Posted: September 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: aposiopesis | Tags: , , | No Comments »

sisToday would be the fourteenth anniversary of the murder of my elder sister, Rebecca. Time is salt in the wounds, and I miss her very much.

But I am somewhat relieved she is not around to see what has become of the world in the years since her departure.

Entropy Machine

Posted: September 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: aposiopesis | Tags: , | No Comments »

Everything we do online is temporary. Remember that.

For the past year or so I have been saying how I have conducted interviews with over 300 people for various outlets, writers and artists, film-makers and musicians, etc. But I realize now the grand total may be closer to 400. It all started back lifetimes ago when I was self-publishing my fanzine/mini-comix the midwife, which included several band interviews. My first comic book-related interview came much later, online with the one and only cartoonist Sam Henderson, which incidentally was the first he’d granted in a few years. After that particular webzine closed operations, taking my hundreds of articles with it, and my at the time realizing I had saved copies of absolutely nothing, I elected to be more mindful of my personal records. When I created the Lottery Party, having the website be interview-heavy was high on my list of priorities. In the fifteen months of that site’s existence I conducted around 63 creator interviews, some of which were group dialogues. Towards the end of the LP’s days I got it in my head that I wanted to someday produce a cheap ebook collecting as many of my past interviews as possible, with all proceeds to go to some charity or other. But earlier this year, I opted to delete all of my files.

I love interviewing people. However, I believe it took me quite a while to really understand the art of the matter, regardless of the many nice things folks said about my work all along the way. Looking back over the discussions I had saved, I knew that some of the creators I had spoken with had proven themselves right arses during or after our interactions. Many more had later folded up shop and disappeared from the face of the Earth. Yet the majority of my past interviews just did not sit right with my modern predilections or sensibilities. There were strong articles in the mix, but all I could find primarily were my weaknesses from the time. Since my very first, it was always important to me for a proper interview with my name on it to not concern any particular work, but rather the voice behind it. This was generally more acceptable to the artist (although rarely with their publisher or label or studio), as well as presenting a piece that could better stand the test of time, as opposed to becoming dated as soon as whatever book or album or film was finally released to the public. My beef with many cultural sites today still hangs on that, limiting a dialogue to what is essentially a prolonged sales pitch for something specific.

I love interviewing people because it offers means for me to continue my education, by learning from those whose minds I pick at. I have always seen the need for sharing notes, for sharing stories, so that everyone can learn from everyone else, but I did not see the the depth of what I myself got from the experience until shamefully more recently.

After a hiatus from the efforts, I resumed interviewing for a couple of online spots. I still had mixed feelings about journalism in general, but friends laid a guilt trip on me, to put it as nicely as possible. So I complied. And, it came to my attention that the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, a manner of pocket dimension for websites that no longer exist, had saved catches for many a screen of my lamented portal, the Lottery Party. It was like returning to the scene of a crime, or walking dazedly through a graveyard. Far from complete, as the last capture from the spider-crawlers was some months before I closed the site, the greater number of those particular interviews, among other posts, were once more viewable. I have moved a few retroactively into the archives for 23Zillion, a website I co-founded earlier this year, but I am hesitant as to what, if anything, I should do with the rest of the bones.

Everything we do online is temporary. I still believe this. Nothing we do online is eternal. I think much of the material from the LP is beneath what I am capable of today, so I will gladly turn my back on the mass of it. No matter what excruciating research and efforts I apply into crafting and constructing interview articles that might endure the sleepy sands of time, impermanence cannot and will not be challenged.

I think too many creators are lulled by the internet. If I ever heard of a conspiracy theory suggesting one of the intended aims of the internet was to give artists a false sense of accomplishment, enough to distract them from creating things more tangible, I would be all ears. I know now that I am not one so easily drawn by the attractiveness of immediate gratification. I would rather build a foundation that lasts and lingers. I would rather work towards something, in every conceivable facet of my life. Even if the metaphorical/metaphysical is all I have at my disposal.

I can allow past content to fade, regardless of the work that went into it, regardless of how proud it made me, regardless of what came of it. As I know that ultimately, all of those words are mere pixels of dust drifting away in the aether, whether we embrace it or not.

Leaving ideas themselves as the only currency I can live with.

Qualia versus Xenophobia

Posted: September 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: aposiopesis | Tags: , | No Comments »

Let’s play a game of make-believe.

I’ve written before of why the United States should exit the United Nations, as they are no longer either needed or wanted there anyway. But what if such a circumstance were literally made to pass, what would be the likely effects?

Let us presume that one fateful day in the near future, the United Nations comes knocking on the White House door. With demands.

(Coughs into mic, before jumping into a startlingly accurate impersonation of the singular voice of the U.N.)

