thought of the day

Anza-Borrego and the desert soul (soil)

i enjoy desert hikes in the night. the landscape & fauna take on a completely different character. the quiet, the darkness, and the enormity of the space swallow you up. we humans often feel like aliens, as if we were put on this earth, a separate from, forced to survive the inhospitable. the desert represents that essence well. it is a faulty, modern feeling of course. we are as much part of the earth, as the earth is part of us. 30k years ago, a human walked on this very part of the earth, not feeling as distant to the soil (aridisols) as we do know. of course, this is a presumption, but, it's a bet i'd be willing to make.

below is the night study (anza-borrego 03.05.18 - 10:30pm)

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How to read multiple books at the same time....

For several years, after college, I was on a regime of "one book" at a time. In those days, it was mostly classical literature or a book on film/writing craft. 

I was in the habit of reading before bed, or occasionally, in the afternoon when I had some free time, over coffee.

I'd often wonder how we collectively (students) went through several books at the same time in college, and the answer now, so obvious, was because of necessity. 

Jump to about two years ago, when I had a sudden revelation that my reading frequency had dipped to an all time low, and was consumed with a year of MOBY DICK (the year before, WAR AND PEACE). One book, a whole year.

At this time, I came to a reading breakpoint (yes, this is not so dramatic). Rather I can wallow in the dead poetics society, or, get the fuck out of this habit, and open the mind to new ideas. 

I picked up a non-fiction business book. Something I had never done in my life. Why? I was pulled in that direction but that's another story.

But since then, I upped my reading to an average of around 40-50 books per year in the last few. I understand that this is below some overachievers, but the mean of the average American Adult's book count, according to this 2013 PEW study is 12. With a median at a paltry 5 (still more than my MOBY DICK year).

So, what's my method? It's all in a system based on formats, and multiple books at the same time.

For short non-fiction, I use ebooks. For things on the more motivational front, audiobooks is my preferred format. For tougher, more esoteric material, a good ol fashion analog book. For longer non-fiction, or any books on craft or technique or where you need to write information down, analog. For fiction, again, analog mostly, unless it's the size of a novella or shorter, and then it would be read in the ebook format.

So, I read a hardcover in the AM, listen to an audiobook in the car and on a jog. On an afternoon break, or at night, I'm on the Ipad with an ebook. I average about 3 books simultaneously, and can push to a max of 4.

Personally for me, at this moment, I could not read 3 books at the same time in the same format. This switch in format is both contextual, and tacit, and lets my brain welcome new content throughout the day.

One last thing: I love owning books. While I've come to love ebooks and find them superior on many levels especially for it's ease in annotation, I find myself having to buy the analog version as well if I really enjoyed the work, just to make this situation feel real. This is a problem financially. 

 

 

leaving projects behind or always finishing.....

I recently picked up footage from a shoot we did over a year ago. We had some hiccups immediately during post, mostly because the world we were going to build in the box was a bit too complicated and time consuming without a larger team. This was an in-house production, so we aimed high, but the cost analysis did not add up.  A little after that realization we actually continued forward with some progress, but life got busy and other important priorities took over.

Now, this happens now and again. Personally, I just move forward without the burden of the past. If the ship is moving, why hit the brakes?

However, deep down, I'm often bothered by projects left to burn in their own ashes. Mostly because other people put in the time.

This is different than long term projects that are continuous and take time because of aesthetics, strategies or just out of necessities. I'm specifically talking about projects abandoned. Nine times out of ten, these are just scripts, treatments or half baked ideas that get pushed aside for newer scripts; but every once in awhile, its actually raw footage being tossed. You took the time to write something, got people together, and you shot the damn thing, and without any hesitation, you just threw it away. 

But here is where everything gets tricky. We are in the throes of "content world" now. Everything counts. The golden goose, and the piles of trash. They all have utility, serving the purpose of fulfilling the highs and lows of our culture. The stream of life is not historical. The origin story is now. Do you have enough material to feed this voracious monster?

With that in mind, I just salvaged some visuals locked away in harddrive hell.  Conceptually, the idea has changed, I'll be honest. But, the adjustment actually makes more sense now, since it's more in line with a certain creative process I'm dealing with, NOW.

Here is a still from the upcoming MIRS TAKE AWAY visual. The record is two years old and the footage, recently rescued from the depths of a harddrive in Burbank California, is over a year old. Who the fuck would know if I didn't say anything anyways.

Visuals from MIRS TAKE AWAY

Visuals from MIRS TAKE AWAY



musings of youth and hip hop....

This last few days I've been on one of my periodic pop culture rendezvous, where I survey a specific landscape that I feel my touch slipping away from.

