Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Last Hurrah!

I read someone's take on the press' ridicule of the 'Occupy Wall Street' protests, that the protestors didn't even know what they are protesting - the response was too the effect of 'it's called occupy Wall Street, I think it's pretty obvious what we're against.'

My travels in China made me inclined to call China 'The Last Hurrah' of neo-classical economics. In fact as a graduate of an Economics & Marketing degree I can tell you with some authority that we have known for years that GDP doesn't work. Sometime in the early 00's Clive Hamilton published his book 'Growth Fetish' thoroughly analysing the misguided obsession with GDP growth, the fetish still exists but I would propose that long before the last decade people clinically, empirically knew that money doesn't = happiness.

I believe 'the corporation' has a succinct moment explaining the pitfalls of consumerism. 'The whole system is based on a truth and a lie. The truth: if you take someone cold naked and miserable and hungry, and give them food, shelter and clothing they will go from being very miserable to very happy. The lie: If you give somebody twice as much stuff, they'll be twice as happy.'

This is neither the New York times nor the Washington Post, I don't have fact checkers, but I'm reasonably confident that worldwide one will probably observe most countries that have persued economic growth have also seen a growing disparity between rich and poor. The occupy wallstreet crowd refer to themselves as the 99% and the 1% refers to that disparity in America.

There is also simply speaking, a wider loss of confidence in the worldwide Economic institutions. Movements like occupy wall street are on the one hand, easy to ridicule because people are by and large economically illiterate, or put simply, the average joe on the street has no idea what they are talking about when it comes to economics. But this is true of Capitalisms many supporters as well. I hear mind-blowingly idiotic arguments from both camps. But just because you don't know shit about economics doesn't mean you are wrong.

For one thing, many of those who come out to defend right-wing capatilism - free markets, low taxes, small government, individual bargaining agreements, no social welfare etc. defend a system that represents almost none of these things. As Chomsky points out, many republicans like Newt Gingrich that bemoan social welfare are some of the biggest welfare advocates, only in the form of corporate welfare. The US operates it's 'free market' behind some of the most complex and comprehensive trade barriers around, even post NAFTA. Under Reagan the size of government (measured in staff and ultimately cost) actually increased, and goes on increasing.

Then there's the notion of 'free markets' and 'deregulation' that has yet to produce any results (unless you count The GFC as a result of deregulation). Time recently correlated 'ease of doing business' in terms of a number of regulations with economic growth. Turns out in China it is still incredibly hard to do business, with Bank Loan approval taking an average 311 days or something. Yet it's growth has vastly outstripped the US's.

Obviously there are more factors that come into play, and this is in essence what the protestors on the street are right about without even knowing it. China is a vast country, densely populated that is playing catch up. Nothing new and amazing and wonderful is coming out of China. They are building freeways, apartment blocks, supermarkets, shopping malls, train stations, power plants etc. (Obviously 'nothing' new is an exagerration) but the long and short is, that China's rise in the world is bringing it's people up to a standard of creature comforts they have simply been deprived of for the past 60 years, and that Australians, Europeans, Americans, Canadians etc. already have.

China is not wholly, nor even significantly partially a bold new vision of the future, but rather a collossal stampede to the present. It's public are consuming the truth and lie of capatilism in quick succession, and I have confidence that they will discover as the rest of the world seems to be discovering - that the consumer comforts we desire look good from afar but are far from good.

China's economic growth, is I hope the Last Hurrah of an antiquated way of thinking.

But I introduced a notion of right and wrong, and that is dangerous. Let me see if I can make some definitions that are simple - I warn you though, I'm not confident.

Economics is the science of deciding the best way to allocate resources that are limited to maximise happiness.

As yet, the time frame for that goal is undefined. I suggets over the long term, with limitations. (that is admittedly tricky)

Human satisfaction is as good a starting place as any to measure the performance of economic solutions (allocating resources).

SO, an economic system is 'right' if it allocates resources to maximise both happiness now, but more importantly the opportunites we have to be happy. It is wrong if it doesn't.

Perhaps, oversimplifying I would contend that GDP's perhaps only merit is that it kind of retrospectively proves that opportunity increased, if AND ONLY IF you accept that consumption is a good proxy for happiness.

If your economy grew this year, it means that the previous year set you up with more opportunities to grow. That's what I mean by retrospective, the problem is, that GDP growth is kind of like those Casino games of Solitaire, where you can appear to be making progress for a long time only to hit a dead end, and realise that you made a crucial error, unwittingly a long time ago and now that's it, you've lost.

More over, GDP is about as quick and dirty as my above reasoning as a measurement of wellbeing, an indicator of progress. It has numerous well known blindspots. It doesn't look at how economic growth is distributed amongst the public. The implication of that is that economic growth is good if you are feeding, clothing and sheltering more and more destitute people, but not great if it is all going to providing more food clothing and shelter to people who have plenty already while more and more go destitute.

It also just measures consumption, with no real time frame, so the only thing stopping a country from cutting down all it's forrests and pulping them, is the knowledge that if they do that now, the will get great GDP growth this year, and none from that sector next year. But in essence, itjust means that industries and the governments that regulate them dig incrementally increasing slices of irreplaceable resources out of the ground over time, instead of instantly. You still end up burning through your irreplaceable resources.

Furthermore consumption blatenlty ignores all the empirically proven, on large scale, worldwide, numerous times, conclusion that people's happiness doesn't increase with wealth, problems do. People in 'wealthy' nations can actually be less happy than others.

Why? And if our current system is so wrong, what is right? I will muse on these next post. My laundry is done.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's A Guy Thing

So last night I watched a Japanese special on why women lie about their age at dating events (dating sites, speed dating etc.) in Japan. (At least as far as I could gather it was about that) and they actually demonstrated one of the 'meeting parties' that I guess are like speed dating, with 4 guys and 4 girls.

I'm not sure how staged the segment was, but basically they had 4 japanese guys eat dinner and have some drinks in a private dining room with 4 Japanese girls. The men were aged 22~32 or something, and the women were 22, 36, 36 and 49 respectively.

After some chitchat the women leave and the men are asked who they are interested in. 3 out of 4 picked the 49 year old woman. Then the women come in one by one and reveal their ages on a card. The men's reaction to the 49 year old reveal, was, palpable.

At this stage I was thinking, that it was kind of cruel to the female participants in this experiment. Then there was a bit more mixing, and then the men were asked who they were interested in now. All 4 picked the 22 year old.

Then the experiment was repeated with foreigners, aka whities. Who speak japanese, replacing the Japanes men. Ages ranged from 22 to 34 or something again.

I remarked to my host mother that the guys were all ugly. I will elaborate on this later. Here's the thing though.

When the Japanese guys were dining with the japanese women, they had this unfortunately L-shaped table. The men all sat together on one arm, and the women on the other of the 'L' meaning only one guy sat next to a girl, and two were distinctly seperated.

The whitey's instantly had the group sitting one girl one guy alternating. All the foreigners were clearly fluentish in Japanese and even from that snippet, you could see conversation flowed more easily.

The experimented proceeded the same way, the ladies leave, the guys cast their vote. The foreigners votes were all over the place.

Then they did the age reveal, and then more intermingling. In the first run through the Japanese guys basically socially cast aside the eldest woman, and one made some comment comparing her to his mother.

The foreigners just proceeded as business as usual. Except (and here's where you don't know how staged it was) they showed an increased interest in the eldest woman, the 49 year old. Then afterwards, the men cast their votes and 3 out of 4 voted for the 49 year old.

End story. Now originally I had thought the experiment cruel to the elder women participants. In hindsight it was cruel to the Japanese men.

Whenever I come to Japan I am inevitably asked specifically if 'I will marry a Japanese girl'. and then, less directly what I think of Japanese women, or am told that Japanese women are 'yasashi' literally 'easy' but the cultural nuance here is more in line with 'easy going/gentle' and this is infact precicely my problem with Japanese women, as far as any women or cultures can be generalised.

The issue being that the social contract here is still very much Stepford wives. The men here still work in the office of Madmen, perhaps with smoking now increasingly disallowed.

The marriage contract remains, man provides income, women presumably provide housekeeping, cooking and childrearing services in return. Except women here watch friends and Sex & the City and expect more. But there is no 'womens movement' as such.

What played out in this tv special, staged or not, was women voting with their feet. Japan has been described as 'homo-social' and weekends aside it is true. The city is populated by Women hanging out with women and elderly couples (and me).

The men and women are out of touch, that special illustrated that it is the Japanese man's problem.

I have been culturally conditioned, and otherwise self conditioned to like 'tough-vajajay' women, not ones that exemplify male priveledge as the 'yasashi' Japanese women do. And Japanese men are the big winners of male priveledge, except... except they really aren't competitive anymore.

Again generalising the Japanese men on the program out to the population at large, this is what they have going for them over pretty much any foreigner:

- cultural identity.

And that's it. Now recall I mentioned the foreigners were ugly, I must confess. As I did to my friend Nick shortly before leaving for Japan, that whenever I say a white guy with an Asian/Japanese girlfriend I usually think less of both of them. The man for being a misogenist after the yasashi-japanese girlfriend, and the woman for not having the sense to do better for herself. When I dated a japanese girl, I became highly conscious that other people were probably having this exact reaction to me when we held hands down the street.

The thing is those ugly foreigners, and pretty much everyone I have seen with a Japanese girl on or off camera has this going for them over the Japanese men:

- conversation skills.
- social awareness.
- empathy.
- tact.
- generosity.
- interests.
- travel experience.
- confidence.
- independence.
- kindness.
- body language.
- forethought.
- compassion.

