Friday, November 6, 2009

B Side Stories in Rap Vol. 1

My sister Helen lent me a mix CD that she got from her friend. In sharpie someone wrote, "Introduction to Rap" on the cover. I think I heard 4 Eminem's, a couple Missy Elliot's, some Luda, and maybe a little Dre?

I am not opposed to this line up, but the title got me thinking. OK, my other sister, Katie's favorite rap song is Lil Wayne's, "Stunting like my Daddy." We debate on Weezy's credentials from time to time, but what about me?

This isn't about getting offended at how uneducated everyone is in "rap game." Or, hating on other people's fun. I just thought that if my sister is sharing some stuff with me, I could share some with her.

In the course of putting my own list together I realized that I could most easily share my point of view as an open letter with links. If you have some time, I suggest reading what I wrote below, and then listening music even if it is just a few bars a piece. Hopefully, you will have a few good names to come back to and visit when you are in the mood.



If you were really serious about making an introduction to rap, I think you should know about Jazz. Its the same heart and soul to me, but in objective terms it is musical form that relies on preexisting beat patterns. Making new songs with improvisation, and songs that people can dance to are hallmarks of both. Another similarity is that they are American art forms that were invented by blacks.

You really can skip these particular links or at least leave them out of your mix.

Jelly Roll Morton

Morton is a good place to start figuring out Jazz, he played Blues and Ragtime and you put it all together. (FYI: His nickname is the 1920's version of "Pussy Man".)

Louis Armstrong:

Armstrong is the name everyone has heard of, but for good reason. He could sing good, play great, and entertain best. He also played with about every musician in the world. He was the original world wide, number one stunner.

Woody Herman:

Herman was a good, good, good white guy. I don't know if anyone else besides me would add him next after Morton, and Armstrong, but I like him so check him out if you like jazz or my tastes.


"Old School" Homework:

I am skipping some the usual talking points and going straight for stuff you can recognize as what we like today. In one sense, these are the guys that the current guys listened to before they were coming up. You may be surprised at how rhythmic the flow is, the downside is that these guys sometimes sound cliche because they invented the stuff that became cliche.


KRS ONE is perpetually cited in Hip Hop documentaries as one of the Professors of Rap School. Currently, I think his glow has faded precipitated by his comments on Obama. Its like he's the cool Granpa that everyone loves, but you take his claims as less relevant than back in the day.

Big Daddy Kane:

Kane is one of the dude's Eminem liked coming up. For trivia, he was rapping about Decepticons back in 1989, which makes it funny to me to hear people giving props to Chris Brown's "I Can Transform You."

Slick Rick:

Recently, Kanye claimed he was the new Slick Rick. This British rappers was unique. He recently got off the hook for a murder rap going from the 80's that had him facing deportation.


G Rap was a friend and inspiration to RA the Rugged Man, who I will talk about later.

Played Out, But Still Cool:

The guys below are two of the best guys out making today, but they were made into paper gods by people looking for new heroes. They are now kind of caught between two persona: the representatives of the poor common man, and the rock super star over exposed type of MC. Honorable Mention in this category goes to Mos Def, who fits my mold precisely, but despite some nice lyrics I can't think of a favorite song of his off the top of my head.


Otherwise called "Common Sense", Common is one of the most fun rappers to try to inspire people with their music. This type of "socially conscious" rap is usually preachy and boring, but Common is a rare Pokemon that kind of pulls it off. His downside is that he is commonly in terrible movies.


Think of the whole Taylor Swift thing, if you follow my logic you can see him imploding in on himself between his sincere feelings and the pop expectations as he berated Swift for not being Beyonce.

"Conscious Music"

The concept is usually bullshit, like I said. I mean, music is music, art is art, and we shouldn't give some people a pass on judgment if they rap about AIDS or Hurricane Katrina. These guys are still "on message" at least in their own minds.

Lupe Fiasco:




"Guilty Pleasures"

I think the risk of becoming of trying to be a connoisseur is that there is a tendency to judge too harshly. So, the next category is pure entertainment and just good. With popular success you are going to get fans that don't know what they are buying and haters that are pissed their pets will have more competition for airplay.


He is everywhere, right now. His auto-tuning is a big bulls eye on his back, meanwhile I love this song.


"I call you For Real, because you're true." So spaketh Jay Z about Pharell Williams, and he as hot for a minute. Like Kanye, his penchant for "white style" clothing hurt his street cred and had the street calling him gay.


Hip Hop Ain't Dead, AKA The Rugged Man

RA the Rugged Man explains how there are plenty of poor people out there making good music, and the talk about Hip Hop being dead means nothing besides propaganda for commercial interests. RA is interesting because he is a journalist, a guy with street cred, and a big ugly white guy. He talks some straight and hilarious truth with a studied knowledge of the history.

Here is a good look at the RA:

This video hits all the important points: he is white, he represents interest in style over substance, and he loves the sweet science. (That's boxing.)

A Collab with Biggie Smalls:

I snuck this cameo in there, by way of demonstrating the relationship the street has with big labels. Apparently people wanted to sign RA and wanted him to make a catchy little single with Big, instead they made the rudest song imaginable.

Jedi Mind Tricks:

This is a narrative story about his RA's dad in Vietnam, its conscious music, I suppose. I point it out specifically for the difference in subject matters of rappers. More on that, later.

(While were on the subject)

Obama name Dropper:

This is one RA's video blogs.

The Interview that's on everyone's ears:

This is the now infamous interview showdown with caller Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Eminem's Shady 45 radio station. Its getting him exposure to people that don't know him.

The Best and Worst For Last

In my humble opinion, there is no heights higher than Eminem and no depths lower than Lil' Wayne. Just kidding, they both are somewhere in between, but the fact remains that they are galvanizing and polarizing forces in the business. Also, between the two of them there are stories about every little aspect of rap today.

Since you don't need anymore exposure to their music (Its everywhere.) I am going to just kind of finish up my thoughts, and you can browse some relevant links below as you see fit.

I think the ability to "Free Style" is crucial to a rapper's ability. Its the foundation, if not the key to the kingdom. Eminem, Jay Z, Biggie, Pac, all these guys are considered the greatest rappers that ever lived and they are all masters of free styling. (1) I am suspect of Wayne's ability, despite claims that he free style's almost everything he does. I mean, I believe it because its bad. His hallmark is funny little similes that don't really combine to form a coherent whole.

Beats are also crucial and rewriting a hot beat with different lyrics is the great common denominator of rap. Its easy to compare and contrast. (2) This is how 50 Cent blew up. He had a lot of underground success rewriting popular albums. This concept goes largely unknown to the public who is content to accept 50's provocative past and adoption by Eminem as all the information they need.

On that note, 50 Cent was such a good poster boy for rap because he is the living embodiment of the hype. He is a tough looking guy who ACTUALLY sold drugs, and ACTUALLY got shot multiple times. He was the real deal. Unlike Ja Rule and unlike Lil Wayne.(3). Lil Wayne is a paper champion in every possible way. he was brought up by his producer daddy, who made him the "youngest CEO" with no say and no stake in Cash Money Records. He had albums out with no publishing rights to his music. He had ghost writers actually right his lyrics in many cases. However, he does have a distinctive voice, he plays his part well, and he sincerely loves doing what he does.