This round happened to be hip-hop, it's new culture and the first wave of OG's reflecting on where the form has gone. Just a footnote before I get labeled; my youth was spent listening to rap and hip-hop and my roots are that of B-Boy. My crew, OSB used to battle at malls, schools, clubs and anywhere else little dudes could roam the streets and engage in rhythmic warfare. Violence hardly ever broke out, but occasionally a dance battle would turn into an actual battle.

This was during the second wave of breakdancing. I experienced the first wave as well, but I was too little to understand the culture. From spreading out cardboards to keeping PLEDGE in my backpack for lubricating linoleum, this was one of my true teenage passion. I'll provide visual evidence at the end. But alas, i grew out of favor with hip-hop, mostly as a result of new hobby's and experiences. Still however, I am a fan to this day.

One particular note of interest in my recent cultural prowling was promo videos featuring the new kids on the block in hip hop. This being the social media age, the youngsters are all savvy of the technology of promotion.  You don't need to fork over big bucks of your advance to do elaborate music videos or smart campaigns, because in essence, you are doing it all the time. Always on twitter, always on instagram, and tumblr, the homies have some form of capture device on them at all times.

It's not hard to come by a 5d, or a Red Scarlett, or a slew of semi-professional camera's these days (and hell, what is professional anyways anymore). Everybody, including your momma has them. And shit, on a 1080 screen, an iphone is good to go. So, everybody is shooting something all the time. Now you just package that extra footage into "promo's" that end up going on youtube as a way to diversify.

The flow of content is a stream. And to not participate is death to an up and comer. In fact, it's death to everybody except a very select few who've managed to keep those giant, top down, middle of America careers of yesteryear. 

One thing that struck me odd about these promos is that the subject of the piece often, if not incessantly, would be looking down at their phones. This was a very common thread. It's jarring watching videos of somebody who spends an inordinate amount of time looking down at their phones. They're not even fully present through the prism of something that is trying to capture them in the present. And this becomes self reflexive. You ask, "do I do that, because, it looks really dumb". In fact, you might. I know I'm guilty at times.

Further, the subjects would often use their phones to capture another fleeting moment through a picture (instagram) or video. Always looking at a screen, or through a screen. Contextualizing everything through pixel.s

Now, granted I was looking mostly at Hip Hop promos because that's where pop culture is now. I don't think there are 17 year old rock and roll kids getting 6 million dollar 360 deals. And they too probably spend time staring into the abyss of electronics. It's an age thing. It's a culture thing. But, my guess is that there is more to this story.

Which brings me to my theory that our phones, through technology serve some strange psychological need to stare at moving things through light, while desperately trying to hoard moments, and store them away; basically trying to capture a life that's always slipping away, ungraspable. 

There is no doubt that our second life in digitalism will be our preferable choice in a very near future. It's an extremely effective opioid, creating the distance from the dirt and grime of reality. You can break up a relationship without direct conflict. You can insult someone without consequence; you can be a sexist, a misogynistic creep, all without even a cold stare from the other end.  However, it comes with many consequences. Chief among them, loneliness and detachment. That might not sound so bad, but when added up, the results are terrifying.

And with all that talk; here is some breakdancing in a living room, featuring your's truly and some ol school homies.

Peace.


what kind of sleep is this pumkin....

Two or three times a year I am burdened by insomnia.  Actually, I'm not quite sure I can call it that because in my most natural state, I am of the species of animal that thrives in the night.  But, adulthood makes that a difficult condition.

All through my teens and college years I had a habit of staying awake almost right before the sun came through the horizon.  I always schedule my classes at UCLA to occur afternoon, and when I couldn't, those classes were hardly attended.  I learned to pass classes with technique instead of attendance.  

In high school, my senior year marine biology class attendance was under 20 days total that semester, because of the unbearable 8am start time. Most of those days where quiz or test days. The teacher whom I won't name lead the class with a round of applause everyday I would show up (terrible social reinforcement). At the time, I thought it was funny what I was able to get away with, but I can't imagine how any of this was helpful instruction. To my benefit, I did receive an A in class with the usage of my survival "technique".  This was also when I figured out that the educational system that I was receiving in the public schools was a sham.  This gut feeling, even though I continued through a similar system for many years afterwards, persisted.

As a first generation immigrant, schooling was a necessity, not a choice. It is almost impossible to describe what this feels like, but I can assure you, other immigrants of certain cultures understand this very well.

insomnia, can't quite shake this lovely feeling, oh baby.....

insomnia, can't quite shake this lovely feeling, oh baby.....

  

the rewards of music....