And by that last one I don't even mean that they were nice to say they were interested in the 49 year old, but that they made an effort to rotate around and include everyone, and sit in alternating manners.

Even if the outcome was staged, it also reveals that the white men had the presence of mind to lie on national television and look much much better than the honestly superficial Japanese participants.

If you even on an instinctual level know that kindness is attractive to people (male or female) then appearing on national television as a guy that appreciates wisdom over beauty is going to pay off, off screen by impressing your colleagues and friends watching the show.

The fact this doesn't occur to the men, who answered at face value indicates how divided society must be here, staged or not, the experiment would indicate that the men participating don't socialise with women anywhere.

The problem and the cruelty is all on the men. Japanese men, in the dating game are becoming obsolete, like the Sony Walkman, they need to Wiinvent themselves and quickly. But alas, by and large the culture that stifles them in the dating game also deprives them of time and opportunity.

The workplace still expects them to leave home at 6am and get home at 8pm and work 6 days a week. The office is still male dominated here, the only thing dissappearing are the 'OL' or office-ladies, previously shipped into the workforce to serve tea and basically give workers the opportunity to meet a potential marriage partner.

None of this is new, and there are far better researched and far less partial accounts than I could give, try 'Shutting Out the Sun' for a good overview.

I just saw it played out for me, on screen, in a special that was probably closer to reality than most reality tv.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Steve Jobs.

In Japan, internet aside I have limited access to English press. Everything I do have access to here, is about Steve Jobs. Somebody I would pay close to no attention to in Australia. In fact, I never did except when it was unavoidable. Much like I imagine a sports-hating-hater must have done when the news reported on 'What Michael Jordan Did Today' both before and after the weather when he took over the world in the 90's.

So I now have the choice of reading about Steve Jobs, or trying to read Japanese menus, and there's only so many times I eat a day (5 times) so reluctantly I read about the late, great Steve Jobs.

I feel the first, last and only word on the significance of his passing is summed up the Onion piece 'Last American Who Knew What the Fuck He Was Doing Dies.'

But to me, while I am moved at how loved the man is, it puts me in mind of the precarious nature of technology. That is, I sat at a dinner party where somebody said 'Just invest everything in Google, nothing is ever going to beat Google.' which has not yet turned into one of those laughable time travel jokes, is still an illustration of how precarious technological innovation is.

The notion that Google, Apple or Facebook are unnassailable market leaders is no different from assuming Yahoo, Sony or Myspace are unnassailable market leaders. The problem is, that with technology, if you can imagine what will actually compete with the dominant technology of the day then you are 99% of the way to already having it.

Steve Jobs was probably the only person that could imagine what would beat out the Sony Walkman/Discman. Zuckerberg was probably at one point the first person to concieve of what would beat out Myspace.

Steve Jobs, is perhaps cooler, but no less remarkable than Bill Gates. The two are different enough to not really hold up to comparison, but similar enough to often be compared. They both simply persued different strategies (customisation vs. standardisation) in a world that contrary to popular belief had room for both.

Will people erect shrines to Bill Gates when he dies of old age? Maybe. Should they? Definitely. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is one of the greatest forces for good in the world, an argument by accident FOR Capatalism.

Mac used sweatshop labor and toxic chemicals to adhere apple stickers to laptops and other products in China. Things are never clear. Gates exploited anticompetitive strategy to ensure his dominance. Jobs found a way to sell us music we used to obtain for free.

There is something short sighted in our faith in Jobs, around the same time the news was covering Michael Jordan every day, you couldn't have a conversation without it inevitably steering towards how much Bill Gates earns per second.

But who gives a shit about Bill Gates now? Windows is probably the worlds highest selling OS, just as I'm sure Brand Jordan's shoes are still number one. We've just stopped talking about them.


Prophanity is a legitimate form of expression.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cool is Cheap

So feeling nostalgic, I started reading Bikesnob's blog again, which I first discovered by reading an interview with him in a cycling magazine way back in '07 or '08. The first post I read was this: about young people migrating to cities like Portland, and Austin. While the people migrating to cities like New York are old dudes, providing the 'calcification' of cities like New York.

This cycle is not unknown in Melbourne and I feel at some point needs beating. The post linked to Freakonomics, whom are famous for breaking down 'causation' and 'correlation' cases of mistaken identity. But in this case I feel they have got it wrong.

Certainly gravity applies to young people's choice in which city/suburb etc to live in. The more young people in a place, the more likely young people are to live there. However, before this is the issue of rents, something Earthsharing Australia a think tank I am occasionally involved with staged a film comp on just such a phenomena.

They called it 'The Gentrification Game'. Similar to such phenomena as prole drift (which curiously, is not a phenomena in Japan, everyone can consume 'exclusive' brands without an ipact on the brand equity) but more in the opposite direction, gentrification is where a low rent area atracts a bunch of people with dubious incomes.

An area like Saint Kilda in Melbourne was at one stage, low rent, attracting artists and musicians to live there. They inevitably have an impact on the character of the neighbourhood, attracting monikers like 'cool' and 'funky'. Over time these become assets to the neighbourhood, and attractive to people with money.

Thus gentrification begins. Demand to live in such neighbourhood increases, eventually landlords get wise and up the rents. The poor artists, move on to browner pastures (which they again coolify) and people with money move in and displace them. Funky-cool cafes open up on the main drag attracting more uncool people, until young people have to be bussed in to actually be baristas because they can't afford to live anywhere near the clientelle.

Increasingly what once was a happening place becomes a strip with the appearance of being happening but in reality containing only expensive restaurants and cafes.

Meanwhile you see a migration of the cool people towards other cheap suburbs. Brunswick and Sydney Road is gentrifying, I am sure soon to be followed by High Street, Yarraville will most likely gentrify, if it hasn't already, it is too far for me to really spend a great deal of time in, and Footscray and other western suburbs is an open question, because I'm fairly sure Melbourne house prices are going to tank, putting a brief hiatus on the gentrification spread.

I have heard it said that 'Castlemaine' is the new St Kilda, and it isn't even in Melbourne. This is a tragic state of events if the happening places of the future will be in places away from the happening infrastructure.

But then again, I don't see why not, thanks to the internet you can get posted just about anything anywhere. People seem averse to having actual audiances, or viewing anything through something other than a computer screen, so perhaps you don't even need a population to engage in dialogue with.

Who knows, soon it may be desirable to live in Yass, or Detroit or somewhere else with almost know hope of supporting jobs for the gentrifiers. The only defence artists and creatives and coolness has, is that people with Money need to earn it somewhere. You can not earn money almost anywhere these days.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm Sorry, What?

Property buying losing appeal even as prices retreat

From the age. Time for a little Economics 102. The thing that caught my eye with this article was the 'even as' line.

Here we see the complacency or naivete of free press in creating asset bubbles. There are few institutions that employ economists. Research companies, Banks, Universities, Government Departments and one would hope, newspapers.

This headline itself was as I understand journalism, probably the product of an editor and not say, the journalist/economist etc that wrote the article. Because, OF COURSE you wouldn't buy property now, if you expect it to get cheaper.

Rationally, supply and demand curves sustain an equilibrium, where as the price of property goes down, demand increases, and as it goes up demand decreases.

The article itself draws the same conclusion on price expectations that Keynes did during the great depression moving on from Classical Economics (hence economics 102). Quite right, quite right. Only under duress would anybody buy today what they expect to be on sale tomorrow.

The article is still dissappointing though. It keeps referring to 'population growth' as a contributing factor to propping up property prices. I would be surprised if any actual analysis ever actually turned up any correlation between population size and house prices ever. Even somewhere like China where you see huge migrations from country to city, you have a cheap workforce living in shipping containers while they construct high-end apartment blocks that are bought and sold, despite nobody ever living in them.

There is alas a complete and utter truth to Michael Hudson's assertion that a 'house is worth as much as banks are willing to lend for it.'

I don't think the RBA's rate cuts though will upset the downward momentum of Australian property prices this time.

House prices are strange, they sustain their own momentum. I have a half baked theory using economics lingo, that houses are an example of good where the utility curve can't really apply. A utility curve generally maps the relationship between utility (satisfaction, happiness it is both and neither of these things) and price. But with houses the utility is often derived from the price. That is it is a speculative good. In good times the more you pay for it, the better you feel.

Imagine, if there was only one piece of property in the world. The previous owner bought it for $10,000 last year. What most people in a more diluted form do, is buy that has for $100,000 and note it's price has increased 1000%!!! in just one year, and feel enormously satisfied by their wise purchase decision.

Hopefully the ridiculousness of this investment strategy in the above example is transparent. It is less so when dealing with large numbers of buyers and sellers and properties. But basically, the houses get no more useful, bring in no more 'real' income (that is rent) but people pay ever increasing amounts for them.


Because they expect them to be sold at even higher prices.

This can continue almost indefinitely (although the money has to eventually come from somewhere) because it is a self fulfilling prophecy. You and I could become millionaires (on paper) with the willing participation of a lending institution by simply agreeing to buy the same pen off eachother at ever escalating prices.

What then, when the self fulfilling prophecy stops being fulfilled, it just becomes another self fulfilling prophecy, albeit one with a more concrete bottom than the others ceiling.