One of the things Lil Wayne doubters kick around is his tendency "to bite" or steal from other artists. One thing that his fans say is that using someone else's line is an homage, not a crime. This is sometimes true, but I doubt this defense lets him of the hook completely. 

When 50 Cent writes, "Snoop said this is 94, we don't love these hoes," it was a textbook success: He cited his source, he called back to someone in his extended family (Snoop in bed with Dr. Dre, Dre in bed with Em, Em in bed with 50), and he varied his delivery to emphasize the joke.

Meanwhile, Weezy has a tendency to make almost blatant rip offs and makes no bones about it. For example his hit, "Like a Lolli" made good use of 50's "Lick it like a lollipop" line from his single "Candy Shop." For more controversial fun check this link (4).

This is starting to sound like I am really piling it on, but I have one last Lil Wayne anecdote to explain about the good and the bad and the ugly truth. There is this guy out in Philadelphia that you have never heard of named, "Gilly da Kid." Like 50, he was a rapping drug dealer. Unlike 50, he still is.

Amongst the controversy he stirs up, is the claim that Lil Weezy is the puppet version of himself, and there is a little bit to what he says.(5) Unfortunately for Gilly, even if Lil Wayne copied him like a mentor, Wayne is still on top of the rap game, and no one knows who Gilly is outside of Philly and Ving Rhames. Even worse, his attempts at proving his own greatness to the wide world has been pretty lackluster so far. (6)

(1)Freestyle em versus wayne:

(2)50 Cent MIX TAPES:

(3)Lil Wayne:

(4) Lil Wayne Swagger Jacker;

(5) Fun Gilly Drama:

(6)Gilly's Video:


Final Thoughts

Alright, so there is my mix tape. I count 18 songs with 3 hidden tracks of Jazz. Sorry I can't burn it for you. I also apologize to Lil Wayne, and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Best Not to Worry About it

Ok, Carbon Black is a problem like asbestos is a problem. Now, I know. That’s not too bad. My secret is that I only called my essay about the history of pencils a “rough draft“ to protect myself; I don’t plan on doing anymore “writing” than asking experts to prove me wrong and then changing things accordingly.

I was going to complain about this to my best friend today, but as he bought me lunch I decided I enjoying listening to his stories more than the sound of my own voice. His are the kinds of stories that start out being funny because the he is already laughing, and then they really get funny after the punch line when you hear all the little details getting repeated in different ways.

Besides, dressing better would solve Ninety seven percent of my problems. Fashion is about two rules. One. Have a nice body. Two: Keep it simple. Also, what was true in the Nineteenth Century is true now. No one cares where you came from or where you live, but they will judge you on how you dress. There are homeless people around the world that are putting me to shame, daily.

Hey! Somebody in the kitchen, get this guy a plate of food! Why? He just said something funny, and were shining a ray of selective generosity on his humble, showboating ass. If everything is already packed up don't worry about it, but I think there is a lot of potato salad left over from that catering event that no one is going to eat. - This particular "no one" can eat. What can do you do?

Bums are sometimes good for a bawdy limerick. But, my heart bleeds for the poets whose works are going under appreciated. Granted, not all men's toes point down, when women’s toes point up, nowadays. But, it’s still the game of Twenty-Toes that’s played all over town. And, whiles were on the subject, I don’t think it’s physically possible to “bob” pubic hair, even if the skirts are getting too short. Are his limericks filthy? Yes. Are they worth a listen? Double Plus Yes.

Whenever it’s a sunny day and the wind is really howling and I am sitting in a fetal position, daydreaming. This version of myself is almost completely at peace, except that I am missing a human teddy bear to quietly hold. If I were somehow offered a mail order bride during one of these moments, I would be inclined to accept unconditionally.

Incidentally, she already said Yes. Then in another letter, she said, she didn’t know what there was between us. I am glad she is as confused as I am, about her accepting my post-dated wedding proposal. I asked her to join me after she graduates college during a romantic lapse in judgment. This lapse in judgment is the second one I have had since, "our entire relationship."

The history of women is starting out horizontal and then attempting to defy gravity. When men try to do this they look like failed women. I have come to recognize this over so many years in so many examples that I don't feel like I have to explain it to someone else.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hearing and Seeing

so! i would really like your opinion on something, but i understand if you are too busy to bother with it.
here is my dilemma...
i am reading this article for my WMST/MUSI 4310 class...gender and music video. it is chapter 3 ("Intersections") from kevin williams' book "Why I still Want my MTV."
In this chapter, there is a section called "sight and sound." williams writes, "sight is the metaphor for modern, fragmentary consciousness." and "sound might be considered as the metaphor for integral, postmodern consciousness." he writes that his visual attention focuses on one thing or the other, but that sound "unifies the field." i don't really understand, because to me...we can pay attention to different sounds just as we can pay attention to different images. sound waves are moving through "the field" just as light waves are. why would one be considered more fragmentary than the other? (he wrote more than i wrote here...about 2 paragraphs, perhaps i will send them to you in a separate message)

i have never quite understood the difference between "modern" and "postmodern" and was wondering what you think? kevin williams describes modern as fragmentary and postmodern as integral. said that modern is avant-garde/experimental and that postmodern is "extremely modern." wikipedia did not help much and neither have the friends i have asked so far. i thought maybe you might understand the difference? thank you for any help you can give!

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Amanda Trader
August 21 at 7:12pm

"Sight and Sound"

Vision, as McLuhan (1964) pointed out years ago, is fragmentary. The experience of sound is, on the other hand, holistic--enveloping. Right now, as I type these words, I can focus my eyes on the screen or the keyboard. Of course, I can "see" the glimmer and light of the computer monitor in the "corner of my eye" while I look for the correct keys to punch on the keyboard. I can also "see" in imagination and memory the bookshelf behind me, and even the recording studio across town where I will work this evening. However, my visual attention focuses on one or the other. Moreover, the empirical bias that exists tends to treat vision as the physiological experience of sight--in terms of light information relating to the retina. The visual, perhaps I might suggest visionary, experience of memory and imagination are rarely considered when discussing vision. Vision is, when seen this way (i.e. physiologically), focused, opaque, linear, segmented, exclusive, spatial (I see this or that), and temporal (I see this and then that). My gaze carves out a path, a course of action and attention. Sight is the metaphor for modern, fragmentary consciousness.

Sound, on the other hand, pervades the room. Right now, as my gaze moves back and forth between the keypad and computer monitor, the sounds of Pink Floyd ("One of These Days") resonate and resound through the room, through these words. The sound fills and colors the space; it is mood and affect; it is intensity; it creates the depth of spatial and temporal experience. Thus sound is, in this way, dispersed, transparent, linear, interpenetrating, inclusive--I hear this and that and more as every sound interpenetrates the other and is heard through the other. Sound, in its transparency, facilitates the inattentive-attention of audiences who are working and playing, whose attention is divided and dispersed among various acts, because it unifies the field. Sound might be considered as the metaphor for integral, postmodern consciousness.

