Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The assignment called for us to create 5 "hypothetical" tools. These objects didn't need to have any true purpose or function, but, mine made pretty heavy reference to common tool forms that we've grown used to seeing in day to day life. Using a combination of found scrap objects as well as hand carved/tooled wood handles, I did my best to construct objects that seemed antique in nature. Some of the objects already had been worn by time, which I used to my advantage, but others were polished or otherwise new looking, which required some reworking in order to keep the look cohesive.
As a person that's grown accustomed to creating my pieces on a computer, it was nice to truly put my hands to work. While it's perfectly legitimate to design on a computer, I can't help but feel like a fraud sometimes. Perhaps not so much a fraud per se, but, I feel like there's a certain distinction to be drawn between artists and designers. Artists can always boast a certain sort of soulfulness to their work, and designers tread a path that's more calculated and technical, and really only the best can demonstrate a definite artfulness, or soul in the work they produce.
Despite being very artistically driven, I've found it hard to call myself an artist, since I've never been all that happy with my drawings or paintings - instead, I've tended to find my calling in computer based design work. It's easier to reconcile myself as a designer. The problem with being a designer is that it's hard to feel unique at times. There are accepted conventions, and rules that exist for good reason, and sometimes it's hard to find a way to approach a design that not only works, but that also doesn't feel stale or uninspired. Another issue I have difficulty with is the nature of design - that is to say - design makes use of other people's illustrations/photos/paintings and helps to integrate them with text on a page, or a 3D package etc. While there's skill required to achieve "good design" it can feel like more of a job of organization than one of true creativity. I think there's comparisons that can be made to photography. I've often heard people belittle the art of photography as little more than a technical skill, as opposed to an artistic skill. I disagree with that notion completely, and I suppose in that, I must also allow myself more credit as an aspiring designer.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
In Spring 2008, I had a chance hallway meeting with a former instructor, who began a dialogue about me about my educational and career aspirations. After some heartfelt words of encouragement, she convinced me that I belonged at CCA - a competitive and very reputable school here in San Francisco/Oakland. This discussion was extremely motivational to me, and caused me to rethink my whole "just get it over with" approach to school, and inspired me to strive for what I really wanted in life. While it took some academic backtracking, and adjustments, the dedication was ultimately worth it.
I arrived at my orientation this morning a little before 8:00. I parked my bike inside the school corridors at their secure indoor bike racks, and waited for the program to get underway. While queued up near the registration table, I was flagged down by a former SF City College classmate, and we spent the time catching up. It's always nice to be that one obnoxious jerk who finds the comfort of being reunited with old friends, even in the midst of a nerve wracking, stressful new experience. Usually I'm the awkward one that keeps to himself and hopes that nobody will notice them.
As soon as the day began, the momentum never let up. My group was led by two very helpful and friendly student advisors who led us through the various presentations and meetings. The orientation was packed to the gills with information, and tasks to attend to. Despite the excitement, I did encounter some frustrations along the way – namely administrative screw-up that made my academic advising/planning session very difficult. However, no cloud is without its silver lining. Due to this complication, I was forced to adamantly seek out answers to my concerns. Of the three departmental advisors, I sought out the only one that I hadn't yet spoken to that day.
My inquiries were met with genuine interest, and thoughtful answers that didn't simply rely on dispensing a confusing assortment of facts, loosely assembled to pass as an "answer". For 15 minutes, I had the complete attention of a concerned teacher and administrator, who was happy to discuss not only the most pressing issues, but also my plans for my years ahead at CCA. As our impromptu meeting drew to a close, I was suddenly hit with the realization that I knew this instructor! As we parted, I threw out a final question -
"Hey... shot in the dark... did you ever work for ICPlanet.com?"
"Yesssss...? I did...?"
"Me too! That was my first job out of high school."
From there we both reconnected in a shocked, rambling recollection of our days as co-workers nine years ago. Maybe he was just being polite, but he claimed to remember me. I'm inclined to believe him - we did share a giant wrap-around desk after all. The conversation ended, and we both headed our separate ways to our next obligations. About an hour later, we met up again, and he helped me with some last minute registration issues, which ultimately yielded me a rather good schedule.