People will not buy because they expect prices to go down. Owners on the otherhand will try and rush their properties onto the market 'before it's too late', creating supply demand imbalances that will push prices down. This will cause panic amongst those holding hot-potato-mortgages and reluctance in those that would buy in.

The prices will drop, they will drop at a rate of acceleration akin to gravity and people will get hurt.

Sadly it will be many people who followed the advice of those loved ones that wanted them to never feel such hurt financially.

This is why you shouldn't believe everything you read (in a Newspaper).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gay Marriage

Some believe it right, some believe it wrong. If you believe it wrong, you do not want it, and so what need have you for a law preventing you? Suffice to say you feel it your duty to prevent others from doing this wrong, or that it diminishes what? Your achievement?

And in prevention what are you saving? If you believe that such unions cannot work, what harm in trying? Most unions do not work. On the law of average no union should proceed, sooner than heterosexual ones should only.

Turn then to the immortal soul, to the eternity of happiness or despair, it is the despair you would save them from. But this is but belief. You believe it so. I believe it not. Do you hear God speak? As I speak. I think not. He but reveals himself to you, as he does not reveal himself to me. Our beliefs are at odds. For you a feeling of failure as one engages in sin is what you wager. For me, the reading of the law at any law sanctioned wedding. For others the ability to have their union recognised by the state.

Whose grief is greatest? Surely the latter. You would have the law compel your success? You argue that in this the law should prevent those from consenting to your believed sin. What else would you have the law do? Compel us to attend your church, read your scripture and everything else your beliefs command you to.


You cannot, for this state is secular. And on this only can you agree. That no man should marry man, that no woman should marry woman. That the exclusive priveledge of your unions should not be extended. That some should be excluded from the state in this small way for what? For loving who they love.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What is the Mangatrix?

Kyoto is kind of like Japan's Florence (Firenze) in that it holds much of the classic architecture of Japan's past and artworks from Japan's own renaissance (Although Ironically this was the Edo Period, the old name for Tokyo). But in a lot of ways it is not like Florence.

When you walk through the old districts of Florence, they are precisely that. Kyoto has heritage listed buildings galore, but no real zoning, the old wooden housing long since pulled down and replaced with concrete block architecture, now streaked with acid rain. A large part of the reason for this is practical, in a country prone to earthquakes it makes sense to build dwellings out of materials unlikely to collapse and then burn.

But Kyoto unlike Florence leaves one with an inescapable desire to imagine what it would have been like if the whole city had been preserved. Allegedly allied forced had protected Kyoto from being bombed in WW2, when it was still largely wooden structures. With the advances in Weapons guidance systems and the uglification of Kyoto's non temple/shrine/castle/palace buildings, I doubt it would be protected today.

And it occured to me, I could not live here. Not full time. I mean I could, but I would long for open spaces and clean rain and... pretty much all the settings employed in popular manga. I'm thinking of the open seas and island nations of One Piece, the mediteranian settings of everything Miyazake, even Naruto's open deserts, vallies and forrested villages. All very unjapanese.

Japanese people live in cramped apartments, daily reorganizing their lives in a way that is not unimpressive. They also live I think inside their heads, in the imaginary spaces of Manga comics.

It occurred to me, a beguiling theory of the popularity of Comics amongsts Japanese of all ages, is that the demand for escapism is just part of life. Obviously there are a bunch of titles that are very close to the daily lives of Japanese, set in Japanese cities. But into the mangatrix we go, the Japanese escaping the close confines of living, if for only a few minutes at a time, by escaping to comicbook world.

It's just a thought and probably but one aspect of the many things that make Comics so popular in Japan, but I thought it, now it is here. For posterity.

Monday, November 07, 2011

On Poverty and Wealth

So I gots to catch up with this travelogue phase. I:m sorry, fucken Communists and keyboard rearrangements.

So I spent most of last week in Beijing. I want to get the negative out of the way first, and briefly:

China's vision of economic growth is so uninspired that it speaks more of poverty than poverty actually does, in the same way that grownass rappers bragging to suburban teenagers about their ability to pay for jewellery, drive a car and get a girlfriend speaks of it. (Check out Kanye's `the good life' if you need to see what I'm talking about.) It's like they have reduced the concept of progress into the apartment block, with brand carrying stores at the basement and just reproduce these block after block after block. The brands consumed also paint a sad picture. After 3 years the Stonecutter's quote 'jealous?' - 'no Homer, we have the same chair' holds up.

But that's it. I enjoyed Beijing a lot more this time round, not just because I got to see Pandas eithermost. Not being a prisoner to indoors on account of freezing temperatures, I got to cycle around Beijing and experience the surprisingly pleasent traffic.

In Beijing no matter what form of transport you use, the pedestrian rules apply. That is you can pretty much ignore any formal rules, it's jaywalking for bicycles and cars. Everyone moves slowly and the car horn, amazingly is not an angry sound. It just says 'I'm here buddy' not 'get out of the fucking way' or 'I don't like what you are doing'. It's calm and relaxed and patient. I never expected that from such a fucked up driving culture that China has.

But really it works much better, Australian's should be ashamed of what angry assholes they are on the road. Patience is a value that is lost in Australia, one that would go miles and miles towards lifting everyone's wellbeing.

I can remember in 2 months of cycling Europe I got honked at once, by a car in Austria that was trying to tell me to get off the road... onto the designated road for bicycles. Beijing is kind of like that but you get honked all the time in a concerned caring way.

The second thing is that last time I was in Beijing I went to Beijing after 3 months in Japan, Japan the cleanest shithole in the world. I was confronted by the mess and couldn't get over it. I travelled in the right direction this time, and I think I got it. Like my mother pointed out to me, while it is confronting to see children just shitting through a split in their pants in the street or literally being hung out the car window at an intersection to go, the world would be ruined already if everyone in China used disposable nappies. The landfill alone would have it's own seat on the UN security council.

The food as per last time was excellent. And stuff is cheap, I got two pairs of glasses made up in 20 minutes, as opposed to the fucking ordeal getting prescription glasses is in Australia, with insurance companies to deal with and fucking waiting for some factory to make them. OPSM probably got their lenses from the same joint I did. I also took my now 10 year old jeans into the tailors and got two pairs of suitpants tailor made to the same measurements. Knowing I have gangsta-ass slacks makes me confident I will not only cream any job interviewers with my contempt for them, but I will probably be hired in to replace my recruiters.

And the optimism, last time I visited it was 6 months prior to the Beijing Olympics, I think this coloured Beijing with an unattractive 'in your face Australia' attitude I picked up on, an arrogance. I believe that and my own arrogance have settled down over 3 years and Beijing and I were able to get along much better.

Also I guess Beijing was the first unfamiliar culture I visited on my round the world trip last time. Now I have been through muggings and experienced better and worse and I guess know how to travel. I have stopped caring, and it has made me better able to appreciate.

I think the Chinese people can get and deserve a better deal as human beings, for a greener and free future, but they seem happy, upbeat, optimistic even despite the rest of the worlds decline. I feel I can be happy for them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm Doing Something Right I Guess

I'm not good at travel, I always feel like I'm letting somebody down when I go. Because I can never come back and just be 'It's AMAZING, WOW!!! My whole perspective in life has changed!!!' blah blah blah.

My mother, (who worries) is worried about this past behaviour of mine. I've never been the excitable type, but I'm not the type to go travelling like I'm getting some kind of hit.

I'm really emotional and reluctant to leave. Part of this I'm sure is that I am losing my sister to New York while I'm away, I'll probably not live with her again and she will simply be gone when I come back. Another part is that John my coconspirator will have moved to Sydney whilst I'm away, and he will be missed as well.

But I also just miss Melbourne. I've never been able to relate to people who have a desire to leave it. Maybe if you grew up here, I don't know. I find that 'travel broadens you' is fundamentally true, but isn't some silver bullet cure all.

I remember a line from 'In the Lake of the Woods' a prescribed text when I was in year 10 or 11 that read something like 'they moved there as if happiness was a physical place on earth.' which I think many who 'love' travel are prone to thinking.

I also remember in Lisa Pryor's 'Pinstripe Prison' on the lifestyle sale of jetsetting corporate worker's travel experiences 'I think a lot of people who travel want to because they aren't happy where they are.' as in travel is an escape, quite literrarily escapist.

Not so, I. I am also reminded of crappy self help book that's contents is literally on its cover 'it's called a "break-up" because it's "broken"' and think that 'taking a break' kind of implies that you are attempting to fracture or destroy your life by journeying abroad.

This was certainly the case last time I left the country - I literally packed all my life into boxes and within 24 hours had nothing but a passport, a credit card and some pyjama's in a capsule in Osaka.

I'm afraid that this trip will be that trip writ small, that I will have my strange isolated depression that I got in Thailand, where I couldn't force myself out of my hotel room before 1 in the afternoon and then on the pretext of needing to eat.

There is some stuff in my life that needs breaking, but not much. Bad routines I've fallen into. And it will be nice not to have to work. And it will be great seeing all my people's of Japan, whom seldom use facebook, call or think outside the boarders of their own country, whom love me as dearly as I love them.

But I decided to do this trip at New Years, I let them know and gave them my word. My word I take very seriously, but I'm so reluctant to let go of this city, my home.

I love Melbourne, I love its people, I love my life here. I guess if anything my anxiety at leaving even for a relatively short 6 weeks reflects that my home is truly a home and I'm doing something right.

Superfluous H: What could have been and was.

