I was going to shoot a video for this. But, my painting isn’t finished and I’m waiting for proofs of the zine to come back from the printer. So, I can’t show a finished copy. But, I do want a vlog to be a regular part of these blogs. I have a pretty good setup for it now. Maybe later, eh?
Anyway, I have been in constant pain for the past two months, with acute tendonitis in my right hand. Been wearing a wrist brace and gobbling ibuprofen all day. From what I have read online it can take six weeks to six months to heal. Shit.
Nonetheless, I’ve made incremental progress on my work. The seasons move faster than I do, though. I’ve been stuck on one song for awhile. Keeping a friend’s advice in mind, to do ONE THING at a time, I haven’t abandoned it or moved on to anything else, yet. I haven’t thrown out anything in awhile, so maybe that is a little improvement? Lots of things are 1/2 done or 1/3 done. Not enough is totally DONE done, though. Motivational videos and encouragement from friends helps. I try not to be so negative all of the time. Devi Ever once called me “Negative Mike”.
Having some organization keeps everything going. The less you have to think about it, the better. Planning a schedule of some sort at least tells me when something SHOULD be done (not that I can always stick to it). I don’t want to say what I am GOING to do, though. It is better to just show whatever I do when it is done.
“Have more than you show, speak less than you know.” – William Shakespeare
The first issue of Theee Urban SpaceCat cassette-zine is FINALLY done! Is it worth the long wait? I rearranged some pieces that I had spread out over other projects to get it finished. “Done is BETTER than perfect, because perfect never gets done”, I guess. So, it really isn’t turning out like what I originally had in mind. The zine has been pathetically overdue, on a Chinese Democracy level, intended to be released every 3-4 months, not 4-5 YEARS! This is largely my own fault, not entirely, but mostly – it is. Financial and personal obstacles have contributed to endless delays and setbacks. I also keep procrastinating and shooting myself in the foot. Such as you do with mental heath problems. Theee Urban SpaceCat #2 won’t take as long to finish because the next several issues are at least partially completed already.
Because money is always tight I am publishing all issues digitally first, and will get physical copies ready to go when I have money for printing & duplication. I’m making stickers, cards, buttons, and other goodies to go inside the zines. These are also available to my supporters on Patreon.
Ideally, I would like to have X amount of material completed by each week / month / quarter. A certain percentage goes to Patreon supporters. Another percentage goes to Theee Urban SpaceCat, Island of Misfit Noise, and whatever other projects. I don’t have the money to produce a full album in a studio. But, maybe I could periodically release 7″ vinyl singles. Gradually, I could do that until there is enough recorded for an album! Now that I have my tax ID and a business account at the bank, I am setting aside a tiny budget for all of my projects. It isn’t enough to do everything at once. But, at least I can get a little bit done while I build up my resources. If I’m lucky, I can attract the interest of some small labels to front me enough money to get more stuff done sooner.
Some folks over at Electronic Cottage have shown interest in collaborating with me on the next Island of Misfit Noise album. Time permitting, I will have made enough progress on the IOMN movie to get it out this Fall. I have lots of other ideas still cooking on the back-burner. Hopefully, I can get them going a lot faster than I have been doing so far.
Here is some music from my collection. MarshaKat got me into this when we were together. So, blame her.
Time still flies when you aren’t having any fun. I am absolutely certain that time speeds up as you age. That is why old people wear clothes that are out of style. It was still in fashion just a minute ago, for them.
I was planning to include a vlog today, since vlogging is meant to be half of these posts. But, honestly, I don’t have anything worth videotaping right now. I also don’t have any new paintings to show.
2019 is speeding by, just like the past few years have. WTF is wrong with me? Besides the usual shit? Things actually are going pretty okay right now. I had a few rough months between December and February. That mess is finally settled, notwithstanding my growing piles of debt.
I have a list of folks waiting for Theee Urban SpaceCat cassette-zine. I have been digging through stacks of demo tapes and gigabytes of incomplete data trying to finish it. I have enough material already done for a complete issue or two… or three. But, I have spread it out over several zines. I didn’t like the way it was when I compiled it all together. So, I am filling each issue, finishing each song, one-at-a-time. A friend suggested that I do this to get myself focused, instead of hopping all over the place like I usually do. Get one thing done. Then, move on to the next thing. This approach seems to be pushing the process along, I suppose. Creating the equivalent of two double albums every few months is kinda hard when doing it all alone and you keep shooting yourself in the foot. Everything is absurdly late getting it out.
