Thursday, April 03, 2014

OH HEY

Let me tell you about this, give you a life update and whatever. I moved into a new place and it is grand. I can't remember the last time I was excited to get home in a who's home/whats going on at my house/so cool way in a while. For so long it was just getting home is just like I wanna be alone/take my pants off. I live in a room where the previous occupant built an "sensory deprivation room" (sex cave). It freaks me out to sleep in it, I don't have sex, so now I just hang out in it and study biology (not sex innuendo, actually studying biology). This eve I returned to facebook in an effort to get hip but really fuck it. A friend of mine asked me to meet her in brooklyn for some high muckety muck I can't say what and it just remind me my existence is bizarre. I don't mean this in a brag way much more I just don't think about it until I think about it.

I started taking some classes because I want to be a scientist but I don't know what type. At the same time I began to toy deeper with "playing the game" somewhat in the realms of art but really I'm being so lazy about it. Like not going out of my way as far as self promotion but more like answering a fucking question the way you're supposed to or something instead of just being awkward. Just like maybe if my art whatever is winding down lets see what it can do, a half-assed last hurray. 

I went to the doctor because my right ear keeps on being a total weirdo dick and just ended up with an old acquaintance futilely trying to clean the wax out of my ear, like they couldn't see my ear drum past the wax. And sometimes I work at a desk where I have to ask to go to the bathroom. I was sitting there trying to figure out if it was better that an old acquaintance was shooting hydrogen peroxide into my ear or if it was embarrassing. Really it was just funny.

It didn't work fyi.

I ate a quesadilla, I wish it was infinite.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

I got a letter from a former affair I read it and cried and went about my normal business and cried and rode my bike and cried

philip seymor hoffman died of a drug overdose, his body was found on super bowl sunday

all my problems are meaningless, that don't make them go away

Thursday, September 05, 2013

It's a sad formality, that someone took the time to take the last empty toilet roll off of the toilet roll holder. It’s really over. You are really out of toilet paper. You don’t even have the maybe useless core, there is nothing. I look at it and think about life. This is really your life. You have the formality of furniture but not the functionality of it. I look at it and take a quick glance around the bathroom to see if whoever did away with this empty thing brought in any type of replacement. A pile of napkins. Somehow this is a metaphor for my life. Or for life in general. Or maybe I just want it to be because I’m peeing and bored and stoned. I’m not sure how or why but this is just my line of thinking right now. Maybe it feels like a meal for one or something. Those single serving size frozen entrees that have a cheery “for one!” logo. I guess these seem like this sad pathetic thing. In the store I always chuckle at these packages feeling that society wise nobody wants an obviously single serving size frozen pizza to remind us it is just for one person. That you are alone. That you will go home and eat this meal alone. Why is it so sad and pathetic to do things alone? A meal for one feeds you and only you theoretically in an efficient manner. Don’t we like efficiency? And then the toilet paper holder. You have this thing that serves a purpose, this toilet paper holder. The toilet paper holder is not fulfilled. It just exists. It’s waiting. It’s a thing that has one specific function but that function cannot not be completed without this other thing, the toilet paper roll. The toilet paper roll doesn’t even need the toilet roll holder to function. It is independent. It is a loner. Toilet paper roll needs nothing. Does the holder improve things? Does it make things more efficient? Yes. Is this a metaphor for love? Is this a metaphor for life? Are these things one in the same? And I default to relating with the toilet paper holder. Because I'm depressed. This currently useless bare handle. But what if instead of seeing yourself as the toilet paper holder you envision yourself as the toilet paper. You see yourself as the thing that has an independent purpose that works just fine on its own. And when you think of this as a metaphor for love the removal of the toilet paper core, the last shred of anything can in this day and age be compared to changing a relationship status, the getting rid of all the trinkets and shedding remaining reminders at the end of a relationship. Maybe this isn’t a pathetic action but rather the brave move, the moving on, the making of room. This is a question of optimism. Of if the glass is half full or half empty. Are you the toilet paper roll or the toilet paper roll holder? These positions are not finite either. Different phases of life call for different contexts. Just a roll of toilet paper is functional, its fine and it exists. But this fixture, the toilet roll holder, can make this fully independently functioning thing work better. But its not needed. But, you know, it’s really nice.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Henry Rollins, Steubenville, Rape Culture




Henry Rollins wrote a blog post about Steubenville. While it's really cool to see a public figure that presents as so rageingly masculine take the time to talk about rape culture he fell into a trap that a lot seem to fall into.