After registration, we had a campus tour and campus technology orientation. Before the day drew to a final close, we had to sit for ID pictures. The security staff running the operation was hilarious, and kept us pretty entertained as we waited our turn. My ID photo turned out great... I look like even more of a serial killer than I do in my passport photo. I'm on a winning streak!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Good people voted in favor of Proposition 8 (confused? Remember, that a "yes" vote signified one's opposition to gay marriage). Sure, a lot of bigots supported it, but I think that a lot of people who were mostly ignorant, ill-informed and fearful (rather than hateful), are the ones responsible for passing Prop 8. If those people could see this letter, I think they might understand the human side of homosexuality, and more importantly, understand how backwards the notion of gay people attempting to subvert "straight culture" is.
Love between two consenting adults isn't a crime, and should not be legislated against, nor should it require special legislation to legitimize it in the first place.
Here's the letter -
An open letter to Straights
Apparently all this time I've been shoving my sexuality in your face and forcing it on you. I misunderstood. I didn't know. I am so sorry.
I mistakenly thought it was you who were shoving your lifestyle in my face when you called me faggot before I even knew what that word meant.
I thought you were forcing your sexuality on me when you and your friends cornered me in the locker room after gym class in junior high school, called me a goddamn homo and beat the shit out of me.
I thought the coach was forcing his lifestyle on me when he shouted down at my broken and bleeding body in the locker room that I asked for it because I was looking at the other guys 'funny'.
I thought you were shoving your sexuality in my face when you spray painted my name and "is a fag" on the side of the High school building.
When you and your friends trashed my car and then afterwards ran me off the road as I was walking home from school, laughing and calling me a "Queer" I thought I was just walking home from school and not forcing my sexuality down your throat.
I was mistaken and apparently trying to force my deviant lifestyle on you in college that day when thought I might be just trying to find someone like me to talk to when you and your cop friends entrapped me, arrested me and beat me up and threw me in jail because I looked at you the wrong way and smiled at you.
Apparently I asked for it when you and your friends chased me down the street, pulled me into an alley and broke my nose with a booze bottle after I had the gall to come out a known gay bar one night in college.
When I was in the military, I thought one of my friends might be just trying to live a decent, honorable life with his partner of 10 years when you and your military police friends pulled him into an interrogation room and accused him of sodomy because he was living with a guy and not dating women. When you kicked him out of the service and dumped him 3500 miles from his home with no money and no job, I didn't realize that he was forcing his lifestyle on you. I'm sure he's sorry too.
I didn't realize that you were offended by us when my best friend asked to be admitted to his partner's hospital room while he was dying. You see, he'd lived with him for 20 years and they had shared their life together but had the misfortune of living in a state where people like him had no "legal status" and so his sweet love of 20 years died alone surrounded by people who thought that God had given him AIDS as punishment for the sin of homosexuality. He didn't understand that your religious sensibilities were more important than his misguided need to be with his partner when he died.
All this time I thought you were forcing your sexuality on me, but now I know that I was forcing mine on you. I am so sorry that all my life, I've mistakenly thought that being left alone to live my life, to work and to have a home and family and to be allowed to love who I choose was just living my life - like you live yours.
Little did I know that all that time I was cramming my disgusting sexuality and lifestyle down your throat, forcing you to accept me and demanding "Special Rights".
Now that I'm older and wiser, you'll excuse the silly idealism of a dotty middle aged guy who had a vain hope that maybe I could marry the guy I've been living with for fifteen years and not have to worry if my religiously devout family will decide to ransack my home after my death because my family - the family who have largely cared less if I lived or died - have more legal rights than my partner, no matter what I say in my will.
You'll excuse my mistaken notion that I should be allowed to have a good job and not be fired at will because my boss might find out that I live with a guy and am still "single". You'll pardon my liberal sensibilities when I think I should be able to rent an apartment from someone who might decide that two guys living together is "an abomination", or be able to open a joint checking account with my partner, because now I know that it isn't "normal" for two guys to set up a home together.
Hopefully, you'll excuse my mistaken notion that my life and my love and my family are at least as important and significant as yours - yes, even when you beat the shit out of your wife the day after she caught you fucking the underaged babysitter, even when you tossed your 15 year old gay son out on the streets, even when I gladly pay very high taxes to send your kids to good schools and you cheat on yours.