Answering a few simple questions about Sight and Hearing

Sean Mills

There are many layers to the your question, the direct question as you posed it, "What is the difference between Modern and Post Modern? It relates to the question: "How is the perception of vision different than the perception of audio?" Both of those huge questions are only predicates to the argument: "Sight is the metaphor for modern, fragmentary consciousness." Also, "Sound might be considered as the metaphor for integral, postmodern consciousness." Meanwhile, this is a question being asked in the context of a Women's Study Class, which a very specific frame to "view" such a series of questions.

Ok, the difference between Modern and Postmodern is essentially dissoluble like you've been told so far- because "Post Modern" is very "modern." Let me break that down as easily as possible, with apologies to Frederic Jameson.* Modern as my hero George Nelson* liked to say, is not about newness or freshness or even technology. Modern means making thing better. That is not just a commercial tagline, or an endorsement of Modernism. The potential flaw in modernism, as the post modernist might suggest, is that you must believe that things COULD BE better.

Post modernist believe that... well, do they believe anything? That's the problem, its sort of all about whatever it happens to be. So, yeah you look up a wikipedia entry and it says Post Modernism is really modern. It is modern, because attempting to replace an outmoded philosophy (i.e. believing that good exists independently of a contextual framework) is trying to make things better.

The connection seems like a Russian Nesting doll*, right? Well, that is because they are related, just like the ancestry the dolls are supposed to analogize. (Russian Nesting Dolls, could be modern because they are made as a time tested craft, yet they could also be Post modern if you happened to take a snapshot of a Russian dolls while on vacation and then blow up your snapshot and put in art show.)

Art is actually very slippery concept, itself, yet important to the discussion. Look, it actually makes sense when you use examples. (Just like any abstract concept.) When you describe a dollhouse you can describe its dimensions, but to explain an abstract concept you need lots of examples and lots of descriptions, and you still won't always get it, until you...either do or don't.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel* is very Modern, it was built on the concept of Greek models being improved on by Giotto*, and then "perfected" by the master. The underlying platonic Christianity that literally sponsored this project helps explain why Mike and the Pope both thought that "good" and "bad" exist. I mean they weren't painting biblical scenes in a church, for God's sake...

Meanwhile, Andy Warhol* is the poster boy for Post Modernism. He loved the notion of art itself. He loved to make art into a commodity. He loved fame more than anything else, including what he was doing to get it (which happened to be making art.) He took photographs of famous people and blew them up, made them high contrast to the point of being almost unrecognizably human and then multiplied them. He was a human ambiguity, raised in America during a time of social unrest all over the world relating to a cold war. No wonder he didn't stand on tradition...

Ok, why these two examples? Because they really fit my argument well. Here are a few more, John Currin's* work is modern. Pablo Picasso's* work is Post Modern.

This is where things get fuzzy again. Try not to use "things made a long time ago" as a substitute definition for Modern and likewise try not to substitute things that aren't oil paintings as a definition for, Post Modern. I could go on all day, but it might be helpful to explain some of the factors that are often present in these two worldviews. Do to their natures, Modern ideas are often "built up" using traditional tools and using traditional ways of thinking. Meanwhile, Post Modern ideas are often born in a new way and often exist in the untraditional ways.

Let me muddy the water in one more way. George Nelson often called the name in Modern Design during the fifties. Famously defined, "Modern" as being whatever was necessary. Imagine a coffee shop set up inside the ruins of an old coliseum, half the walls are imported Egyptian marble and half are glass and plastic. Half of the building is form the past, and half from the cutting edge present, but it is all being used in the service of the current need. All of this was modern to Nelson, and I bring it up to remind you that just because something is unconventional it doesn't mean that it isn't Modern.

Let's pretend that you understand the difference and similarities between the Mo and the Po Mo and return to the source of all our concerns: Is Vision like Modern thought and Hearing like Post Modern thought? I guess that means we have to discuss Vision and Hearing, first.

Well, skipping the brain in the box arguments and assuming you have already heard the name Descartes, the two big connections humans have to the world are their sights and sounds. As ambiguous as the total spectrum of sensations a human can feel let alone interpret seems, there are actually some pretty black and white answers. The key understands thresholds. (And this is where I actually start to address you question, instead of setting up postulates.)

Yes, you can hear all sorts of things and even focus on certain parts. But, unlike vision, you cannot turn up the volume on some noises and down on others. I know, I know, I am skipping a lot of explanation. A whirlwind tour of some of the highlights goes like this: We are all born as visual creatures, and as creatures we can point our eyeballs at a subject and focus on details. Our peripheral vision is pretty good at picking up motion, but otherwise it’s not that "good." Hearing meanwhile, is pretty much non-specific. We can turn our heads around in different directions but it’s all the same sound waves bouncing off of objects. Light is different than sound, ergo vision is different than hearing.

I mean technically, sound and light might both be equals in a philosophical sense, but as far as what our organs evolved to interpret these two stimuli, light is king. This might be why the eye was called the noblest organ. This might be why oil paintings were considered the highest art form. This might also be why images are so powerful. I am still more telling than showing you, but if you can't just take my word for it, consider the following argument. Light waves are capable of bouncing off of discrete objects and making their way into our eyes bringing us lots of helpful information. Vibrations are only as useful as the noises being made in the locale and the objects capable of resonating in a discrete way.

To address your particular wording, consider that phrase you used saying that both sound and light are just moving through fields. In some ways the objects in a room might be considered a "field" for lights to bounce off of, or even a "field" for sound waves to bounce off of, but its not a very useful model now or centuries ago. People in Isaac Newton's time were still toying around with the concept of "ether." This magical field was supposedly the field in which eyeballs were able to gather information. Otherwise, Kevin Williams observations are pretty accurate: "vision" excludes and is linear in some ways while "hearing" is fragmentary and inclusive.

So, FINALLY the assignment: "...Sight is the metaphor for modern, fragmentary consciousness... Sound might be considered as the metaphor for integral, postmodern consciousness." First of all, you might notice that I have been saying Sight and Hearing instead of Sight and Sound. I think William's phrasing is a little sloppy, but intriguing. To be honest, I think he is on to something, at least cosmetically, but I am also a little offended. The idea of Post Modernism being inclusive and Modernism being exclusive misses our whole point about Modernism being "inclusive" of Post Modernism and vice-versa.

Among those cosmetic similarities, I am amused by the fact that those old oil paintings are for your eyes only, while "sound art" a fairly recent development is all ears. Meanwhile, I hate the idea that Modernists are in some ways, "opaque," while Post Modernists are some how more "deep" and "passionate.” Really, I am just being a picky Modernist; the argument is not bad, just too selective.

Essential Reading


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Glossary Terms for Art X

1 Art X: (see page definition)

2 A Sample Lesson for a Hypothetical Course: The term coined by Charles Eames to refer to their project. This straightforward description adequately defines the role of Art X.

3 Art 120. Art 130, Art 140 The course titles of the UGA art program following the Art X experiment. These introductory classes combined art history and art theory. In addition, the courses were "designed" by the faculty to instill specific goals in an repeatable manner.

