Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

15
Apr
19

Photoshoot in a Room Full of Needles

urbanex

I’ve made another orbit around the Sun, another birthday here on this planet…and life marches on. Miguel and I patiently kept on watch, as pensive as fishermen on a Saturday morning, waiting for the perch to bite. Our constant search for new buildings or structures to enjoy a bit of urban exploring (urbanex) finally hit paydirt and a road trip was set on my birthday to the head West of Highway 32, to the small burgs and villages between Sleepytown and Illinois. My camera was cocked and ready, a fair amount of coffee and herbs were taken to boost me up for the hour plus trip to get to the Parke County Poor Asylum. We were leaving the world of politics and social media screeds behind; a journey to the other side, actual communities with limited to no phone reception. The joke everyone talks about, how they wouldn’t know what to do without their phone, we were getting ready to go experience that.

The directions to this place were vague and disorienting and that left us wandering up and down the highway looking for this big brick structure, a somewhat dilapidated box-like building. No matter how hard we looked at that horizon, we could see no buildings other than farms and small residential houses. The continued scan of towns sidetracked us into some scenic bonus material though. One road we turned on put us at a chained driveway entrance, clearly marked for no trespassing-a sign with silhouettes of AR-15s on it. We stopped at a quaint little Amish community store stocked with old school voodoo medicines. Tinctures, powders, natural salves born of Appalachia origin, perhaps, maybe a mixture of Indians and German Pennsylvania Dutch outcasts who settled in this area. Maybe just a lot of made-up bullshit they threw in a jar. Regardless, I had to buy some medicines, if for nothing else, I appreciated the fact that there are absolutely no instructions on how much to take or how often. I did notice the ingredients included alcohol, so there was no passing that up.

Then, finally, we find the place and it’s all worth the effort. We drive up on this aged brick two story, the aging asylum where they cared for the poor, decades ago. Overgrown grasses on a lawn that was once manicured to pristine condition, now weathered and patchy, like the hair of a cancer victim that starts falling out. Pieces of furniture are littered at the entrance, looks like a frat party aftermath. We do the slow creepy crawl inside, room after room, snapping the sublime beauty of decay on our cameras. This place was a live setting for a horror film scenario, a stroll through the Hell existence homeless squatters hovering here on cold evenings must experience. Mattresses in some rooms, now abandoned…maybe the squatters are out on walkabouts to get food and cigarettes. Maniacal graffiti messages, crude drawings of penises and vaginas on the walls, happy faces, death threats. In one room about a half dozen hazardous material buckets filled with used hypodermic needles had been emptied on the floor, reminding us of the movie Saw. Another room was being used to deposit shoes, which, I designated (in my mind) the Room of Shoes. Another room I had to surname the Garden Room, and I have no idea why that name came to me. First impression as I walked into this room, I suppose. The room was destroyed a bit by time, nature beginning to reach in and grow over everything with molds and leaves. It looked like years ago, it might have been a beautiful garden area to wheel patients in to see the flowers growing outside, as consumption ate their bodies away. Naming or identifying rooms helps me with quick communication of a location. Everyone there would certainly understand what area I was talking about if I referred to the Room of Needles. There was no mistaking where on the property that place was.

The orbit around the Sun begins again and life goes on. This artistic jaunt to wade through visual disintegration of buildings and their content is some of the best therapy my brother and I have. Some folks get together and go bowl, some go blast animals with guns, some play Dungeons and Dragons, but we seem to like this urbanex hobby. Living art being made with time that you can capture on camera, but like all things captured on camera, it’s never as good as the real thing. The boots-on-the-location experience is the only true way to grasp this experience.

More jaunts, less political soap opera.