I hope you will understand when I was momentarily struck speechless when you raised up your bible and told me that God thinks that I am an abomination and will go to hell. You'll excuse me for my silly notion that God maybe has other more pressing matters than to care that much if I decide that I want to live with someone I love instead of being alone and celibate. You'll pardon my weakness when I want a family and have to do it by shoving my homosexual lifestyle in your face.
Finally, please excuse the silly sentimentality of an old man who after nearly six decades of life sees a movie with two "normal" guys who are cowboys who fall in love together. It's been a long time since I've seen any people like me in the movies who aren't silly and shallow or tragic and dying of something or another. It's been years since I've seen someone like me love someone like my partner and not die because of it or end up some tragic stupid queen. So the movie made me happy and so I was momentarily blinded by the hope that it might be recognized as a watershed moment in tolerance. I now know it was a shameful use of one of your dearest symbols of American manliness to once again shove my disgusting lifestyle down your throat.
You'll excuse me please.
All this time, all my life - I just thought you were trying to make me be something that I can never be. I just thought you were forcing me to conform to your idea of normality. I mistakenly thought you hated me.
I was mistaken. Obviously, all this time I was forcing my lifestyle on you. Please accept my apologies.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Issue 9 - 10,000 Days On Earth, The Ravings of Artie Cline - (A compilation of poetry)
Issue 10 - San Francisco Graffiti - TAGS
Issue 11 - The Photography of Kimberly Yount
Monday, August 17, 2009
I reminded her that it could have been her and to pay attention when she's driving. I'm sure that I might as well have been talking to a wall.
Luckily there was no collision, but I'm glad I had my stupid looking helmet strapped on.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
On a final note about zines – On Thursday night, I spoke with Layla at MRR, and I'm going to start helping out with layouts. I love reading Maximum Rocknroll every month, and getting the chance to help produce this great magazine is pretty exciting!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
So what is this all about? Well, basically, the folks at Maximum Rocknroll organized nearly 10 shows all across the city of San Francisco for the purpose of funding a new all ages venue in the city. The fest begins tonight with the MRR Shitworkers showcase at the Balazo/Submission Gallery, and goes through Sunday the 16th.
Every show features a really great variety of bands, mainly from or around, San Francisco. If you're into punk or hardcore, you're going to find at least one show that you'll really enjoy, so come on out!
Tomorrow night, my band will be playing at the Knockout with some really great bands. The show starts at 9:00, and there's not exactly a rigid order, so any band could play at any time. Every band is killer, so get there on time!
COMPLETE SCHEDULE POSTED HERE
San Francisco's Doomed
Skin Like Iron
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Cult Ritual - Guiltless 7"
Packaged with a fantastic silk-screened cover, and a 6 page lyric zine. The music is insane right out of the gate. A couple of lyrical samples from the first track -
"Mass death by human hands" and the closing verse, "We're all animals!"
The lyrics are as dark and violent as the music itself. I can't recommend this record enough.
Brain Killer - Demo 7" & S/T 7"
This shit is pretty chaotic. Lots of really harsh feedback squealing at all times and heavy rhythms pounding your eardrums in. A very successful combination of d-beat and noisepunk.
Dear Landlord - split w/ Off With Their Heads
Great pop-punk. DL was recommended to me by a friend of mine, and they're just one in a long line of great bands that he's gotten me hip to. I recently met this guy in April when our bands went on tour, and I think I asked him about a dozen times "who's this?" whenever he was in control of the van's stereo. Dear Landlord is definitely one of my favorites that I took away from my incessant questioning.
Heavy on the melodies, and very reminiscent of earlier Dillinger 4 songs. The b-side features OWTH, which is good, but I'm not hooked yet. Better than most stuff, and all my friends are into it, but I'm still yet to be convinced.
Last weekend I played Sound & Fury festival in Oxnard, CA. This gave me an opportunity to see a lot of newer bands and pick up a few records. This year's roster was pretty diverse, and I think my purchases reflect the variety of bands at the fest. I missed out on a few key records that I was looking for, but hopefully I'll track them down soon enough!