4 Tooled Education (MTE) The term for the technique of using automated multimedia to teach and present information. Modern Tooled Education, in particular, attempts to generate content based on the example of Art X.

5 The Moscow Exhibition (Glimpses of the United States) In 1959, a trade exhibition of between Russia and the United States developed to take the place of a World's Fair cancellled because of the state of the political climate. The American contribution errected in Moscow and demonstrated daily life through a showcase of goods and documentary composed in a style based on Art X.

6 The Lamar Dodd School of Art The art program of the The University of Georgia which gained national prestige through its director Lamar Dodd. The combination of his vision and support from grants allowed a pioneer attitude in the formation of the his program.

7 General Education Board Grant (The Rockekeller Foundation) A grant offered in the mid 1900's that allowed instituitions of higher education to increase the scopes of their programs. Lamar Dodd used a portion of his grant award to bring George Nelson to The University of Georgia, which resulted in the formation of the Advisory Board that produced Art X.

8 Traditional Academy Methods of Fine Art Teaching There is no universal governing board of what constitutes fine art or how it is produced. However, there are conventions that have been codified by certain influential instituitions. Despite the stylistic emphases of different schools the concepts of "art master and apprentice," and the traditional strategies of teaching by example, practice, and negative feedback are practically monolithic. These notions were, in part, challenged by the Advisory Board, in a unpopular dissent. Many educators both then and now believe that the fine art academy is rare and vanishing santuary for pure human teaching and it should be exempt from automated or computer assisted interactions.

9 "The Problems of Design" One of George Nelson's book of compiled media essays. Nelson composes his own perspective on what he was attempting to do with Art X and where their work might lead.

10 Multiple Screen Arrays Presenting information on a series of screens or windows allows for a montage of images. By juxtaposing images the viewer can form relationships and make connections in a less mediated way. Experiments in the physical arrangement of projection screens by the Advisory Board attempted to address the physical manner in which viewers absorb visual information. Developments in cognitive psychology, especially descriptive models like Gestalt theory, allowed for breakthroughs in demonstration techniques.

11 The IBM Think Pavillion (1964 World's Fair) An exhibition that included a multiple screen exhibition that continued experimentation from the Moscow Exhibition. The exhibit was designed by Charles Eames colleague Eero Sarrinen.


12 Historical Revelance of Art X is recognized as an important step in media development within the fields of virtual reality, documentary film, and exhibition design. However, besides being a footnote, the demonstration was well publicized and traveled. Futhermore, the subsequent careers of the advisory board and the faculty of the UGA continued the dialogue in different venues for decades after the debut.

13 Instituitional Teaching The impact of Art X on the contemporary world of higher education is felt in a more sublimimated way then was orginally envisioned. Inspired experiments in the fields of film have been imitated and passed down even where the source has been forgotten. In the particular case of Art X's origin, the University of Georgia has adopted the name to its own new media discipline.

14 Automated Industry The needs of industry have always effected the role of education, yet never before had the methods of industry been so deliberately applied to the problem. The fear of applying such industry standards as time motion studies is that automation might create automatons. The use of educational films, computer programs, and automated slide shows are almost ubiquitous.

15 Gestalt Theory A descriptive model of psychology that notes how the human brain perceives shapes and forms models. Art educators implemented these ideas into deconstructing and communicating the principles to learning artists.

16 Communication Theory The Advisory Board chose to illuminate a lesson on "Communication Theory" in their Art X demonstration. This concept, sufficiently complex, was a criticial choice. More than a collection of facts to memorize, such a topic encompasses a way of thinking.

17 Cognitive Theory Art X attempted to synthesize the new understanding of how the human mind works to process information into their presentation techniques. As an analogy consider a computer as a simplified version of how a brain stores and calls on data, by using this example the advisory board attempted to encode information in an optimum way. They hoped to provide useful tags, supporting examples and connections to exisiting models to ensure understanding in students.

18 Picasso, Sherman, Dodd Pablo Picasso, a painter and expert study of art history is credited with implementing a form of abstraction called, "Cubism." Hoyt Sherman is a artist and educator who explored the ways a human brain perceives shapes, inspired by Gestalt Psychology. Lamar Dodd is a painter and art educator who studied as a part of the Ashcan School and acted as a cultural editor of art through his work on the Carnegie Project.

19 Ekphrasis The multimedia project of Art X involved every available form of simulated experience as well as creatively combining them. Aspects of the experience were not unlike contermporary equivalents, however their implementation was quite innovative. The first analogy would be that of an ordinary film experience: the audience sat in a dark room facing a wall filled with projection and sat idle for a set duration of time. This projection differs in its use of multiple screens which broadcast simulataneous images, and in some cases multiple views of the same image. In addition, their are accompanying diagrams and amplifying displays which the audience absorbs. The timing of the information is also crucial to the Art X design, with carefully planned packets of information in varied yet related subjects. Meanwhile, audio accompaniment coming from speakers weas played at such a volume that the audience could feel the vibrations through their seats. Finally, synthetic smells were pumped throught he air conditioning vents in such a way as to match the visual stimuli.


20 Charles and Ray Eames An LA based Design team and husband and wife who provided a poetic sensibility to the Art X experiment. Charles Eames philosophy of design and one of a kind studio contributed to the sucess of Art X.

21 Buckminster Fuller An architect who designed the famous geodesic dome which was used to good effect to house, Glimpses of the United States, in Moscow. Nelson had put Fuller up in Herman Miller's offices and their dynamic and interdisciplinary view of design made their exhibition possible.

22 George Nelson A world famous media critic who led Herman Miller Inc to great success. His capacity as resourceful leader was put to the test in Athens and in Moscow. His philosophy of modern design which put functionality over tradition proved influential as well as revolutionary.

23 Alexander Girard A designer based out of Michigan, who contributed the displays for the Art X program. With Nelson in New York, the Eames in Los Angeles, and Girard in Detroit, the hubs of the United States were represented within the program.

24 Lamar Dodd A painter who applied his passion for teaching at the University of Georgia, while maintaining a career of some renown. His advisory capacity for the Carnegie Survey and his role in the Art X experiment are among some of his most important contributions to Art Education.

25 Irwin Breithaupt A Professor of Art at The University of Georgia who studied at Ohio State and was familiar with Sherman's work. His knowledge and selfless work put his own General Education Board grant to good effect. After the pilot demonstration, Breithaupt was instrumental in putting the concept to work in the new curriculum of the Art 100 courses. Among his duties as the Head of Graphic Design was the physical production of slides by hand for the coures.

26 Richard J. Olsen A painter and Professor at the University of Georgia whom taught the Art 100 courses. Having taught with no first hand experience with the orginal demonstration, caused a necessary evolution of the teaching process.

27 Hoyt L. Sherman An artist and teacher at Ohio State University who made important efforts in the study of cognition in teaching artists. His flash laboratory and teaching strategies made signifigant impact on the Art 100 courses through his book DRAWING BY SEEING and through his students.

28 Harold McWhinnie A professor at The University of Maryland and author who published with Sherman. His assessment of Sherman's impact is one of the few available. McWhinnie gives credit to Leonard Edmonstson for bringing Sherman's methods to UGA.