So superfluous_h had there first and ostensibly last performance last night. This was my first time performing as an artist. The whole thing is a blur to me. The process of drawing is so absorbing that I really was only conscious of what I was doing between pieces and right at the start, just getting started.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, like better than I ever could have hoped for, I guess once again proving I'm my own harshest critic. The only thing I found odd was people clapped between each piece/song in our set. I found this strange, getting appluaded for a drawing. Not good or bad, just strange. I guess I clap after each number in a bands set, so I don't know.

At the same time I felt really self conscious. Just like my face was burning up the whole time, it was weird, I don't think I choked or anything.

We played for an hour and did I don't know somewhere between 8-10 pieces in the end. John layed down his tracks really well, and I didn't have a single composition I needed to scrunch up midway through.

For my part, the drawing side, it's been really bizarre and incredibly interesting project to develop. There's a number of challenges in trying to bridge the audio/visual divide and a number of solutions that John and I have been looking at and exploring. Maybe I'll give you a brief run down of the history of the project.

It started with a copy of Japanzine which I read in early 2008, featuring VJ and artist Shantell Martin whom really is as far as I can deduce the pioneer of this 'illustrated music' thing, as in doing it live.

She used digital painting on a tablet projected at nightclubs to avant guard dance music. I don't like dance music, and particularly not avant guard ones, so I approached my sax playing friend from the Skylines about doing something like this, using the terms VJ and sending him some clips of Shantell's work + De La Soul's 'I Be Blowin' suggesting we do something like that together. Sean never responded to my email.

Then I mentioned it to a drummer whom was initially keen, but fell through when I started running wild with my imagination and talking about how ambitious I wanted the project to be and how much work was involved. I also was really getting into 'The Pleasure Principle' at the time, which was far from the preferred jazzy style of that collaborator.

Then came looking for an exhibition space for a solo show. Ironically John came at me with feedback about my unbridled ambitions for the show and suggested I do something smaller and more grass roots. Contrary to his advice on cutting back I asked him if he was interested in doing this VJing thing.

Emails were exchanged and here is where John was for me at least an ideal collaborator. He could at once accept the scope and magnitude of my inspiration and ideas, whilst pragmaticcally drawing everything back to something that could be achieved.

It became this challenge of trying to make an accessible visual/audio artpiece. Drawing to music. The problems being many just to name a few and whether musician or artist I would definitely recommend taking on these challenges some day:

1. With drawing the 'details' or soloing, takes most of the time, the construction or 'rhythm' of the piece is important but takes less time to lay down. Music is the reverse, the rhythmic components of the song, the chorus the melody are 90% of the composition or more, the solo is the least.

2. 14 minutes is a really long song but a really quick drawing. 7 minutes is flying.

3. It is much easier for me to draw any kind of subject matter than a musician to play any style of music.

4. A visual composition is usually fairly linear - foreground to background, left to right, top to bottom. Music jumps around.

These are really the tip of the iceberg of interesting things trying to draw live to improvised music. Then there's how to match musical sounds to an artists repertoir of mediums and tools. What does a sharpie sound like compared to a copic marker? These are different from the more obvious questions of how does green sound compared to blue?

So we just rehearsed, and built up a repertoir of tricks and things and ideas, and many of the quality ones we managed to pull off in new and improvised ways last night for a crowd of 12-15 or so. Which I was exceptionally pleased with.

And yet, it's bittersweet. I'm losing John to Sydney. We really only scratched the surface of what we can do as an act, and that was it, that was our one and only act. I'll definitely resurrect it in one form or another, but John is irreplaceable.

He really was the perfect collaborator for this project. Like me he is largely self instructed in music, we have similar approaches to problem solving.

John is one of those rare people that is both reliable and easy going at once. If he says he'll be somewhere he generally will be, but at the same time, is not anally retintive with holding others to such expectations of reliability. He assumes the respect he pays others but does not expect it of them. Its qualities like these I strive to have, whether I do or not is not my subjective experience to say, but John in my opinion does.

As sure as I am he will read these words I'll also miss him as an evangelical supporter of my creative works.

It'll be hard to work with other people that don't read too much into my highly self-critical (extended to collaborators) approach that he never actually seemed to take personally or attribute any maliciousness on my part. (I just calls it as I sees it). Somebody willing to put in the hours of practice, without acting like I'm putting them under pressure.

They will be literally big shoes to fill.

I wish superfluous h could continue, and play bars with data projectors and fancy drinks and lemon slices in the complimentary water. I wish we could practice performing for 3 or more years till we become a true example of creative synesthesia. It's not going to happen, at least not like I want it to. But what we've done is more than most other audio/visual collabs seem to achieve (John maintains he couldn't find any examples of people doing anything like it, the audience we had seemed to act that way as well)

So this is a notch among my notches on my notch system of self esteem and achievement. And a farewell to John.

John on the guitars ladies and gentlemen...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Writing Again

I finally started writing a comic script, I have been not doing that for too long. I was reading Rafael Grampa's blog and how he just decided to write a comic one year. He seemed so slap dash about creating his eisner winning debut comic. I don't have his artistic ability yet, but just adopting that mindset of 'I need to make a comic' made me think in a way that I've been putting off.

I actually looked at an idea I've had kicking around, and rather than worrying about it's derivitiveness, it's obtuseness or substantiveness, I just thought 'if I cut out that, quit trying to do that and just get this done it can work.' and sat down to write it.

12 moments helped because I've gotten used to working with other people's scripts that I know where to cut corners in the writing process. Because I'm my own artist and translating my visual conception into a script to then be retranslated back into visuals, I just write things like 'Page 4: A bunch of panels' knowing I can figure out the layout when I thumbnail it.

Still I have only written half a chapter of a 5-6 chapter story so it's early days yet. But expect a new webcomic relatively soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coupon Millionaire

I have completely forgotten who I was talking to when I went completely off the radar over the extended weekend of drinking and stuff. But I have come to realise that I never wanted money, never have and hopefully never will (since infuriatingly for others, it seems to simply fall into my lap) but I do fantasize about being a millionaire-in-kind.

The things that thrill me, make me happiest are when I recieve some gratuity from a friend, like being put on the door at a gig, or getting taken out for dinner. I'm at the stage where if I can't live off my artwork I can at least eat off it.

This is the future I am building towards, where perplexingly I can be wealthy simply by being a guest of other wealthy people.

But I wish to emphasize that I don't mean to just basically freeload, I feel success to me is being appreciated by the people I most appreciate. Rather than exchanging money, I wish to exchange favors with people I love more than say 'customers'.

As salt 'n pepa said 'The difference between a hooker and a ho and nothin but a fee.' I guess I want to be a ho rather than a hooker.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I'm male, white and straight. As my friend said to me 'your stars are all aligned' I have a frictionless path through the norms of the society I live in and thus little to gain by understanding the world through the prism of LGBTIQ issues.

Why then touch anything remotely gender studies related? Well for me the exercise is probably intellectual, reexmining 'gender' is like having your thumb pressed over the hose of a beer bong (hear me out). The social conditioning of gender is so omnipresent in everyday life that the exercise of actually thinking about it is like removing your thumb from the onrush of alcoholic beverage that you have no choice but to swallow and makes you feel confused and disoriented in a short space of time.

I thought though I should post my views about gender before I actually get enlightened so I can go back and compare after the process of reading books on the subject. So here in no particular order is a list of my probably naive and ignorant views.

Lou Gehrig

Malcolm Gladwell is fond of an old Jewish saying 'To a worm in horseradish the world is horseradish.' To which my operating assumption is, to people whom Gender is an active part of their identity... I should clarify what I mean by that. My gender is not a part of my identity, by which case it is, but it's just a box I tick and don't think much about much like my street address or postcode, it occupies the same conscious importance. Although I do feel like a Northern Suburb person trapped in an Eastern Suburb often... so yes.

But for people who are oft, identified as having a Gender Identity Disorder (GID) clinical words not mine, I imagine gender becomes a big part of your identity, not just a box you tick but a constant confrontation. If you don't neatly fit in one of two boxes, that struggle to define your gender can occupy a large part of your conscious life. To be melodramatic it can become your whole life.

Now if you are not already aware or have deduced, pretty much all the thinking I do is of the 'quick and dirty' variety, I argue almost always from analogy, and equivocate things. So to borrow for convenience the dubious GID label, people identified with GID to me are similar to people suffering Lou Gehrig's disease. That is it's A) beyond their control, B) a huge part of their life C) not broadly thought about by society.

I imagine that there are differences as well to having a debilitating condition and GID's for one thing, if you are suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease your family will probably rally round you in support rather than passively or actively oppose your treatment/identity etc. Also, you are probably more likely to be in sync with your families desire to NOT have Lou Gehrig's disease. This is why such thinking of mine is quick and dirty.

Gender is Quick and Dirty

All binary thinking is. And it works, in the same way as a 'rule of thumb' works. Or in the same way that left and right handedness works, with exceptions like Ambidexterity and people with no coordination whatsoever like John Howard.

But when I say 'works' I must admit that it is confronting to think of how few situations where it actually needs to. All of the situations to me involve sexual preference. That is public change rooms, and people's aversion to perverts.

I have a sexual preference, I don't want a cock in me, ever. I'm sure there are many guys that identify as straight that wouldn't mind being penetrated by a ladies finger or taken to by a woman wearing a strap on, I am not as far as yet, one of those guys.

Some people have two preferences, others a whole rainbow spectrum. But nevertheless, women who want women and women who want men would probably neither appreciate me arbitrarily identifying as 'F' and taking a seat in their change rooms. Or even getting changed in their changerooms.

