1. I love Top Gear. A lot. I have undertaken torrenting and burning as much of it as I can find. Never have three men managed to race, crash, sink, burn, flip, distort, bend, fold, and mutilate vehicles to such great effect. It made me laugh so hard the other night that my lungs started to spasm and I almost drowned in the funny. You can't argue with that.
2. To dispel an assumption stated this morning: I love Snow, and his cat. Despite misgivings about the latter.
So etsytools has been up and down. When it's been up, I've been able to wrest from it that of over 5,000 daily sales on Etsy, fewer than 80 were tagged "photography".
The name of the game on Etsy is "promotion". What that means in Etsy parlance is pour time and money into pushing your items to the top of the pile of listings to even have a chance of being seen. I can't find a good number for how many listings there are, total - one Etsy post indicated that there were around 375,000 new ones in one month - and a listing lasts 3 months. So assuming every listing went to its full 3-month lifespan, that'd be somewhere around... 1,125,000 up at a time, which sounds kinda low actually.
So, you have to sink enough time and money into "promotion" to give your items a chance to even see the light, to make it into those 5,000 daily sales, out of 1.1M listings. And for photography, that's only 80 items. Of 1.1M total listings.
It doesn't make much business sense. I'm starting to see that Etsy is a great place to list your excess craft output, to make some friends, and a place to have an instant-on retail outlet. But it's not a place to seriously sell most things. I am going to continue through the winter, running the normal promo schemes, but then focus on real-world venues - and on improving my work.
So I was spinning like a top today, trying to get bits and pieces settled before a few day trip to Victoria, BC. I'm actually really looking forward to it. Snow's mom has a timeshare condo thing there, right near the downtown. I recall Victoria being really charming, and I hope to spend some time taking long bundled up walks, maybe playing cards or board games with Snow and his mom.
But, travel makes me bonkers. I hate leaving my home, I hate feeling like I'm leaving things unfinished - long after I've finished my checklists and all of that.
So, Snow asked me if I could make a nice print of a picture of him, his mom and his brother for him to give to his mom. I probably spent two hours messing with it and getting a nice framed 5x7 out of it - and a black and white one for him. I feel happy about having a product, and my nerves are so, so much calmed.
I also got most of my Christmas presents wrapped, which is great. I am avoiding perfection this year - I want things to be rustling and sparkly and shiny. Some things are in amazingly velvet decked paper I got on sale at Papyrus last year, others are in layers upon layers of sparkly metallic tissue.
I have two hours until it's time to head for BART - still enough time to find my pill container, and to take a nice shower. I feel better once I'm in the airport, even when the flight is delayed I have run the gauntlet - the twin demons of time and security haven't snared me and kept me from my destination. Once I'm past those detectors, I am free to fly, confined in my little tin box, but still - free to fly.
Me: Will you buy me gummy bears?
Me: Will you buy me gummy bears?
M: Do you want them?
Me: Will you buy them for me?
M: Do you gummy bears?
So now I have gummy bears. And about a zillion presents to wrap. And a suitcase in need of packing.
I've been really busy. Heading to the Great White North tomorrow. I need to be packing but all I want to do is sit here and stare into space and eat gummy bears.
In a fit of hasty stupidity I bought Singstar 80's last night. It's really just glorified karaoke, but it's fun. If only I could find someone to play it with me...
Much too tired to make anything funny.
Sutter Nurse's Strike
I am bane to cross a picket line, especially one of people I believe deserve pretty much anything they need. The strike is about adequate staffing as well as health care and retirement for the nurses.
The news is saying that the nurses are not discouraging people from using medical services, which I guess absolves me about going to my OB/GYN appointment today.
I can't figure out for the life of me why we don't pay the people who take care of us when we are sick and the people who teach our children more than the people who spend all day shoveling around play money on Wall Street. I mean, I know why, but it makes me sad.
Maybe I'll bring donuts.
Eep. That last bit seemed morbid. It wasn't meant to be.
There is a constant that has run through my life when it comes to art. The concept of emotional resonance, something I've always found hard to sum up. I've been mocked for it, at times. Some have considered me unfair, or maybe just a pretentious twit, for feeling that others don't "get" my work. It's not about that, though. It's something I believe in, something in the same vein as love at first sight or kindred spirits.