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05
Feb
19

Continued Observation, the World Shifts

observations-2

I haven’t posted a sermon at the Church since last Summer. I’ve been strapped to the mast of a ship, heading through the Sea of Insanity, and felt it was time for each of us to just hold on a while. Cling tight to the ropes and see how we fared the increasing temperature this nation-this world-plods into. Amerikans, stand poised on the brink of another Civil War, according to a huge number of people I speak with (about the shape our society sits in). So many are convinced that the political situation we painted ourselves into a corner with will lead to destruction by the hands of the masses, not by the command of our leaders. Our leaders grow more stagnant by the day and have a hard time kicking old political habits. The House and Senate are our nation’s arena for entertainment; A bizarre lust of pleasure through pain we preview via hand held tech; it fucks with our temperament. News spews on our phones and tablets and stirs up the emotions of voters, citizens, non-citizens, African Americans, Latinos, White Supremacists, political advocates…et. al..

A new State of the Union address tonight, hot on the heels of a carnival showcase battle between the Crimson King and that python from the East, Nancy Pelosi. She took reign as Speaker of the House in January and immediately began to worm her way into the craw of Trump. This 2019 State of the Union was up in the air for a bit and this left us wondering if there would be one telecast. After partially opening the government, the show was scheduled to go on. Plenty of weed and enough Quervo to see this performance, so I might as well sit back and watch the theatrics unfold. I no longer look to our politics to change our world. The mere presentation of intent can spur change as quick as anything.

I get into watching the performance, more than the message. The proof of their promises show when the dollar hits the table…like selling artwork, for me. So many will tell me they want a painting or they would pay me to paint this and that, but I only believe it once that dollar hits the table. Same way for my politicians. I’ll believe them when things start moving on the street. But I do enjoy watching the speeches.Watching political speeches is like an opera, a vaudevillian extravaganza of old goats in tailored clothes giving dramatic words. They should have confetti cannons, maybe tails and top hat dancers to intro the thing.

06
Jun
18

Continued Observations of Our Dual Society pt. 1

observations-1

The Church pews have been vacant for a few months now. I haven’t given up on adventuring to political rallies, late night drug and alcohol infused jaunts to explore the realms of sanity or engaging with the people of my world on the bus line. I have, however, been more focused on observing the continued evolution of humans in the twenty first century. Advancements in technology are beginning to have new impact on how we live our lives, online and offline. It wasn’t too many years ago that dial-up internet connection with slow baud rate was the means to get online for the few fortunate enough to own a computer, install a program from a disk onto their computer and jump on AOL. Streaming video and YouTube clips were, at best, dreams of what might happen one day. Advanced, sophisticated computer programs were still in infancy stage, web capable cell phones were unheard of; all this left our future a thing to wonder at, and be filled with anticipation for. An advanced society, better than any portrayed in a 50’s SciFi flick, seemed right around the corner…and then, technology marched on and mutated into something we weren’t really expecting. Now, we’re prisoners of pseudo-robot captors, chained to the addiction monkey of high tech. Our phones have us by the balls and leave so many feeling they can’t carry on in a world where that device is not at hand. Facebook enslaves our souls.

When I uncuff myself from the phone and venture into the world of live humans, I find a much more rewarding world, one that doesn’t leave me flat and dull. A few days back, I spent time with a woman, riding the bus line. She was a thin framed Black woman, hard lined face and street smart. She needed money and asked if I would buy her bus pass for two bucks. A day’s bus pass cost four dollars so, it’s not like she was going to make a fortune-and she wasn’t even asking top price, so I bought it. She appeared to be in her fifties, good spirits, but tired. Tired, like so many of us after a long day. She told me that she had to spend her days hunting down disposable diapers for adults. She had a condition that had her going through twenty seven diapers a day; a leaking urinary tract that she had no money to have operated on. Her life has nothing to do with the daily news buzz on what Donald Trump did or said. She knows nothing about a kid in Arizona who got the shit beat out of him by a group of cops, caught on video and posted online, like raw meat to lions. She hasn’t heard about the most recent school shooting, or watched the protestors who describe the survivors of such events as choreographed shills for the ‘Lefty snowflakes’. Her life’s a daily search for diapers to avoid being seen in public with wet pants. She has had to adapt to a world where she can’t afford health coverage, only gets enough money to survive on handout food from church pantries or low cost, dollar store items, like Pop Tarts and shit food laced with high fructose corn syrup. This is just one instance, in the world of the living beings, unaffected by technology.