Will the future see more unisex public toilets? This is often the norm in small restaurants, many public parks, some bars and the Ally McBeal office. As someone who quickly and dirtily identifies as male, I feel this would only result in everyone losing. There are a bunch of guys, who piss all over the seats. I don't understand their psychology, I don't think I want to, I don't identify with these 'men' as being in the same gender category to me and often affix 'not-real' to the identifier men.

Aside from that, mens and womens clothing is pretty arbitrary and 'men's and women's jobs' is archaic. Gender shouldn't actually crop up that often.


'Real' is the important qualifier. I most often hear the term 'Real man' and can't think of a time when I heard somebody use 'real woman' more often hearing 'whole-lotta-woman' or 'proper lady'. But real-men is used, by myself and others.

If I had to guesstimate, to anyone transitioning genders or even gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, the issues are mostly centered on the word 'real'. I feel notions of 'real men sleep with real women' and vice versa to be not worth my talking about it, because anyone educated enough to use the term 'zenith' or 'nadir' in a conversation is probably not going to rough up gays and lesbians.

But to somebody born with an Xand Y chromosome that feels trapped in a 'male' body and wishes to become a female faces the uphill battle of ever being acknowledged as female.

This is gender identity issues as far as I thus far understand, these labels that seem obligatory in our society and the difficulty with which some people find to get identified as one and not the other, both or neither.

So you were born, raised as a female on account of your vagina, told you were a female but always inside knew you were male. You manage to consciously articulate this to yourself, then to others, then chose to start identifying as a male, then you told me and I was all like 'dude, you're a lady.'

I reject your chosen gender identity. This is not because I have known you for ever, disrespect you and wish to oppress you, but because your life consists of situations where you are introduced to a stranger like me and my eyes, ears, possibly nose are making quick and dirty decisions about whether you are male or female, and I will come to a (probably) subconscious decision one way or the other as to your gender and in most if not all cases will think it rather than say it.

And that is annoying, upsetting etc. for anybody transgender or 'suffering' from a 'GID'. I after reading up, may come to be less assuming about what one's gender is upon meeting and even now would probably say 'I stand corrected' if my normative assumptions are contradicted by what people report to me.

But seemless, frictionless integration into what my life is like as a 'male' is the dream and the nightmare to achieve by anyone transitioning in the male direction. They can have surgery, take hormone treatments and order a whole new wardrobe, but children 6 and upwards are going to look at them like something isn't right (and some will come to identify with them, which is heroic) in the same way that people don't trust assymetrical faces instinctively.

To my current speculation/understanding surgical solutions to gender identity are imperfect, and in my view perhaps quite imperfect, in the same way that somebody who's conscious experience rejects the 'normal' number of limbs and has a strong desire to have an arm amputated that is mechanically and cosmetically 'perfect' is hard to understand, I'm sure if growing a new 'male' or 'female' body in a vat and then having your conscious transferred to it was an option, almost no gender transition surgery or hormone treatment would take place.

If we could hang our physical bodies on a rack in a wardrobe and switch as easily as we can clothes, almost none of these issus would exist and they'd be replaced with a whole bunch of new ones.

So in summarium of the 'real' man and 'real' woman topic, I empathise with both sides. It is far easier to negatively screen man and woman than it is to come up with a checklist of qualities that make you a man or a woman. Having said that even negative screening is a difficult undertaking.

I chose to identify myself as 'tohm' that's my name. It is annoying and perplexing to see people inevitably pronounce my name 'to-HM' when they first learn of this vanity, even after people figure out it's pronounced 'tom' like 'john' is pronounced 'jon' people often miss the fact that I always spell my name with a lower-case 't' and don't use a surname. Because of all the boxes in society, I am required to fill out a surname for email accounts, jobs, facebook etc.

My choice to identify as tohm is not one I ever expect the world to embrace, that a consciousness raising campaign would rectify and that my wikipedia page wouldn't include 'born Thomas William...' somewhere in the introductory paragraph. It's annoying, but it is part of my identity, and not as actively or passively rejected or confronted as something like gender. But people's insistence on pronouncing the 'h' is what I would call a normative or natural reaction. It is not worth actively getting frustrated with, people get over it and come to accept it.

I imagine one by one, people will accept your gender or sexual preference in time, their ability to do so also becomes their problem not yours. (though yes, there may be real consequences for you).

A numbers game

I have little to say beyond the fact that I believe gender to simply be one of those quick and dirty rules that works for most but not for some. They are clusters though rather than boxes, with overlap and hazy edges, and simplifying them into boxes has come with a huge bunch of problems for a relatively small bunch of people.

I just read that 1 in 2000 babies born has 'ambiguous' genitalia and requires an expert to determine the 'true' sex of the child. Physicallity of sex aside, the number of people who are queer in gender and/or preference must be a significantly larger proportion.

I don't know/don't care to much about the exact numbers, suffice to say I'm sure that any of the LGBTIQ crowd or combined are still a minority. I am a member of a minority myself being left handed, and as a lefty I wonder if that ratio were to hit 1 in 10 or higher (and for LGBTIQ to achieve some kind of actual solidarity, I have seen little of the LGBTIQ but I'm pretty sure it's a capital 'L' a giant 'G' and then diminishing b-t-i-q's in terms of causes identified with by the protest turn outs) then many of these issues would need addressing.

Whether you have the most obscure gender identity issues on the planet, I firmly believe that nobody, NOBODY is worth neglecting, or passive or active rejection from society. Well, fucken antisocial 'criminals' but gender identity is neither anti social nor criminal in my view. But if the numbers were large the issues would probably be addressed.

I was in primary school at a time when I actually had to ask for left-handed scissors and teachers went scurrying off to find the few pair the school owned. They had their own colours and picked me out in class like armbands in a warsaw ghetto. Except primary school bears no real comparison to the holocaust (or Poland), but eventually some genius figured out that it would be easier just to make/order ambidextrous scissors.

I hope increasingly society defaults to pansexual solutions, and gender identity becomes an ever diminishing part of everyone's life. In the same way I hope for a future where it is no big deal for any guy in any bar to approach another guy romantically and for 'sorry I'm straight' to be the response rather than 'get away from me you fucken' queer!'.

Which I guess I'm saying, how I would naturally react when meeting Chaz Bono for the first time in said future, I don't know, I really don't know.

But I should point out that Lou Gehrig's disease is a horrible condition and we should all do what little we can to help find a cure, ease the lifestyles of those who are afflicted with it.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


I have run a marathon. It cannot be unrun, it can never be taken away from me, even though my legs might. I ran it in 3:46. It was hard, but I'd still say preferable to a competitive 800m.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

One Nice Thing

6 years ago if you'd asked me would I experience/find true love I would have said 'yes.' And I would have been exactly right for the exact wrong reason. Because 6 years ago I envisioned myself in the arms of some crazy and beautiful woman. Which didn't happen. Well briefly that happened as well...

BUT if you take as a working definition (a behavioural definition) of love 'elevating the needs of another to those of your own.' then yes I have this true love, but instead of some beautiful and crazy woman I have a family of aghani refugees.

You know you have achieved the above definition of true love when 'the line between giving and recieving becomes blurred' and when I took the Nazari's to Imax so that little Fatima could see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 in 3D I felt wonderful.

I can go and basically see any movie I want any time I want any day of the week. It's not a big deal for me, I have a highly disposable income and am pretty much master of my own time. But to be able to score some free tickets for a family with no disposable income and see them go to the movies together, to give them some respite from the almost constant struggle their lives are, gives me a kind of joy I could not buy for myself.

Well maybe, I felt an intense euphoria when I waved them into the cinema and went back out into the sunlight, probably more intense than anything a movie like Harry Potter will evoke, and I feel it is an achievement to feel such euphoria without taking some kind of opiate.

This is one of those nice things that I think allows me to die having done a good job in life. I would regret dying of course, but much less than if I was just some self indulgent prick...

except when you indulge somebody you love, you indulge yourself. That's the catch isn't it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pearls From Swine

I thought it high time I stop talking about interpersonal shit and got back to the art and artist I am supposed to be becoming. I'm not even sure if I'm even halfway down the road to becoming an artist, but this is the best stuff I would keep from all the advice I have recieved over the years. This is the advice that if not producing instantaneous fame and success, sustains me in my work and keeps me producing.

1. People Want You To Succeed

This was something a manager at Honda said to a colleague of mine making what I presume was one of his first presentations. Technically it is an observation rather than advice but I strongly advise you to consciously acknowledge and accept it. Schadenfreude exists in some rare exceptions, but you can be confident that by and large people actually want you to succeed and do well. They don't want to see a shitty comedian choke, they don't want to see your band's lead singer break down and cry. They don't want to be the only person in the gallary looking at your works.
People enjoy being witness to the risks you are taking that they won't or can't take themselves. They are with you not against you. Feed off that.

2. Deserve, Then Desire

Following from that, this is a variation of Ghandi's old 'be the change' chestnut. I have limited sympathy for people who fret over the poor attendence at their party when you can't recall seeing them at any other party than their own. Mass market shows like the Idol franchise, Masterchef etc. encourage the notion that their is a vertical heirarchy in the creative pursuits and one's success is at the expense of another. Wrong! Wrong I say, there is room for all. For me it is easier to imagine there are people who will willingly support the arts with their time and money if I am one myself. I try to support anybody creating anything, not morally but physically and financially and in any way I can. I don't expect reciprocity, even in a karmic indirect sense but it makes it easier to believe. If you are an artist, support the arts. It is furthermore an enjoyable process, I am yet to drag myself to a gig, or exhibition that I didn't end up really enjoying.

