Archive | August 2015

Erasing the Sexiness of the Design Process

Design is sexy. Really, it is. It’s the foreplay of a build. There’s still some courtship happening, and everybody is excited to be on board. You go into it thinking that it’s going to be everything you’ve heard it can be (the good parts, anyway), and can’t wait to show your stuff.

The process of design, however, is very UN-sexy to say the least. And the necessary evil of selling design – that creeping reality of design – can prove downright repulsive. Hot rod design is like a strange or taboo sexual fetish. This weird fringe interest that you see sometimes in public when it sells a magazine, or promotes a project just enough to score the builder sponsorship for parts, but never really can wrap your head around just what it does behind closed doors.

That being said, working as a a hot rod designer is like having to force your creative soul out on stage to perform that strange, ritualistic fetish fantasy act for some self-absorbed, ego-maniacal, overgrown man-child seeking to show just how big his dick is to the other deviants he keeps close (and locked in perpetual competition with); and finding out midway through that it’s a snuff film.

Surprise!

– excerpt from my forthcoming book I Left My Name Off of the Cover Just to Keep Things Consistent With The Other Projects I’ve Worked On – Drawing Cars for Disappointment and No Profit: Introduction to a Career

The Illuminati and a Decidedly Darwinian Approach to Survival: My Best Ideas Come to Me in the Sandwich Spread Section of the Bread, Crackers and Cookie Aisle

And then it hits me. Again.

You often hear so much talk of the “Illuminati” and their “New World Order”. Sure, the Rothschild family and their ilk have the money and the power and the media and, well, everything else, and now they want your guns. And yet, we commoners have something they don’t: DIVERSITY.

Consider that all of these royalty-types had practiced inbreeding and incest throughout history to keep their bloodlines “pure”. If you stop to think about it, if we can all just get along for a little while longer, we can eliminate them without spilling a drop of their precious, better-than-you blood.

As I see it, they’re probably a generation away from being offed by a peanut butter sandwich.

Perhaps We’ll Try the Beige Instead

When it comes to updating a room in the old house, little can compare to the utter rage-inducing past time of painting the walls… and spattering that color all over the flooring, regardless of how careful you were in shoring-up that drop cloth. The choices in hue are endless, as are the finishes. There’s interior semi-gloss, interior satin and eggshell and matte paint. And while it’s certainly fun to do your own painting, it’s even more fun to pass judgement on these people you call your “friends” when you visit THEIR homes.

Now, far be it for me to judge one’s interior decorating skills, but it’s painfully obvious having been there a few times now, that this person’s “paint professional” at Lowes has misunderstood them time and again, and instead of giving them a nice decorator color in a sheen befitting the futon and loads of worthless tchotchkes on the crookedly-hung IKEA shelving, said paint guy has blindly swiped the first can of “interior meh” that he drunkenly stumbled toward on the shelf marked “What In the Holy Fuck Were We Thinking When We Chose THIS Shit-Licking Color?! And How Does That Fucking Midget Dago Cake Boss Warrant a Line of Paint Colors? Seriously… ‘Bada-Bing Blueberry Pie’ SHOULD be called ‘I Would Claw My Eyes Out if There Weren’t Some Chance of My Subconscious Recalling This Color and Forcing Me to Have Dreams of Being Chased Around By a South Jersey Version of Violet Beauregarde Wanting to Give Me Some Sort of Anaphylaxis-Inducing Blowjob… Did I Mention That in This Particular Dream That She Has Teeth Not Unlike Evil Ed From That Fright Night Movie and Some Sort of a Twitch in Her Neck? Well, She Does, and In an Alternate, Ambien-Addled Version of This Dream She Gives Birth to a Fully-Grown, Sentient Cabbage Patch Kid Who Sings The Alphabet Song in German But Replaces the Words to Craft a Song About the Many Uses of Cheese Cloth for the Lactose Intolerant, Even Though Cheese Cloth Contains NO FUCKING DAIRY WHATSOEVER, Being Made of Cotton –Which Wouldn’t Be Unlike Stating That You, as a Man Have an Adam’s Apple, When in All Actuality, the Bible Doesn’t Call Out ANY Fruit in Particular, and as We Cannot Be ENTIRELY CERTAIN of Just Where in the Heck This Garden of Eden Was to Begin With, Our Chances of Correctly Naming a Fruit That May Have Grown There are Greatly Reduced, But We Could Certainly Venture to Guess it to Have Been Like a Fig or Something and Don’t Even Get Me Started on this Rib Nonsense But I Digress –  Non-Stop Until I Shove a Red Plastic Wiffle Ball Bat Down its Throat, But Then I Slip on What Appears to Be the Placenta From This Unholy Birthing Deal, But It’s Made of String and Slime and Old Copies of People Magazine and the Next Thing I Know it Becomes That Weird Falling Dream Dark Blue’ ” discounted return paint section.