29 Slides and Slide Projectors Slides taken from photographs by the Advisory Board made up the bulk of the original presentation. These glass artifacts were manually switched in time with the recording on the three different screens.

30 Reel to reel tape and players and speakers A analogue recording system to capture sound. This was the way in which the advisory board simulated audio for their presentation.

31 16 mm Film and Projectors The Advisory board used this type of film which included both original pieces and excerpts from other's work, including a french survey of caligraphy. The Eames enlisted the help of Elmer Bernstein to score some of their work.

32 Bottles of Synthetic Smells and Air Condititioner The advisory board accented their lessons with synthetic scents that matched the visual stimuli and were distributed by the air conditioning system. The audience, for instance, smelled yeast during a lesson in how bread is baked. Meanwhile, the sensory cues caused the audience to perceive other smells even where there were none supplied according to their feedback.

33 Tachistoscope and hand made slides Tachistoscopes were slide projectors which connected to timer could generate an image for a fraction of a second. These tools developed intially the air force to test whether a fighter pilot could recognize an enemy plane in battle conditions, were used by art educators to train artists in how to see.

34 Audience, Proctor, technicians, designer, academy This is a simplfied chain of command in the collaborative process of teaching using the Art X example. In reverse over from the receiver and producer, the audience contains individuals who are presumably capable, learned, and interested in the special method of automated teaching. The Proctor is the instructor of the courses who acts at host and mediator for the students. The technicians are those individuals responisible for the physical construction and matience of the program, including the necessary projections, sound equipment, and other media. The designer is perhaps the role most akin to that of the traditional instructor, in that they must conceive of how to bring the research and history to life through media. The Academy is the institution or body in charge of cultivating and maintaining the curriulum for which the designer programs and the student is responsible.


1937-Lamar Dodd becomes head of the UGA art program

1947 Hoyt Sherman publishes "Drawing by Seeing"

1952- (June) George Nelson meets with Lamar Dodd (Add Eames and Girard to form a Committee)

1953- Debut of Art X and six subsequent shows

1954- Traveling Demonstrations at UCLA and various Universities

1955-Advisory Commitee returns to witness Art 120 course demonstration

1959- Moscow Exhibition (Glimpses of the USA)

1964- IBM Think Exhibition at the World's Fairt

1980- General Education Board Grant finishes at UGA



-Nelson Meets Dodd
-Nelson visit classes
-Nelson presents findings to faculty resulting in a proposed Advisory Board
-Nelson invites Eames to join who invites Alexander Girard to join
-Investigate the problem and return to their 3 corners of the US to work on the problem
-Subcommitee presents their prototype to the Art School and community including the New York Times
-Art 120 course structure s proposed and implemented at UGA



"Art X: A new media prototype"

(Images of art x media)

"Art X is the term coined by George Nelson which refers to their prototype use of multimedia to teach. Art X was demonstrated multiple times for the staff of the University of Georgia as an example of how to improve traditional teaching methods."

"Tooled Education: How it works"

(diagrams and illustrations of the artifacts and tools used)

"Tooled Education is the use of automated methods of presenting a curriculum of teaching. Using the example of Art X, practitioners of Tooled Education exploit available technology to present information to an audience in the optimum way to maximize retention and understanding. The essential components of tooled education are the screen and the computer. "

"An Advisory Subcommitee: Designers of Modern Education"

(Images of Eames, Nelson, Girard, Dodd)

"The advisory board formed at the request of Lamar Dodd used all the resources of their respective studios as well as the input of the art school faculty to tackle the design problem of how to optimize education."

"Glimpses of the USA: A World Debut"

(Image of Glimpses)

"Glimpses of the USA was the title of a multimedia documentary that illustrated the reality of the contemporary American life to Russians as a part of trade exhibition. This production utilized strategies developed for Art X. The thousands of photographic images used to compose a montage of American landscapes communicated complex thoughts as well as providing a meaningful virtual experience."


"Art 120 130 140: What came next"

(images of slides and tachistocope)

"The Art X demonstration acted as a pilot progrom for what would become a brand new curriculum for art students at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Faculty members literally tore down walls between studios implementing the interdisciplinary method of combining history teaching with application."


"When it comes together: A timeline"


"Art X, the Art 120 courses, along with the Moscow Exhibition are all examples of synthesizing the available resources to address the needs of an audience. There is still plenty of work left to be done on the frontier created by these forms. A conclusively complete experiment in teaching with these concepts have yet to be implemented with the full support of an institution with the resources now available. This timeline helps chart the trajectory of these beginnings."



He showed up every Saturday in his grey suit and I was always ready in my matching one.

Who knows what he told the Sisters, maybe he greased a few palms. Maybe when he bought me my matching outfit they figured they could breath easy.

He didn't say much as we got off the subway and started making our "rounds," he told me that he was on a mission and I was a genius. I was used to doing what I was told and keeping my mouth shut, so I didn't bother questioning it.

I would be looking at the geese or noticing the different shoes walking by and then he'd tap me with his rolled up newspaper and we would walk to the next location.

I know he was meeting with other men in suits, because sometimes they would pass me walking briskly and I thought I was getting left behind. Then he would be standing next to me waiting for the other guys wearing fedoras to disappear before we'd continue.

Back at Mary's, I would be finishing up first studies and during my free period I would be going to the bathroom. As I walk into the bushes I always remember the first time I was confronted with this challenge. He was leaving me at the next stop, as usual, when I broke the silence.

"I have to use a wash room."

"There's a convenience over there, just don't take long and you better be at this bench when I get back- this will be a short one."

I ran over even before he left, but I felt trouble as soon as I touched the door knob. It was clunky like no one had opened it in a while, and inside it was all dark.

I ran out in a panic, really starting to feel it. Unfortunately, this area in the park was a little more secluded. Suddenly, I heard someone mumbling out of view, in the trees.

"Hey, you know where I could take a leak around here, old man?"

"There ain't a bathroom around for blocks, young man."

I pretty much decided to drop dead, right there, and I must have looked like it too, because his face kind of softened, and he put out his hands cupped together.

"I'll tell you what, boy, you can pee right here in my hands I promise I won't look at your business."

I was running out of options, so I started undoing my zipper. And, he turned his head.

"Don't look me in the eyes, either!" I said finishing up our verbal contract.

Afterwards, I hurried back figuring he'd go dump my urine over in a toilet or trash can. But, just in time fedora showed up as I reached the bench.

He started leading the way, as usual, while I breathed the sigh of a man who just got his call from the govenor. As we turned the corner, my homeless gentleman jumped out and threw something at my guide and ran away cackling.

"Jesus H. Christ! He threw his piss in my face!" We kept walking as he tried to towel off using a handkerchief. I tried not to laugh, realizing that he had no idea it was my pee! I guess it was our little secret, I thought to myself.

We finished our rounds as usual that day and I chuckled again as I took off my jacket. What could I tell the other boys, even if I wanted to, you know?

Years later I traveled that path again, the one we did every Saturday. Everything was pretty much as I left it, including that old abandoned bathroom that caused me so much troub-

"Is that you?"