3. All Advice is Autobiographical

People offer advice all the time. I stole this piece of advice from 'How to Steal Like an Artist' by Austin Kleon which is worth reading, but it is important. People give you advice in the context of either A) their own ambitions, which Austin covers or B) their ambitions for you.
Parents often just want you to avoid hardship and harm, their job is to protect you, but avoiding failure is not success. The best advice comes from people who can closely empathise with you, or at the very least admit that they can't. Be selective of the advice you recieve, even mine.

4. Do the Work.

I love Bobby Chiu and his Chiustream interviews, the visual arts is a lonely isolated profession and his interactive interview series allows these lonely people to connect. He asks almost every artist for their advice and thankfully and refreshingly they are always unanimous in saying in one form or another 'do the work.' Jason Seiler probably took it one step further and said that 'talent' is just a word used by his unsuccessful artist friends to describe the high correlation between their lack of it, and the hours spent playing play station. Seinfeld also advised that nothing bad can come from working your ass off. The only acception being RSI or carpel tunnel syndrome. But if you want to get better, schedule in the practice and do the work, taking regular breaks.

5. Achievement Comes Before Ambition

Probably the only advice here that nobody told me before I figured it out for myself. Our society overvalues the prodigy, and often disregards the late bloomer. We would all rather succeed sooner than later, but generally aiming way too high just defeats yourself. You walk into sticky and pick up a zine and say 'I could write something way better than this.' but it turns out that often you can't, or you do and nobody buys it, because nobody recognizes your name. A lot about keeping your ambitions in check is being efficient. You have no track record so you are likely to only generate a small following, even if you do manage to pull off something substantial and ambitious you will dissappoint yourself with the lack of witnesses. Always produce quality work, you want those few people who do pick it up to be advocates, but pace yourself and give them plenty of opportunities to become advocates - even evangelists.

6. Mind the Gap

Following from this, and also touched on in 'How to Steal Like an Artist' are the cognitive gaps. We are our own harshest critiques (most of the time, some people are way up their own arse.) Harvard posted this gem of advice just a few days ago on the gap between what we expect of ourselves and what we can actually produce. In summary people get into the creative arts because they have great taste, but lack the ability to meet their own standards. My most reliable and supportive friend John has for example criticized many a guitar solo for sucking, and he has high standards for them, but he cannot actually solo himself. I feel I should be able to draw finished works like Humberto Ramos and Skottie Young, but I can't... yet. It doesn't mean my drawings are bad. Just not as good as I want them to be. So don't give up, just try to better.

7. Publish/Put yourself Out There

Following from the gap between ambition and ability, unless you publish stuff you can easily lose perspective of how good your work really is. Performing or publishing is also not as self-indulgent as you probably worry it is. The whole notion of having an audiance is based on the theory that they will relate to you. I still feel nervous about publishing stuff, largely because I worry that people will find out how borderline psychotic I am, (I feel nobody appreciates how much effort I exert not invading a South American nation and exploiting their mineral resources) but my experience has been that everybody kind of assumed that about me anyway and nobody treats me any differently once I put it out there. People also by and large appreciate your soundcloud link, photos, drawing or video more for breaking up the monotony of those insipid facebook friends' status updates 'Tacos for dinner... yummy yum yum!'

8. Be Gracious Not Humble

My picture is hanging on the wall, a wonderful friend approaches and says 'it's really great!' and I say 'no, it's fucking shit.' this is an expression of that gap, and it's a mistake. The subtext is, 'if you like my work you have no taste.' where as I was always wanting to be honest and demonstrate a requisite humility. The correct (and honest) response is always 'thankyou, that means a lot to me.' This is the only way to respect yourself and the people who love you.

9. Never Criticise Yourself in Public

I'm really bad at this. (I know that sentence is ironic) I almost never follow this advice, it's just too tempting to not let your artwork speak for itself. It's just wasted energy though and counter productive. More broadly speaking though follow Nietzsche's advice 'When his book opens its mouth, the author must shut his.' male personal pronouns aside, everyone can benefit from this. Your art is like a child growing into adolescence you need to let it go. Ursula Le Guin also said along the same lines 'I know that to clinch a point is to close it. To leave the reader free to decide what your work means, that’s the real art; it makes the work inexhaustible.'

10. Just because you aspire to something better doesn't make it necessary or helpful to hate where you are.

I am dubious of the vaguely defined 'success'. I can tell you as an economist that it is empirically known that wealth and fame fail to make people happy, and contribute relatively little. I know though that many artists struggle below the poverty line. But I would advise people to make a concerted effort to appreciate the upside. The people that support you in the early days truly care, and are far more likely to be people you respect. Bruce Campbell has a great line in Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 'Who cares about the love of your family, when you could have the adoration of thousands of strangers!' Just watch an evening with Kevin Smith to appreciate that famous people don't get to pick their fans. But complaining about the hardships you have voluntarily taken on implies a criticism of the people and places around you. And focusing on how much you hate something has never made it easier to endure, whether it is running a cross country race or making coffees for yuppies.

11. Collaborate Whenever Possible

Your friends are your most obvious and immediate audience, this is true of your friends' friends. If you do solo stuff you will attract a smaller audience than if you collaborate with a friend. Collaboration is natural to musicians who tend to form bands or at the very least have to go through some kind of production relationship with a solo act, but if you're a visual artist or writer it isn't so obvious, do a collaborative project. It's much easier to get into the discipline of working to a schedule, but also is good training for the hard work of compromising and coordinating a work. Plus collaboraters are the most likely to give you honest and inspiring feedback on your works and working process.

12. No Effort is Wasted

You are going to fail a lot and often. Nassim Nicholas Taleb had the great aphorysm 'The opposite of success isn't failure, it's name dropping.' And I agree, as a piece of sub-advice avoid name dropping at all costs, it looks REALLY insecure. But the important point is that failure is part and parcel of success, and certainly not its opposite. I am currently faced with the reality that my audio/visual collaboration with John will not get a venue before he moves, but our reharsals were not wasted effort, they helped me develop so much in technique and repertoir and composition. The very process of trying makes me more likely to succeed in future and indeed the attempt to bridge the audio/visual live gap has been a long standing abortive challange. John is the third collaborator I've approached and the closest I've come to succeeding. It will happen one day though, as Samual Beckett wrote 'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.'

13. Sacrifice is Overrated

Creating stuff is hard and time consuming, but masochism is unnecessary. Have a social life, interact with other people and schedule in downtime. Be honest about your procrastination and go to that movie on Saturday, don't refuse because you 'have to work on something' then work yourself into a depressive fit as you achieve nothing at all. Furthermore friendships and relationships and so fourth can actually help you succeed. Very few award winning artists don't thank their partner in their speech, none of them say 'Thanks me, or sacrificing everything in the pursuit of this reward.' Eat, drink, be fun to be around. Friends create opportunities and sustain your energy that you can work. I have never liked my friends less than when they all dissappeared into masochistic self indulgent honors thesis writing. Being acknowledged in a thesis is nice, but not nice enough to remove the (mild) pain of being told we couldn't go out tonight because they had to stare blankly at a screen and experience writers block.

14. Don't waste time on Grammar and Punctuation.

You can pay people to correct this shit, they are called 'Editors'. Focus on actually creating the work.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Over the weekend Shona shared with me the thought experiment of 'If you could take your parents and put them on a wheel with every other parent in the world and spin that wheel would you take that chance?' and you know whatever your stance is on probabilities or understanding of worldwide demographics, I think it is useful to comprehend where in the spectrum of really great to really bad parents yours lie.

They have no idea what they are doing

Kids reach some point when the comprehend their own mortality and it is part of forming their identity, I believe in well adjusted individuals there's a similar point of maturation when you realise your parents had no idea what they were doing when they became parents. "The problem with parenting is that by the time you are experienced you are unemployed."

My parents never, I feel, successfully conveyed any real attitude towards money, they never set up a working pocket money system. Despite the relative wealth of my upbringing I spent the first 19 years of my life with no real money. I find it hard to be motivated by money to this day, I either have it or I don't. This could certainly have been done worse though, it is just one aspect of all the things, the values parents have the option of conveying to you in your upbringing. Many children are done a great disservice for example by their parents misrepresenting the importance of money which instead of being something we earn, is in fact the cause of all their sorrows because they simply didn't have enough.

We are all accidents

So many of my high school friends confided that they were accidents that I began to suspect my own parents of lying to me that I was planned. I have come to accept that I was, for reasons I don't understand.

But then earlier this year, I had the revelation that there's just no fucking way my parents could have planned to have had me. This compounds the probability that our parents will mess with our head, on top of their lack of experience, you just don't know what you are going to get. Any second hand experience parents have of parenting from their own are not necessarily going to be useful when it comes to raising their own kids, my own parents ad no useful role modeling for raising a kid with aspergers, particularly since the condition didn't become widely known until well after said kid reached adulthood.

Bad parents can produce wonderful children

When Claire dumped me years ago, it was so rash, so bold, so out of character that I struggled with it. The sudden collapse of a relationship I'd felt in total control of was shocking to me. Furthermore the exciting new life Claire was pursuing made me feel tired and old, old boring news. Serendipitously 'The White Masai' was the latest piece of shit book to be taking the world by storm. In an attempt to understand what Claire was doing, I tried to read it, and found it more than I could bare. I skipped to the end and discovered that leaving your long term boyfriend to pursue a Masai Warrior whose culture and way of life you don't understand ended predictably badly.