Over the weekend, a drinking buddy and I were at my local haunt, chatting with other kindred souls, swilling down liquor. My buddy gets a call from their grandmother who needs help. Grandma is old and can’t control her bowels. She’s unable to wipe or clean herself. It has become the responsibility of my friend to handle that task, when called on. This is an example of our technology put to good use. Only a few years ago, this wouldn’t be happening. We didn’t have the ease with which to be connected to those in need. Handheld phones were more luxury than most could afford, but now, damn near everyone has a cell phone. Phone booths are all but phased out of this country and most of us no longer memorize friend’s numbers or locations. We let our tech take care of those small things. We helped our friend out, because that friend was too drunk to be driving; drove them to Grandma’s to clean her up and before long, we were all back to our drinks. Being baked on cannabis and a few drinks was not a concern for navigation to Grandma’s; we had Google to assist us. Again, there was an example of good use for technology. People no longer have to carry maps in their car, or rely on the memory of their drunk friends (or drunk self). I use that technology when I get lost in a strange part of any town, need the phone number to a local business, wonder when the next show at any given theater starts. These are all prime examples of how tech can work to enrich your lives and make it easier.

but then, there is the bad side of it…
(contd.)

27
Apr
18

My Small Diatribe Sermon on the Mount

sermon

We’ve been riding a wind from Hell on a ship of insane sailors, the seeming political destruction of our country before our eyes, a civil unrest in Amerika as we live it, thrown up on the newsfeed of the day. Anyone who can’t see the reported division in our society today is blind with naivety, or high on bath salts. The wanton lunacy of our Crimson King scares us daily and even though we all knew we were in for a bumpy ride with him, we now know this may not be the worst of it. We aren’t even halfway through his first term reign and Trump just keeps delivering these stingers. -and of course, media will scare some (encourage fewer) to imagine and fear a two term Presidency from Don. Welcome to the Church.

Around the time of my last sermon, my observation had been directed to the march/protest in downtown Indianapolis against gun violence and how a group of people felt about it. They held their gathering of a few thousand boots on the ground in bad weather, the same weekend other cities throughout the U.S. held protests. This left me wondering; would this unsanctioned, unified protest bring about any new results? That nationally focused ‘citizens against guns’ protest, or whatever the fuck they wanted that rally in March to be known as, is now pretty much boiled down to a memory. Our next day’s atrocities are already being created…Trump stories, or Nazis marching in the streets, stories almost waiting their turn in line to hit you first thing in the morning. They’re already in place to soften the anger people felt for a while against gun violence, at least, enough of a hate to show up that one day. People keep trying to protest and change things, but they’re having very little teeth against a small growing cancer of mongrel white trash ideologists, hitting meth and worshiping some false glory they’ve dreamed up with racism and hatred. They patrol their neighborhoods and breed their words, a new generation of xenophobes and hate mongers being seasoned, and slowly, repopulated into our world.

