Archive for July 2008

Nigeria Loves My Art

July 31st, 2008 — 1:57pm

So the Nigerian scammers have branched out a little. No longer are they satisfied with getting a few million dollars worth of stolen government bonds out of the country, now they want MY ART:

Dear Artist,
Oceanic Artwork Is located in Abuja, Nigeria with is various stores across Africa. We have been in business since 1992. We buy and sell different views of artworks including Sculptures, fabrics artworks, Metal and Wooden artworks, Poetry with pots, canvas and Captivating carpets, Herbs & Natural Foods, Textiles etc….

Over the years, and through our commitment, experience, and expertise Oceanic Artwork has established a business relationship with our customers that will last a lifetime! We hope we can count on you to be one of our faithful customers. We challenge you to give us a try. We will do our best to beat the competition.
We came across your web page while searching for good artworks And I will like to buy some of these creative artworks out of your Stock. I am pleased to let you know that we am interested in the Purchase of some of your lovely artworks, please let us know the present Condition of the artworks. Are they in frames?

We appreciate and value your business and look forward to provide you with the best possible service.

4 comments » | anxiety, art, Whining

unconscious argument

July 30th, 2008 — 2:13pm

By the end of the day, caffeine and too much eyestrain from staring at a pair of computer monitors leaves me with a temporary case of attention deficit disorder. It’s hard to read and I find it nearly impossible to maintain the stream of logic behind the text, so I end up re-reading a given passage over and over.

Usually I just watch DVDs, which don’t require much effort. But on those rare occasions when I have the ability to focus, or else become so annoyed at myself that I refuse to give up, it helps to meditate for about 15 minutes. What’s interesting about that is the period right at the edge of consciousness, where the volition behind one’s stream of consciousness seems to break down.

There is a bubble of silence around the primary movement of conscious thought, but that envelope of background emptiness shrinks with meditation, or as you drift toward sleep. At a certain point, just as you can no longer accurately ‘hear’ your own thoughts, that envelope dissolves completely and a rush of unauthored words and voices come streaming through the last faltering whiff of conscious thought.

I try to surf that liminal area, to hear the words that are normally shut out by the light of wakefullness. Often, they are arguing…

1 comment » | Whining

5.8 earthquake in the Chino Hills

July 29th, 2008 — 5:03pm

The house begins to shake and I pause for a moment to sense if it’s an earthquake or just the passing of a truck outside… and the shaking grows, and I get that unmistakeable sense of joy and freedom as I leap to the nearest doorway.

It’s not noble, since earthquakes kill, but I can’t help feeling an intense urge for the big one to come and shake this house to the ground around me, as if the power of nature were somehow just an outgrowth of my natural urge to fight the ever-grinding weight of culture and Capitalism that forces each of us to toil away at the seemingly meaningless jobs that put food in our mouths and rooves over our heads: Bring it all down! Who cares about tomorrow with it’s complete lack of a functioning water system in this arid desert environment, the roving bands of starving blue collar workers marching from house to house with shotguns and knives looking for loot and a release to their long-smoldering anger and frustration, the armed guards building a causeway to carry relief supplies to Beverly Hills as the rest of the city burns, columns of black smoke rising from car fires and buildings gone to the torch, sparking electrical wires skittering over the blacktop, spraying sparks across overturned cars, stray dogs rotating above a frontyard pit of coal and scrapwood feeding tiny children who clutch at the smoldering fur of a Chow that is now chow, the very foundation of our society gone to ruin: DESTROY THIS MOTHERFUCKER…

–but then the shaking stops, and KCRW pauses a song by the Fratellis to tell us that it’s a 5.8 temblor centered in Chino, wherever the fuck Chino is… Time to go back to work.

Comment » | anxiety, entropy, Whining

A Streetcar Named Jack Daniel’s

July 29th, 2008 — 2:50pm

Like one of those gothic southern plays, my parents are descending into oblivion. Father has cancer and his chemotherapy is failing, so on a visit to my sister’s house last weekend he got into a horrible pattern of taking everyone to dinner, ordering something that he loves (because he’s dying so he might as well eat what he wants), and then having a couple of bites and becoming nauseated. Then, since he can’t eat any more, he just sits there at the table talking about his life at the orphanage, how his mother didn’t love him (she is the one who dropped him off at the orphanage after all: ‘come on dear, you’re going to summer camp’), and assorted other unpleasantries.

Meanwhile, my mother, who has lost about 50 pounds since I remember her best, now looks like a deflated balloon and takes the majority of her calories in the form of Jack Daniel’s. It would be total Tennessee Williams if only she were more of a loudmouth.

My sister, who overcame breast cancer with a double mastectomy, has my father’s temper and so she has very little patience with any whining from him. Also, of course, since he was such a hardass when we were young, she wants to see no soft side now. (People get cancer and die; get over it.) I sent my mom Barack Obama’s book, but I just don’t know if it will lift her spirits. (That was a joke, kind of.) The future for everyone is cancer.

Comment » | anxiety, entropy, Whining

more hopeless

July 28th, 2008 — 4:37pm

A portion of the navbar on the online beauty retailer account management pages needs to be an advertisement for a section of the site itself.

I was under the impression it would be dynamic, so I first made it look like the navbar. They explained that it should be more of an advertisement, with graphics or photos, and they mentioned having it look like Las Vegas signage. All of which is fine, but I’ve worked with them long enough to know that if I make it look exactly like a sign from Las Vegas they will think it’s gaudy and over the top. Also, they’re extreemly anal retentive about using only the two fonts that the primary designer likes, and only in the styles that have so far been used.

