Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Be quiet, Joel Osteen


I just saw this on the facebook this morning:





I’ve hidden people from my timeline for continuously posting Joel Osteen quotes. There are tons of them out there, and they are annoying at best. 

If you don’t know who Joel Osteen is, he’s a TV/mega-church preacher. 

Here: 





Thats him. He’s almost always got that crazy-weird smile. It’s slightly off. And sometimes it morphs into a grimace, which is much more telling.





ANYWAY... 

That quote above is not only annoying, it’s kind of harmful. It’s basically a version of “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”




Aw...






That idea, especially when coming from some sort of “authority figure”. Because what it is saying to the general public, like a mom telling her kid, everything is nice, everything is pretty and sweet and fine, don’t stir up trouble by pointing out the flaws in this or any situation. Stick to the status quo. Well, the status quo is pretty fucked up, and sometimes, maybe a lot of times, we need to say something not nice. 

Perhaps this “if you can’t say something nice” mindset is connected to something I’ve often complained about. That is the fear or unwillingness of people to say no. Instead of saying, “No, I’m not interested or comfortable in doing this thing you’re asking of me,” people will just lie to you. They’ll make up some excuse why they can’t. Some people are quite good at coming up with excuses that sound completely plausible. And sometimes people will even say “I’d love to, but...” or “That sounds great, but...” or “I can’t right now, but maybe...” 

I find this problematic, because I tend to tell the truth, and I tend to (or want to) assume that other people are being honest with me. I want to believe people. So when I finally figure out that someone has been lying, and I call that person on it (which I sometimes have done) the typical response is that he or she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. But the problem is that now the person HAS hurt my feelings AND damaged our relationship. This person don’t respect me enough (or have the strength of character) to be honest, and now I cannot trust him or her. I realize most people don’t think of this as lying, but it clearly is lying, regardless of the motivation. Ultimately, that is a greater harm than possibly hurting my feelings a little bit by being honest. 

I never made this connection before this morning. The connection between “if you can’t say something nice...” and making up some pleasant lie to spare my feelings. But now it seems pretty obvious. 

I prefer this quote:





Sunday, November 15, 2015

No means no.


No means no. 

I am perfectly fine with that. I totally support it. 

But I also support that yes should mean yes, and maybe should mean maybe. I’m not just talking about sex here. I mean in everyday life. If you say ‘maybe’ or ‘yes I want to do that thing but I’m busy right now’ instead of ‘no’ – that’s really fucking confusing. I’m not psychic, ya know. 

It seems that where I live, there’s a sort of culture of not saying no. But I’m just not wired that way. For me to get to the point that I understand your ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ to mean no, I have to stop believing you and no longer trust your words. And that just damages our friendship or working relationship or whatever. 


This rant was prompted by an article I saw this morning. Here’s a link:


Basically, a little boy likes a little girl at school; he writes her a bunch of love notes; she’s not interested; the school threatened the boy with sexual harassment. The article states definitively that the notes were unwanted by the girl. But I just want to know did the boy know this? 

Neither this article nor the “source” article mention whether the boy knew the notes were unwanted. Honestly, I am not defending childhood sexual harassment. If this boy knew that the girl wasn’t interested and didn’t want the notes, then he should know to stop. But if he didn’t know, how could he know? Not to be flippant, but was there a set of “do you like me check yes or no” boxes? 

What is clear to me from this article is that some other students were guilty of bullying &/or sexual harassment. Anyway, say no, people. If we’re teaching men and boys that they need to hear and respect ‘no’ when it is said, we also need to be teaching people to say no. 

Say what you need to say. 

Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

Monday, November 9, 2015

My birthday wish


So, my birthday is coming up. Whoo. 

I have this impression that most people, when they get lots of birthday wishes on their facebook wall, fell happy or excited or “blessed”. I suppose they feel something like whatever the birthday wishers intend them to feel. 

I am not most people, perhaps in lots of ways. But when I see those facebook wall wishes, I don’t feel happy. I definitely don’t feel “blessed”. Now, I understand that other people actually do mean well. But what I feel is not well. When a bunch of people who I don’t know especially well, and with whom I don’t really communicate beyond the occasional “like” or comment on a facebook post, and to whom I am simply not that close wish me a happy birthday I’m overwhelmed by the feeling that I’m not close to them. I’m barely close to anyone, and these kinds of wishes on my birthday really make me feel that. They make me feel worse. 

This is a big problem in my life. I’m desperately alone most of the time. I can’t invent people to spend time with me. Well, I can invent people if I’m writing a show or something. But they’re not real. They don’t make me feel any less lonely. Anyway... 

To be clear, I’m not upset that it’s my birthday, that I’m getting older and all that. I’m really not. And I don’t hate the idea that people would want me to have a good day on my birthday. But the honest truth is, someone I barely know taking 2 seconds to write on my facebook wall does not help that to happen. It makes you feel better, because you think you’re doing something good for me. That’s perfectly normal. Sometimes I wish people a happy birthday. But in this case, on my birthday, you’re actually making yourself feel better by doing something that makes me feel bad. 

I know! That is a very unusual reaction. But as I said before, I am not most people. 