"I have yet to say anything about the damage done to the young woman involved. It is ironic and sad that the person who is going to do a life sentence is her." 

Now, lets roll back a minute. The coverage of this case, especially in the wake of the boys being found guilty, mainly focused on how their sports careers, their lives and what not would be ruined by this verdict. The news coverage concerning the survivor was few and far between. And people were (rightfully so) outraged. It's bullshit. So we should talk about the survivor, it's true, but a lot of times it comes out as what Rollins said.

"the person who is going to do a life sentence is her."

It seems that consistantly and quickly "what about the victim" turns into "her life is ruined". This line of thinking is problematic. I realize the easiest way to appeal to the public in general is this kind of scarred-for-life storyline. While major news outlets are sitting around and talking about the boys lives being ruined the easiest and most effective way to redirect attention to the plight of the survivor or to even just attempt to reiterate that what they did was just wrong is to do this “their lives are ruined? What about her life!” schtick.

But saying "her life is ruined!" is problematic because it implies that there is only one way to experience sexual assault and that is is that you are ruined for life. It is a statement that continues to control survivors by telling them how they should feel. In a way saying "if you aren't ruined than it wasn't rape". It even reflects back onto the perpetrators by saying “men shouldn’t rape women because it destroys women emotionally” rather than just “men shouldn’t rape”.

It also implies that sexual assault is a far worse crime than any other assault. But why? Because the majority of victims are women? Because it's sexual? Meaning that women can be easily destroyed? Meaning that sexual assault ruins us but being beat up isn't as bad? It seems like a big reason why sexual assault is deemed so much more of a life-ruiner than any other violent assault is because women are supposed to be clean and virginal and rape makes us tainted and ruined, damaged goods. If we aren't completely ruined by this shattering of innocence then we must be just sluts, right?

My point is that her life may be ruined but it also might not be ruined. Either way she should have never been raped.

Monday, December 24, 2012

No Age and the corporation.


So, several days ago No Age played a concert in Barcelona that was sponsored by this shoe company that is a subsidary of this shoe giant. At this event they spent a lot of their set showing a video they had made showcasing the sweatshop labor employed by the company, the rampant consumerism of black friday shoppers, so and so forth, in protest. Now, protesting corporate entities is nothing new for them, and throughout the life of No Age and their previous bands they have been pretty vocal about being pretty anti-corporate.

So I'm confused by this one thing. In 2008 No Age played a smattering of exclusive parties put on by this very same company, one in LA, one in Portland, one in Miami. Now I realize that 2008 was a while ago but at the same time 2008 doesn't predate No Ages anti-corporate attitudes nor does it predate this corporations use of sweatshop labor. So why is this corporate sponsored event that was open to the public, one in which people had to purchase tickets, was the time to protest this company rather than at exclusive free events?

Now both of these types of events are an effort by the corporation to brand itself in a certain way. Connecting itself to cool bands is an attempt by the corporation to appear "cool". The corporation will mostly claim something along the lines of "we're just trying to bring music to the people" but both you and I know this is not true. So the corporations motives are the same at both events, which is to say this implies that No Age is not so much trying to send a message to the corporation but rather is attempting to inform the audience of the true nature of the corporation.

This speaks to which audience has influence on what. The private event audience is mainly there as tastemakers. These people are seen as the birthers of trends and so on and so forth, the people that theoretically are cooler then us and theoretically that we want to be. These types of events are where photographers are taking pictures of cool people being cool doing cool things. These pictures grace the pages of style sections in magazines and the interwebs. People are there to see and be seen. It is not neccesarily your friend telling you about a cool band or a cool shoe but it is rather the creation of an entire lifestyle that you want to be a part of.

So this is a thing that influences culture, that is trying to get the masses to breath the name of this corporation and No Age in the same breath. This is the event that no one pays to get into, the drinks are free, the corporate swag is free flowing, the band gets paid. BUT if you wanna go you have to be special or know the right people.