The country continues to ramble on, and how we have been surviving still appears to be a miracle, in my eyes. I couldn’t keep reporting on the every day flow of ill news and societal suicide this Administration has been dealing out. I needed to take a break and recall the piece of voodoo magic that made life great for me. This blog, this Church, was initially a hall of healing for me and gave me the gift of having an avenue to witness our society and writing about the strange observations I’ve stumbled through. The Church has led me to follow and witness those boots on the ground people of our Amerika, initially in the Mile High streets of Denver, then again in Sleepytown  – Midwest USA …Indianapolis. The Church was an avenue of personal therapy for me. My ability to observe and report what I experienced by watching a political Movement grow and fail, helped me through hard, personal times. More recent, here now in 2018 with a game-show host in charge of the United States, the fascination with reporting on politics has become a bit unsettling. The therapy stopped helping so much. I haven’t posted in a while because the agony so many are going through will not be appeased by my mere writings and I couldn’t-didn’t want to- keep up with the pace of the daily scare newsfeed. We are harboring a storm, a real shitstorm, for sure, and I after the gun protest I felt a need to break away to enjoy the people I know, my local compadres. I knew you readers would fare while I bonded with the Bohemians I crowd with; out and about listening to indie music bands, thrashing it in some basement, old school slam dance release of energy, rooms full of artisans drinking large amounts of liquor and doing large amounts of drugs. Closing down bars and pontificating on life instead of politics with akin spirited drunks. Listening for a God, looking for logic.
Take time to do these things, folks. Work it into your schedule, somehow, because close friends are those people next to you on your emotional sinking ship, and they will be your closest friends through times of trouble. Go visit friends, then you can get back to the madness.

14
Mar
18

Frankenstein’s Cloud pt. 2

frankenstein-2

One last online group I forgot to mention (at the pause of this sermon; Frankenstein’s Cloud pt. 1) and that group is, you and I. Every day we get on the internet or check our phone for social chatter, watch media, listen to flotsam. We become victims, caretakers of a monster which seems unstoppable as we try to ignore the barrage of shit that offends us, by posting shit to offend them. Eventually, one of the dozens of videos we stumble across hits a nerve. Something startles you into reaction and before you know it, you’re busy searching online for validation of your opposition. Someone was shot by cops. Somebody kicked a dog or screwed their kids. Some politician just took your good earned taxes and put it in their pocket. The news feed hits you so fast that you barely take the time to slow down and check the sources of a story, you just sling it along to shock the next person you know.

So the suggestion I bring to you, to help thwart this madness we suffer (being hooked to our devices), is to unplug a bit. A simple sounding suggestion, but so many won’t do it on a regular basis. Leave your phone alone one day out of the week. Remember; our society, back in 2000, was not filled with everyone-everyday-being thrust within the social cloud, via their phone. That was less than twenty years ago, but now we act as though we can’t get through one day without phones running our lives. I suggest you back off from the daily horrorshow on your phone and reconnect with just being yourself. Observe things, look at birds, reflect and evaluate what you’re experiencing. visit a good friend-in person. Go to a bar in your hood and talk someone’s ear off. Trust me, your phone will be there when you get back to it.

Homes and offices are equipped with internet access, phones to check Tweets, television broadcasts on 24 hour news channels and we all seem to get in the habit of letting them run in the background, like white noise. Some of our actions have become Pavlovian in response, the involuntary checking of the screen for messages, the pensive moment waiting for a response to what you just posted.  Avoid news and entertainment programs for one day and use it to open your eyes and view what’s walking right in front of you. Steer clear of McDonald’s for one day, if you know they have a television blaring Fox News in the morning. Don’t pull up the MSNBC website on your computer home page and start perusing the latest political drool. Online program services like Netflix or Hulu allow you to gang watch entire seasons of programs any time we want, so all you have to do is avoid them on your particular unplug day. Your favorite show will be there when you get back. Those shocking news stories hitting the airwaves, right now? They’ll be there the next day. It’s all just like soap operas; you can go away for a month, come back and pick up right where you left off. The online entertainment extravaganza just keeps on going. The online news scare will never go away…not totally.

I’m not suggesting we all revert back to a more simple time, that would be a ridiculous thing to expect. What I suggest is a more equal time in your life between the social cloud we make and interact in, and the world of flesh and blood where humans connect with one another on an unseen level. People who don’t think we need contact with one another forgot, or never saw, the footage of the experimental Rhesus monkey they deprived being able to touch it’s Mother. The thing went batshit, acted like a strung out crack addict. Humans need contact as well, but if we become reclusive and shy away from contact with others (other than online), how can we expect a healthy outcome?

One day a week. Could you do it?

