Sunday, February 21, 2010

511. Full Blown Song Entitled "Old Coat" Featuring Metaphorical Landscapes as Clothes, Music Video Planned

You can find the PDF of "Old Coat" at
I invented the song after indulging "Nature's Metropolis" by Dr. William Cronon (a new academic idol I have, may I add), post being exposed to "G" music video idol, and while driving down to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Conference down in San Diego. It's a very very simple song with a profound metaphor: wearing landscapes as you are wearing various forms of clothing. This metaphor can be extended... I mean most people's clothing wardrobes are quite extensive, but here I focused on an old coat (suit and tie and collar), a thin-worn t-shirt, and nakedness. The "old coat" embodies the notion of being in this formalized-anonymous-suit-and-tie city environment, worn out and disconnected from the landscape and oneself. The "t-shirt" was directly inspired by Cronon's accounts for connections and increasing disconnect between Chicago and its surrounding "hinterlands" that made the Chicago become what it became. There was a level of expansion and domination of Chicago, and then there were negative repercussions of this expansive, resource-draining behavior, and then some behavior modifications became apparent in order to better "manage" or "manicure" Chicago and its surrounding countryside... so, that's why though the t-shirt is highly used and abused, there is still some need to keep it in once piece due to its excessive utility. And of course, the last stanza is about the desire to escape all forms of humanity into more "naked lands" like the ocean (San Diego), and the desert (Bahia de Los Angeles).
The odd part about this song is I hear the music and I see the music video, and it's just wildly exciting to me. The music is voice, chorus, hand-clapping, best-case scenario drum kit, piano, pipe dream would be electric guitar (a la Chris Lods). But since I am limited in resources, I will have to rely on my own body as an instrument as much as possible. The voice is most certaintly some arpeggiating and very jazzy sounding. It's a piece of music that is up-beat and can most definitely be jogged to... it's so important for me to be able to jog (and dance to) the music I create. No point in making music otherwise.... I'm emotionally utilitarian, you see.
As for the music video, if I had special effects, I would use overlay of imagery on a white coat and white t-shirt, but I don't have that, so I will have to do cheap-o things, like simple box metaphorical overlays with landscapes, clothes, and the mind. The image sequences are not completely flushed out, but I plan on capitalizing the imagery to our trip to Baja California over spring break. Some random thoughts: Jules and I walking opposite directions brick wall, Jules walking across the camera in three or four different environments, in the same kind of similar clothes or myself, first part city scenes, old coat, suit and tie, excessive collar, the collar becomes a dog collar with spikes, choking around the neck, the office cubicle, the countryside would be in Baja California, some crops, Jules interacting with people, there could be imagery (could be shadowed) of swaying like a chimpanzee-gorilla, simultaneously clapping hands, stomping feet to the beats of the music, could also be Jules garden, there can be some time lapse in the city, time lapse a day in the garden... and then the bare naked land, Jules laying out in the desert, by the cactus, and Jules out on the boat in the middle of the ocean, doing his fishing, Jules crossing his fingers antagonizing Point Loma at a distance, scuffing it away. The ending is us driving and walking, in these different landscapes, walking stripping, taking off our clothes and being barren as with the barren land. Some slapstick, clapping, little kids playing So, just some sketch ideas... for now.... More ideas here to come. The most important thing is to identify the visual layers: (1) sterile environment, us trying on and taking off the different types of clothes, close ups and at a distance (2) the sterile, controlled environment, swaying around like apes, clapping and stomping (3) the different types of environments (a) cityscapes, urban, people from corporate buildings (b) suburban, the garden, the boat-dock, crops ag-land (c) naked land, out in the ocean, out in the desert in the middle of nowhere (4) any form of gaps can be simple lines, cartoon linear overlay.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

508. "Climate" The Lacuna of My Life.... Learning Through Cartoons ::: Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny!

I have learned a lot of very cool stuff over the years... but one thing my father is a bit disgruntled about is that I'm pathetic with weather and climate. Well... I think it's partly my laziness because... well, my dad knows so much about climate I just ask him stuff all the time and he knows everything... and now I have all these fishermen buddies and they know a LOT about climate simply because it's a matter of choosing to go to work or not the next day, and planning ahead for the week (they have a very detailed regional climactic knowledge whereas my dad is a bit more broad-scale in his analyses, you need BOTH scales though).... So, I'm surrounded by weather nuts, terrestrial and marine... and I myself am The Climate Patheticist. Until... now... through the venues of my CARTOONS!