Then there is the corporate sponsored concert. Occasionally these shows are free but for the most part there is a ticket price. It is not exclusive, meaning you could be a person with little or no "influence" (in the tastemaking sense) but you have the right amount of money and leisure time. Most likely the event is heavily decorated with corporate logos, the band may or may not be contractually obligated to thank the sponsor. There probably aren't photographers specifically there for the style pages or things of that sort. The people there are there to see a band, not for the free drinks or swag, not to see and be seen. It's your buddy saying "I got an extra ticket!" not an everybody who is anybody will be there type thing. However, like the private event the ultimate hope is  that people will not only talk about the band but more importantly the brand name.

So why the protest now? The only notable difference between then and now is amount of popularity and a record deal. 2008 was No Ages break out year, they signed to Sub Pop and released their "breakthrough" album Nouns. The corporate parties they played that year land on the heels of this albums release. In a marketing sense No Age needed those tastemakers at those private parties as much as the corporation did. This audience is a group that more than likely would have been alienated by a protest of the corporation hosting the party doled out by a band that was just launching into ever widening acclaim and popularity. At that point there was a chance that protesting one of those private parties could have made them live in infamy, but if that didn't happen "making it"-wise that would have been the end.

So now they have a reputation built on deep connections with the art world, they have international acclaim, they got nominated for a grammy for chrissakes. They have managed to become popular outsiders. At this point protesting a corporation only further cements that outsider status. It has caused the internet to rejoice with kudos for standing up to the corporate giants. And while this action may blacklist them from further corporate sponsored whatevers its also a perfect dream for corporations because beyond wanting to associate themselves with cool stuff they want us to say their names, they want their brand name repeated by us even when we are condemning them.

Everybody benefits, everybody gets their name repeated.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

3 influences: art, death and mental illness

I don't know if I ever told you this, but about a year ago I was diagnosed as bipolar II, which could possibly be seen as bipolar lite. I'm on mood stabilizers, I haven't been taking them because I found myself in between public health programs and I ran out of the pills. Hopefully I'll be able to get more tomorrow. I've been anxious and staying in bed a lot. So, the public and mental illness has been on my mind.

Last friday 26 people were gunned down in a school in Connecticut. A week prior I watched that Patty Schemel documentary. The Schemel documentary brought up again that Courtney Love is an asshole. When I look at her all I can think is that this woman, this terrible asshole, is completely in the grips of mental illness. It makes me sad. It's like you know your words and your actions but you have little control over them, or they make perfect sense until you realize, you realize too late, that they don't. This is how I landed in the bipolar diagnosis, I had a habit of lashing out at people, sometimes (mostly) in public. So it's this little thing, this habit I saw as probably not the best but not horrid, and, you know, a host of other things, that landed me here on medication. And the medication has made a difference. It's also worthy to note that I have been pulling batshit moves like getting into screaming matches in public, having racing uncontrollable thought processes, going for days without sleeping or sleeping for days for the past fifteen or so years -- which is to say it took about 15 years to get properly diagnosed and on the right meds. Even then I've had disruptions in the meds because I haven't been able to pay for them without some amount of public assistance. And I'm middle class for crissakes, I'm well off. What do poor people do?

On February 16, 2007 Britney Spears shaved her head. She had a very public mental break. No one knew what to do. The whole world sat around and talked about how crazy she was. Given, I am not a major public figure, I've never had a total mental break. In about 2004 or so I had about a six month period where I didn't really leave my house except to go to my job or to school. I lived in a three bedroom house by myself, I had a bedroom that I rarely went into, I mainly lived in the living room on a pull out couch. Everyday I watched Steel Magnolias, Fried Green Tomatoes, Thelma and Louise or Little Women. I'd sit on the floor and cry. I lived in a small town at the time. I knew people talked about me, talked about how I was crazy. Maybe not, maybe I was paranoid. But I think they did, I'm pretty sure they did. My point is that when you feel crazy and it feels like everyone is sitting around gossiping about how you are crazy it makes you feel even crazier. Of course Britney fully fucking lost it.

And Courtney Love, she had/has a shit ton of public meltdowns. And everyone sits around and talks about how she's crazy. Because we don't know what to do. We don't know what to do except sit around and look and then mumble out the side of our mouths "well she's CRAZY" and it just makes everything worse. It's wrong to act like it doesn't exist but it's rude to stare.