But on their walls, it works. It just says “her”, you know? And not simply because she looks like some swollen vampire who just won a pie-eating contest. May her diaphragm always be within arm’s reach, should this actually be the case.

Reality TV Show Pitch #866.2.5

Anyone can imagine a world of peace and love and never-ending happiness and blue skies and all of that bullshit. And anyone who watches enough television can imagine a world based within a world that’s taking place in an alternate reality of their favorite show.

However, it takes a real hero to imagine a world in which the most popular form of entertainment involves a mash-up of the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show, “Fantasy Island”, the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, “Deadliest Catch” and “Robot Wars”, but as a musical with choreographed dogfights between Elvis impersonators riding on armored Zambonis, battling to the death in a variety of improvised challenges (voted on in real-time by viewers via text) for an honorary degree. Winner gets the title, while the loser’s selected school has their electricity cut for nine years, and they are required by decree to sacrifice the tenured professor with the grayest hipster beard on their campus to the Lovecraftian deity Cthulhu, High Priest of the Great Old Ones. May he eat your home last.

A Picture of a Letter (or: Classical Communication Meets Social Media)

I like to keep my letters to our boy (who is in Marine Corps Recruit Training presently) light and on-point.

That said, I thought I’d share one with you, should you like to engage in the time-honored tradition of messing with your kids head via the Postal Service.

…and I’m sharing this via an image of said letter, as I’ve found that many people on social sites won’t read anything over a few sentences long, but will look at a picture. Thus, what we have here is the potential to communicate via a medium that so often fails in that very department. By forcing someone to read an image, well, we’re deconstructing the very notion of not reading in the first place. I feel I have done my part. Should you one day read a case a study on this very phenomena, I hope that you’ll recall reading it here first, and then not eat a pickled egg, for fuck’s sake.

letter

Fill Up on a Rock-n-Roll Legend

mung album

You may know of Led Zeppelin (and other bands as well) having had practice sessions in Clearwell Castle following Robert Plant’s personal tragedy, but you may not be aware of the band Helium Submarine and their lower-budget recording sessions high in the Rocky Mountains. As I complete my research and begin writing the script for the major motion picture based upon their story, I’d like to invite you to crack open a fresh bottle of whiskey and bring yourself up to speed on one of the greatest rock-n-roll fables never told.