I started grasping some sense of climate by learning the HISTORY of climate. I started realizing that learning science makes a LOT more sense to me when I learn it through the LENS OF HISTORY OF THE SUBJECT. Not only in biology, but in terms of the history of accumulated human knowledge the following goes: ONTOGENY RECAPITULATES PHYLOGENY.

Back to cartoons, my father had been wanting me to make a cartoon for a while about the history of climate. But the current cartoon had several holes in time. We settled for this timeline.
The narrative thread through the cartoon was "If Terra and Buz saw the same cloud every single time, how would they perceive the cloud given the scientific state of understanding in a given time period?" This sort of narrative thread could be used multiple times in reconstructing a history of perception / paradigm shifts in whatever fields... ranging from geology to ecology to medicine, like for example, Terra and Buz enter the doctors office due to some illness Terra had and different points in time, the doctor would respond differently in diagnosis and treatment.

1777. If someone saw a cloud, they would think about lightning and electricity. (Benjamin Franklin discovery of electricity).

1867. If someone saw a cloud, they would think of tradewinds. (My father recommended drawing Terra and Buz on a boat, common knowledge of British sailors, Columbus, transportation, old world to new world in low latitudes relied on trade winds, new world to old world in upper latitudes relied on westerlies) (Most people's knowledge was very localized, and there was no instant communication across distant regions. Ever since the invention of the telegraph and rapid communication of ideas, then observations from disparate regions were beginning to associate. Cross-scale-connecting the dots from local to regional to national, gaining a collective picture from multiple disparate localized observations, "collective perception of climate") (connecting the dots in space)

1897. If someone saw a cloud, they would maybe think of water vapor. (Nuts and bolts)

1907. If someone saw a cloud, they might associate it with cyclones (Swedish research, Swedish folk had lots of incentive to study storms especially since they were bombarded with stormy weather all the time)

1957. If someone saw a cloud, they would maybe think of the jetstream. (During World War II, people from all over the world started to position weather balloons all over the place, before people's perception of weather was GROUND weather (SURFACE PATTERNS) and not UPPER ELEVATION DYNAMICS, ground weather was very localized but upper elevation dynamics, pressure, temperature, humidity provided clues to broader-scale, global weather patterns) (connecting the dots in space)

1970s. Including satellite imagery, didn't drastically enhance understanding, but provided better imagery of broader-scale patterns.

1977. If someone saw a cloud, they would think of global cooling. Milankovitch cycles and such, and Paul Ehrlich's loud mouth, population bomb etcetera blah blah blah.

1997. If someone saw a cloud, they would think of El Nino. (When El Nino became popular culture, though my father said that he met the scientist who worked on El Nino cycles back in the 1950s and 1960s; the concept had been around for a while, this is a time in which scientists started discovering annual and multi-year cycles, for example the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Northern Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), besides annual El Ninos and La Ninas) (connecting the dots in time)

2007. If someone saw a cloud, they would think of Global Warming. (Post Al-Gore-Inconvenient-Truth film, which I critiqued the shxt out of that film, every single flippin' second of it, funny, though I critiqued the film... I still don't know jack shxt about climate).

2010. If someone saw a cloud, they would probably imitate a Global Warming Joke from last night's Jay Leno show. They would also blame ("attribute") their melted ice scream, excessive nose boogers, flat tire, and weight gain to global warming. Ultimate Blame-All. Blame-a-cea!

2010. Now I understand why my father can't stand modern "incomplete models" of climate, which are very short-sighted. There needs to be more roleplay and factoring in of paleo-climate (ice cores and other proxy data), the role of the geologic record in climate, and the coupling of climate with ocean dynamics. This is the next frontier.

I am 3 years old (28), and this is the first time I could say that my "cognitive map" of climate and history of climate has expanded... since... perhaps the Al Gore paper I wrote back in 2007. Sad situation, I do say. My being the Climate Idiot around very well-versed Climaticists (ha ha) is encouraging me to expand my knowledge....


Thursday, February 11, 2010

506. Scarring Childhood Memory Department... A Sketch.... Maybe a Poem Someday: The Greatest Love is the Greatest Sting (Live Twice!)

Today is the first day of mental recuperation from about a week... no... about a month of self-exploration of internal landscapes... in order to truly figure out where I was at before my intellectual-life-or-death-committee-meeting (which ended up being not that bad after all... more later!).

