gift

You come here to me
and present yourself

I do see that
I know

I want it too

to take what is offered
taste what is given

teach you my ways

draw the quiver from your belly
out through your lips
as a moan

I’d love that

but I can’t
you know the reasons why

you’ve met them

I just hope you see all this in my eyes
and understand
while I drink in your beauty

Unplug

Within our society’s celebrity worshiping nonsense, there is a tendency to lament the torments poor sensitive stars must endure because of their fame. I don’t buy it.

First of all, in order to clarify some definitions, please realize that there are very few artist celebrities left. There used to be a time when someone could be both, but those days are long gone. When Bob Dylan and the last of the Beatles shuffle off this mortal coil, that will be the end of that. So don’t kid yourself: movie stars are not artists. Celebrity is now a pursuit in of itself, utterly bereft of any deeper meaning. To look at it another way: the commodification of culture has killed art within mass media. It’s not that art does not exist somewhere (in a deserted room that ought to be condemned, crying itself to sleep all alone), it’s just that it can’t exist within the modern business models of the entertainment industry.

In Western culture, celebrities are now basically the equivalent of prison guards. The prison is one constructed in our minds, where we fixate on the bread and circuses of celebrity culture. Meanwhile, our souls are extracted one horrifyingly earned and uselessly spent dollar at a time. Our pretty and vapid guards inject us with desire and turn wants into needs. Celebs and influencers get all the big brand items for free, just so they are seen using them. And these multimillionaires take them. This tells you everything you need to know about what is going on.

You wanna be like us, peasant? Well you’d better pony up and look the part. Get spending, you fuckin deadbeats. This economy isn’t going to fix itself.

Maybe you think you’ve freed your mind already. You may be getting all mad about celebrities rocking their swag, and think:“yeah, fuck them! They don’t need all that, and yet they get it for free!”

If you are thinking this way, you are still deep inside the prison. No one needs that shit. No one. The difference between a quality $200 handbag and a $2000 dollar designer handbag is entirely in your head. And the difference between the $200 one and a $20 one is basically negligible.

The only reason slavery doesn’t exist in a formalized sense in the West anymore is because the powerful, the industrialists, figured out a system that does not require it. They have crafted a multitude of ways to train us to do what they want.

“You, consumers! Yeah, you. Did you know that the state of the economy is your fault? Yeah, it is, you fuckin deadbeat. You aren’t confident enough. You aren’t spending enough. You need to consume more.

“Halloween is right around the corner! Sugar! Sugar and plastic shit made by slave kids in a faraway land. Shaped just the way we know you like it! Then Thanksgiving! Christmas! Valentine’s Day! Shop till you drop! Get that new car! Can’t afford it? Lease it! Get another credit card! A bank loan! Payday loan! You can’t afford to miss these deals!

“Just sign on the line and we’ll juice you till you fuckin die. That’s your purpose.”

Well, fuck your system and its bullshit status symbols. I have a new form of consumer satisfaction. I use cash, and I derive my satisfaction from seeing how long I can keep from spending it. I get my kicks from keeping my big bills intact. Because, fuck you! You can keep your fucking air points, I’m going off the grid. And I aint the only one. Stings, doesn’t it?

The failure of your bullshit economic system is not the fault of the people at its bottom.

Blaming millennials for killing bullshit industries, like golf or diamonds, is no different than blaming bad productivity on the Asian slave children making your crap.

So to all my fellow 99%:

Stop. Think. Do you really need to spend all the money that you do? What are your priorities? Are they yours, or are you just spasmodically doing what you have been trained to do through internet addiction and celebrity worshiping advertising, movies, and television.

Put your fucking phone down once in a while and have a think about what you are doing. Big picture thoughts. You don’t need to do this every day, just from time to time. Preferably when you are about to spend money you don’t really have on shit you don’t need.

Treat your money as if it is your life force, because most of us sure as fuck are trading our lives in to get it. One shitty hour at a time. So be stingy with what you have.

Stop paying the 1% to fuck you.

Chemistry

Emotions and feelings are all chemicals. This does not mean they are not real; quite the contrary. Providing the formula for love does not invalidate love. It just means the ghost in the machine is chemical. We are chemical and electrical beings.

“Love is just a chemical formula.”

Yeah, so is strychnine. What’s your point?

Did you know that people on cocaine and people playing slot machines have virtually identical brain scans? What does this tell us? That sensory input can be just as potent to us as any drug. Smash cut to a smartphone screen: Swipe left… Swipe right… Swipe left…

“Got to keep stimulated.” Crank that happy helmet up to 11. [Ren & Stimpy / Spinal Tap]

Just as drugs are addictive, so too are emotional states. If you feel something for long enough, you get as addicted to those chemicals as you will to anything. It’s all the worse because it’s not like it’s a drink or a powder that you’re putting into your body. It’s a type of person or a situation you are putting into your life. It can be hard to connect those dots. But, like a chemical, just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Doesn’t mean it isn’t potent enough to kill you more surely than a bullet.

Did you have a miserable, unpleasant childhood? That’s too bad, but you’re all grown up now. Welcome to adulthood! What are you going to choose for yourself? There’s so much to pick from. Misery and unpleasantness is it? Surprise, surprise.