helium submarine

The fabled band, having begun as a side project of three roadies from Black Sabbath, the next-door neighbor of an ex-girlfriend of a guy who changed the oil in Deep Purple’s tour bus, and a guy who knew the guy who scored the pot for a batch of brownies that never made it backstage to the band Sweet, Helium Submarine began as a cover band, but soon found their sound and inspiration via a shared interest in Pre-Columbian history, Biologist Trofim Lysenko, and Tesla’s third cousin Lepzig, inventor of the “Purple Nurple”. Composing such epic tracks as “Overcoming Gravity: The Pharaoh’s Phallic Pleasure Palace (The Ballad of Hefferendendanum, Stone Mason and Footballer Extraordinaire to the One and Only True Descendant of the Beer God, Pete)”, “Hybrid Turnip Yield Failure”, “Lysenko VS Mendel’s Giant Pea in the Lair of Common Sense”, and “Jacob May Have Had a Ladder, But I Have a Really Long Fireman’s Pole, But It’s More for the Chicks” (Parts I-VII), which in and of itself comprised three sides of the quadruple concept album …and a side of open-mindedness for my date, please (which tells the story of an astral-projection date gone terribly awry when one of the couple’s silver threads becomes entangled in the power lines following a time-traveling misadventure), the band was not getting commercial radio play, most likely due to the length of their songs (27 minutes on average). Or perhaps an affinity for screaming the word “pisspussy” repeatedly each time a cymbal would crash following a piccolo solo in an arrangement. By their second major release, “Captain Squeaky’s Sandwich Disaster”, the band was pursuing new roads, accidentally inventing “sampling” when they had a tambourine stolen, and the sole remaining recorded track of the missing membranophone was found to have, in the background, their neighbor, one Ms. Elsa Sheranislovsky yelling at her cat to stop peeing on the rug (and thus the birth of the aforementioned catchphrase “pisspussy”).

captain squeaky's sandwich disaster

In any event, their A&R guy, Jerry Bettleford-Volume (heir to the Volume Family fortune – his great-Grandfather was one Chas. Whitwether Volume II, inventor of the volume knob, and who, having the foresight to not only Patent the device, but also managed to retain the forward rights for all future inventions, including what he described in 1904 as a ‘moving picture box” 1, was able to leave a very sizable empire and thus provide a comfortable life for his family to engage in pointless endeavors such as being an A&R guy) had suggested that the band try a more “radio-friendly” sound, and the band sought to head to the famed Clearwell Castle. Naturally the label denied the trip on grounds of “absolutely zero budget”, and as DoubleCross Records Senior VP Sol D. Seitowicz was quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t trust those morons in a garden shed, much less a castle.” Ever forward-thinking, Bettleford-Volume bartered with a neighbor to use a cabin that he had won in a game of high-stakes Hungry Hungry Hippos after-hours in the zoo he worked at, located in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains, deep in what is now known as Colorado, just slightly upriver from where Coors gets its water. The cabin, of course. Hippos cannot survive in the mountains. Not for lack of trying, mind you. We’ll cover that in a future post, “Noah’s First Ark: Big Waves Tend to Carry Things a Long Way From Home” (Scholastic Designation: “The Engineering of a Storm-Induced, Sea-Faring Vessel, While Having Obvious Similarities to a Regular Ship, Like Say for Instance a Barge or Something Like That, Would Logically Dictate Notable Structural and Functional Differences From One Designed to Endure a Storm of Sea-Making Potential While Carrying a Pair of Every Known Species for an Undefined Period of Time, Allowing for Storage of Fecal and Other Matter of an Undetermined Prior Mass in Advance of Setting Sail and Thus Begs the Question as to Just How Many Versions of Said Ark There May Have Been Before Noah Got it Right, and Just How Many Really Cool Animals Didn’t Survive to Make That Final Journey, Assuming That Said Animals Weren’t Just Complete Douchebags, and That Then Begs the Question of Whether or Not it Weren’t Simply a Case of Choosing the Wrong Animals to Bunk with One Another, as We Have No Record of an Official Bill of Lading for Any of Said Ark Versions, Or the Ship’s Crew, Most Notably the Social Director”; Remedial Title: “Big Animals on a Boat”).

What was to come of that trip is now a part of Rock-n-Roll folklore. At nearly any festival, you can hear it being re-told in hushed tones over the hypnotic crackling of a campfire roasting Fritos and S’mores-flavored Hot Pockets… and the gasps for fresh air between breezes carrying the foul body odor of the attendees far along to the next campsite.