I felt somehow vindicated by this, and mentioned it to my housemate Damian, who commented that despite the collapse of the ill-fated marriage to a Masai warrior, she possibly didn't regret her recklessness because it had produced a child that she loved. (this is the author not Claire).

I don't know the details, but however regretable your parents union was, they are still capable of producing and raising wonderful human beings. Individuals can overcome massive adversity, typically parents help when they love their children and are capable of expressing it, they hinder when they don't but an individual can still overcome this setback. There is hope for us all.

It is not a relationship of choice, but it can become one

I don't like the idea of 'family groups' because they tend to blindly believe in the unity of a family. I'd like to see estrangement from parents become destigmatised. I have seen some people thrust back into the clutches of their families when they are the very people destroying their lives.

'It's a shame' when people don't like their parents, but it doesn't mean it is always worth the effort to reconcile. Some parents are just bad, they are parents that are too self absorbed to express their love for their children, nor for their children to ever be convinced they do.

Expressions like 'I'm sorry I was born.' and 'I didn't choose to be born' are seen as childish outbursts, but they are fundamentally true. Children get no say in who their parents are, and almost anybody can become a parent. If parents were wonderful, they are simply living up to expectation, if they are bad they are falling short. But children owe their parents no loyalty or debt, as they mature into adults they can redefine their relationship with their parents as it becomes one of choice. But few consciously make the choice, they just assume they should pursue their parents love for the rest of their lives rather than more worthy candidates of their time, energy and affection.

An Ideal that can be lived up to

I had the opportunity recently to actually intervene in a common parental blunder. I managed to demix a message before it was sent from father to son. Basically the son had confessed he had screwed up his life, and the father wanted to express both concern and anger/dissappointment in response. I convinced him to cut out the anger and just send the concern and love.

I would agree that parents have little influence over their children except for the worse, but here are the achievable ideal qualities of a parent:

1. They love their children, and leave them in no doubt. - My observation is people who don't doubt their parents love tend to have a natural resilience to adversity, failing doesn't daunt them in the short term.
2. Convey a sense of optimism about the future - This was pointed out by the book 'Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart' my parents are not great at it, but I no doubt cause them a lot of stress. If you believe that things can work out okay, you are less likely to become a victim of circumstance, fatalistic and a reader of Andrew Bolt columns.
3. Take responsibility - in case of divorce, avoid blame games and concentrate on moving on, avoid at all costs bringing your children into it.
4. Be present - My own father does this really well, he is not an expressive or emotional person. Yet he came to all my basketball games, he didn't convey any enthusiasm or passion for my performance. He just watched quietly and exuded a warmth. Despite his stoic demeanor I've never doubted that I can't call him up and he wouldn't be there for me. It's a call I've rarely had to make, yet take risks knowing I can.

And that's it. Pretty simple, and pretty achievable. And all things an individual, as parent can control.


So Disney bought Marvel Comics, presumably for the movie rights as comic book adaptations have gone from being big news to standard fare in the box office over the last two decades.

Allegedly Disney's top brass have made Marvel comic title's more family friendly, reversing from the 'gritty realism' that dominated western super hero comics since basically Frank Miller did his Daredevil/Batman: Year One runs in the early 80's.

There was nothing 'real' about the grittiness that comic nerds so craved, and I feel in Marvel's case particularly lead to some poor decisions like cladding the X-men in black leathers for the movie franchise instead of their vibrant original costumes. Grittiness may suit characters like Batman, but he is one of the few characters that really hang out in the noir spectrum of comic book kind.

But family friendly? Marvel, marvel, marvel (or rather Disney, disney, disney...) basically since the 80's you had the first generation of comic book fans that grew up with their comics. Previously you read comics through your childhood into adolescence and then cast them aside. Why? because the stopped having relevance to the readers real lives.

Until writers started innovating with the famous Iron Man issue - 'Demon in a bottle' where Tony Stark battled alcoholism rather than some communist threat. You had Alan Moore deconstructing shit producing the killing joke, watchmen, V for Vendetta etc that humanised the previously one dimensional characters. Prior to that you had Stan Lee adding two-dimensional characters (a huge innovation, now forgotten) in Spider Man/Peter Parker the adolescent struggling to get a date that had to take on super-hero responsibilities at the same time.

This is like a return to the censored years of Batman, where violence was removed and thus Batman had to escort Robin around to solve ridiculous crimes with farcical gadgets that had no bearing to reality at all. (These years were the basis of the 60's live action Batman series)

But this time it's Marvel, Batman survived censorship, I'm sure Marvel's franchises will too, but let's hope it doesn't take a decade.

On the flipside, DC decided to reboot all their comics, to get rid of the burdensome continuity they had accumulated over 60+ years. In some ways DC were always on the fronteers of comics, no one else had to deal with the icons of Superman and Batman being in continues publication for over half a century. How do you keep it fresh whilst retaining the identity? How does such a narrative evolve with so many writers and artists?

I personally fucking hated Grant Morrison's recent reign of terror on the Batman titles, and was sick of the constant 'events' like the rise of the Black Lanterns and shit that went on for ages and got churned out with increasing frequency.

They were shit, and trying to bolster the sales of a bunch of struggling DC titles by tying them into the continuity of the two performing titles (Superman and Batman) was kind of just pathetic, it brought everything down rather than alevating anything else, but alas getting rid of all the continuity?

Neither companies have the answer, I think honestly Marvel was always ahead, except DC was kept alive by it's ownership of the only 2 icons in the comic industry Batman and Superman. Marvel basically throwing away accumulated generations of readership to go family friendly and attract one generation of readers at the expense of three is I feel questionable mathematics.

DC on the other hand, have possibly 'stolen defeat from the jaws of victory' by rebooting their universe. There are always going to be story arcs that we wish we could undo, but usually these are undone by the short term memory of comic book readership, more accepting of retconning and say two face constantly getting his unlikely facial injuries repaired and disfigured again and again.

But clearing out all the crap in one fell swoop is only useful if you don't immediately replace it with new crap, and that is what DC have done.

DC needed to just expand the Kevin Smith - Green Arrow model. Get an actual good writer and give them reign to write good comics. Maybe create 5 year plans and minimise interaction between titles.

This approach makes no sense in terms of short term profitability though. We shall see a bunch of fool collectors buy evry single print of DC's new #1 titles, then watch as sales go tumbling down.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Since my sister returned to Uni, she's been bringing home DVDs of Grand Designs. It is interesting to observe the variation in sympatheticness of the owners. By far the most sympathetic, the most loveable is Bruno.

Bruno and wife converted a water tower in Kent into their new home, but their attitude, their sheer lovability just tells you how much they have succeeded in managing their lives. Like their schedule falls behind and thus they go over budget which they were averse to take on, effecting their retirement, yet they never compromise or crack the whip but just put their complete faith and trust in their architect, and main contractor and watch.

They as a couple take pains to not get involved in problems that they can't solve themselves. And you can tell, they are going to be okay.

Over the past week, I felt angry, not righteous indignation as say I feel when looking at Climate Change or Asylum Seeker issues, but felt angry the regular way. Like angry with people. It has been a real novelty to look at people with this emotion on my mind. Like wanting to give them a piece of my mind.

It was on my mind, allegedly, and my experience tells me it is fundamentally true that our brains favorite 'downtime' activity is contemplating social matters. So I was thinking of how to express my mild anger and frustration at people I actually know, then I saw Bruno and realised...

I want to be happy, I want to be a nice, beautiful person. I want to create, not destroy, I want to help people, not bring them down.

Bruno just says things like 'Now I have 3 things to look forward to when I get home from work, my wife, my dogs and now the water tower... she smiles at me too.' that's who I want to be when I retire from this world.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Give Divorce A Chance

Yesterday I read in some kind of news printed on paper, that family groups were up in arms over some course on offer to help couples divorce quickly and cheaply. Within 2 hours supposedly you would leave with the papers drawn up for the family court.

Why do 'Family' groups get up in arms about something designed to make the unpleasant business of divorce more painless. It smacks of the same mentality of Abstinence only groups blocking vaccines for potentially lethal STI's because the lethality of STI's is scene to discourage premarital sex.

I am not opposed to getting married, but I wouldn't marry just anyone, and thus I hope to marry somebody I am not likely to divorce. I do not wish to get divorced, but having made all this clear, I think divorce is a good thing.

Divorce needs to progress in being destigmatised, it needs to get cheaper and easier and less ugly. Obviously divorce will always carry with it emotional costs, even in the case where a family consists of two people, it is still the case that:

While it takes two people to sustain a relationship, it takes only one to end it.

One party may be the unwilling recipient of divorce, none of us ever know. Children probably almost always are, because only the parents really get a say in whether the parents stay together.

But in the dawn of this new era, almost every alternate model to an 'atomic family' needs to be destigmatised, including same sex couples, same sex parents, polyamorous and open relationships and even the basic notion that some people are best suited to having a life of short term relationships with a number of partners, and never marrying and never having children.

Divorce is a good place to start.

We are in a painful transition, from an era where it wasn't very important to pick a good life partner because people didn't get divorced. Yes counter-intuitively, I believe the ability to divorce, (and easily) has actually made the decision of who to marry harder. Before if you wound up with an alcoholic or abusive or negative partner, your marriage was cemented in, you couldn't leave and you just sucked it up. But now, the threat of divorce demands more of ourselves and more in our partners and we just don't know what to look for.