It's the vibration of self that occurs when something - words, an image, a sound - connect in some ineffable way. The way a harmony penetrates, or light through stained glass raises a feeling into your chest. And it's unique, and the things that inspire it, the things that create a harmony, are unique for everyone. It transcends "good" and "bad" (which I do believe in, as well). It is much like how we love who we love, often regardless of flaws or rational thought.
It used to be common for me to feel that way - just as it used to be easy for me to fall in love. And maybe it's that same calloused growth that makes it harder to connect over time.
But I do believe in it. People have at times told me at times that my work - writing, or digital work, or photography - touches them. That's a huge part of what carries me when it seems pointless. Because the things I made are from me. Their frequencies originate with me. And when someone find a harmonic with that, it is satisfying in a way that someone simply liking something can never be.
We all want to be loved. I also want my frequencies to be loved, for them to cause a feeling. To exist beyond me, carrying something into the aether.
For the record:
When I die (an unavoidable though hopefully not immediate eventuality), I want my body recycled, all the bits used for something useful, wherever possible - donation of skin corneas, organs, bone... whatever. And something ecologically reasonable done with whatever is left. I don't care too much what. I won't be there.
I don't really want a big stone memorial somewhere, among a bunch of other stone memorials. I want those who miss me to have a wake with lots of booze and good music to hopefully remember me kindly. Or badly, if that's what it is. I don't ever want to be posthumously exalted.
Sing if you want to. Tell stories. Look at pictures. Hang my art. Plant a tree or loose butterflies. Remember me well, in a manner that fills you with the feeling you want to have.
If you have to have a place, make it the cliff beach in Pescadero, or Mount Burdell, or somewhere similar. Somewhere with grass or water, and natural sounds.
Yeah. So. If I die.
In the West, the term bardo may also refer to times when our usual way of life becomes suspended, as, for example, when we are on retreat. Such times can prove fruitful for spiritual progress, as external constraints diminish, although they offer challenges because our unskillful impulses can come to the fore, just as in the sidpa bardo.
I have a lot of unskillful impulses.
Well, that was kinda traumatic. In a minor, emotional way.
I woke up early this morning from a comfy warm bed with someone I love, unable to sleep. I got up, and found that I for whatever reason, had a burning desire to play Final Fantasy VII.
So, I was pretty sure I knew where my Playstation was, and I even managed to find a power cable. But after checking in a few likely places, I couldn't find any Playstation discs.
So I delved into a few boxes I hadn't looked at since I last moved. And possibly not since the move before that.
One was full of junk - miscellanea, really. The other was full of manuals and warranties for things which I don't even own anymore. I also found some manuals to thinks I actually do have - and the instructions for several Final Fantasy games iwth no discs. So, I went through and threw out anything throw-out-able.
Why should this be traumatic? It was like rifling through what I've come to think of as my previous life. Another time and place, where I lived in brand new apartment, had a high-paying job and a promising career, a family. A man a woman and a child, living together. Of course, I am quick to recall that my ex was an emotionally abusive asshole, I was severely depressed and self-medicating with alcohol, and my daughter wasn't nearly getting what she needed, between my graveyard shifts and his drunken nights out.
But really it's the things that remind me of when Audrey was a baby that get me the most. The receipt for her stroller, the carrier that I wore her in when she was an infant. Manuals for her crib toys, for toddler computer games.
And maybe every mother feels this way - but probably not from rifling through electronics manuals at 6 in the morning, looking for an old game for an outdated console.
My TV is glaring at me, saying "Please insert PlayStation CD-ROM." The drama queen would say "One more thing I can't fulfill!" I'll just say, where's my fucking Final Fantasy CD, already.
My mom watches a lot of HGTV (Home and Garden TV for the cable avoidant - a channel which is dedicated to home makeovers), and I watch quite a few Bravo reality shows of my own (Hi, Project Runway. Hi, Top Chef). But there are two phrases I keep hearing over nad over and over to the point where I physically cringe when I hear them. Make it STOP.
I nominate the following two phrases for extinction, effective yesterday.
"Make it POP"
Part of speech: Interjectionish-verb
Meaning: To add a heavy-handed touch which will make something shock viewers into silence.
Conjugated: "I make it pop, you make it pop, he/she/it sees it pop and pukes."
Usage: "And then we'll add some huge painted red deer on the wall, to really make it POP."
See also: Gilding the lilly
Stop it. If you have to explain that you're Making It Pop, you're "Doing It Wrong."
Part of speech: Noun
Meaning: The factor which wows. Which is to say, it would suck, except that this gauche or brassy aspect has been added.