Following a two day hike to the cabin (which, had it not been for lead singer Ashton Mung’s severe leg cramps and the band’s insistence on using a place mat treasure map taken from a Denny’s near Loveland Pass as the only form of navigation, would have taken approximately nine minutes from the frozen lake their plane had set down upon), the band settled in, and began writing what was to be their first commercial album. According to the manic scratchings and crudely-rendered cartoon penises in bassist Paul-Jean-Pierre Gowenbrowski’s journals, many of the songs were of an absolute genius not seen or heard since the Beatles and their secret “K-Mart” sessions, which bred over 4 million hits worldwide. The band had truly found their stride. Drummer Steve “Ukulele” Marzipone was experimenting with new forms of rhythm, as well as time signatures based on the numbering system for describing sexual positions. Lead guitarist Todd “Lozenge” Lozengensen was discovering new sonic frontiers alongside the string section they had liberated from a Czechoslovakian cover orchestra (hailed in their time as “The Closest You Can Get to the Philadelphia Philharmonic Without Having to Deal With People From Philly”), and rhythm guitarist Jim Freuchelisnki was working to harmonize with synthesizer wizard Vinny “The Organ” Quinn. The lyrics were of a deep personal nature to lead singer Mung’s heart, but dumbed-down just enough to rhyme and repeat per and over again, making them ideal for radio and the idiots listening to it. Things were progressing beautifully. Even the dozen oil painters brought along to create cover art were finding inspiration in the spectacular views and many varieties of hallucinogenic plants growing in the area.

Then it all fell apart.

As storms blew in, the band refused to leave. While ninety four of their entourage sought refuge in the town at the base of the mountain, and the remaining seventy-seven musicians brought along left on planes over the next three days, the band pressed on, writing and arranging their magnum opus. During this time, the weather worsened, blowing in Arctic air and temperatures reaching 70 below zero… But not before dumping forty-nine feet of wet snow upon the tiny two-room cabin.

Over the next five days, travel was impossible, and the resulting horrors I will spare you here. Having burned all nine of the drum kits, Marzipone was close to a percussionary breakthrough, using the skin and bones of Quinn; it being decided that his services were no longer needed, especially with the power being knocked-out and all. Suffice to say that in a Donner-esque turn, only one band member was to survive the ordeal… although left an empty shell of the fun-loving poet genius he entered that cabin as.

mung album

The resulting solo album,  1-8-5  (the cover art was an assemblage piece; a collage of the surviving pages from the journal that escaped burning on day two, and released overseas as Wiping You Away) has been hailed as a “remarkable work of lyrical inventiveness and very unique arrangement, paying little, and at times absolutely no attention to things like music theory”, and rare copies can be found in the bargain bin at weird little record stores that you wander into named “Spinners” or “Deep Tracks-n-More”, thinking that they may have a public restroom you can use while attending local art fairs and drinking far too much lemonade.

1I should write a bit here about the controversy surrounding the demise of the volume knob, and the resulting drama surrounding that, more commonly referred to in scientific circles as “The Great Volume Button Controversy”, but let’s be honest here, and accept that this has gone well beyond where it needed to, and save that for another day, shall we?

Everyone is a Critic

I had submitted the rewrite of the script for my epic re-working of “The Wiz” (you know, the Bukakke version with the all-Asian cast, but set against the backdrop of a sleeping pill-induced dream taking place in the subconscious of a young starlet following a dinner date with Cosby in ’78), and the studio returns it asking yet again why I had chosen to replace a key character with an elephant (seemed obvious enough in the scene where it uses its trunk to liven-up the foam party), and if the dive-bombing monkeys really need to masturbate so furiously, especially since I have refused to allow Kevin James to be cast as all eleven thousand of them (and yes, his “angry Paul Blart face” worked in pre-viz, but come on… this is art), even if it means losing my PA “Daisy”, a two year old Pitt Bull/Lab mix.

That said, Kanye is still on this wish-list to freestyle rap over midi versions of Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy tracks… which, if cued-up with the original movie matches the action on-screen, assuming you replace the first nine tracks with Tone Loc’s immortal Lōc-ed After Dark, dropping “On Fire” and “Lōc’in on the Shaw”, naturally… and eat a bag of bath salts.

In worse news, the Mapplethorpe estate has granted us full access to the archives of his work for the movie poster, but not signed off on the rights for us to have line art created from those works to use as a part of a promotional coloring contest. I may just pull the plug on this one and finish up my proposal for a Saturday morning cartoon series based on the unlicensed (but still underground cult hit) Bollywood remake of the film Titanic, but set in an elevator in an alternate dimension in the year 4057 (with voice acting by the cast of the original Resident Evil video game).