I asked around about getting my mixes mastered. But, I cannot afford to do it, not entire albums anyway. I might have one or two singles mastered for radio… maybe. The rest will just have to be a raw mix.
I am waiting for the government to process some of my tax shit, so I can finish setting up the business side of things. They’re still catching up from the Trumptard shutdown a few weeks ago. It has delayed everything. I’m never happy dealing with that sort of stuff. But, I anxiously want to get it done and out of the way.
Here is a Daniel Johnston song from my record collection for you. I get the same feeling myself sometimes. I am always starting my life over again… and again… and again… and again….
This is the sort of filmmaking that I aspire to. The only available information posted about this short horror movie is in the description of a YouTube video.
Many respected film historians refer to Redheaded Vengeance as “the greatest no-budget VHS horror short of all time”. Enid Sachbalm of The Des Moines Register described it as “the Rambo 3 of homemade VHS horror shorts”.
The Criterion Collection dismissed it as “a repugnant abomination, crudely fashioned by mouth breathing lunatics” – but that’s only because they’re too damn stupid to understand it.
Redheaded Vengeance was shot sporadically in and around Columbus, Ohio between 1997-1999. The original goal was a feature length film – shot entirely on VHS – for almost no money.
Much more footage exists than what’s seen in this 10 minute short.
The “budget” was probably something like $47.06. A single Memorex SM4300 VHS camera was used. Final editing was completed in 2009 using IMovie. No one involved had any movie making or acting experience.
Sean – who played Redhead a.k.a. Pigtails – did an incredible job. He was completely possessed by the character while in costume—it was true movie magic.
It has been quite awhile since I said anything about other bands that I like. So, I guess that it is overdue for me to mention Distorted Pony. They are an industrial / noise rock group that began in 1986, then disbanded in 1993. I began listening to them in the early 1990’s, but frankly knew nothing about them except that I liked their music. I looked into their background many many years later, after they had long since broken up. Surprisingly, they are very similar to my ideal group to be in; two guitarists, a bassist, and a guy banging on oil drums & metal junk. They began with just two people, bass player Dora Jahr and guitarist David Uskovich, accompanied by a drum machine. Eventually, they were joined by London May on drums, Theodore Jackson on percussion, and Robert Hammer on guitar.
I was also unaware, for a long time, that London May had played in so many other well-known groups (Samhain, Dag Nasty, Circle Jerks) and is an actor.
They have briefly reunited a few times, since 2010, and began to perform reunion shows. But, I think that their current European tour will be for the last time. So, check them out, if you can.
I forgot to mention in the video that I received a hard copy of the comic book I contributed to, finally. It is called Heartman and was written & published by David Leibe-Hart, of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! He invited 48 artists, including myself, to illustrate his story.
I’m making a long-term creative decision, a new policy:
Get it done, first.
Talk about it, later
This was something that Thomas Edison learned, the hard way, after making promises about his new inventions that took longer than expected for him to bring to fruition. He eventually stopped doing that and just surprised people, after the fact.
Since I am often delayed by external forces (money, supplies, equipment, etc.), as well as personal issues, it makes me look bad. It looks to everyone else like all I that do is talk about what I’m “gonna do” and not actually get anything done. I can’t really blame anyone for having that perception. Since I don’t show everything that I do and I discard unfinished work. Stress exacerbates my mental health problems. That cuts into a lot of my productivity, too. Finding internal balance is a personal high priority, if I want to get out of my own way. Managing where I focus my attention, I have found, is much more important than when I schedule it. Although, having a schedule is important, too, or I wouldn’t get ANYTHING done.
Another new policy that I am implementing is:
No collaborations without a deadline.
I was told that this is one of my mistakes when working with others. It is too open-ended. People require deadlines to get them off of their ass, apparently. That might be true. Unless someone says something to me, I will probably work alone and take forever doing it. There is that problem with focusing, again. I am still open to collabs. Don’t get me wrong. But, I think establishing a time frame for projects would make them go along faster. I’m usually easy to schedule because I have more free time available than everybody else. We just need to work around the other commitments of interested participants.
I am figuring out how to go about collaborations, using my new policies.
I don’t want to pressure anyone too much.
Keep it fun.
But, still have a predictable process on a schedule.
So, okay, here is what I have got:
I will keep on doing what I do, alone.
I shouldn’t say any more about that.
The less the better.
When it is done, you will know.
If someone wants to work on a track with me I will set my thing aside and work on the collab, instead.
Somehow, I will turn it into something.