07
Mar
18

Frankenstein’s Cloud pt. 1

frankenstein-1

So many of us have become like Odysseus; tied to the mast of a ship, eager to hear the sounds of the sirens, even knowing that to do so will leave us incapable of sane thought or reason. We plunge headlong, day after day, onto social media sites, we fill out ears with 24 hour news prattle, we watch YouTube clips and assorted media pumped to us by friends and enemies alike, showing heinous crimes and abhorrent behavior. We spend very little time to holding media stars accountable for their words or actions and let them off the hook in a few days after we become inundated with the newest monsters. More swill thrown at us to gasp at, more click bait tugging at our curiosity. Fuck that old video of some kid who died, there’s a new dead kid video someone just posted. Shock footage and teaser headlines have become more addicting than crack cocaine, attitudes flare up on a daily basis and get shoved in your face via phone, television and computer. We’re all getting caught in a trap and refuse to fight the monkey developing on our psyche. Welcome to the mother fucking Church, people. Scream all you like, we’re tied to the mast and can’t get away.

Everyone’s got a story-I’m no different in that regard-and we all want to be heard, or seen, or paid attention to. All of this is possible, on the cloud. The positive concept behind what the social cloud could offer us was the opportunity to express ourselves, be creative, share moments of our life with loved ones and educate ourselves on a rapid scale (by comparison to the age of paper bound publications). Technology grew and gave us fast, new, exciting ways to convey the sublime…and the mundane. It got way out of hand though, and here we are, wrestling with the madness, fighting the taunts thrown at us by media moguls that prey on your attention. We’re given minor distractions in the form of apps we take with us wherever we go. We develop this nervous tic of snapping pictures, regardless of how meaningful they are. People are given free games where they can look at bubbles and put them in rows and eliminate them, while taking a shit. We never seem to be alone, yet we all feel so lonely.

This technological lifestyle is a growth spurt that humans and machines are going through…growing pains, I should say. It’s as awkward as puberty and lots of folks are still trying to find solutions; I’m no different. I wonder if this is the foretold Age of the Singularity coming about ( for those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘Singularity’, use your tech. You’re reading this blog; you have the ability to Google ‘Singularity’). Maybe it’s not going to be some stark reality where robots are running down the street using their laser eyes to kill humans. Maybe the Singularity comes about in a subtle form of societal hypnotism, mesmerizing humans with flashing lights and sounds. Serotonin triggered moments from getting so many ‘likes’ on a post-and if you think you’re vulnerable from that particular rush, if you think you can fight that feeling, see what happens when something you post out there spikes three and four digit numbers of online viewings. It’s a rush, a high tech blow job and we all could use one of those, so I understand folks-but with the good comes the bad. Saddled to the back of those good feelings from social media is this monster which frightens us into an alert status, pulling at our primal fear instinct. It doesn’t matter whether we want it or not, it will be there. The evil side of our technology is the equivalent exchange, the penance we pay for now having the ability to reach a global audience in an instant. The beast that can frighten us is being fed and nurtured by people with fat wads of cash who can fuck with the world at their wallet’s leisure. They fuck with the world on a grand monetary scale. We also have the lone kid in some distant room in Bangkok, or Russia or anywhere else, that has a lonely bored lifestyle and can fuck with the world, because that lone kid has nothing but a computer and time. And, of course, we have our politicians. They are vapid pieces of monotony who strive to be more spectacular than ever, online. They pummel us with video footage and press releases each and every day, email campaigns that never stop, while the common problems they could fix or help out with, go untouched. Roads decay, environments rot, people’s health care depletes  and our political leaders continue to dance before our eyes while nothing gets done. The Crimson King, Donald Trump, masters his tweet launches as a stinging weapon to harm those who oppose, and mentally masturbate those who follow. His outlandish statements and jaw dropping on air performances sidetrack everyone from stopping his clandestine operations. The flippant behavior to his civil service, the job he was put in place to do, has everyone wondering what the hell could he possibly do or say next?….and then he does it.

(contd.)