I look up and see the same bum plus 15 years of wear and tear on his clothes.

"I don't know, you still feel like given me a hand?"

We walked towards the woods like old soldiers, single file without saying a word. His about face transitioned gracefully into a indian style squat and fluid presentation of arms in one continuous motion.

Of course we were feeling nostalgic as I emptied my bladder, but as my eyes wandered down he broke the spell by talking.

"Old times, huh?"

I rearranged my clothes with a frown on my face. I guess somebody forgot the rules. I went back to the bench and sat down. As I sat and watched the sun set, I wondered to myself, "What am I waiting for this time?"

I lean back to see a dark sky, hardly noticing any stars through the lights of the city. A typographical arrow made of a couple dashes and a left tangle bracket set off a message, " --> You gotta seek before you get weak. Anonymous "

Hmm, I thought to myself, I guess the only advice that matters is the kind you get from someone you admire.

More Yes than No

More Yes than No

Kierkegaard suggests that certain concepts deemed "abstract" are not really as they seem at first blush. Take for example the notion of "love." The popular 20th century brush off of "love" is that it is some sort of vestigial construct like "marriage" that was only necessary as a way of perpetuating society.

The jaded believe that love doesn't exist. Others believe it is indescribable. How many poets have pondered rhetorically on the elusive nature of love, the fickle nature of love, the temporary nature of love? Meanwhile, we mostly agree that it should be unconditional and that it is worth having, if only to lose.

If you allow for "love" or better yet, have felt it, you might go as far as saying it is essential.

Certainly, people say they "love" when they mean they enjoyed something, and unfortunately we are all too familiar with people saying they "love" without really "meaning it." These things are distractions to the real matter of love. Very often lovers will exchange vows under ripe conditions only to retract their oaths after they have digested. This phenomenon is closer to the truth than anything else so far. Love can be lost, and once lost it is so much easier to disavow its existence.

So, is love an abstract concept?

My interpretation of Kierkegaard’s model of love is of a continuum. These phrases "being in love", "falling in love" are indicators of this idea. I propose that we have so much trouble with the notion of love because we want to bring down to earth and pin it to the ground. But, like a butterfly in box you miss the effect of wings fluttering in sunlight when you strive to measure its span. Love is measurable like the ocean, and while you can swallow a mouthful of water this taste is only a modicum of all those million gallons.

We do "love" a disservice to call her indescribable. She is just unique.

Think not of love as an absolute. When one says they fell in love at first sight, they only mean they were predisposed. Think not of love as an absolute state like crossing a border. It’s more like a series of small choices, which you answer most often without even trying. When you realize you answer was "yes" more often than "no" than you are more likely to be in love than not.

The End-ish.

Opposing Shores

On opposing shores he stands watching the same island, a year apart in time. A close subject, he now watches so jealously, the line where the forest meets the shore. And, on the other side, he sees two gentle cliffs, longing to ascend. All the while, the rivers flow and the mountains survive in their distinct and special shape.

Chance, in summer, it found me near my home.
With friend, I hiked; we moved to find some joy.
To make a meal for others was our ploy
So ready, I should hope to always come.

First sight was lightly carved, not deep as guessed.
It was a sketch of some passing daydream.
To smile at this bright face it was my scheme.
This mask grows fixed to face its landmark blessed.

In hopes to meet those eyes or even more,
And hold hostage. Found, though they tend to sway.
Lacking resource, I bound to myself to stay.
In grace, the ocean reached out toward the shore.

Our common friend, by luck, was steering true.
He owned a fine ship, and also quite unique.
(But, dawn at once the light it was a trick-
Should make you think those jewels were made for you.)

Careful to my watch, for a short tour.
And stray not far the safety of the ship.
To echo off these cliffs would prove me fit,
Our friend reminds we dine at such an hour.

Back home I thought naught save for what I left,
I fixed my chores swiftly through their habit.
Time passed, with haste, as fate would have it.
The others were dumb weight for me to heft.

I hover while those others take their seat,
So I could have my place adjacent flames,
Which flickered back and forth as if to tame.
I breathed its smoke, as though it was a treat.

I marked a place sheltered from the weather.
Hoping to build upon my design, and mark,
Make it deeper and finish every arc.
However, it did not belong to me this treasure.

While building I often lost my traction,
But I still I hoped to feat accomplish.
Unlike destiny, I had no promise,
Instead I called it my distraction.

The view was fine, for me, whatever the excuse,
I made my circle walk, just like a ring.
Witness an eclipse, one summer evening,
All the season it would my mind seduce.

One night in winter, I look out toward the isle,
And at last it seemed to call me back.
To lose my map was such a rare mishap!
I tore my home apart, with taste of bile.

I left my door to sulk beneath the sky.
Yet, somehow was I at my one desire?
A moment with the ghost and then retire,
I all alone, but first, a myth to try:

Eat a token from a foreign land you must,
And also buy your meal with suited flag,
So in this way you'd both be duly tagged.
And one day you will, indeed, return in trust.

Errant rays of sun serve only to reveal,
How dark my dwelling had become in shade.
So generous moments in the clouds, made
Not cruel to bring me back to daily trial.

I set my mind to build a solid way,
And find a purchase nearer to my home.
My chosen setting, it would now become,
Where I build a path it should ever stay.

Handsome landscape did welcome and surprise,
With novelty, helped make bright my mood.
This fresh earth where man did not intrude,
It yielded to my tools easily, besides.

Though I might, I did not make it mine,
While the island's heat seemed to match my mood,
Harsh winds came from pleasant altitudes.
Here, stable was the climate all the time.

It seemed a sin for wasting fertile pastures,
To fallow soil, so willing roots to bear.
No apparition appeared anywhere,
It seemed only superstition after.

I set out for distant lands that I might uncover,
And release my claim until I should return.
A month would last before my heart would yearn,
This lack of need began to give me comfort.

I relished my journey, mores for the trouble.
My departure left me ill, but for an instant.
The East revealed itself in every minute,
Weird rites freed my mind from mundane bubble.

The island I missed more than any else,
But, my eyes were full of novelties.
The journey back arrived with quiet ease,
Held breath, my life had sat upon the shelf.

Now I had acquired my own vessel,
For the place I could see with both eyes closed.
I wished to find my island in repose,
But had the violent waves all died as well?

Time divided half for Heaven and for here,
Yet, now my stairs held firm or only swayed,
Instead of crushing under its own weight.
I had no ambition, save to luck, revere.

I watched the tide rise lower than before,
My name in sand would only last so long,
The pull of gravity would be too strong,
It would obey as often as ignore.

I looked for branches that I might make a fire,
Too amused by fortune to seek more.
Busy, I looked in awe to see a shelter,
Such sites! My doubt attempted to deny her.

The warmth inside would keep me from the cold,
To which I'd grown accustomed on the shore.
My noble self took stock of what I saw,
While my instinct demanded I be bold.

"If I close this door I might forever lose,
This handle in the night which is so black,"
I could no doubt return and find my track,
But then will ever waste this chance to choose.