So, here’s my birthday wish. If you want me to actually have a great birthday, then do something to make a difference in my day. Write me a real message in my inbox, something personal and specific. Ask me about what’s going on in my life (very little, sadly), or tell about your life. Start an actual conversation – and then continue it. Or if you live somewhere nearby, make a plan to do something with me: buy me coffee or lunch or something (‘cause I’m broke). Or just stop by and visit for a little bit. And if you happen to be financially fortunate, I don’t know, send me some money; I need a new phone, and a new computer, and I’m worried that my car could break down any day now. (Did I mention I’m broke? Seriously broke.) 

Or even better, how about hire me for a gig? A normal job, even, if you’ve got something that I could reasonably do with my skill set. I’m not working much at all. (Hence the being broke.) If you’re in a position to influence such things, ask me about the shows I’ve written and if any of them might work for your theatre. Or, if you’re comfortable with yourself, you could model for me. (I’m a photographer too, in case you didn’t know.) That would be awesome, ‘cause even the people who say they’re interested aren’t interested enough to actually do it. 

The best thing you could do for my birthday would be to actually become my friend, not just my facebook friend. I have very few. (I guess I’m nearly broke in that area, too.) You may not know me very well, and what you do know is that I’m, uh...kind of prickly. It’s true. But on the inside I’m actually soft and gooey. Well, that just sounds gross. 

Most people won’t want to be my friend. Thats okay. I understand, it’s a huge investment. And a lot of people seem to have plenty of friends already. 

Oh yeah, plus world peace and all that crap. You know, since Im making wishes. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The awesome and exciting story of my day so far!!!


I just went out to move my car, because apparently I think I’m in New York City. 

No. Actually, when I got home from rehearsal last night someone had parked in the spot where I usually park. Not a huge deal, I just parked in another spot. This evening when I leave for rehearsal that spot might be hard to back out of, as there’s not much room back there. So I moved the car now, while there are only a few other cars here. All the “normal” people have gone to their “normal people” jobs. But they’ll be back. 

I’m sure the reason that whoever parked in my usual spot is that they didn’t want the difficulty of backing out this morning from their usual spot. 

Anyway... 

I just went out to move my car, and I found a spider had taken up residence inside the car in one of the cup holders. Not all that long ago – a few weeks, maybe – I found a spider in my shower. It has since relocated, but I was fine with it being there. I wasn’t hurting me, and I felt no need to hurt it. Actually, it might be doing me a favor, catching other insects. But I’m just not okay with a spider in my cup holder. Sometimes I use that thing, for cups, or sunglasses, or my phone. And sometimes when I’m driving, my hand may reach over there to pick up whatever is there. In such a situation, I’m probably not paying so much attention to whether a spider is there and if it might decide to bite me because my hand is in its spider-territory. 

So I removed the spider from my car. 

The End. 

Yep, that’s it. That’s the exciting adventure of my day so far. Awesome, eh?

I hope the spider makes it, finds another car to invade. 

No. Not another car, just another place to live and do whatever spiders do. 

And now, it’s time to continue my daily overdose of caffeine, i.e., cup of coffee number two. Also very exciting. Or maybe the opposite of that.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

a shallow realization


I just had a realization, as I was out for a walk in my neighborhood. I realized that I was not looking at the world in the way that I’ve come to normally look at it in the past several years since I started taking a lot of photos. That way of looking is to really look – to see things. 

Oh, look at that; it’s very interesting or beautiful or ugly or whatever. That thing wasn’t here the last time I walked down this street. And that thing has definitely been here every time I’ve walked down this street. I wonder how that got here or why the thing I saw before isn’t here. 

It’s not very surprising, this change in how I look at things, except that it happened relatively fast. It’s only been a month, or 6 weeks maybe, since I put my camera away and decided to take a break. That’s not very long, right? I remember several years ago when I really started taking pictures I eventually realized I was looking at the world differently. But I think it was a lot longer before that happened than 6 weeks. 

Of course, with this realization came the other part which is that the way I’m looking at things lately is just very shallow, very much a functional visual interaction. It’s like I’m missing some part of me. 

I’m also looking at people differently these days. I guess I’d have to say I’m NOT really looking at them most of the time. I think I’m mostly just looking to see who the person is, where previously I might have looked at their faces and bodies and proportions and expressions and posture and all that stuff. (Not in a creepy way. Wait, maybe... Do people think I look at them in a creepy way? I could ask, but unfortunately, people mostly are not very honest. Anyway...) I found so many people beautiful in some way or another, and often I wished I could photograph lots of people that I saw. Not just snap a quick photo of some random person walking down the street, but to spend an hour or two with the person and my camera in front of a black sheet or a blank wall, really photographing a human person being human. 

I have missed it, and thought about it, and even had dreams about doing photo shoots. But, ironically, I’ve not actually done anything about it. Ironic because that’s sort of the reason I’ve been taking this break – that while there are a handful of people who express interest in doing a shoot with me, they mostly don’t have enough interest to actually do it. And my frustration with that whole situation has led me to stop trying. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Electoral College


I’ve been anti-Electoral College for a while now. 

If you’re not sure what I mean, it’s that problem every four years during American Presidential elections where certain states are “swing states”. Certain states don’t get much attention, aren’t really part of the national campaign because they’re a solid “red state” or they just don’t have enough Electoral College votes to matter much. 