02
Feb
18

Revolution 2018 pt. 4:

protest-2018-3

Purple neon laser lights flashing across the expanse of huge rooms while young teen dub step pseudo-music cranked out across stages and stages of teen cheerleaders. Competition at it’s most pro moment…I don’t think there are any adult cheer team competitions, so this is as high up as the sport goes. Maybe college competition falls in there somewhere but I don’t recall having seen it. The charm of cheer team competition falls off in college, usually veering toward sorority of fraternity involvement.

Miguel-o and me, stoned up and at the cheerleading competition-the fucking nationals of cheerleading. A seemingly endless sea of costumes and jumping youths, proud parents and vibrant colored banners flashing in your face. It was as eye popping as Vegas and the most bizarre thing I could imagine getting caught up in Saturday. I was keeping things together in my mind at this spec-spangular (my word…spec-spangular: spangled and spectacular) event, not even concerned at that moment with the protester’s across the street. My fear of crowds, dusted over with a glazing of cannabis, looking for shots but not looking too long or focused for shots…

Soon enough we felt it was time to leave, time to check back in on the march. Once the Capital was in sight we noticed the steps and surrounding grounds were once again, barren of people. The pole tents were still there, police still patrolled and some organizers continued to shuffle around, but no other people. We walked over to get some answers from the organizers as to where the crowd went, when slowly we began to hear the familiar chant of people marching toward us. a march did take place after all. Now the big question was, how large was the crowd? How quick could they have grown in that small amount of time we were at JamFest? How would they fare, size-wise, to the Women’s March 2018 marchers? We waited and eventually the march made it’s way west on Senate Avenue and upward to the main entrance steps where the tents and police were waiting. The marchers at best, numbered about eighty people. The only strength in voice they had was from the fuzzy microphone hooked up to a speaker that the main honcho organizer carried. The main honcho organizer was the same one who had delivered the sad news to the crowd about the no sticks ban they were hit with earlier. You could see in her eyes that she struggled to keep some dignity, but I know she would have felt a lot more dignified and energized with a larger crowd; certainly, a crowd larger than eighty people were needed for her to clear that hump.

Here it was, at my face, once again. The failed protest of the masses, the inability to make a dent in the wall of (their) oppression. This smacked so hard of the back and forth movement I witnessed years prior, halfway across the country, in Colorado. Already, the fever of taking down Wall Street, the Occupy Movements that swept the country with mild interest, are being forgotten. The current Administration-the current leader of this country-has become a worse nemesis to Progressive and Left Wing voters than the Occupy era, worse than Bush Junior or Senior. Things appear worse to them than the Cheney years, but they can’t seem to produce enough boots on the street today, in two thousand eighteen, to even acknowledge a look their way, from the Crimson King. He continues, unscathed.

The back to back protests took a lot out of my concentration. Since the beginning of this 4 part post, I went back to polish syntax errors and grammar; I whisk along to get out these sermons before they are too old. News streams through at an incredible rate and it seems every day, some insane, torturous story is thrown in our news feeds via phone, television or computer. Media stations continue trying to scare and startle you with their newest fabrications of concern to Amerika. I try to devote time to keep this blog going and keep my observations relevant. Hard, in contrast, to compete with the stream of 24 hour news mania.

The most shocking thing of your day may be some video clip you saw, filmed some place you probably can’t (or won’t stop to) identify, and the most commitment too many out there will give to a revolution, is the commitment of changing a profile picture to sport the theme colors of that week’s protest. If you want to go on protesting via online memes or posting little emojis of turds and thumbs down gestures to friends, if this is the therapy you need to get through the day, then by all means, continue with that cyclical, spiritual act. Or maybe you want more women elected into our political system. Maybe if we vote enough women into positions of political power, this will all get fixed. Now-go stare at a picture on Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton, and see if you can buy into that, totally. Try to remember the protesters squatting in the Northwest, with guns. Try to remember the protesters being hit with water cannons at the pipeline…those were all before Donald Trump.

You think it’s gonna be easy?

Fin




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