A slim excuse I had to close the door,
It shut out all, and I was warm and safe.
I knew, at heart, it was not mine to take,
Yet, my need was greater than all others.

Thus my preferred destination came to be.
Though the details should have mattered some,
Months of worry would be soon undone.
That cold night would finally prove the key.

To close old haunts and the pull those stakes,
In other lands would happen in their course.
For now, good times would only be the worst,
Our life would be sweet dreams for me to make.

Late, I let my boat to break and bend,
My shame should likewise warp me too.
Despite my loss, it was never true,
While still the island stays, as lovely when-

I think, the moment I did live upon sand,
So much like paradise, it was enough,
That I remained glad even in the rough,
The memory was writ by expert hand.

Resume Again

After graduating with a BFA in Digital Media, I was hired by BASELINE SPORTS MEDIA a premier design firm with clients across the nation n the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NCAA. Understanding the needs of major sports franchises to both grow their image and adhere to legal trademarks was a key part of every project I executed. I began by producing posters, trading cards, brochures, and other print media for almost every competitive sport including but not limited to: football, basketball, hockey, soccer, track and field, equestrian, tennis, volleyball, baseball, softball, cheerleading and golf.

I was hired for my talent as an illustrator and visual designer, but my fluency in web design and video quickly caused my job description to evolve. I was not only in charge of updating samples for our company's website, but I designed flash web portals for our clients to improve the consumer's experience. In this particular case, a large portion of our business revolved around fan photography at major sporting events such as the World Series. As an on site manager I acquired experience dealing with all levels of the sport media environment, which complements my experience with their advertising departments and distributors (TV, billboards, web ads, and related media).

In fact, my previous position working with Ideas United gave me the video and web design experience necessary for me to bring web advertisements into the available services my company could provide our clients. In one case, I created motion graphics for flash advertisements for CSS. As a visual designer, I often worked with other companies' programmers to execute concepts in a way that only someone with web design knowledge can facilitate. In other words, my experience as a sports media designer required that I fulfill a variety of needs including management, copy writing, and communicating with clients in a way that was not always clearly defined or expected before the project was assigned.

In March of 2009 I was recognized as an expert in the field of new media through my presentation at Wake Forest University's Creativity: Worlds in the Making, a national symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. My personal interest in interactive media such as video games and video arrays makes me especially useful to clients who require cutting edge and innovative implementation of their products.

Sean Mills

2094 Melissa Court
Marietta, GA 30062


The University of Georgia
B.F.A. Fine Arts
Digital Media Major

Adobe Creative Suite
InDesign (and Quark)
Flash (Actionscript 2.0 learning 3.0)

Final Cut Pro (but proficient with most non-linear editing programs including Premier.)
Office Software: Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint


Art Director
Athens, GA
Beijing, China

Fabric Design
Galatin Designs
Madison, GA

Gameday Shots
Atlanta, GA
Athens, GA
Denver, Colorado

Baseline Sports Media
Athens, GA

Private Tutor
The University of Georgia, Athletic Department
Athens, GA


Free Lance Designer/ Illustrator
Expansion Squad
Athens, Georgia


Program Coordinator and Video Editor
Ideas United's "Campus Moviefest,"
The World's Largest Student Film Festival


Student Advisor
Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
The University of Georgia


Laboratory Monitor
Digital Media Area
Lamar Dodd School of Art
The University of Georgia


Public Relations
Georgia Museum of Art
Athens, Georgia


Presented a Paper on Tooled Education
Creativity Symposium
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC


Two Images Intersect in Iran

The website "" the internet presence of an American newspaper supplements their hardcopy with the publication of large, high quality photographs online. This feature is called, "Big Picture," which carries a double entendre: The formal description is an accurate way to describe the suites of 15 or more photographs posted online with a brief explanation dwarfed beneath each of the 1000 pixel wide images. They are displayed against a white background that scrolls vertically in an html page. However, the second meaning is its assessment of purpose, to provide a context for events around the world through the free resource of timely documentation.

At the permalink, "" you can currently find the following headline and this excerpt from the introductory paragraph:

"A Troubled Week in Iran

In the ten days since Iran's disputed presidential election street demonstrations have taken place everyday... Iranian officials maintain their stance that Mahmoud Ahmadinejand was the undisputed winner..."

Boston's "big picture" of Iran is typical of contemporary photojournalism in many respects, both in execution and in public reception. Execution is a grim pun in this case, as protesters are shown bloody and in some cases mortally wounded in these photographs. There are familiar scenes of government men easily identifiable in their military camouflage pointing guns at a motley crew of young and old people. If there is a difference between these images and those taken in Vietnam decades earlier, they are mostly cosmetic. This is photojournalism nowadays, a vocabulary of violent images that gets restaged again, and again. On this particular site there is a similarity between these images from Iran and those taken at the protest of the World Trade Organization in the U.S. posted earlier this year. Earlier this month, BOSTON.COM posted images of Tiananmen Square in China, remembered on the anniversary of another protest anxiously witnessed by the world.

One salient detail that helps clarify this protest from the others, is the burquas an item of traditional clothing worn by Muslim women. The burqua is featured prominently in the most famous image; it adorns the head of a woman who was shot in the chest and lies dying in the arms of a fellow protester. Otherwise, you will see other women wearing burquas in addition to stickers that read in two languages: "Where is my vote?" Some women are wearing burquas, stickers, and forming a symbolic "V" with the fingers of both hands just like Richard Nixon did when he got off of Air Force One. These two images encapsulate the story for viewers. Two pictures of women, one a famous martyr to her cause lying still and one anonymously waving the symbols of peace and victory that have been adopted by people around the globe at different times for different reasons.

The victim of violence, an unarmed woman, is haunting before you hear any of the details. The snapshot of a woman making a peace sign is meaningful only in its proper context. The traditional Arab world, what we think of as collectively as, "The Middle East" despite all of its nuanced history and varied cultures, is represented iconically by the burqua for its unique custom of covering women in public. For some in the western world it represents repression of women as it literally masks their identity and individuality. Iran is not unusual in the Middle East for being a patriarchal culture with fewer rights for women in both policy and practice. The burqua is a decidedly Middle Eastern tradition. Meanwhile, the hand gesture of making a "V" with your index finger and the finger adjacent while balling the remaining thumb and other two fingers is a historically western custom.

The "V" of victory or the "peace symbol" as it is alternatively known, originates from a premodern era, but is contemporary usage can be most likely traced to the allies Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson shooting the symbol out to the crowds and photographers of World War II. Victory meant peace in that incident, and so both Vietnam War President Richard Nixon and the peace idolaters of the American youth adopted it in the 1970’s. There is even a rumor that an Olympic Figure Skater who graciously fell in competition and ironically flashed the victory symbol helped popularize the hand gesture for Japanese amateur photographers. The hand symbol also has a connotation of contempt when displayed palm inward by users in Great Britain. As the 2009 Iranian presidential election protesters use it, the "V" is meaningful once again. The "V" is both an adopted symbol of peace as well as a pointed use of western language.