That has just never made sense to me. Maaaayyyyybe there was a time when it made sense, if the average voter just didn’t know much about the national issues, so they elect someone local who they know and perhaps respect, then those people go and elect a president. But today that’s just ridiculous and it leads to some weird election campaigning strategies. I’ve often thought, “Why not just let it go? Get rid of the Electoral College. It’s a leftover, antiquated idea.” 

We’re reluctant to let go of things, though, even when they’re not really working anymore. Like religion – it’s not really working so well for us anymore, yet a lot of people are reluctant to let it go. Then again, maybe religion IS working. I guess you’d have to figure out the actual purpose of religion to know the answer. 

Here’s a better (?) example: the whole “gay marriage” resistance that we’re seeing these days. For the sake of argument...suppose there was a time when it “made sense” that people of the same gender couldn’t marry. Well, marriage has actually changed in the past 50 years or 100 years or whatever, and it’s not because of some “gay agenda” to redefine marriage. As society has changed, straight people in marriages have changed what marriage is to the point that it’s something more and more gay people saw as something in which they want to participate. It’s no longer “the husband does this and the wife does that,” but it’s become more of a “we’re in a loving and committed relationship and we want to symbolically and legally join our lives” kind of thing. So we need to let go of that older idea of what a marriage was, because it just isn’t working for us anymore. 

(Was that a better example? You be the judge.) 

Anyway, the Electoral College doesn’t seem to work for the entire country anymore. I suppose you could say it’s working for some people – people in those swing states, whose vote is worth more, is more important that votes from people who live elsewhere. If you have a choice between two states in which you could vote (let’s say you attend college in another state), the perceived value of your presidential vote shouldn’t be a determining factor for where you decide to vote. If it’s possible to clearly win the popular vote but lose the election, there’s something wrong with the voting system. 

Well, since we’re so reluctant to let things go when they’re not working for us, how about this: instead of simply abolishing the Electoral College, why don’t we tweak it a little? In election coverage, nobody talks about winning the “Oregon vote” or the “North Carolina vote” unless it’s to do with the Electoral College, or to demonstrate how backward a particular state might be. (Yes, I’m talking about you, Mississippi.) But people definitely talk about other votes: the black vote; the women’s vote; the Latino vote; the elderly vote. Maybe that should be our electoral college. So whoever wins the “black vote” gets all the black Electoral College votes, etc. We’d have to figure out all the different categories, and the categories might change every four years. Each person still only gets one vote, but if they fall into more than one category, they can decide. So your half African American, half Latino, elderly, bi-sexual grandmother would get to decide where her vote is going. Non-disabled, cis-gendered, white men aged 21-60 don’t get an option, they have to vote “white dude” – call it “reparations”. 

What do you think, America? I say we give it a try, and see what happens.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Olive Branch refused, and How you make a cynic


Sometimes in a relationship between two humans, one of them will do something that hurts the other. It may not be on purpose, not meant to hurt the other... well, hopefully not. But it happens. In making decisions for one’s own welfare or protection or comfort, one hurts the other. 

That one may not realize this hurt. Or they may. Or they may not realize the extent of the injury. One can, in fact, basically kill the relationship without realizing it. Not being the injury party, the one simply doesn’t notice the change. And meanwhile the injured other is hyper-aware of the change. 

After a time, that other’s pain may subside, and the other may want to explore the remnants of that relationship, in the hope that there may be something left, something salvageable, some ember, some flicker of life left. Just maybe there’s a change to rebuild – not the same relationship that was. That’s probably impossible. There will always be...scars...leftover weak-spots, perhaps. 

Nonetheless, that other once valued that relationship and decides to initiate contact, to extend a metaphorical olive branch. Sadly, the one whose actions caused this relationship-death may be unaware that the other still has this injury. And, sadly, this one may simply reject the overture entirely. Perhaps this one doesn’t fully understand what happened, how hurt the other felt. Or perhaps this one doesn’t care. 

                                                                                        

That becomes a little cumbersome to write not using “you” or “he or she” or other such pronouns. 

Anyway... 

That happened to me, earlier this year. And for some reason it came to mind while I was out taking a walk this evening. Someone had basically killed our relationship about a year before, and didn’t seem to realize it. We weren’t best friends or anything, but there are so few people to whom I honestly feel a connection that when I lose one of them, it’s so very obvious and I feel it deeply. 

But I wrote this person a few months ago and said that I still had these negative feelings. But I was trying to see if there was something there to salvage. This person’s reply was that they had not understood the extent of that “injury”, but that they only want to be around people that like them and make them feel happy. 

Now, this person isn’t dumb, but maybe they just didn’t get what I was saying. I don’t know. I’ve thought about writing them again to clarify that I was hoping to maybe reestablish some kind of friendship. Or maybe I should just take them at their word. 

There was another relationship of mine that “ended” similarly. But in this case, it’s definitely un-reparable, as the other person – who actually went out of his way to cut me off professionally, though, to me it felt very personal, and indicative of a personal weakness – that other person died. Yeah. So... No repairing that relationship. Actually, he got sick, and it became clear he was going to die (though, of course, no one used that word – but that’s another rant: our culture’s fear of and lack of relationship with death) “everybody” started eulogizing him. I just wanted it to be done; I wanted to stop seeing his name and face and all that. 

