stokastika2/thedentpoem2.pdf.

As I had been deeply "scrubbing my brain" when looking through and sorting images, several little "untidy" and "unfinished" ideas kept popping into my head. These little subliminalities that never seem to go away, even though it has been... what now... over four years since their initial occurrence?!

For example, this little poem / prose poem / piece of flash fiction / meditation... whatever!... entitled "The Dent," which documented a very awkward transaction between myself and another graduate student, once friend, now probably, just "profesional colleagues," during a geology field trip in northern California during the summer of 2005, which philosophically shook me all up to the nth degree.... I had a glimpse into the lives and worlds of fairly wealthy people who lived near by Stanford, and through my observations, and the painful "dent" experience above, I came to realize, that in my entire life, I will never ever desire to own anything or any object that is beyond its functional, practical worth. Because there is a lot of baggage that comes along with this additional illusory worth, baggage that is completely unnecessary and clutters up people's lives.

That summer was the time I began meditating on the properties of wealth--how "wealth" or the ownership of quality/quantity materials impacts individual psychology and perception of the world... and more often times than not, in very bizarre, skewed ways.... And I also started to understand the differences of psychology of individuals who (1) earn wealth through brain power and hard work, and (2) acquire wealth through familial inheritance. The value of money quickly, psychologically strays from a dollar equating to hard labor to a dollar equating to falling from the sky, with some kin baggage, terms and conditions.

When I was ten years old, I could say I went through this phase of "filling out forms and entry cards to win stuff," like vacations and cars and the like. Well, what else do you do when you're force to hang out at shopping malls for hours? My parents advised me to stop filling out the forms, and instilled the notion, "If you work hard, you will earn your rewards." I started living this philosophy all throughout high school... and even today, and sadly, I came to realize that much of the real world does not operate based on this philosophy... though it may be ideal in a fundamental level.... Though one day, I do believe that... I will earn a reward... for all this hard work in "environmental media." One day... I already have received small rewards.... I just have to continue my own little Myth of Sisyphus, Part 2.

Inheritance of wealth--money and resources--is not the only form of inheritance. For example, my participation in the university also involves "social inheritance," or the inheritance of contacts. What do they call it? Social capital? (how barbaric, inhumane! treating humans as an actual good and service). I grew up playing in the grassy fields by the geology building at UC Riverside. I was surrounded by professors who would pat my head when I was only three feet tall. I realize that this upbringing has given me an advantage in terms of instilling a "comfort level," a form of "homing behavior," at the university. The continual presence of my father and his research most likely has allowed me to persevere through three different graduate schools. Though my father has tremendously impacted my own road to life in terms of where I am at now, I still am very conscious of developing relationships with other academics through my own personal work and personal merit, rather than through the lens, frame of reference of my father. For example, when I entered the College of Creative Studies, I never told my advisor, Armand, that my father was an Earth Science professor. I wanted Armand and the faculty committee to judge me based on my own merit, rather than based on "oh, your father's a professor, therefore...." So... I've been walking a fine line in the university, and thankfully at UC Santa Barbara, I have largely carved my own "environmental media" niche and developed my own unique stance without people affiliating me as "Rich Minnich's kid."

I am coming to realize how I am opening some massive cans of worms on the ideas of WEALTH and INHERITANCE. Even touching upon the notions of LAMARCKIAN INHERITANCE and DARWINIAN INHERITANCE (thanks to modern research in genetics, I have come to realize that I can blame my parents a lot more for my physique and actions that I could otherwise :-). Below is a short paragraph examining the potential definitions of the word "Wealth," and why I am choosing not to use such a word since there are so many aspects to constructing wealth (getting into issues of The Peacock and the Bowerbird).


Why I Don't Use the Words "Wealth" and "Poverty" Using the words "wealth" and "poverty" can be overly vague and very deceiving. There are several dimensions to "wealth" just as there are several dimensions to the term "diversity." Four primary forms of wealth are "financial wealth," "physical wealth," "emotional/spiritual wealth," and "intellectual wealth." America may have the most "financial wealth" and potentially the most "physical wealth" in terms of access to resources and services, and overall ownership of coinage, but in terms of "spiritual/emotional wealth," the country sums up as a giant, empty black hole of self-destruction and depression. (Too many resources::: too difficult to maintain::: hire other people to do your grunt work::: disconnect from the "zen" of labor and the process of creating, maintaining resources) In other words, America may have the most GDP in the numbers, but we are far from having the highest GNH, or gross national happiness. Several peoples in Africa may not have the best access to resources or any currency at all, but they can be very soulful people, with a tremendous sense of community and hope (what about that arrogant one-laptop-per-child program?). In another sense, "physical wealth" can be contrasted with "intellectual wealth." A scraggly geologist may live in a small house with few resources to live off of, but he/she has a sense of mastery and ownership in the understanding the evolution of life on earth much greater than the suit-and-tie man or powder-puffed woman with a huge house and five cars. This acquisition of intellectual wealth can also fill holes of emotional depravity. And lastly, a human stranded on an island with a treasure chest of a million dollars and not a drop of water or morsel of food can still not survive, though he is "financially wealthy." In the film, Up the Yangtze, the main character ironically stated her family was the "poorest" of the region, but they were raising and self subsisting on the best line of crops along the Yangtze River. (Same situation with my grandfather's involvement of "bartering" during the Depression). Access, ownership, subsistence, and bartering of tangible, physical resources without being incorporated into a currency system is not necessarily included in economic analyses (these means of surviving are probably not included all together). So, whenever I see anyone using the words "rich" or "poor" countries, even "first world" and "third world" countries, I become quickly disgusted, coming to realize that the author has not really thought through what they were saying. Sources include the Economist and a slough of social commentary authors. (The Poem "More," The Peacock and the Bowerbird) (You also have to consider the properties of acquiring wealth: earned versus inherited. Issues of Darwinian versus Lamarckian inheritance)

It's strange to think that one tiny incident with a dent in a car four years back can dislodge a massive boulder in my mind and lead to a whole chain reaction of thoughts on the subject. Now very deep deep deep in my mind, I remember this BMW-graduate-student owner mentioned how she and her family learned "not to become attached to materials" when their house burned down over 15 years ago... a philosophy entirely contradicting her reactionary response to the dent in her car. Come on! I need some consistency here. But then again, who is consistent nowadays? Who says what they mean? Mean what they say? Say what they do? Do what they say? Even myself. Human. Default hypocrite, eh? Ya....

Inheritance of social regimes, social contacts explored in Professor's Daughter Syndrome Blog 336.