I found myself waking up to a horrible nightmare I had around 7am this morning... pertaining to my mother who messed up my room... as she did when I was around 11-12 year old, when me and my sister were bad girls... for whatever reasons.... I also found my mother upset because I was taking out student loans... that's where the argument laid... nevertheless, modern problems were overlaid with traumatic childhood experiences.

I called my mother around 9am at work and said, "I had a bad dream and it was about you messing my room when I was a child. And I wanted to say I love you because hey, I can laugh this off, and many other children were physically beaten, but you were very good at indirect psychological drama. So, thanks." My mother told me that when she was a teenager, she was slapped by her mother for no apparent reason--she was trying to help her mother, but her mother misinterpreted as back-stabbing of sorts--and my mother was permanently scarred, so when she was angry and frustrated with me and my sister, she really tried very hard to minimize her impact on us. Hence the Psychological Trauma Department of Mother-Hurricane's-Children's-Room! So, when I sing, "It takes one rock to make me, one rock to make me, one rock to take me, far far away. The very rock that holds me, can be the rock that harms me, the very rock that leads me, back on my way," this song is devoted to my mother primarily, and a couple of other individuals in my life who have been the same. The greatest, most visceral, instinctive love of mother and child... can also and ultimately be the greatest sting.

I had a conversation with a fisherman about subliminal childhood memories... and we had discussed childhood abuse.... Why? Well, because apparently he was at this shopping mall and there was this little girl who was shrieking and screaming and yelping so loud that you could hear her across a parking lot the size of 5-6 football fields (it's funny how the "football field" is the standard metaphorical SI unit of scale for Joe American). Her bawling wailed across the entirety of IKEA. That child was a mess-up, a failed biological art project. The mother had no control over the kid. The fisherman suggested a good smack for reinforcement. It was so loud, I would probably suggest the same. Duct tape as well? One way or another, that child was a nuisance to about 10,000 people at a shopping mall all at once. That kid was no good news to society... and the sad thing is that she was only 4 year old.

Many children have to deal with physical beatings, and that leaves detrimental, permanent scars for life. I told him about what my mother did to me and my sister. I only remember my mom spanking my sister once in our entire childhood (I think I was around 4 or 5 year old)... not much to speak of.... I remember my father whippin' my face once at a tennis tournament when I was ten years old... I wouldn't stop crying... but I don't blame him... my mother was this fanatic tennis mother who created this entire familial tension such that all of our weekends for about 4 years were filled with tennis tournaments, subliminal arguments, and overt family fights.

One of the most horrifying memories was the early morning (winter-time, it was dark outside) argument behind closed doors between my mother and father. I was outside the door in the dark hallway, crying, listening as to what was happening inside. My father had the most threatening tone-of-voice I had ever heard in my life, and my mother was shrieking. I heard bangs and shoves... I felt so helpless.

The worst part is that they were arguing over me. That's the very worst part. I was preparing for some STUPID exam on World History for my second grade class with 6'4" Ms. Christoffers and history was something I wasn't very good at remembering the facts, and so I had written in tiny words on my hand the answers to the questions (which actually helped me remember what I was supposed to learn!), and so my mother was testing me during breakfast, and she found out that I had written the answers on my hand... and she started excessively scolding me for cheating... it was so excessive that it became abusive and that's when my father intervened... and then the whole shebang of the dark hallway-behind-closed-doors-drama. I went to school that day partly in tears, and so my surprise my mother came to visit me around 1pm in the afternoon and she gave me a very big hug and said sorry, sorry, sorry. I was worried about my mother and father staying together... and of course they stayed together... but man... the beauty of emotions are that sometimes they just blow up out of no-where... accumulated suppression... but after a while... the emotions ware off.... about three days for me.... They say "wounds" heal with time... I do agree.... but there are permanent scars in memory.... This was one of my most vivid childhood memories... and it was negative.... The positive ones, I'm sure I'm full of those... but thankfully my "Collecting Bin of Negative Childhood Memories" is very small, finite, and quite containable....

I don't know how I got into this whole Obama-America-Helpless-Mother-Screaming-Child-metaphor, but here it goes....