Conjugated: Who am I kidding? Only insane people on reality shows say this. I hope.
Usage: "The five hundred strings of strings made the house blinding, but the real WOW factor was the 30 foot high blinking Santa."
If you use these phrases people will not think you are cool or that you have panache or design sense. They will realize that you watch far too much HGTV. Stop before it's much, much too late.
I will not vote up or add any site that consists of a grouping of unattributed photos - no matter how cute or funny or pretty. Using someone else's work to promote yourself is wrong. Even worse, if your pages of stolen work contains ads, and stumbleupon (or digg, or reddit) are driving traffic there, they are enabling profit from that theft.
Photographs on the internet are not all yours to use for free. If you don't know the attribution - don't post it, and don't rate it.
Apparently, I am now crepuscular.
Which is cool with me. But not so good for you know. Doing stuff that isn't watching late night tv or eating Chinese food.
On the up side, I can chill with the raccoons. I'm not so down with the garbage rifling though, which makes the whole Chinese food thing a real bonus.
And on the late night TV part... I really hate the words "Paid Programming". I already pay for programming. The fact that the cable company is getting paid twice to not have anything on to watch is totally annoying and unfair. Boo.
On the other hand, TV Land shows reruns of things like Night Court and Wings. Mid 80's and early 90's sit com were a lot of fun. Cheers, Night Court, Cheers, Murphy Brown... they actually hold up pretty well. They seem a lot better than the current crop of "lame people hanging out together" (Seinfeld, Friends) or "boorish family insulting each other" (basically everything else). Maybe I just find myself drawn in by workplace comedy and slapstick than whiny people behaving badly. Or, it could be that I just like mean snarky people who are supposed to treat each other badly (coworkers) better than snarky people who should treat each other well (friends, family). Which would also explain why I prefer Futurama to the Simpsons.
I will now climb under my bed and wait for the bombs to fall on me for mentioning Seinfeld and Friends in the same sentence. Or until dusk. Whichever comes first.
Jury duty called today. I went to bed at 2 and woke up at 5 - gave up on getting back to bed, and left for BART at 8:20ish.
Got to 12th street, and the escalators were broken. I ran up the stairs with everyone else, only in my typical way, I missed one, slamming my knee into the concrete. The rest of the walk to the courthouse seemed to be dominated by all kinds of rain-slicked surfaces. No nice traction-y sidewalks in sight, just decorative stones, tile, brick.
The orientation movie amused me, but maybe it was the lack of sleep. The frame was something like this -
"California is the greatest state in the union. We totally rock! But sometimes we get pissed off and kill each other. Then we need justice! YOUR justice."
I totally expected the Governator to drop in and drop some thick necked declaration about "Justice is served."
They called a roll of about 2/3 of the people there and sent them off to the courtroom. Ten minutes later they called the rest of us, and instructed us to leave. So, I limped home.
I kind of wanted to serve on a jury. It's not like I'm doing anything else, and it would have been interesting. But ultimately I'm glad I didn't get picked - just being in the real world for a few hours was exhausting.
I've been trying to take an internet break, staying away from Etsy and email. Played a bit of World of Warcraft, but that doesn't count. I just feel far more stressed than I should, lately. Angry, guilty, sad. Better not to fuel my range or self-analysis. Which doesn't explain why I'm writing this now.
Time to let the Tivo control my brain for a while.
Judge the book by its cover. Go ahead! They've told you all you need to know here.
MixedSpecies is a collective of insane people, making funny, vulgar, and wonderful things. Their "When Bad Things Happen To Good People" coasters grace my coffee table, and remind me daily that I haven't been shived. Yet.
They are super krad elite, and I salute them.
So, feeling slightly (but not unexpectedly) let down by my rejection by Trunkt, I got to thinking a small bit. The stuff that's popular right now is lomography, through the viewfinder, and ohter things and effects that make a photo look aged, discolored.
But ten years ago, black and white was how you told someone you were "artsy" and not just a run of the mill snapshot artist.
Now that crisp, clear high-res photos are available to the masses, everyone is looking over their shoulder at "the good old days". As always the glasses that hindsight looks through are rosy. And so looking back at the cross-processed slide film, the flaking Polaroids, the sun damaged Kodachrome that fills the albums of our memory, hearts and minds seek to emulate. Much as black and white supposedly evoked a simplicity of a more glamorous age.
I'm not going to let it bother me. It's not important. But now I think I understand it at least.