And then there's Newtown. In the aftermath of 20 kids being shot down by a young man who by most reports was "troubled" the word on everyones tongue is problems with gun control and problems with mental health. To get it out f the way I have no idea why the common citizen would need an automatic weapon or any kind of thing that just sprays bullets. I don't get it. But on the mental health thing... theres people talking about the lack of services, people talking about the stigma attached to it, everyone seems to want the last word. It seems like a huge chorus of "we need to talk about this" but no one agrees on what to talk about, how to fix it, what to do, what needs to be fixed, whats wrong in the first place, yaddda yadda yadda.

So I can see myself in the public breakdown of Britney, the misunderstood assholeness of Courtney... I can't see myself in Adam Lanza. Thinking about those kids being so scared, their last moments, just being so scared, every time I just start crying. It's completely unfathomable to me. But there have been instances of these things where I could see myself. Columbine happened when I was in high school. I want to be clear, I have never had any homicidal thoughts, I have never been inclined to hurt others. But I could still see myself in them. I was misunderstood, an outcast. I didn't really have a malicious side, but what if things had been slightly different? What if I was a boy? What if the world was beaming that teenage boy message at me of violence and power? What if I had been searching for a way out of alienation and the masculine message of power over others and violence towards all enemies was being ground into my psyche? But that didn't happen. My revenge fantasies in high school were emotional. They were about what I would write in a suicide letter to make the people who I felt were bad to me feel terrible about their actions. Instilling unending guilt. They were about how many people would be at my funeral. The legacy I wanted was for people to feel guilty, it was for people to miss me. My fantasy legacy was never about physical power over those who I felt had wronged me, it was never about physically hurting people or even scaring people. I just wanted them to feel bad.

The buzz words that come up in regards to mental illness are about stigma and services. There was the blog post that went viral that Liza Long wrote about her son. While I thought it was pretty fucked up to include a picture of her kid what I took away from it was the lack of services. The only way she could help her son was by calling the cops, it was by getting her son a criminal record. The stress of having to get or keep a job because it happens to have health insurance and you need health insurance. And then what happens when the kid gets too old to be on moms health insurance? Can he get a job that has benefits? Can he keep a job that has benefits? You know how few jobs offer benefits? You know that getting health insurance outside of a job situation is basically impossible if you have any type of mental health history? I can't get health insurance. Been denied by like four or five different companies. Because I'm bipolar. But then besides insurance what do you do if your kid has a mental illness that makes them violent? how do you protect your family? neighbors? other kids? What do you do if you have a mental illness that shows itself in violent outbursts? What do you do when your insurance only allows for four psychiatrist visits a year?

But a lot of the blogosphere reacted as if she were saying that all mentally ill people were violent, that she was an evil mother, that her perspective on mental illness wasn't radical enough. I'm not here to defend her. But the message of services for the mentally ill being sub par seemed to get lost in a flurry of people arguing over stigma, portrayal and semantics.

And then there is the problem of stigma. A stigma that seems to fluctuate between being denied and being misunderstood. Either it's being implied that the mentally are a threat or are simply over dramatic.

And it all just makes me sad. That this is all so foreign and confusing and expensive. That people seem more inclined to blame, disagree and bicker rather than work to figure out how to fix a broken health system. That those kids were scared. That someone was so disturbed that they could commit those atrocities. That someone could be so deeply caught in the grips of mental illness that they would go on a murder rampage, that we can't agree on what could have been done, what should have been done. And then I read something saying would you still be sad about the mental state of this man if he were still alive? I don't know.

So these are the things I do know. I know that even in the place of privilege and support I exist in my mental illness has still been a struggle to manage, that getting help has at times been blocked for financial reasons for the most part, but also time, depression, etc. I know that being in the throes of mental illness makes it really hard to even seek help. I know that navigating programs to get financial help is confusing and a lot of the time makes little to no sense. I know that its something so fluid and intangible that it is at times hard to believe, hard to trust, hard to blame. It still feels weird to say that I'm bipolar. I feel like I'm making a big deal out of nothing, like I'm just trying to get attention, like I should just get my shit together, like I should just get over it.

So what is there to do? I don't know what to do. In my thirty years I've gone on and off meds three times, gone through roughly five therapists and my mental problems aren't even that deep. So what about those who have a worse mental state? No support system? No money?

I lied about the art part, or just, I don't want to talk about it. Another topic another day.