Trapped Under Ice - Secrets of the World & Stay Cold
TUI is a band from Baltimore that really nails the whole East Coast street style sound. Their music channels the best elements of Madball and Biohazard, and features some pretty good lyrics - certainly more introspective than most tough-guy bands.
"There's a kid, just like me, he's gonna get a gun, because the truth is harsh"
It's a simple statement – not about glorifying a "my hood is tougher than your hood" kinda deal, but more so an acknowledgement of social circumstances that incubate criminality and violence. Poverty and a raw deal just lands in the laps of a lot of people. What's the difference between them and somebody that grew up with comfort and advantages? Less options for survival and harder choices.
Knife Fight - Crisis
I hadn't seen Knife Fight in years, but their performance at S&F reminded me of why so many people love this band. If you're not familiar with them, they play pretty straight forward hardcore that sounds like a collision of Agnostic Front and Discharge. Lyrics about being disgusted with shallowness and apathy. Great stuff, plus, you can't beat a $5 LP!
Iron Lung / Hatred Surge - Collaborative 7"
Some of the best material from either band, and a cool concept. Personally, I'm not aware of many bands that have sat down and presented a unified concept between two bands as opposed to simply splitting each band's output into separate sides on a split. I guess it's easier when your two bands are comprised of three people total, but whatever. This shit is cool. Fast and grinding songs give way to sludgy, industrial rhythms. A very brutal combination!
Hatred Surge's set was one of the best at Sound & Fury, and it was cool to see them get a decent reaction, considering that they're not the sort of band typically associated with a fest like Sound & Fury. In a live setting, Hatred Surge's braintrust, Alex Hughes, plays bass and sings, and has a really intense stage presence for somebody who's largely trapped behind a microphone for most of their songs.
I haven't seen Iron Lung yet, but I've heard that they're great. If you're into crusty, grindy, power-violence, or if you're familiar with one band, but not the other, then these are two bands to check out.
Trash Talk - East of Eden
This band has come a long way since they first started out as a scrappy little outfit from Sacramento! A lot of people hate them, and talk shit on them or whatever, but I'll stick by them. I remember a time when literally nobody gave a fuck about them. No one would show up to their shows, and frankly, their music was garbage! Fast forward a few years, and they're unbelievably popular.
Dedication to doing their thing is commendable, and thankfully their music has improved a lot. I'd categorize it as power-violence with a little bit more polish on it. Really great lyrics, and a sick guest vocal appearance by none other than KEITH MORRIS.
I missed the first press, so I made sure to pick up a copy from the second press. It was just released and is probably sold out already.
Naysayer - No Remorse
A lot of bands have attempted to retread the whole Madball sound, and completely miss the mark. Naysayer's No Remorse has an undeniable Set It Off/Demonstrating My Style vibe to it. The vocals take a little to get used to, they're kinda sneered and hissed. It didn't hit me right away, but I'm feeling it now.
Live, these guys go hard. I saw them at the Balazo Gallery in SF earlier this year, and they brought it. Another big plus to this band is that they know how to keep it short and sweet. This genre often suffers from overly-long songs that go nowhere at the hands of incompetent song-writers. Not the case here - I was surprised to find 6 songs on one 7"!
At some point before the end of that year, I became friends with a girl in my P.E. class, and eventually met her brother. It turns out that he was the guy I'd seen around campus in the Elvis Costello shirt. He must have seen me as a kid teetering on the edge of being just another suburban dork who'd either dig a few inches into the underground, or possibly a kid with the smarts to get into some really good music. He made a great mix for me, and I listened to it constantly for years. I didn't really have much money as a teenager, and without a car, or a good record store in town, this tape was my only link to the stuff that I could find at The Wherehouse (the now defunct, major music retailer).
To this day, I still listen to a lot of the bands that appeared on this tape, and they set the standard for my interest in pop-punk. The bands on my tape were genuine, and reflected the true spirit of punk. Perhaps not all of the bands had "serious" lyrics. Most certainly didn't spit their rage at sociopolitical ills, but what they did do was capture the sound and feeling of being an outsider. These were the bands that wondered if maybe it wasn't the world that was fucked up, but perhaps it was them personally. The songs weren't just about not being able to get girls, the songs were about disconnection.