The learning of a musical instrument is a great metaphor to our shifting world. An instrument by its nature is difficult. You learn it through discipline, one small step after another, till one day, many years later, you feel comfortable holding it and skilled at playing; it but still, the nagging feeling that you know absolutely nothing about it persists.  A guitar, piano, the trumpet, the tabla, they're infinite in regards to mastery.

Now, as we shift from an analog world to a digital one in all aspects of life, we also change the relationships of process with regards to analog tools. Our traditional instruments are analog. Our most recent instruments however are software (and in fact, they don't have to represent an analog doppelgänger), and as is the nature of digital tools, constantly changing and updating. Although the base of said software might remain the same through the course of its development, it is in continual iterations. Software instrumentation is also non-linear, automated, capable of interacting with many inputs and outputs and sometimes capable of creating its own musicality with just a set of parameters without even being "played" (a theremin on binary steroids). Our analog instruments do not work in this capacity, for the most part.  

The other key difference is that often, the actual recording software (DAW) is the instrument. This mixes both the instrument(s), and the recording, in one space. This obvious insight might not seem important, but think it through. When I first picked up a guitar, I had no idea that one day I might learn how to record music. But, kids with an iphone or ipad start recording immediately. The instrument is just one piece of the recording puzzle. And we are now handed the recording capability first (without even asking for it in many cases), then the instrument.  This is a complete flip of process. This gives precedent to the making of music, as opposed to the playing of music. 

So, the process is different. Software is by it's nature, much easier to understand, and the brevity of it's learning curve makes proficiency come at a much swifter rate. People do not spend a decade learning a piece of software and then suddenly coming to an "aw haw", a moment of absolute clarity that happens periodically to players of analog instruments.  Mostly because software gives a much swifter response to hardship. With software, you are ready to go after browsing a manual, checking some tutorials, and chugging a huge cup of coffee blended. Of course it helps to have a musical background, but its not a necessity to get started. Sure it gets more difficult when you expand your range and tools, but, it wants you to learn it fast. Your muscle memory is never tested. 

This is a non-judgmental observation.  This is the reality. If you are a teenager thinking about music, a small investment (or, ripping) will get you started, almost immediately. In fact, an intro software is probably included on your phone or computer already for free.  In roughly two years, with some tenacity, talent and luck, you might have uploaded a song on Youtube or Soundcloud and have thousands of people hear it.  In the old world, two years on a guitar might not even be enough time to get you in front of 10 people at your local open mic'd coffee shop. Just look at the ultra youngster electronic producers who are making hit songs, all by themselves and in record time.  

Just like everything else in this new world; we are glued to our screens and creating everything inside a little box with a backlight.

ical meets virus....

Sometimes we plan the week, in precise, efficient detail, and then, a cold comes knocking on the door changing everything.  Life is not linear.  

And if you force it as such, the joy and spontaneity of the game, the game of life vanishes.  Life is just one giant improvisational game, ephemeral and hardly meant for seriousness.  The mood of the moment or time might feel grave, but mortality is our constant reminder; this is fleeting, don't be a jerk about it.   

attention; the death of a day

Sometimes the list is too long and the being is forced to frantically jump from one thing to the next at such a rapid rate that it feels like the many has turned into nothing.  Not even one. A gloomy fog has set in.  

That an attention mechanism is forced to react to a circumstantial and technological evolution that it in no way was suited for.  

But, that statement cannot be true.  Because it is in fact adapted to the change.  There can be no other path.  That change is our doing.  We are the singularity.

Singularity; the robot

Singularity; the robot

melatonin days - some type of way

the day was filled with heaps of molasses
brain function, enslaved by an under the influence and angry source
a day where "you just can't fucking do anything"
except think of the scattered-ness of everything
and all worldly things
like an old, cool nikon lens you found in your grandma's attic
that just doesn't focus 
and even though it's kind of hip with that softness, deep down you know
it's only producing shit
but where do you take it
are there such things as camera stores anymore

 

electronic souls.

You are invisible.  You have finally logged off.  What now? 

Can you exist without tapping into the grid?  Is being humanlike with human'ness a liability? 

Embrace the singularity with open arms, and give it all you have is the slogan of our master's.  You are worthless without it.  It's seduced us all.  

Who and how and will the rebellion begin?  Or, will Arnold come back from the future to protect us from another, even darker future?

dead ends.

Things can turn from good to bad in a blink.  And when the animal instinct takes over, it clouds all logical, thoughtful consideration necessary for good judgement.

This is the scary moment.  When we feel that regardless of how much willpower or drive or control we have, we sometimes don't.  Nor can't.

Better to recover faster by affording it the time it takes.  Sometimes fighting the feelings prolong the suffering. 

dead ends.  from that one Burbank Nights series.

dead ends.  from that one Burbank Nights series.