For the western world and the United States, in particular, these images of Iran represent clear battle lines being drawn in the sand by protesters. First of all, the results of an election are at the heart of what it means O jI I asdf asfadsfct of war. However, the subversion of a democratic election especially if the result favors a notoriously anti-American and repressive tyrant is worth starting a war for some people. To further complicate this picture, Americans, like President Obama are still shy of seeming to "meddle" in the middle east due to the previous administration's actions in Iraq and the continuing presence in Afghanistan. To history, protests become either symbolic rallying cries or empty acts of desperation.

Certainly, the United States, home of BOSTON.COM is sympathetic to the interests of the protesters, brave in the face of destruction, but a coup d'etat of Ahmadinejand's administration is as unlikely as any overt action from any other nation. For now, at least, it seems true that the world is watching.

Week 4 Invincible

I boiled some water for some hot tea, made my breakfast, ate my breakfast and then went about my day.

Later, at lunchtime I saw my tea, now fully brewed, now fully luke warm- I tried to drink it. If I didn't see the cup, by accident, I might have never realized that I forgot something.


Ok, shit.

I think my biggest problem is that I am invincible. That is going to be interpreted as sarcasm, and no matter how much your mental defense mechanisms are going to be screaming at you, please hear me out.

My concern is that I was given just the right ingredients to become unstoppable. My genes, emotional guidance, and education were perfect. Right now, you might be looking at my clothes as I say this, noticing my glasses, or looking in my bank account and forming a strong case for "irony." Your still treating my premise: "I am invincible," as if it is a challenge instead of simply accepting it as a given an allowing me to move on to the implications.

Fine, You're right that I am frail in the physical sense, this is the most obvious proof that I am in fact very "vincible." That I can't see well, can't breathe well, and I am over weight are pretty good indicators that like you I can bleed when I am cut and I am scared of falling off things. If that is your definition of "vulnerable" than, you win, I am not invincible.

So, I drink the cup of tea with some brown sugar, because I couldn't find the regular stuff and because I am a hero. I could have given up because it was cold, or because I couldn't find the sugar or honey, but I kept going and forced myself to drink this old leaf water. But, wait, am I a hero? This is a key responsibility of the mighty, to humble one's self and question your own timeless motives. I am wondering if maybe, just maybe, I am only placating my own guilt at wasting a tea packet instead of enjoying the bounty of God's Earth and the scarcity that makes such things so special.

Like a child brought up during the great depression I am constantly leveraging my current happiness against what could be terrible sadness in the future: if I eat a big bowl of cereal maybe I won't have enough left in the box to last until my next paycheck? How little do I have to have left, before I can say, "Don't worry, and no one will care either way."

What if you, like me, get bored sometimes. Sometimes, even when I am enjoying what I am reading, my eyes cross and I end up skimming a paragraph. I am not going to change you by begging, the best thing I can do is make sure the beginning and ending make sense and that the middle stuff carries enough redundant messages so that my point survives.

Despite the fact that I doubt myself and no one has given me a reason not to doubt myself I still dream of a better world that is built in my image. Its as if all data points to failure, but probabilities don't matter. Probabilities don't really matter to the sample, think about it. If you heard a statistic that only 1 in 10 rabbits survive in the wild, do you think that is because 9 rabbits throw down their bodies in a fit of Zen understanding? No, every baby rabbit fights for every minute of their life until sickness, predators, and accidents prove that they are a statistic.

So, am I saying that this is my strength? That I will go down swinging until asthma and debt collectors physically stop me from moving forward?

Well, "strength" is a pretty strong word. Instead, let's just say, I care too much to stop working. If that still sounds too congratulatory maybe we can agree that I enjoy complaining too much to allow the voices of reason and empathy to stop me from building idols in my own image. Maybe that is a little unfair though, because what I really want to is to live in a world where creating things and appreciating things is natural instead of miraculous.

This realization that come what may, I am still going to keep going is pretty troubling.

I mean, its hard enough to spend your mental energy to try to do something without having to budget the mental energy to try to do something, fail, try again, fail, try again, fail, investigate the entire history of both every success and every failure, their design plans and the social currents that caused them to be successes and failures, and then, try again, and to your great surprise- fail harder.

Now, as the sun sets I sip my tea and I toast myself, invincible.

[Text transcribed from the eulogy read at the funeral, which was scheduled shortly after the body was found. Cause of death was a poisoning from debris in the victim's home made ceramic cup.]

I don't want to have to talk about Sean Mills, like this, and I don't consider it an honor. I do, however, consider it a responsibility, which is something Sean would respect.

I knew Sean almost all his life, since he was four. I don't want to talk about myself, but the important thing to know is that we grew up with the same background and we stayed in touch throughout his life- more or less.

Depending when you caught him, Sean was either a really nice guy or a pretty curt asshole. Either way he was always treated you fairly. "Fair" was an important concept for Sean. I don't know what combination of things happened to him as a kid, but his triumphs and failures always stemmed around his vision of right and wrong.

To those who knew him casually, this might sound confusing, because I know he tried to be generally agreeable. He wouldn't force his point of view down your throat all the time, but that didn't mean he didn't have one- he always had one.

So, I think this is why he had such a hard time getting along sometimes, he had very little patience for people he cared about acting in ways he didn't approve, and no patience for people he didn't care for at all. This is what made his true friends respond to him… [sic]

Poems By Myron Natwick

I've broken my friendship with Babbitt
Because of his slovenly habit
Of eating out loud
And I've never been proud
Of his nibbling bones like a rabbit!

"It's true!" said the painter to the prude
"I sketch all my ladies in the nude
A dress is OK
For a window display
But on my girls, it wouldn't improve."

A nail sitting Hindoo said "I
Have perched here and gazed at the sky
Till I've punctured my hide
Fillagreed my back side
I'm damned if I've ever known why!"

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I got to sleep in today, waking up mid-dream from going over to a barbecue with a bearded and cheerful Josh Brolin. His pops had just called and asked us to bring some cabbage- I guess we never made it because I woke up.

Vague plan is to eat half of the eggs my sister cooks and then finish cleaning the "game room" which is going to be my "studio" when I finish it.

I spent a good 4-4.5 hours on it yesterday and had to quit due to all the dust giving my asthma trouble and all the despair giving my mind trouble. Whenever Katie and Helen came around I forgot to be miserable and we watched, "Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem" and "ROck N Rolla." The first was a boring mess and the second was a Guy Ritchie film which means it was great if you like those films and only if you do.

Funny that Katie had heard about "Requiem" months ago and held off seeing it until she saw every film in both the ALIEN and PREDATOR series including the first VS. We both agreed that REQUIEM was by far the worst offering, which brings to mind some sort of, "Its the journey not the destination," metaphor.


I wake up twisted on the couch with the same dirty clothes from all the moving days earlier, its fairer to say filthy clothes not dirty. Itchy eyes, runny nose, achy back, its hard not to just sit and hate between sneezes. We make swine flu jokes to pass the time, and sink deep, deep into self-pity.

I thought I had already passed the worst phase of my life 3 times already, and I keep getting new contenders make a bloody good shot at the title.

Stale air, garbage and mess everywhere, gray light coming in through the windows, and elevator jazz coming from the neighbor's house. Sometimes the g.pig whines sometimes I do.