When I listen to a band like Weston, Jawbreaker, Knapsack, or Dillinger 4, I can relate. When I hear a band like Fight Fair, it comes off as frat boys posing as sensitive losers. The bands of yore sung songs about having nobody to talk to, nobody to love. Today's bands seem to be aimed at connecting with the Prom King and Queen. Go to Fight Fair's MySpace page, scroll down to the section that has their music lawyer's contact info, and I think you'll get the gist. It's about selling an image, and finding the most effective vehicle to do so. 15 years ago it was edgier bands like Rancid, and today it's bands with vaguely pop-punk stylings. The cycle goes on and on.
IN OUR MINDS AND IN OUR HEARTS, WE FEEL THAT POP-PUNK MUSIC SHOULD STAY OUT OF BIG BUSINESS AND STAY IN THE LONELY BEDROOMS WHERE IT BELONGS. ALL YOU KIDS OUT THERE, ALWAYS KEEP THE FAITH!
OK, that last part was a joke. Hopefully you enjoyed reading this entry, and hopefully you agree with me. Now enjoy this Weston video from 1995.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Single issue and package pricing is posted at:
ISSUE VIII: SAN FRANCISCO GRAFFITI
The biggest zine I've ever published. 64 pages featuring photos from the Spring of 2009.
5 " x 7"
ISSUE VII: SAN FRANCISCO GRAFFITI
A pocket sized zine photographed in the Fall of 2008 in San Francisco.
4" x 5"
ISSUE VI: SAMMY WINSTON'S (S)CRAPBOOK
A pretty little pictographic walk down memory lane with King Spiderghost as your guide. This is HITD Zine's second ever collaboration, and its first ever color publication.
While this book is largely personal, if you're looking for pictures of 90's era SF graffiti, there's some gems in here. Also for fans of little kids with guns in their mouths.
8" x 6"
ISSUE V: SAN FRANCISCO GRAFFITI
A top-fold zine photographed in the Fall of 2008 in San Francisco.
The first issue produced with full bleed art. White margins are ugly, and are now a thing of HITD Zine's past.
8" x 5"
ISSUE IV: SAN FRANCISCO GRAFFITI
A standard, half-sheet sized zine photographed in the Summer of 2008 in San Francisco.
5.5" x 8.5"
ISSUE III: CONDITION SAN FRANCISCO
HITD Zine's first collaboration. Featuring more than 50 documentary photographs by Chris Willmore. Frisco is a grimey place and this proves it.
5.5" x 8.5"
ISSUE II - SAN FRANCISCO GRAFFITI
More graffiti from the streets of San Francisco. Photographed in the Summer of 2007.
5.5" x 8.5"
ISSUE I - SAN FRANCISCO GRAFFITI
The first issue. Frankly, this one isn't shit compared to the following issues. I've got a bunch of copies left over so I've dropped the price to $1 + s/h.
5.5" x 8.5"
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Hopefully the impending job search doesn't hamper this streak too badly.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Having only been to one other memorial in my life, I consider myself very fortunate to not have had a very clear understanding of the nature of such a gathering. Things became clear today when I had a revelation – a memorial isn't meant to be a grim and morose occasion where one stews in miserable feelings of loss. Instead, it really is meant to bring comfort and closure through a demonstration of just how much love and respect surrounded the dearly departed in life, and especially in death.
Rest In Peace, Matthew Joel Mahoney. You were a really great kid, and I wish we could have shared more time together.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
This is not the case in this matter. Less than a week ago, a young man was murdered by police at the Fruitvale BART track. I still fall for the bullshit "cops have a tough job" type of excuse from time to time, especially when allegations of "murder" are thrown about regarding a police involved death; but the following video is horrifying, and will thoroughly allay any doubts of this story's veracity.
"...graphic video taken by a passenger was released by the Bay Area television station KTVU. It shows an unarmed and unresisting Grant, lying face down, shot at point-blank range by an officer as his horrified friends and onlookers watch."
Please read a more detailed account of this police murder from this website.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
I wish he had more of a chance to do all of the things that I simply take for granted, but I hope he's found a better place now.