I'm writing this and come to understand how stressful it is to raise a child... and I honestly don't know what people are thinking when they choose to have a kid in such a society as today. Raising a kid or running the United States of America? The problems of governance are equally as bad. I feel so horrible for Obama. I think the system right now is so massive and so inert that Obama is more so a puppet to the system, than a player. Just like that mother and that screaming child. America is the screaming child, and Obama is the helpless mother who can't rear or control the child, no matter how hard he tries. Obama didn't create the problems.... He inherited them. That screaming child embodies the rapid inheritance of a suite of American problems. The cart is running the horse... the horse has no control of the cart. I am not an anarchist, but I am a disastrologist. I am a perpetrator of the Phoenix; it's stage right now is that it needs to collapse into ashes. I feel that renewal in this global system will come bottom up, through disaster. Disaster speaks louder than dollar bills (thankfully the Supreme Court doesn't have to write that in the laws). It's just a matter of when, where, and how. Earthquakes and volcanoes are my friends... even though they may have the risk of taking my life... they will be good for society. Enough of my Jesxs Chrxst-kill-myself-save-society mentality.... It's not very evolutionarily... common.

Back on topic here... so my mother was the Master of Indirect Psychological Trauma. She didn't destroy and bruise our physical bodies, but she did destroy our "bowers," hence that being our "array of toys and clothes and tools" in our rooms. If my sister and I were bad for some reason... like for example, I was 12-years-old, I delt with my "friends" Marie and Jyoti who were making fun of me because I was probably the only person in class being nice (respectful) to this geeky dude with excessively huge glasses named "Andrew Wannemaker" in my middle school Algebra 2 math class. I came home crying to my mother, who told me to get a life and focus on "real" problems, which was superb advice, but at the same time, I was being abused by my miscro-cosmal suite of "friends," and so through the mechanism of psychological displacement, I would have these subliminal agendas around the household, like "dump unwanted toys in my sister's room without her knowing" and "putting water in the salt shaker to make all the salt sticky-stuck." And I would call my sister bad names for no reason (poor Jen Jen, she was such a cute wittle girl I wished I could have recognized what a cute little kid she was, I wouldn't have been so mean to her, I might devote a cartoon to Jen Jen to make up for all of my misbehaviors). So, if my mother was fed up with me or my sister, she would go into our rooms and be "Madame Hurricane:" she would tear a part our rooms, throw around everything until nearly ever element of the room was misplaced, and then she would command us, as we watched her devastation in horror, to clean up our rooms that day... which was a multi-hour ordeal. For one stretch of time, my mother threatened us that she would rip up some of our dolls or stuffed animals in to pieces. And then one time she did. She ripped my sister's Rosa Doll in two, and all this cottonish polyester fell our of the middle, and both of us were shrieking horrified, because our stuffed animals were our lives.... We would spend hours upon hours animating these stuff-teed animals and create fantasy worlds in our minds about how they interacted with each other... and for one of them to be ripped in two and see her insides? What was polyester to everyone else was our soulful, emotional blood and guts spewing on the floor.... I think after that super-angry moment, my mother was even appalled with herself, just as we were in shell-shock... talk about childhood shock doctrine. That afternoon my mother took the Rosa Doll and sewed her up very good, and said sorry to me and Jenny, and Rosa was back in business in our self-constructed stuffed-animal-ecosystem. I kind of wished real-life surgery were that simple, one day you get split in two by an act of violence, and then you get sewed up back together again... maybe grafting for plants... but not us megacorporate multicellular organisms of bloody, intricate interdependence of our bodily ecosystems.

The worst case situation of my mother tearing up our rooms is when I evolved such a lowly sense of self-worth that I ended up ripping all of my 6-year accumulation of awards and accomplishements in school (not to mention stamps and smelly-stickers of approval), from kindergarten to 5th grade, all in a few minutes... and now it's recycled, dispersed as whatever materials somewhere and everywhere in the world.... Three days later my mother had been very nice to me and my fickle confidence restored. I was sad that my trash can was emptied... I regretted that I ripped up my awards, and I wished I had kept them to this day... not because they were awards... but because they were memories of school, accumulated 6 years destroyed in 3 minutes....

More evidence of my mother being a master of psychological trauma.... She was very, very good at making me (and my sister, but more so me) feel guilty into continuing to play tennis even though I was philosophically resisting the game from the very start (the first time I ever played a tournament at age 9, I was crying non-stop for 1.5 hours; I felt bad for winning, I felt bad for losing, I am a win-win person and not a win-lose person, I had no incentive to beat people). My mother would threaten us not to going fun places... and she thought that getting sponsorships and tickets to Disneyland was going to convince us to perform... I think not. She threatened us to quitting but never gave us any other options... like volleyball or soccer or track or swimming or whatever sport.... Tunneling us into tennis without providing options. It was a classic situation in which my mother was trying to live her dreams through her puppet children. I sometimes call my mother the Stern Dictator of the Household (the need for regimentality) and my father the Gentle Advisor... he exposed me and my sister to stuff and made everything fun. He gave us options but no pressure to go one direction or another. He expected us to skin our knees and learn from our mistakes, but he would always be there for a hug and a wiping of tears. Obviously this characterization of my parents is different: my mother no longer holds this "Dictatorship" role, more so now a Gentle Advisor as well... but nevertheless the psychological turmoil was intense, and placed my mind in a Box of Good Child Obedience.