However, my plan to reunite Val Kilmer and Richard Stanley on the project should provide a wave of warm fuzzies hitherto unseen since the Eagles’ fabled 1980 show in Long Beach. To call this an epic of epic proportions would be doing that word a grave disservice, my friend.

Parental Budgeting 593

Actual conversation in my home (and either damned good reasoning to purchase a Miracle Ear for myself, or one heck of a play to save $.99 on an app):

“Why in the hell would you want super-saggy, aromatic, pocket-sweaty testicles?!”
“No, Dad. I said ‘Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars’.”
“Oh… Not sure that sounds much better. Let’s just forget this ever happened.”
“So can I get it?”
“Which one?”
“Never mind. I’ll ask Mom.”
“You’ll speak no such filth to your mother.”
“Just forget it.”

The Cars-as-the-Star Double-Standard

I have it figured out.

They cancelled reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard because of something much deeper than just a flag on a Charger. It appears to me, anyway, that the liberals have been unable to crack the mystical powers of displaying that graphic on a vehicle, and thus are furious over not having access to the abilities possessed within.

To illustrate my theory, note that the Duke’s Charger and the Bandit Trans Am each have a Confederate flag displayed on them; one has it on the roof, the other as a part of the old Georgia state flag on the front plate. Each has the mystical power to clear a body of water.

stunt jumping

Ted Kennedy’s Olds, well, not so much.

I rest my case.

…and while we’re talking about some meaningless sand-in-your-vagina bullshit, may I suggest banning all reruns of The Munsters? After all, Grandpa had the “Dragula”, and that looks like a coffin which offends me because funerals are sad… and old people sort of smell funny. TV shouldn’t make people sad, it should tell you about how awesome the government is and what stuff you need to buy to be like celebrities. And body spray.

Also, in Family Matters, Urkel drives a BMW Isetta, and that’s German, where Nazi’s come from. Oh… was that mildly stereotypical? Nothing at all like claiming that a car can be “racist”, right? Yes, it sounds almost that fucking stupid. That’s like banning the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile simply because it resembles a gay pride parade float (minus all of the leather chaps-wearing, ABBA lip-synching people you’d see loitering around that big sausage wagon at the state fair.

And thinking about it using the logic of the ‘racist car’, let’s aim for truth on television, ditch the ‘Political Correctness’ shit and ban all reruns of The Green Hornet because (and let’s be honest here) we all know that most Asians can’t drive for shit in real life. Discuss.

Fractally Speaking, It’s Just a Lot of Empty Space

I find it amusing that in mathematics you can be faced with an infinite sequence of iterates, and that in life or on social media you can be faced with an infinite sequence of idiots. While the former can create wonderful fractals like in the Mandelbrot or Julia sets, the latter just fills space.

Speaking of Mandelbrot and his cohorts, today I present the Brian Degree of Injective Idiocy, which aims to illustrate the vast complexity of idiots and their behavior, describing said behavior as a sort of Menger sponge (that being something which exhibits an infinite surface area and zero volume) based on the idea of the Facebook news feed. See that? Practical, fun applications of higher math. Memorize this, and you’ll be the smartest motherfucker at the water cooler. You’re welcome.

That said, consider the math behind the idiocy of what is a typical Facebook “news feed”. Keeping within the earlier examples of fractals, we can hypothesize that your news feed is like an example of a Cantor set or Sierpinski carpet (we’ll get into this in a minute) in that we have an example of something subdividing into smaller copies of itself by removing one or more copies (i.e. “Unfollow”), and continuing recursively, you wind up with more of the same, just in smaller, usually dumber servings.

