Monday, May 31, 2010


"Clear in thinking, and clear in feeling, / and clear in wanting"

- Fernando Pessoa

("Vandalized Entrance to one of Saddam Hussein's Palaces" by Holly Pickett)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Break the narrative...

Stuck in your own story again? As Bjork sings here, "I'm no fucking Buddhist, but..." And reflecting on this lyric, something sinks in; I think she makes a good point...

We're losing our enjoyment, or worse, our experience of the present - a place of infinite potential dragged into the commonplace by our pre-imagined narratives. The present is a muscle. Don't let it atrophy. Were you expecting your present just to work perfectly at some point in the future? Did you think this life would last forever?

If we bring ourselves to the moment, without a mind lost in an abstract to do list, without fitting the world into an old story, and with senses alert and pistons firing, things will generally sort themselves out for the better.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Miraculous gray day...

May 19th was a day of strange, biblical proportions...

(music: "You were there with me" by Four Tet)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ambition can't be deep...

I've learned that ambition slices through time aerodynamically. It can't have any drag, it can't waste a moment learning, laboring, or reflecting. It just goes. Now I'm not saying that ambitious people can't have any depth, quite a few do. I'm just saying that it takes enormous skill and discipline or a very lucky draw of the genetic cards to combine one's drive with one's... what would you call it... enlightenment?

(photo by Jill "Manipulator" Greenberg)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Psychic architecture...

Don't forget: No one is going to give you space for dignity, or even space to be calm and think and feel straight. No one gives a shit. It's up to you. You've got to discover your space, inhabit it, remodel and grow with it, and most certainly defend it. Many of us forget that and spend our days in a waffling state of nervous obligation and inexplicable compromise. Hope that's not you!

("After 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison" by Jeff Wall)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cold shoulder...

A calculated display of coldness or indifference, intended to wound or cut off relations. Perfected by people from northern climes. Charming.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This call will be recorded to ensure quality control...

I'm always amazed at how articulate and official and precise certain people can be in the moment. Since my mind often looks something like what you see here, whatever comes out comes out with this in mind.

(wonderful painthings by Yago Hortal here)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More action than transaction...

So ok, human life, as we've engineered it, is about making exchanges. Got it. This is business, the way we interact with others in the spirit of fairness (ha!). These are important interfaces. This is how bridges and schools and McDonald's get built. This is how values are assigned to essentially worthless things. Worth, money, value, economies, as we know, are all highly subjective and largely imaginary.

My beef is that people get stuck in the transactional realm to the detriment of the action realm. Time is a factor here. In other words, shouldn't our transactions be quick exchanges in service of some more important and time consuming action? Unfortunately, culture can only hold so much, and when the culture puts a premium on the exchange, and worse, the cost of living, then living itself gets a little sidelined.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

One giant heap...

There are two kinds of people. Those running towards their past, and those running away from it. The former group will often find that the past has little interest in them, while those who claim to be done with their past will usually find that it's not done with them.

It's true that our present is enormously influenced by things that have happened before. Memory and experience are good things when it comes to remembering how to open a door or land a lunar module. But when memory and experience cloud your view of what's in front of you, i.e. the present, things get very limited and/or very interesting.

Zen masters listen up... By now we've all experienced the violence of trying to be in the present, the brutalness with which our sprawling and all-consuming internal life can arrive limp and stillborn in the cold, chaotic light of day. Environmental conditions inside of the skull and the heart are very different from those on the outside. These are perhaps the most important bridges a human can learn to cross.

Knowing how to balance a selective past with a fluid present, knowing how to unscrew the emotional lenses from our here and now perceptions, knowing how to access experience without the dread of reliving past failures or pain, knowing how to get the pancakes out of our space suits, these are the skills you'll want to be honing homeslice.

The taxidermy of nanoseconds...

To one of the humans it was a blip in time that barely even registered, forgotten even as it was happening. 1/50th of a second. A simple photograph, a jotted autograph, one of many, and totally meaningless.

To the other it was a validation of a lifetime's worth of dreaming and yearning. It was an Oscar, an Emmy, The Stanley Cup, The Medal of Honor, and the Pulitzer Prize all wrapped up into one tidy little image for all to see. It was a license to change behavior, to make demands, to declare victory and announce the arrival of a powerful new player in town.

You get to see a lot of strange things in Los Angeles, a lot of people jostling for position, hoping that one anointed person's luster will rub off onto them. Never quite understood that. And I'm glad that little by little we seem to be demystifying the false godhood of celebrity. Hey - they're just like us!

What strange games we play.

(photo from the Gary Lee Boas "archive")

Friday, May 07, 2010

His bravado has a new tremolo in it...

Was listening to some scratchy AM radio station yesterday right after the stock market plunged a 1000 points. AM radio is so aesthetically perfect for these moments. You could literally hear the endorphins popping in the reporter's melon. Shades of the Hindenberg. O the fat finger!

What is so clear to me is that our economy is really a sort of global EKG of our collective psyche. It currently reflects fear and nervousness and also a particularly widespread psychic flabbiness that comes from worshipping the money gods.

My muddy thought here is that economies are beautiful barometers of our day-to-day evo/devo-lution of consciousness as a species. My hope is that economies will slowly move away from reflecting our daily panic for security and start to align with an awareness of the greater potential of the human soul. Once we firmly grasp these core abilities we might start to use money as an expression of our actual desires rather than our frenzied, aspirational ones.

("West Bedroom Workout" photo by Eddie Adams)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A soldier's skin...

You silenced your doubts. You committed. You studied. You readied.
You allowed for only the best.

Weren't you fighting for something? What was that belief? Who are these people?
What is this taste in my mouth?

All of these skills and scars seem like someone else's.
Only soft flashes of faces and voices fill your head.

Only certain people can see you now. You are no longer among the living.
Nor are you dead.

The prison of a physical skin that separates ghostly memories from a dreaming reality.

Generally old and away, you fight, or fade.