Then, after he died, everybody continued saying wonderful things about him, and meanwhile, my thought when I hear his name is, “Yeah, fuck him.” 

So that relationship is literally done. And I think it had some influence on my thoughts about this other relationship I was talking about before. Maybe it got me thinking that I don’t really want to go through whatever short span of life I still have with these limbo-relationships. Of course I don’t want that. But I have difficulty maintaining a relationship with someone who has hurt me. 

I’m actually very sensitive. Anyone reading this who really knows me would be aware of a certain cynicism and bitterness in me. But it’s mostly there for protection. I was a shy, scared kid, and maybe I still am. But I’m definitely an idealist whose hopes and expectations for people and society and the world have been crushed over and over. I have all these strong feelings – not strong in the sense that they can withstand a lot of injury or pressure, but strong in that there’s a lot of it and it can be extreme and just take over. So I protect myself with my cynicism and perhaps my aloofness. Of course, then when I do get brave (or just fed up with the severe loneliness) and I open up and let some emotion out people back off, or worse, they just step all over those emotions – all over me. And I try to pull whatever’s left of those feelings back inside my shell and nurse them. 

No wonder. God, that’s exactly how you make a cynic: find an intelligent, romantic idealist and crush them. 

Man, I have issues.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not doin' so great


What’s the point of being smart, clever, talented (and whatever else) if I’m always gonna feel this alone? 

I think my biggest fear is that I’ll lose hope, and then... I don’t know what will happen, but it scares me, and I don’t really want to think about it. 

Hope that anybody really wants to hire me, that they recognize I’m good at what I do and value that over the other shit (i.e., being everybody’s buddy). Hope that I’ll ever really start writing again. Hope that anybody I really want to photograph will be interested ENOUGH to actually schedule a shoot and then NOT back out or cancel or just not show. Hope that anybody will ever want to fuck me again, much less love me. Or even, much more importantly, hope that anybody wants to truly be my friend, not just on fucking facebook, but actually spend some damn time with me, stop by, have some coffee or some whiskey, just hang out. 

Fucking hope that I’ll EVER be somebody’s priority. 


All this shit just fucking hurts. And I’m tired of hope being all I have. But like I said, I’m afraid of what’ll happen when I lose hope. 

As bitter as I feel and sound now, it’s probably better than whatever happens next. But it feels like next is on it’s way. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Celebrate your symbols and “my flag”


So today on the facebook I am seeing lots of American flags with fireworks added – photoshopped, or whatever. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, but here’s an example:



I also saw a few Confederate flags* posted by some guy I used to know 20-something years ago.


* I KNOW – it’s not THE Confederate flag; it’s A flag used by some southern armies during the Civil War, and is occasionally referred to as the “Southern Cross”. (I find the religious connotation in that name interesting in itself, as it’s indicative of the sort of martyr complex its current supporters seem to have.) And it became more widely popular and visible in the South, during the mid-20th Century, as an anti-civil rights/pro-white establishment symbol.

It got me wondering why I haven’t seen – after the past few weeks full of rainbows and battle flags – any Confederate flags with fireworks. So I did a google image search. 

I only found one. It’s a mediocre shutterstock image, with a “shutterstock” watermark.

I do wonder if the pro-Confederate flag people are just not thinking in those terms, not trying to celebrate the flag in that way. I’m sort of glad they’re not, as would it would seem a bit aggressive. After all, it is a flag that was specifically designed to be recognized in battle. And, of course, there’s that whole pesky racism/hate/oppression connotation. Even if you have a knee-jerk feeling that it represents “heritage not hate,” I would ask: is it really possible to separate the symbol from its violent past.

Anyway, there does not seem to be a lot of Confederate firework imagery out there. Which is good. Adding literal explosives to that mix probably isn’t the best idea.

The Confederate flag supporters DO celebrate that flag, but in a different way. They love to display it – on their trucks, their lawns, their mobile homes; or as a fashion accessory – on bandanas, belt buckle, swim suits. Now, you may look at those examples I’ve listed and think I’m just pointing out stereotypes. But honestly, those are places where I have, with my very own eyes, seen Confederate battle flags before the recent ruckus about it.

–    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –

Something I’ve been thinking about lately, with the whole flag “debate” is the flag I used to have.

When I was a kid – maybe 10 or 12 years old – I bought a Confederate flag at a flea market. I’d saved up my allowance for a little while, not to specifically buy this flag, but to buy something more interesting than candy or a comic book or whatever I was interested in back then. I was at this flea market with my family and I found a table selling all kinds of flags. This was around the time The Dukes of Hazzard was on TV, and I liked the show. I saw a Confederate flag there on the table at the flea market, and I thought it looked cool. I was a kid, and to me it represented “the Duke boys” and “Yee-haw!”

Now, I wasn’t a particularly redneck-y kind of kid (though I have cousins who were). As I said, I liked the show. So I bought that flag and hung it on the wall above my bed. It was probably 5 feet by whatever – not quite big enough to hang on a flagpole, but certainly big enough to be obviously noticeable when you walked in the room.