I will try to take no longer than a week to finish it, more or less, and return a copy of the finished mix.
You can do whatever you want with it.
The finished track will go into the next Island of Misfit Noise video or album project.
I haven’t figured out how I’m gonna do that, yet
I guess when we have enough completed material gathered, it will just go out.
No, I’m not talking about your cousin who drives a Mercedes, has his own insurance business, and always picks up the tab when you go out for beers. I’m talking about super-rich people: the Walton family, the Koch brothers and, yes, the Trumps. I’m talking about people who continue to make money off the backs of the poor while convincing those same people to remain loyal no matter what. But the truth is they are never going to share or trickle down their money to you — regardless of how white you are, how loyal you are, or how much you support their companies or their politicians.
When a family like the Waltons, worth over $50 billion — that’s billion with a “b” — are fine knowing their employees are collecting food stamps to survive and they do nothing about it, that speaks volumes. It says loud and clear: I don’t fucking care about you!
When Donald Trump was willing to close down and bankrupt multiple small businesses because he couldn’t be bothered to pay his bills, all while living in a gilded penthouse and flying around New York City in a helicopter, that screamed: I don’t fucking care about you!
Creating jobs isn’t a thing to be praised.
Creating well-paying jobs is. Billion-dollar corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s don’t create healthy economies. They create mass poverty. Anyone can create a job. I’ll pay you $1 an hour to clean my house, do lawn care and general maintenance Monday through Friday for eight hours a day. There, I created a job. Have I contributed anything to society? No. Have I boosted the economy? No. All I’ve done is put one person in poverty.
“Job-creation” is nothing more than a catchphrase that politicians use to get votes. It doesn’t mean anything. Let’s say there is a small town with 500 people and a factory opens and pays minimum wage. If the company hires everyone in the area, the result will not be a thriving community. It will be a community of 500 poor people. Yes, the factory technically created jobs, but it also spread poverty. Never forget they need us more than we need them. Without us working their low-paying jobs, they have nothing. Make them pay fairly for your labor. Make them create well-paying jobs.
Black and Brown people are not the reason you’re poor, rich white people are the reason you‘re poor.
Corporations siphon money from profits to share with stockholders, upper management, and CEOs, leaving everyone else, regardless of color, scrambling at the bottom for crappy pay. The owner of the factory is the reason you are poor, not the person of color working beside you for the same wage. Don’t be angry at the immigrant trying to make a better life. Be pissed off at the company who exploits both of you so they can pay lower wages and maximize profits.
There is NO such thing as a “Welfare Queen.”
There never was. Politicians made this up. It is propaganda designed to make you think people of color are lazy and want a free ride at your expense. If you resent them, you are more likely to vote to eliminate programs that benefit them but could also benefit your own family. Generations and generations of white people have been programmed to be racist even if it’s to their own detriment. By helping to keep people of color down, you keep yourself down — and that’s how politicians want it. Consider how the GIF below uses racist propaganda to persuade you to think negatively about people who need government assistance. (And no, one example of a person buying steaks with food stamps does not prove the entire welfare system is corrupt.)
The “War on Drugs” and “The War on Crime” are fake.
These programs target minority communities and keep the private prison system making billions. As collateral damage, poor whites sometimes get sucked into the system, but not enough that anyone cares. Poor people are funneled through the prison system with plea deals. Incarcerated people work for pennies a day in a modern-day slave trade, making products for billion-dollar corporations.
The rehabilitation system has almost no programs for actual rehabilitation because the system wants ex-convicts to fail. It’s how they keep the money pouring in. The propaganda of these fake wars tries to convince white people that black and brown people commit more crimes, that white people should fear them, and that prison is where they belong. If you allow yourself to be brainwashed by racism, the system will continue to prey on poor people of all colors. Rich people hire lawyers to get out of prison time. Poor people are scared and pressured into plea deals. And no one cares until it happens to them.
Stop listening to people who say you need to boot-strap your way up, especially if they have never had to boot-strap their way anywhere.
This is a myth wealthy people have been telling poor people for centuries. It’s a way to keep poor and working-class people grinding away at jobs that create more wealth for them, not you. It’s a way to pit working class people and poor people against each other. Instead of showing each other compassion and joining together, we look down on anyone we see as “not working hard enough” — even when that mentality keeps us down too. Working hard is admirable; being made to feel lazy or less than because you lack equal opportunity is manipulation.
Rich people don’t have some magical way of thinking that makes them rich. They aren’t better, smarter, or more creative than poor people. They have more money, and more money offers greater opportunities. That’s it.