The external trauma of the household toned down toward the end of high school when around 16 I started to subconsciously impose trauma on myself during my studies... throwing away food... not eating... excessive OCD-type behaviors with exercising in my room... banging my head against the wall... on the floor.... Inside it was that horrible cannibalistic collectively-induced manslaughter when people passed through the Event Horizon (remember that film?). That was my interior for a while... suppressed interior for a while... only revealed ONCE through my teenage years... in art class... as "The Mask." (refer to Blogs "The Mask" and key words "Live Twice").

Well, what can I say? This is great material for an eventual poem. Woohoo! I had started a poem a while ago entitled "Scars to the Mind" referring to these past childhood memories... but somehow this bad dream I had this morning made this narrative thread of childhood traumas come to full life in emotional landscapes. I might as well capture it as it's fresh. I'm lucky to say that my childhood was benign, and nearly all negativity quarantined. Like I mentioned before, I'm called my mother to say "I love you, and thank you for only messing up my room, because I'm only laughing now."

Thursday, February 04, 2010

505. Beginning of a New Poem / Song... Finding All These Metaphors for My Buried Freudian Anorexic Past....

The last week I have been doing some Freudian [deep] mental scrubbing, coming to realize that I am re-connecting my shoved-back past, connecting dots in new ways... continuing the Anorexic Academic theme here from Blog 229... Santa Barbara Writer's Conference.... I'm not sure whether to call this song/poem "Ghost" because I already have another Ghost poem dealing with broader issues in space and time. I am remembering how this one memoirist (some dude who likes to write about his gay life and his dog in New York, of course) said one sage piece of advice for sure... "As you keep living the present, your relationship with the past constantly changes, shifts." I am endlessly a shifting baseline syndrome. *Sigh.*

underneath these frothe layers,
false prestige of academics,
lays a wild vicious creature,
desperate and anorexic.

underneath these stable layers
of an hourglass dynamic,
lurks the darkness of a belljar [chaos]
caving in to a walking stick.

oh, somehow, second chance in mind
gave new shell to a decayed life--

as a ghost.

[exist as]
as a ghost,
could not let go
of her demons ago,
could not escape,
northern lights
to create
another day
in her way-
coming her way,
so she haunts
like a ghost,
her very world,
universe of
her self,
like a ghost,
second chance
as a ghost,
second life
second chance,
as a ghost,
living ghost...
creating a ghost...
haunting a ghost...
like a ghost--

is her ailment
mental or enviro-
mental, interactive
oooh.oooh.oooh, both.
oooh.oooh.oooh, both.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

504. Poem / Song Just Made Up in the Car "Contingency: Stokastika"

I had always envisioned to make some kind of epic funky geek song... and maybe this is it. For the last month, I have been consciously desiring to write some simple poem entitled "Contingency," and while I was driving to Ventura this evening, some melodies happened to go along with the words! And the evolution of this ditty kept me awake on the drive, though I was extremely exhausted. Lucky me sometimes music can pour out like that. I'll write out the lyrics, and head back to work. This Monday is my First Academic Judgment Day, and I really feel like I am facing some form of Philosophical Death or Suicide of sorts. Won't write anymore here... I may get "depressed".... (I have an early "primordial" poem entitled "Stokastika" I may eventually include here, largely defining the properties of space and time, but then again... it's very simple, overly simple, early-early-early-single-celled-organism-simple kind of poem... though it ends with the question... "What will you do when you're in the flow?")


An' so they say
Great dis-coveries
Occur sim-ply
By Cha-a-a-ance.

But this strange game
Of chance seems to
Favor those few
Prepared Mi-i-i-inds.

Oh dear lady,
It was merely
By chance you had a
Prepared Mi-i-i-ind.

Don't (Do) tell me--
Ima con-tingency.
A proba-bility,
A blank slate-before me
An' somewhere-inside me
An' somehow-outside me
Lays a dis-covery
A great dis-covery
Lays a dis-covery
A great dis-covery--

now... now... now... now
... now... now... now... now...