I’m sure I’d seen the flag elsewhere, not just on TV. I lived in the South. My older brother is a bit of a Civil War buff, and it may have already been an interest of his at that point. But I really didn’t understand the history and significance of that flag. So, for several years, I had a big Confederate battle flag on my wall. I thought it was a neat looking thing. It has a strong design. I just liked the look of it.

When I was around 14 years old, my family moved. It was probably around that time that I stopped displaying that flag on my wall. I don’t remember deciding to take it down, but I’m pretty sure by high school that it was not on my wall anymore. Even then, I’m not sure I fully understood the significance of that imagine, but I think it just didn’t fit the person I was becoming as a teenager. I was embracing education and knowledge, starting to question religion (funny how those two things tend to go together), having discussions/arguments with my brother about socio-political topics (women’s rights, inter-racial relationships, etc.). I was becoming a liberal.



I do not recall when, or even IF, I actually got rid of that flag. It’s certainly a possibility; I’ve gotten rid of many things. Though it might be folded up, sitting in some box full of childhood mementos in my parents’ basement. Maybe I’ll have a look the next time I’m there.

–    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –    –

Oh, here’s something else. Something I made, based on another version I found online. A few facebook friends of mine (including a cousin) were sharing “if they can fly theirs, we can fly ours” posts, so this was my idea of compromise.

Friday, June 26, 2015

That Confederate flag thing


Someone unfriended me on facebook this evening (I think). I wonder if it was because of something I posted about marriage equality. (I’m “Pro”.) 

I’ve not said much about Confederate battle flags, so let me say this (and maybe someone else will unfriend me): 

I’m all for freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of thought and feeling and all that. BUT (!) I think (and have thought for quite a while now) that it’s absolutely inappropriate for a government building or other public space to display a symbol which many people find offensive and which represents to many people hate, violence, and repression. Even if you happen to feel the display of such a symbol is an issue of pride and heritage, unless you’re really dumb or simply disingenuous you must be able to appreciate that lots of other people may find it distasteful, offensive, and even harmful. 

Also, along the same lines, I don’t think that government bodies, public schools, etc. should have prayers (or other religious elements) as part of their program or meeting or session, or whatever. The reason is that if this government or public event is representative of or intended for everyone (or citizens, voters, whatever) then it shouldn’t be imposing or supporting or ratifying a particular religion or religious idea. Even if you happen to feel such a simple religious gesture is uplifting and beneficial, unless you’re really dumb or simply disingenuous you must be able to appreciate that lots of other people may find it distasteful, offensive, and even harmful.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sense8 – my review


The first season of Sense8 just recently became available on netflix. It’s a little hard to describe without saying too much about the plot. It’s SORT OF a sci-fi/fantasy/action/drama, but really not any of those things, exactly. There’s a group of individuals from around the world who find themselves suddenly connected in some way they don’t understand. It’s a netflix original series, 12 episodes. I binge-watched six episodes each of the past two evenings. 

In all, I liked it a lot. I loved the international setting and cast. 

I had some picky issues with the editing at times. Basically, I couldn’t always tell when they showed scene #6 (for example) if it happened after or at the same time or the next day or even earlier than scene #5. It jumped around a lot in location and characters and which story-line they were following. Sometimes a character or characters would sort of get stuck in a past memory, and that I found to be a little dissatisfying. 

I did, however, like the editing in some of the action sequences, etc., especially later, once the people learned how to do the thing they do. (I don’t wanna give it away.) 

I liked the mix of action and drama and philosophical wondering. I really loved how sometimes these people’s “journey” was just about seeing the world and other people’s lives, connecting and reflecting on their own lives. I had expected more action/sci-fi type stuff, but didn't miss it while I was watching. In fact, more sci-fi stuff might’ve ruined it. 

I give it 4 out of 5 stars, and I definitely look forward to seeing another season. 

morning shoot


Last night I thought I would get up early this morning, go out and find someplace to take photos. I’ve done that in the past, and I thought it would be a nice day for it. 

Well, I woke up early – around 6:30 – but all I wanted was to go back to sleep, so I did. The amount of energy it would take to get up and go do that just seemed massive, when I first woke up. It still seems massive right now, when I second woke up – a little after 8:00. 

So no outdoor pictures this morning, I guess. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, going out some morning. I’ve a couple of places in mind, but they’re not private. I just have to hope to find a time – like early on a Sunday morning – when there won’t be many people around. 

Maybe I will go out after all, when I’ve had a little coffee. It’s still relatively early, and maybe people won’t be out and about much. Then again, Sunday morning – the people out and about might be on their way to church, and those are just the type who might be offended, call the police out of shock and fear. 

What I really need is access to someplace reasonably private, so I can to do a shoot without worry somebody is going to happen by. Also, I need a model. A single naked man out somewhere probably looks much scarier to people than a photographer and a naked model. 

Lately, though, I’ve not had a lot of success at finding models. There are people who say they’re interested (some have said it over and over for a while now), but they never have the time to do it. Or, I should say, they never make the time. So, I suppose, I’ll just keep photographing myself. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

introductions


– Don’t give up on love, Chris. There’s somebody out there for you.