“America, you have grown exponentially to be a thorn in the side of the whole wide world. We were all a little worried when your founders were throwing around incriminatory terminology such as the wholly arrogant “New World Order”, but now we know how feverishly your entire ethos is set on infecting us all. We are happy with our own cultures, so honestly have little need of your poisonous fast food chains, your Hollywood drivel, your general Holier-Than-Thou attitude. Your money-worship is literally bringing the world down, with your accusational “Uncle Sam wants YOU” finger pushing the button for the Rube Goldberg-collapse of the global economies. You insert yourself into global politics with increasingly disastrous effect. You preach of democratic ideals such as equality, yet within your borders are the most disheartening examples of economic disparity to be found anywhere on Earth. There are millions of American citizens who are starving, who are homeless, who are allowed no tools with-which to know real freedom. In your own lands, you censor creativity, you limit the rights of your women, of your minorities, melting pot though you publicly fetish to be. Your for-profit healthcare system is creating a nation populated exclusively by addicts. Your educational system is a biased mockery of true knowledge and wisdom. You war on the still-undefined terrorism, and yet your own militarized police force takes more lives than do any terrorist cell. This…just isn’t working.

And it’s not us, it’s all you. Your system, your pathos, is destroying lives by the millions, if not billions, every single day, and it only grows worse and worse- within your borders and on into every corner of the global community.

So, we are disbanding you. Your crimes as a nation, your sins, began with your stealing land from the Native Americans, and so to them are we handing the ownership of those same lands back over to. You taught those poor people how to scalp heads, mind you, as your forebears saw them as animals, as “savages”. We as the global populace of the world only feel that it’s right that your people’s future rests entirely upon these same Indian “savages”. The nation of the United States of America, from this day forward, no longer exists.”

(Drops mic, exits stage left.)

Now, religious sects native to the Unites States would be greatly disgruntled by this. Religious groups as diverse as the Mormon church and the Ku Klux Klan would fight this tooth and nail, eye for an eye. Political sects native to the United States would have huge issues accepting this as well. Political groups such as the Tea Party-enthused militia men would stand their ground, so to speak. Gun-rights advocates would stock up to unload on every Native American they should encounter. Banks would refuse to release proprietorship. Corporations would prove how patriotic they truly are and move shop overseas in a New York minute. It would not be a Civil War, it would be a form of mutual destruction.

Because the Native Americans are a minority. What power do they posses that would afford them this new authority? Admittedly, they have had centuries already to stand up for themselves, but as is the case with any and every culture, they have proven themselves ultimately powerless before the ever-hungry machinery of Capitalism. And not to be crude, but if natural selection has a place in the greater scheme of things, how ethical or sensible is it to hand the controls over to any group who has not earned it themselves? To a group that cannot accomplish such a thing of their own accord?

Now, regardless of your personal constitution, you must concede that the United Nations here would have some valid points to their arguments for such a massive decision. And those of you with unabashed hearts love seeing proverbial little guys win out in the end, right?

However, what of the many innocent American citizens who would be affected by this? The ones who were not enabling power-hungry corporate elitists or whatever? Even if the Statue of Liberty is ultimately an incarnation of the Whore of Babylon, there are still many citizens who are just quietly trying to make it through the day, fending for their families and generally doing what they feel is right in life.

Do you see how hard it might be to choose a side here in such a conflict?

Then why are Americans so divided on who to root for in the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts in the Middle East?

Not every conflict has a “right” and a “wrong”. Sometimes, too often with regards to bigger conflicts, there is only wrong. What we see in the news is what happens when there is no separation of Church and State, for starters. There are no innocent victims in the Middle Eastern holy wars, when each side is committing blatantly inhumane atrocity. Which again reflects on those in the West:

When most groups preach for equality, 99 times out of a hundred what they ultimately, secretly, want is special attentions and privilege. Which fundamentally carries through with all political (no matter how “democratic”) and religious (no matter how “organized”) ideologies. If anything outside of the popular theology (in this case, Christianity) or body politick (in this case, either Republican or Democrat) is given a public voice they lose their shit seeing it as an attack on their own beliefs. Because they do not really want equality, they want dominance. The Israelis want dominance. The Palestinians want dominance. Disney wants dominance. Google wants dominance. Apple wants dominance.

Americans need to stop hiding behind labels, behind brands, They need to put down the branding iron altogether and recognize that every human whether native-born or foreign is living a life. The real, unvoiced American Dream for any country, any nation, should be one that praises the individual above any and all collectives, whether Liberal or Conservative, Protestant or Catholic, Muslim or Jewish, Capitalist or Populist; praises the individual more than any group, cell, cult or sect or business conglomerate.

Praises the individual over any collective, even the United States itself.

This post was inspired by Dave Elliott’s comic book story, ODYSSEY, which involves a hero slowly coming to terms with the painfully real state of his nation. Initially, my diatribe was a sort of “What if?” fan-fiction, but it was sharpened in a friendly debate with a relative of mine.

Insurance, My Arse

Posted: August 31st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: aposiopesis | Tags: , | No Comments »

So, a couple of days ago I went to pay my car insurance. I have never in my life had insurance of any kind, but earlier this year signed the devil’s paper as I have since been playing chauffeur for elderly citizens of my small town.