I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t try to better their lives. Never give up. What I’m saying is stop beating yourself up because you face a longer, tougher road to succeed than someone who was born into wealth and privilege. And try to have compassion for those who are struggling to make ends meet. Beating people down who are already exhausted isn’t just unfair — it’s cruel.
Wealthy white people love to see poor people fighting among ourselves.
If we dislike each other over things like race, sexual orientation, and religion, then we aren’t paying attention to what the billionaires and politicians are doing. They want you to get riled up over wedding cakes, who uses what bathroom, and what to say at Christmas time. By pumping out media stories that make you think you are losing something, or that your lifestyle is in danger, they can keep you focused on stuff that really makes no difference in your life.
I’ll put it like this: if I offered you $5 more per hour at your job on the condition you do not insert yourself in matters that don’t concern you, like gay couples getting married, would you accept it? Here’s another way to look at it: would you rather have a $100 Christmas bonus, or a $1000 Holiday bonus? When we take a step back, get honest, and ask ourselves if we genuinely care how other people live, the answer is usually no. We get fired up over the onslaught of shocking headlines, and that’s exactly what people in power want.
Rich people have convinced working class people that unions are bad.
Workers are stuck in low-paying jobs without the power to walk out and negotiate for better wages and benefits. News outlets (owned by rich people) frame stories of union walkouts as if workers are lazy or greedy. They often show workers of color on picket lines to reinforce the notion that black and brown people want “something for nothing.” That is one way to minimize wages for workers and maximize payouts to stockholders and CEOs.
If a CEO makes $120 million a year, in one year he or she has enough so they never have to work again for the rest of their life. They never have to work another day, and neither do their grandkids or great-grandkids. The entire family is set. Do you think they care if the company goes belly up? Why would they when they’ve got theirs? If you lose your job are you set? Corporations spend a great deal of time peddling fear in workers that the most important thing is the “health” of the company above all else. That’s just a tricky way to convince workers to take less, so those at the top can take more. What’s the best way to achieve that? Split up unions and take away workers’ power. There is power in numbers, and they know it, and do everything they can to keep us from seeing it. Remember: without your labor, they have nothing!
When the show Friends became a runaway hit it came time for the actors to renegotiate their contracts. David Schwimmer, who played Ross, went to the rest of the cast and suggested that, instead of negotiating individually, which could lead to resentment if some were paid more than others, they should negotiate as a single group. The result was the entire cast was paid the same for the run of the show. It was equal and fair, and no one left the show because of hurt feelings or resentment. That’s a union.
There is a myth that raising the minimum wage would allow unskilled workers to make as much as skilled workers and that wouldn’t be fair.
Again, this is more spinning of tales so that wealthy CEOs can keep worker pay at an all-time low while they make billions. The truth is if minimum wage went up, skilled wages would go up too. How? Let’s say you are an EMT working for $15.00 an hour and the minimum wage goes up. Now everyone working in retail and fast food is making the same as you. Pretty insulting, right? Wrong. That’s what corporations want you to think so you will fight to keep other poor people down. If the minimum wage rose to $15, you could get a job anywhere for the same pay. That would give you leverage to negotiate a higher wage by saying, essentially, “There is now an abundance of jobs paying what I make. I can leave and take one of those jobs unless you pay me more for my added skills.” Your skills are now worth more. Instead of $15, you may get $20, but you’ll never get the $20 if you keep fighting to keep others down. Lifting others lifts you up too.
Continuing to support politicians who give tax breaks to the rich is never going to make your life better.
When a company gains billions in tax breaks, the people at the top get multi-million-dollar bonuses. Workers at the bottom may (if they are incredibly lucky) get $1000 after 20 years of service. That’s $50 a year! A one-time bonus of a $1000 will do nothing to change a working person’s life. At best, it will alleviate a bit of stress for one month. One month for 20 years! Meanwhile, CEOs and other top executives are wondering if they should buy a yacht or another vacation home. While poor people are cheering over being thrown slop, the rich are pigging out at the buffet table.
If poor and working-class people stop fighting each other and band together, we have the numbers to make real change. Rich people know this, and it terrifies them. If we suddenly start demanding better wages, they may have to give up a bit of profit. If we start demanding health care and quality education, they may have to pay a bit more in taxes. If we start treating each other with respect and equality, they can no longer use fear, homophobia, racism, and propaganda to distract us.
We have the power. Now we need to stop giving it away.