– Really? Who? I mean, it’s not you, right? And obviously you think it’s not anybody you know, otherwise you’d’ve introduced them to me.

Okay, so that conversation didn’t happen. But it could. If anyone cared enough to have a conversation with me, and we got around to why I’m not actively pursuing sex or a relationship or love or whatever.

But’s it’s completely true that people do not introduce me to other people. I don’t even mean introducing me to some woman with whom they think I’ll get along. I mean people in general. I used to think that people just assumed I know most of the other people that exist, or at least the ones they know. But I’ve come to realize that isn’t it. It’s just that I do not matter enough to anyone that they even would think or care about whether I know this other person. I simply don’t rate enough in anyone’s mind to be worth consideration.  

Wow...I’m feeling bitter today. Maybe that’s why no one cares. Vicious cycle. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Whoever did this? - they need to stop.


A little earlier this morning I saw this photo on tumblr. Yes, tumblr. 
Yes, yes, I know; tumblr is full and overflowing with nudity. That’s why I’m there. I actually joined tumblr as a place to see what’s out there photography-wise. On tumblr you can find some really great artistic photography. You can also find some really poor quality, disturbing porn. Sometimes you’ll find both, together on the same page, which I find much more disturbing than the disturbing porn itself. You can all kinds of nudity anywhere on the spectrum between those extremes of great art and bad porn.

Anyway…

This morning I saw this photo (just a warning, it’s a nude): click link 1

I thought it does have some appeal, but basically I don’t like it. And the more I looked at it, the more it seemed not quite right. So I did a google image search, and found this (also a nude): click link 2

I believe it to be the original. I find it much more appealing. Mainly, I don’t get that “not quite right” vibe from it. I like it. It’s quite lovely. 

Obviously, these are versions of the same photo. The one on the right has been re-done: her skin is darker, her breasts and nipples are larger, there’s a significant bush of pubic hair added, and – most bizarrely – a totally different face has been superimposed.

WHY?!?!? 

I do not understand. Who is this other face? Is this some kind of revenge-porn thing? Is that someone’s ex-girlfriend, and they didn’t have any actual nude photos of them to post online, so they made this? (If so, that’s bad. Don’t do that, people.) Or was this version, perhaps, made to fit someone’s personal masturbatory preference? (If so, that’s a little odd, but...just keep it to yourself, eh?)

As a photographer, as a creator of what I hope are some artistic images, I find this disturbing. I’ve seen, on tumblr, a few photographers complain about other people editing and posting versions of their photos – cropping, maybe changing the color &/or contrast, etc. That’s not good. But, this seems much worse. Someone’s turned this photo into a photo of a different person, and it doesn’t seem to be an obvious, clunky version for comic effect. (I admit, I’ve done that once or twice, but never published it online, or tried to convince anyone that it was “real”.)

Anyway... Whoever did this? - they need to stop.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Roswell - bad, bad, bad, bad thing


I’m watching this TV show – Roswell – on the netflix. If you’ve not seen it, it’s a Vampire Diaries-type thing but with aliens instead of vampires. It aired about 15 years ago. A lot of the main characters are attractive teen-agers.




So, in this episode (“Disturbing Behavior” season 2, episode 13), there’s a young woman, about 17 or 18 years old, who’s gone off with a young man to deal with “alien stuff,” but her mom doesn’t know about the alien stuff. Her mom is so mad and upset and terrified that her daughter is going to have sex. She’s talking with her daughter on the phone and bawling and yelling and threatening. Like it’s a horrible, awful, evil, shameful, bad, bad, bad, bad thing. 

This is such a common idea in our culture: parents being scared and angry that someone would have sex with their post-pubescent child, at a time when their bodies are screaming at them to have sex; and parents threatening violence toward the similarly-aged young men wanting to have sex with their daughters. That’s crazy. It’s extremely unhealthy in the attitudes that it conveys to these young people about sex. 

Of course, by the time they’re old enough to have sex, they’ve certainly already been messed up by our mixed up, crazy, damaging cultural attitudes about sex. And I’m fairly sure that any parents who would react that way to the possibility of their child having sex will have already made sure to convey the nightmare apocalypse that is normal human sexual activity. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Previously unseen photos


I dreamed last night that I found a bunch of photos I’d forgotten about and hadn’t posted anywhere. I’ve had this dream before. While I’m having the dream, it’s sort of exciting: cool photos of mine that people haven’t seen before! But when I wake up, I do not like the dream. 

Here in real life, there are photos that I haven’t ever posted anywhere. Some are just not as good as those I did post, or I didn’t want to post 50 photos from the same shoot. Others I think are actually quite good, but the model the model didn’t want me to post them. And whenever THAT has happened, it made me really mad. It still does. I currently have cheap prints (from my printer) of a couple of such photos hanging on my wall, but visitors here are quite rare. 

In the past few years I’ve had a very hard time letting go of my anger at people who’ve disappointed me (like models who’ve said after a 2-hour shoot and quite a few hours of editing by me that they don’t want me to post their photos). Actually, “been unable to let go” is probably more accurate. 