Let’s put this into better terms to help form a mental image:

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that we’re applying the Cantor ternary set, and that the one-third we’re removing is that of “intelligently-written content” (leaving us with this space filled with isolated points that we can arbitrarily approximate by using the other points, usually finding another point someplace in the same neighborhood, and from here we can reason that there is some interrelation of the parts to create the topology of which we’re presented, and via this connecting of parts, we have this “perfect space” – not to be confused with “MySpace”, which was a collection of glittery GIF’s and self-absorption. This could be taken deeper with a discussion on Baire spaces, which is a great little play on words if you geek out to this shit like I do – in which the content IS the space it occupies). Imagine, then, that you have a two-dimensional square, and you subdivide that into nine smaller squares on a three-by-three grid, and then you remove the center square. This is the start of what’s called a Sierpinski carpet. You could do this to the remaining height squares to infinity. Picture your square as a three-dimensional cube (and that the squares we were removing are all cubes as well). That initial cube might represent the totality of your news feed. This complete, wonderful cube represents your hopes and dreams for an entertaining and informative batch of posts that can boost your mood for the day… bring a smile, help you catch up on friends and whatnot. At this point, your Facebook news feed is a Menger sponge (effectively a three-dimensional version of the Sierpinski carpet mentioned above, wherein each face of the cube is a Sierpinski carpet).

Then along comes reality.

First holes in your happiness are punched clear through by some ass re-posting a joke or meme from eleven months ago with a comment like “OMG, this is so totally ME!!”, and with that, the center cube is punched free. Following this, you see some fake-ass “news blurbs” with headlines like “In 3 Words, This Celebrity DESTROYS Dr. Benway’s Favorite Drink Recipe”, and the segmentation has begun. Adding a TON of surface area, but no real content. This segments further with each “share” of something you posted, or that sixteen of your friends already shared, and then some liberal douche decides to ruin it all and throw in some “cause” like protecting the Los Guanos mosquito breeding grounds, even though the bastards spread malaria and other nastiness (the mosquitos, as well). We could, at this point compare your feed to an Appolonian net, as we’re becoming aware of the circular nature of shared and rehashed posts which appear like fractals generating from triples of these circles, each being tangent to the other two… You could picture this as looking like bubbles at the top of your drink in a glass, with a distinct pattern forming around three central bubbles, with the consequent bubble patterns filling some Minkowski-Bouligand dimension, but that’s just getting crazy.

If you’re not careful, you can find yourself aimlessly walking around this infinite space of utter nothingness. If we consider that our Menger sponge/news feed is a closed set being bounded by it’s geometric shape; it is compact (you only receive the posts from friends and those feeds you have “followed” versus EVERY available feed or post on the totality of Facebook) and by nature it is an uncountable set as it extends to infinite space – it’s a universal curve (a curve being any object of Lebesgue dimension one; this includes trees and graphs with an arbitrary countable number of edges, vertices and closed loops, connected in arbitrary ways), and in a similar way, the Sierpinski carpet is a universal curve for all curves that can be drawn on the two-dimensional plane, and our Menger news feed here is a three-dimensional version of that – in that it has topological dimension one, and any other curve, or more precisely any compact metric space of topological dimension is homeomorphic to some subset of it, and again simultaneously exhibiting an infinite surface area and encloses zero volume. Noting that any intersection of the Menger sponge with a diagonal or medium of the initial cube M0 is a Cantor set (bear in mind, there exists a homeomorphism of the cube having finite distortion, squeezing the holes in our sponge/feed and leading to a Cantor set of zero measure… we could consider this to be a direct result of “well-executed trolling resulting in the fabled ‘Un-friending’ action”, but more on this another day). In this truth, we can see just how complicated idiocy can become if left unchecked, or worse, ENCOURAGED.. We can also see just how by dropping a little knowledge on one subject into another, we can make even the dumbest of subjects appear important, intelligent, and wind up with a post worthy of your time to have read in the first place.

Tomorrow, we’ll apply what we learned today about the Menger sponge/Sierpinski carpet and my Degree of Injective Idiocy to the example of a client of mine who is making the simplest of things on a project into a mindfuckingly complex fractal of infinite scope and absolutely no volume or consequence (with reference to wheel center cap selection), and attempt to decode the dreams I’m having (when I am able to find respite in sleep, that is) as a result of this madness.

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