The media and often our peers are not good at teaching us to identify what qualities are important to look for. Our parents, mostly from the first generation to really have divorce as an option, and our grandparents whom really lived out their marriages without the option of divorce, provide poor guidance as well.

So its natural that so many divorces are so fucked up at the moment, so messy, so sudden, so unpredictable. But I'm confident that society will get better at divorcing and it will be widely regarded as possibly the greatest thing to happen to the institution of marriage and the emotional well being of individuals, since the dropping of arranged marriage.

Arranged marriages had their benefits, they took the stress and responsibility of the most important decision many are likely to make out of their hands. But on the downside they took the stress and responsibility out of the individuals hands who had to live with the consequences. To borrow the Japanese expression 'Love Marriages' don't guaruntee happiness and true love to people who choose their own partners, but it gives them the potential to do so, and do so for themselves.

Divorce similarly completes the migrtion form arranged marriages to marriages of choice, because it acknowledges that we are able to make mistakes, that our amygdala, the low conscious section of the brain that generates 'love at first sight' and the cocktails of drugs that our brain is addled with in the early days of a relationship are not so reliable at choosing lasting fountains of happiness.

Furthermore, it provides recourse to those who marry out of convenience and urgency, considering biological clocks, or figuring they have no real reason not to.

It's just there's so much we don't know about how to manage the fallout of divorce. But we'll get there and hopefully this shit will start being taught in schools, along with how to identify good partners.

I know of divorces that were straightforward, simple and amiable and others that were messy, protracted and far more damaging than necessary. The difference will one day be determined. I have some broad conclusions I have drawn, like those who make an effort not to make an adversery of their ex nor criticise them publicly tend to have better outcomes. Those where the parents leave no ambiguity as to how much they love their children tend to achieve good outcomes.

But there's other stuff that is still contentious, like apparently just a few decades ago, conventional wisdom was that a loveless marriage SHOULD stay together for the sake of the children, now it has moved quite quickly to the opposite, do what you can to remove emotionally toxic environments from your kids.

And so on and so fourth.

We'll get better, and divorce will come to be regarded as the best of a bad situation. But people make mistakes, and we should be allowed to.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I Like About Dogs

Three-legged dogs still wag there tails. They move as if they haven't noticed that they have only three legs. They just get on with shit. Their dog nature is unchanged by permanent injuries, they never pause to be all 'well this is the rest of my miserable life' and thus are not miserable. They accept the facts and move on.

Dogs are very stoic. I like that.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Am Not A Malicious Person

Upon reflection, my dooring experience taught me something about myself. I will always have a skewed perspective, when I dislocate my shoulder sweat pours from my head and I go white in the face, so I'm not sure how calm I actually am.

Like most people, I suspect I indulge in violent fantasies, less occassionally than sexual, or even social fantasies, but they usually have involved dooring when the subject of fantasy is violence. As in what I would do if somebody doored me.

If ever there is a time in life to be justified in being malicious it is after being doored. After being almost killed by somebody, and I discovered on Wednesday that I am not malicious at all. I didn't feel any impulse to anger, I have trained it out of myself.

I am pleased.

I also realised that it is hard to fuck over a nice guy, it is hard to get angry at somebody nice. If you are nice, you are kind, things work out okay.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Man I Love Musashi

Yesterday I reread 'The Book of Five Rings' by Musashi Miyamoto, pretty much the only thing Musashi and I have in common is that we are analogous thinkers. His path of 'Heiho' or 'the way'.

I got more out of this reading than past ones, I felt I understood more of what he talks about, it really is a well structured, well written and timeless book. Even though fuedal Japan and Musashi's way of life has been illegal for two centuries now.

But really he subscribes to an: approximately right trumps precisely wrong. I imagine for many his sword school is dissappointingly vague and lacks any impressive technique, just simple stuff like 'walk as if you are walking down a road' when describing footwork, and yet his narrative conveys a unique sense of mastery, supreme confidence, not bravado.

It is truly a unique narrative to read. I recommend it, it does take imagination to extrapolate out though.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Dooring is incomprehensibly evil. If people could comprehend it, they wouldn't do it.

To explain dooring simply, it's when somebody opens a car door into the path of an oncoming cyclist. It requires parralal parking, low awareness and bad timing.

Certain St's are hotspots for it, Sydney Road and Victoria St for example are ideal, because the inner lane is occupied by parallal parking spaces, the bike lane runs underneath it, and thus bikes are forced to ride about 50cm out of parked cars.

One of the sales clerks at my preferred bike store smashed up all his front teeth from being doored on Sydney road. A kid died last year on Glenferrie road when a sudenly opened door resulted in him dodging it into the path of an oncoming truck.

Most people pop their door first and then swing it open, a few though just emphatically thrust it open in one motion. This is the dangerous way to open a door. As a cyclist you learn to spot the warning signs like changes in brake lights, movement through the rear view mirror etc and take the necessary precautions like slowing down and giving a wider berth.

But shit happens, and yesterday afternoon I got doored. It was close, I almost made it. I was on my BMX Luciana, I had 4 or 3m notice when the door just opened up in front of me. The BMX only has a rear brake so it doesn't have the greatest stopping power. I'd been the last through a changing light so I was lucky to have no traffic behind me. I swerved out and almost cleared the door but my left handle bar grip just clipped the door and I lost control. Some wobbling, some over correction and then I hit the deck.

It would have been fine except I landed and rolled on myright shoulder which took it out of the shoulder.

But dooring's on balance the best outcome is to clear the door completely, no collission, but this can put you in the path of an overtaking vehicle resulting in severe injury or death.

You are unlikely to die from just running into the door, but it is going to hurt. You can go over the handlebars, which for me would probably result in both shoulders dislocating, smash through the window and destroy your face and teeth. Put an arm through the window and require reconstructive surgery. Or bounce off the door into traffic and die. But probably, crashing into the door is on balance less potentially lethal than going around it.

I didn't make a judgement call, the nature of being doored means you just don't have time to do it. I just tried to avoid the obstacle in front of me I could easily have put myself in front of an overtaking vehicle and bean mushed out of existence.

Having my arm in a sling for the next two weeks is an inconvenience but I'm lucky to be alive really. I plan on riding again, I don't plan on being doored, ever again.

If you own a car, please, when paralal parked, pop your door, then swing it open. I can handle the rest.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Some Kind of Monster

This year at soundwave I discovered that it was over, I had moved on. Metal Drummer's and their double kicks were boring, they bored me. I was bored. The line up was way too Metal heavy, and punk seems to have evolved into some wannabe metal branch. I was wondering if I'd been hanging around Jazz drummers too much, and had somehow been afflicted with the Jazz musicians course for liking only inaccessable music.

Then One Day As A Lion came on, one of the redeeming misfits on the roster along with Primus that made the ticket actual value for money. One Day As A Lion's drummer is Jon Theodore, I have looked, searched, scavanged on Youtube, but Alas, no Video really captures just how... how... how incredibly explosive he was.

See that video, that video DOESN'T capture the explosiveness. It was like watching an athlete instead of a musician. His breathing, his feel, just how hard he hits the drums. I'm sure it's unnecessary. And it was hot, aparantly back when he was in the Mars Volta Jon Theodore would be naked, he plays barefoot, so he came out in like green slacks and a shirt, and left drenched in sweat.

That energy is just missing from almost all popular music, an entire emotional spectrum denied even in 'Alternative' music, which really should be a one stop shop. The bands I go see regularly in Melbourne don't have that kind of energy, even though they are diverse and different and often commercially unviable (as well as many that are), from the Bombay Royals to Texel Rising to The Nymphs.

Where did the energy go? Where did the anger? It is possible there has never been a time were a human being could be more angry than now, rich or poor anywhere in the world. We all just seem to be fucking each other, and not in the good way either.

I was conveying my impressions of Jon Theodore to John, my comrade in arms for Superfluous H, whom also doesn't play explosively, and he said 'That guy is a MONSTER, breaking drumsticks all over the place' and it just struck me as such an apt description of what my search has failed to bring me: A monster. The sort of thing Ancient Roman's first erected stadiums for and hoped to see when they pitted man against man, and beast.

Obviously for ethical reasons, I'm not going to suggest a return to gladiator pits, but what I mean is, I wish there were more correlation between people who like sports and people who want to be athletes.

If Music was sport, then right now the music scene would be lauding Mark Price's and Jon Stockton's and Tim Duncan's. That is precise and solid performers, reliable, with certain grace and economy. That is what music seems to be right now. BUT, I crave the days of Kemp and Jordan and Barkley, MONSTERS of the game. The dunk may be a 'No-Brainer' and costly energy wise, but as one Seatle Super Sonics fan pointed out, when Kemp dunked a massive alley-oop the crowd got to it's feet. It energised them, it brought the audiance into the arena and made them part of the game. He energised them and they energised him, better than gatorade. MONSTER fucking dunks.

That's what I'm searching for, hoping for in Music, some kind of monster. One Day As A Lion are a start, I crave more. I went to a dance on friday, and the DJ dropped this track:

See that's not angry, but it is explosive. I think it convinced me, ironically, of Gandhi's call for us to 'be the change you would see in the world.' the only way to guaruntee I see what I want to see is to become a monster myself. This will take some time, but I intend to do it.

I don't have to be good, just a monster.