I like taking pictures, but this whole area of artistic exploration has cost me. It's certainly cost me a ton of "facebook friends" but also some real-life friends, of which I’ve never had many. It's definitely cost me some work as a musician, which is ridiculous. I mean, it’s an unrelated field, yet people don’t want to hire me because they think what – I’ll show up naked at a rehearsal? That’s not going to happen. 

Anyway, I’ve probably lost more work than I know, but there are at least two people I know for sure refused to hire me because of my photography. (See "So, what happened to Mississippi?" & "So, what happened with City Arts?" ) In one case it was someone for whom I didn’t care much nor have much respect. But the other was a guy that most of the people I know locally loved and respected. That guy recently died, and it seems everybody was eulogizing him. Meanwhile, I was still pissed off at him, though I didn’t say anything at the time (I’m not completely insensitive), and I think that just pushed me further away from all those formerly friendly acquaintances. 

Well, this has gotten bitter. I am bitter. I think I never entirely fit in the world before, as a composer and writer. But most of the time it seems that my photography – principally my choice of subject matter – has pretty well pushed me right out of it. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

On “#freethenipple”


Instead of just talking to myself this morning, in response to a facebook post I was seeing (Challenge the Way We Sexualize Women's Breasts), I wrote this stuff down. Someone was asking about the agenda behind “freeing the nipple” and how it relates to rape culture, etc. 
Not sure how clear my logic is, but... here it is. 

On “#freethenipple” 

Acceptance of a part of the body, the nipple, is a move toward acceptance of the body in general. We in this culture have a horrible problem with our bodies. There’s still a very strong theme of “our bodies are bad and shameful” running through our culture. It’s very clearly connected to another concept – that sex is bad shameful and needs to be hidden. 

These things are whispered in our ears from infancy, when we can’t even understand the words yet, and they become so ingrained in us, that we don’t even see them. They’re simply threads in the tapestry of what we think it is to be a human and a society. When sex is bad and shameful and the body is bad and shameful it leads people to have very unhealthy relationships with their own bodies, and trouble dealing with other people’s bodies. 

Now, add to that another basic problem of our culture – inequality of women. There’s a strong tradition of women not being considered full participants in human society, of in public society. Men are political leaders, men run businesses, men create art. Women are off on the sidelines or in the background. When you mix in the “sex is bad and so are our bodies” it creates a situation in which women are seen not as people but as objects to be viewed &/or possessed. That’s sexual objectification. 

It’s easy to see in a culture that forces women to hide away, or to completely cover up their bodies in public and not interact with men. But it’s still pretty easy to see, if you’re looking, right here in our country. Men are largely judged on their action and achievements and the content of their character, while women are still largely judged on how hot they are. And while we are still saying that naked bodies are bad and shouldn’t be seen in public, we’ve become mildly addicted to highly sexualized naked or almost naked bodies – chiefly women’s bodies – in movies and TV, advertising, and (of course) pornography. 

If men are humans and women are sexual objects, and sex is bad and shameful and shouldn’t be discussed or even dealt with in an open and reasonable way, you get... rape culture. So, a move toward acceptance of the body is a move against rape culture.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

PEMDAS


I just saw one of those posts asking people to solve a relatively simple math problem. I’ve seen these on the facebook from time to time. 

In this case, the problem was this: 6-1x0+2÷2 = 
There are some correct answers (7), and some incorrect (mostly 1 or 3.5, some 5). 

Ironically, some of the people who have the wrong answer are calling other people stupid. The answer is 7 because of a thing called “order of operations”. Order of operations means that you solve certain parts of the problem before solving other parts. It’s also called “PEMDAS”, which is an acronym for the order. 


In this case, there are no parentheses, nor any exponents (like x2). So the next thing is to do the multiplying and dividing from left to right, then the adding and subtracting from left to right. 

This is basic grade school math. You’re supposed to learn it in fourth grade, or somewhere around there. But a lot of people have simply forgotten it. It’s not something that we use in our daily lives, so we forget most of it, just like a lot of stuff we learned in school. (Well, some people forget it. Some of YOU people.) 

Anyway... 
The really weird thing about these kind of math posts is that some people recognize what the correct answer actually is and why, but then they say it ought to be something else because that’s what makes more sense to them. Well, those people really need to stop that, because it’s math, and their opinion and what subjectively seems right inside their head doesn’t matter. Math has rules. Maybe it would “make more sense” to just solve the problem left to right, with no regard for the order of operation, but that’s not the rule. I didn’t make that rule. That’s just how it is. Probably the order of operations is useful when you get into more complex equations, but it also applies to simpler equations, so people who do use math won’t have to learn a different way to deal with more complex equations. 

We seem to live in a time (and culture) where people think their opinion about something like this is just as valid as anyone else’s. It’s not. Your opinion about the answer is irrelevant. It’s like saying “I think it makes more sense that our sky is yellow instead of blue, because the sun is yellow. That’s what makes sense to me.” Well, it doesn’t matter, because the sky is blue. There are complicated science-y reasons for it. 

It’s okay to not know something about math. But being ignorant doesn’t give you the right to have your own opinion that’s “just as valid” as the actual way to solve this math problem. The same is true about science and tons of other areas of study and expertise. Yes, sometimes things are up for interpretation, but a lot of it isn’t. This particular math problem isn’t. 