Straight back to the toxic comfort zone we go.

And so it goes…

Photorealism is Dull

I don’t get the obsession with photorealism in visual art. Sure, it’s impressive on a technical level, but what’s the point? Wow! It looks just like the subject! So… why not just look at the subject, then? Or an actual photo of it.

Show me something I haven’t seen before.

It would be like a sculptor who spends hundreds of hours creating a chair that looks exactly like a chair but is too fragile to sit on. What is there to celebrate besides the expenditure of a human’s time?

If a person can produce photorealism with pencils, that’s a nifty skill. But if that’s all they’re doing, they’re really just a visual technician producing something that isn’t any more interesting to look at than the subject itself.

The only way to show me something I haven’t seen before is to fuck with reality by warping it with your artistic process. Reality distilled through human experience becomes something beyond reality.

That’s interesting.

Shadow Cats

I was well into my thirties before I discovered that having shadow cats in your life isn’t normal.

Shadow cats are what I call a certain kind of hallucination I get sometimes. Usually when I’m tired. They’re these blobs of darkness that zip about in my peripheral vision. Very much like a black cat slinking around in and out of shadows.

It’s not just cats though. Sometimes it’s black silhouettes of people standing there watching me, always at the edges of my vision. That can be off-putting, but I got used to it over time. There have been a couple times where I suddenly became convinced one of these fellows was real and meant me immediate harm; like they were about to cut my throat. That was less pleasant.

If I don’t sleep for a night, then things get more active. Phantom flies circling my head; visual field distortions, like heat waves; and colorful, energetic halos around things. Certain objects will also get super defined, with their surroundings becoming more vague and somehow muted. A coffee cup sitting there like a magic crystal, bending space and time around it.

I have to watch out, because I really enjoy that mental state. Not just the hallucinations, but the giddy euphoria that goes along with them. For years I was addicted to sleep deprivation because of this, and would go out of my way to induce it. But more and more, there came a really nasty edge of paranoia. People began to seem like demons, planning on harming me. Evil lurked all around, slipping in and out of things and people. When I started getting dangerous thoughts about getting the jump on people before they did me in, I realized I have to avoid that mental state.

As I mentioned, for the longest time I thought all this was totally normal. It wasn’t until I was at some family thing, in my second day of fucked up sleep due to jet lag, that I discovered it isn’t. Someone said something like, “you must be tired,” and I started going on about the shadow cats.

“What do you mean, shadow cats?”

“Oh. That’s just what I call those blobby black hallucinations you get when you aren’t sleeping enough. You know those.”

(Stare.)

I do know that I have an undiagnosed anxiety disorder, and have also been told this kind of visual stuff means I likely have something mild on the schizophrenic spectrum as well. But since I have it under control by every psychological standard (I’m sober, getting sleep every night, and not harboring thoughts of persecution and whatnot), I can’t be arsed to go get this stuff diagnosed.

I’ve never really seen the point of going and getting it all named. Do that so I can have this little condition that I trot around on a leash. Feed it pills and show it off to my friends. No thanks.

As well, Harvey the rabbit would be most upset with me if I were to talk to some head shrinker. Harvey has strong opinions about those bastards. Of course he doesn’t like me talking about him, but he’s sleeping now, so I should get away with it.

I should get going, though, before he wakes up.

MBA

Bob’s not just an executive vice-president. He’s an industrial-strength PowerDouche, Executive Class, guaranteed to extract profit from wherever it is put! Thanks to Bob, his company’s shareholders have seen their dividends grow and grow!

(WARNING: PowerDouche models may cause widespread societal collapse.)

Mama’s Story

I recall a Sunday family dinner at my German grandparents house, back when I was about four or five. There was a good amount of family there: I would guess about a dozen people, or so.

As she was prone to do, my grandmother (who my sister and I called Mama) came out of the blue with a story for all of us.

Mama told us about a friend of hers who had committed suicide. She hanged herself in the basement with her preschool kids in the house with her. The woman’s sister came by the house later that day and was greeted by her upset niece who told her:

“Mommy’s sick! She’s in the basement and her face is all purple.”

At this point, if I recall correctly, my youngest aunt (who would have been about eighteen at the time) got very emotional and began screaming at Mama about her story. My aunt is prone to emotional outbursts like that. Embarrassing.

Looking back, as anecdotes for family mealtime go, this one is hit and miss. It definitely gets points for originality: this is no humdrum, time-of-day, suburban bullshit. It lands, and it hits hard when it does. It utilizes powerful, if somewhat lurid, imagery. The purple face as rendered through the eyes of the child is like a lead hammer, delivered to full effect.

However, it has to be said that the setting was perhaps not the best venue for the performance. You know, a family dinner with preschool kids in attendance. Not to be overly sensitive and all, but that might have been a touch over the line.

Incidentally, at that time my sister and I were spending a lot of time alone with my grandmother at her house. But I am quite sure that her story was in no way intended as some kind of terroristic threat towards the family. It was just a quirky moment in a colorful family.

So ignore your aunt weeping in the kitchen and eat up the rest of your potatoes, kids. Then we’ll all have coffee and cake after a nap. Mama made streusel kuchen!

Man, her streusel kuchen is just the best!