So I tried to add “vegas-like” aspects to a version of the adblock, giving it a clean, graphic look. But that didn’t fly, and today I was sent an image of the famous ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign for inspiration.

So now I will give them exactly what they ask for. I will make the adblock look like Casino frontage …and then they will say it is too literal, and think it looks tacky, and then the weary and overworked creative director will take it upon herself to create something that she likes, and it will either look nothing like their suggestions or else it’ll be similar to my first graphic interpretation. This is the problem with centralized control.

Comment » | anxiety, design, Whining


July 28th, 2008 — 2:49pm

Delivered my art to the show this week and it was depressing. The gallery is predominantly composed of artists with really strong craftsmanship, often with a cartoon, tattoo, or otherwise stylized look to it. A lot of high-end illustrative work. My stuff is at best ‘conceptual’ which means the end user puts up with a lower level of craftsmanship because theoretically the ideas are more important.

But surrounded by their stuff, my own lack of skill is highlighted. I admire artists who won’t release a work until it’s perfect, but if I did that I’d have never shown anything… Anyway, here’s the art, composed of 1/3 of a previously unsuccessful painting that I’d had painted in Vietnam based on my photoshop illustrations. I chopped the painting in three pieces and painted insects and carnivorous plants over the woman’s face.

What does it mean? It’s all about the advertising.

Comment » | Whining

A New Hope

July 27th, 2008 — 8:07pm

Aha! Turns out I was spelling their name with two ‘S’s instead of one, which explains the first few minutes of extreme confusion…

Generally speaking I dread new clients. The small ones are often unsure (and yet obsessive) micro-managers, who will take their uncertainty out on YOU, the hapless designer.

So I was surprised that this new gig seemed decent from the get-go —because they know exactly what they want. Because they are German SCIENTISTS, who work in a massive five story building WITHOUT WINDOWS, on the WEEKEND.

It would have been more dramatic if the place weren’t full of fuzzy cubicles and crappy office furniture from the ’80s. And actually they were Austrian and not German. The thin old lady with the accent that I met in the entryway made a joke when I told her that I liked Berlin. She said everyone thought Hitler was German when he was really Austrian, and yet Einstein was the other way around… or else the whole joke was the other way around. She seemed to think it was funny. This is why I love scientists.

I met with her and two others, and essentially I just need to recreate some visual test they administer so  their company can repurpose it for the web. They projected some of it onto a screen from an ancient 16mm projector (Junior High school nostalgia) and I couldn’t tell if the test was especially creepy because it was so old, or because it was especially creepy. Which I like. I am pro-creepy. Seemed to be a series of ‘yes’ ‘no’ questions that don’t totally make sense.

Their only concern was regarding the refresh rate of modern computers, which is how many times a processor redraws the monitor image… all of which I told them I would have to go figure out. I just do pictures man.

Anyway, seems like decent money.

1 comment » | anxiety, Whining

Wino lifespans

July 23rd, 2008 — 4:40pm

I’m trying to lose more weight so I’m eating less, although I haven’t taken the rash step of giving up liquor. So yesterday my menu consisted of a small bit of protein, some almonds and fruit, and a bottle of red wine. The cool thing is that with my body hungry, I tend to get less drunk. My guess is that I’m metabolizing the liquor faster because my body needs the energy. I’m guessing it would be much more healthy to be a wino than a drug addict, given similar circumstances and a moderate limit on the amount and type of alcohol taken. Is there a database of drug addict versus wino lifespans?

Comment » | Whining


July 22nd, 2008 — 9:01pm

They told me I could call in to the meeting, which was a huge reprieve from the expected 1.5 hours of commuting plus many hours of workplace anxiety and tedium that would have been added to the day.

But telecommuting brings with it a strange quality of unexpected boundary violation.

Since I’m still trying to lose weight I’ve been drinking lots of water, tea and blended drinks, and this leads to an intense need to pee, all the time. But this was a long meeting so I had to maneuver to the bathroom, while silently taking off my shorts. However the toilet bowl is essentially a porcelain megaphone, which magnifies any noises, especially quick, gasseous exhallations. Which means, essentially, while you are sitting naked on the toilet farting you are also in a room with eight other people in business attire, who really don’t want to hear any of that. And if you’re lucky they never know… but you do.

I held my hand over the mouthpiece so I believe I didn’t transmit, but the whole experience was too personal, like when that hot female doctor examined my prostate. We were interacting really well up until that point, but then the conversation came to a crashing halt and I left her office feeling as if I’d just propositioned her, as if I’d just leaped up and grabbed her finger with my butt…

Comment » | anxiety, office, Whining

Summer almost over

July 22nd, 2008 — 3:53pm

Careerwise, I am in a gentle stasis.

I’m Just floating, like a fish near a warm hydrothermal vent, surrounded by the cold ocean, knowing that it has to venture out there at some point, realizing it can’t stay, and yet for the moment swimming peaceful circles around some basaltic uplift, readying for the darkness to come. I just anthropomorphosized that fish about five times in rapid succession, but fuck it, it’s a fish…

Finishing the proof of concept for those Austrians is giving me a headache. Dr. Pierley mentioned a scientist named Gurdjieff who contributed to their work, and she seemed to want me to do some (unpaid) research into the matter as a means of building this thing out, but I am wondering if I have the right one, because the guy I am reading about on Google sounds like a lunatic.

Comment » | Whining

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