You can also apply this complaint of mine – that many people are adamantly certain they know what’s right because it “makes sense” to them – to our cultural attitudes about most social/political issues. In fact, I feel justified in saying this little math problem is what’s wrong with our country today.





Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pulling Strings – my review


Last night I watched Pulling Strings.

The movie is roughly half in English and half in Spanish. I watched it on netflix. There was issue with the subtitles. (I don’t know if that would be true if you rented a DVD or watched it somewhere else online.) When you turn on the English subtitles, it only shows translated subtitles for the Spanish dialogue. Y los subtitulos españoles aparecen sólo para el diálogo Inglés.

But that wasn’t a big deal. Here’s what was a big deal: the ending.

As I watched the movie, I thought it was a nice little romantic comedy – sweet, cute, fun. I liked it. And then the ending happened. Literally, the last couple of minutes of the movie ruined it for me. What would’ve been maybe a 4 out of 5 star rating from me is now 2 stars, because of that ending.

SPOILER ALERT.

Here’s what happens:

The man hurts the woman; the man asks for forgiveness; the woman refuses and leaves the country; the man is devastated. Now if that’s the end of your movie, fine, so be it. I’m okay with that. BUT NOOO! That wasn’t the end.

Cut to "one month later" and the woman just shows up out of nowhere, and suddenly everything's okay – no questions, no explanations, no apologies, no nothing?!?! Just, happily ever after/the end?

I’m sorry, but that is not acceptable. I say no to that ending. I reject that overly simplistic, happy ending. Fuck you, movie.

While this isn’t the best movie ever made, it deserves a little more than that, more than just the woman shows up and everything is fine – no hurt feelings, no recriminations.

¡No mames, pinche película! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

giant, side-of-the-road crosses


You know what I’m talking about, right? Giant, side-of-the-road crosses. They look like this:


They’re huge eyesores that you’ll see driving along the interstate, or highway, or maybe even local city roads. Well, there are two things I think about whenever I see these monstrosities.

First, and more important: 
If someone went around this country (The United States of America) putting up giant symbols of ANY other religion in the world, there’s a sizable chunk of the population – i.e., those extreme conservative, christian, Fox News-watching types – who would lose their fucking minds. They would, strangely, consider it an attack on their religious beliefs, to have such a thing forced upon their eyeballs. Yet, if someone suggests they take down these disturbing, giant crossbar-ed phalluses, for religious reasons or any other reason, really, those same folks would call out their right to free speech. 

And second: 
If this were just some guy putting up something this shape and size, everyone would think (though they might not say it) that the guy just has a small penis. I will let you all draw your own conclusions about the size of God’s penis.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fuck you, Roy Moore.


I just watched this:


Well, fuck you, Roy Moore.

Even IF we accept as a guideline for laws that we are “endowed by” our “Creator” with certain rights, what the fuck does that have to do with how you define marriage? “Creator” does not necessarily mean conservative, Baptist-y version of Jesus.

If you’re falling back on a traditional, historic, Biblical-God definition of marriage, well, we don’t do most of that shit anymore. (Fuckin’ look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

Anyway, what about the rest of that line: “pursuit of happiness”? And what about equal protection and equal application of laws?

As I said, fuck you, Roy Moore.

Fuck.

You.

skirt blowing


Apparently there was a thing called a “skirt blowing machine” at amusement parks. It blew a burst of air up through a vent for the purpose of blowing up women’s skirts, revealing their legs and undergarments. Sometimes this vent would be part of a “fun house” or sometimes at the exit of a popular ride.

AND there was a person whose job it was to operate that machine. So when a woman walked by, the machine operator pushed a button or pulled a lever or whatever, causing the burst of air.

ALSO sometimes there would be one or two other amusement park employees whose job it was to take a woman by the hands – ostensibly to help them down from a ride, etc. – but in reality they were guiding her to the air vent and preventing her from pushing or holding her skirt down. They might even hold her there longer, and control how long her legs and undergarments were exposed.

Now, I can sort of get how someone might think this is just good, silly fun – everyone laughs and the woman is embarrassed but not really hurt. BUT I can easily see how this could feel like a real violation – with not choice or foreknowledge to be made into a sort of sexual spectacle for the general public’s entertainment.

Mostly it’s really difficult for me to grasp the mindset and the cultural environment in which something like that is normal and okay. This was still going on in the 1960s and 70s, maybe later. Actually, for all I know, it could still be going on at some parks.

Obviously our current culture has a really messed up relationship with sex and nudity and with our bodies. Maybe there’s something beneficial in public displays of bodies and sexuality – in admitting that we humans are sexual being and that a sexual appetite is normal and healthy. But I guess it’s the lack of choice in this whole “skirt blowing” idea that rankles. Should not the skirt blowing be optional? What if everybody knows where the skirt blowing vents are, and can easily avoid them if they choose, but also everybody tacitly agrees to be “surprised” when a skirt is blown up?

Hmm... Ya know, I’d probably take issue with that as well. Yeah, I’d probably say to that, if you want to expose your body, just do it. You don’t have to be ashamed of it. It’s your body, woman or man, and if you want to show your ankles or knees or thighs or every bit of it, I say yes. Empower yourself; be not ashaméd.