What I agreed to was an exorbitant but set amount to be paid monthly for six months, at which time I would be “re-evaluated” with the aim of a lower fee. I am halfway there, mind. But I walk in and am met with a raise of 70+ to my almost-due payment, with no advance notice and no explanation offered. I have received no accidents, no tickets or citations or warnings or the like, so I literally argue with the woman, showing her the paperwork from her own office that I bring in every time, as I stay mentally prepared for nothing less. She accepts the set amount for payment, but with the warning that I may have to pay extra fees for not meeting the full amount on a later date. I step aside so she can do her computer keyboarding thing, while another woman steps up to settle her own account. While waiting, an elder man who had been thumbing through the local newspaper while sitting in the lobby pipes up, “So any y’all following this Missourah shooting?”

The woman I was just speaking to speaks up, “Oh yeah, I thought it was 6 bullets, one for each chromosome.”

The room bursts out in laughter, as I look from side to side for a Candid Camera film crew.

Fast-forward to less than an hour later:

My mom is trying to cancel out my life insurance policy, from yet another company, as they have just raised their own rates and again with no advance notice and no explanation given. She was on hold for two hours that morning before learning that I would need to do the call myself, as I am alive and no longer a minor.

Almost an hour later, I hang up the phone, with the pleasant news that she will only be refunded about 240 of the 23,000 she had paid into the ordeal.

If modern Americans are so bleeding keen on gunning down people we do not know, why don’t they focus that angst to those who deserve the violence? Because there are so many targets, just in the insurance industry alone. Why was it that whoever first thought up the initial business plan a century or whenever back, why was that man not shot dead in his undoubtedly over-priced boots?

Paying insurance is no different than giving the mob protection money. If it were a legit business, then every penny paid should be returned, quarterly or whatever/whenever. They already make profit just from the interest accumulated. We are investing against life itself, and it is Federally-mandated. If you do not give your money to these agencies, even if nothing climactic occurs, you are breaking the law and can go to prison for it. They are bullies. Fuck that noise, as the poets decree. I grew up to believe that bullies should not be heeded. Pay them no mind, let alone your last few cents.

Am I suggesting deadly violence against insurance agents? Yes. Yes, I am.

Apodyopsis meets Apophenia

Posted: July 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: aposiopesis | Tags: , | No Comments »

In once more silently amusing myself at the inherent self-contradiction of my being the proverbial writer wishing to leave minimal paper trails, I realized something about myself today.

In professional, non-creative environments I long ago came to the conclusion that by thinking like a manager, I would then have little cause to ever need to interact with the real deal, with actual management. I suppose efficiency just became a part of it, although not necessarily self-efficiency, as in later years I have probably gone overboard in welcoming degrees of chaos into my world making my life as unconventional as probable. Increasingly so. But even as a kid in school, I very rarely brought home homework, as I was productive enough to find the means to finish it all while still at school, leaving off-time at home to read ahead in my textbooks. My work performance was an evolution of that practice in many ways.

To the point of overworking myself wherever possible. I was exceedingly fortunate enough to learn as a young adult, to see with my own eyes how much the sense of accomplishment that comes from a hard day’s work (and a job well-done) can have on my mood, my spirit, my psyche. So the older I got, the more addicted I grew to that sense of completion, and the less I really found myself working for cold, hard cash. If I liked what I was doing then I wanted to be the best I could at it- those were my finest jobs, my greatest performances.

What I realized today however, or what I finally allowed myself to acknowledge rather, was that the pathos of thinking like a manager truly has carried over into just about every other aspect of my life, well and beyond vocation.

If you work like a manager, as a manager should, then you are less prone to face the consequences of not working to one’s perfection. Likewise, if you approach life in an authoritative manner, no matter setting or circumstance, then those who actually are in positions of authority tend to second guess themselves. Now I have never been one to play control-freak, and I have never been one to force my will, but I think that everyone really does shield their own levels of self-doubt. Where this regards my work, almost without exception employers too readily come to depend upon my natural compulsion to fill voids, to the point of pushing me to guarantee matters I am not obligated to see through, not contractually, legally or ethically.

I believe, I feel, that I have been drawn to individuality for the sake of autonomy. I want and need to be strong enough to live under no outside authority, and not at all in any anarchistic sense. I only think that I am more complete the less divided I am by outward influence. I do not wish to follow orders, as I am confident enough to follow my own lead, and pay the piper should I err in the doing. That part is exceedingly important, obviously.

The problem in this though, is that when authoritarians question themselves, then people look for new leaders. In being individual enough to act on what I perceive as higher grounds, virtuous aims and the like, then I increasingly find myself in the position of others looking to me to make decisions for them. I do not want to be led, but I sincerely, honestly and wholeheartedly with every fiber of my being do not care to play leader. I have had to before in smaller scales, be the work leader for the day in trade jobs, or supervisor for months on end in kitchens or whatever, or serving as various incarnations of “editor”. It is never an issue of my wishing to avoid responsibility. I realized long ago that I could get more done if left to my own devices, my own will. I have made it this way, and it is constant sacrifice on my part and my part alone.

And that applies to everything else in my life, every strange facet that I unearth along the way. The more removed I stay, the closer to perfection my end product, my end result.