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Oct 13: A Performance (21 Days to go) [Oct. 18th, 2016|03:33 pm]
Greetings Fellow Comstoks!
While I've mostly overcome a lifelong habit of feeling excessive symbolic stress on calendar markers, birthdays require advance work to remain calm. Each day I'll write a post about something interesting related to my day. The goal is to make myself either do myself either do something interesting or view the day as interesting regardless. The point is to head off that "what am I doing with my life" stresshole that tempts me every year.

Tonight I saw a bullshit performance, though I briefly enjoyed it as confirming I've reached the point as a viewer that I can quickly discern between unsuccessful and bullshit. I won't be specific as the performers had staged good work elsewhere.

I will say: if I have to sit through another piece which mostly involves minimalist writhing on the floor very near an audience in flat rows of chairs, meaning only those in front can see enough to appreciate the tableau, I'm going to bean someone with a Stagecraft 101 textbook.

The bullshit involved recycling an installation piece (staged over hours in an empty room viewed through a window) as a dance with zero contextual changes except length.

Upon reflection, the original installation was an ideal for the second space, a small low building in a high traffic area with windows on several sides. So now I'm puzzling over the process which led to a seated audience: was someone concerned not enough people would walk by and look in? If so, was it the venue or the artists? Who knows. I watched the backs of people craning their necks for a while then left.
Link3 said it all|what you say?

Tokens (22 Days to go) [Oct. 12th, 2016|01:40 pm]
Greetings Fellow Comstoks!
It's 22 days until my next birthday. While I've mostly overcome a lifelong habit of feeling excessive symbolic stress on calendar markers, birthdays require advance work to remain calm. Each day I'll write a post about something interesting related to my day. The goal is to make myself either do myself either do something interesting or view the day as interesting regardless. The point is to head off that "what am I doing with my life" stresshole that tempts me every year.

Last year I found a 1967 50 Kopeck piece commemorating 50 years of Soviet power near the Picasso Sculpture on Daley Federal Plaza. I carried it around, imagining stories of how it got there, feeling like I had a ward against capitalism and eventually losing it. This is part of a longer cycle of symbolic coins or tokens that have passed in and out my pocket.

This morning I was walking along brooding on how much I hate capitalism when I stopped to pick up a pile of pennies on the sidewalk to give it to a nearby panhandler. Speaking in a voice low enough I had to bend to hear, he told me the pile was a test and asked me to give him the dignity of listening to him for a few minutes. It wasn't a hustle so much as just the familiar trawling for a larger donation I've heard from public radio, alumni associations, candidates and any allegedly worthy cause. This pitch acknowledged what it was while pointing out the humiliating need ask for money and respect was still real. I'm resistant to most sales, but an appeal to the obscene divide from which I benefit was hard to resist. 40 bucks, 2 tall boys, a pack of smokes and two blocks making small talk later, we parted ways. As he walked away he paused and threw a coin on the ground towards me. It was a 2 pound coin. I can't tell if it was a gesture of appreciation or contempt, or the street version of a complimentary tote bag, but I'll hold onto it until it inevitably slips from my grasp.
Link9 said it all|what you say?

running underground with the moles, digging holes [Aug. 27th, 2016|11:22 am]
Greetings Fellow Comstoks!












Link5 said it all|what you say?

So right now, I was thinking this. [May. 9th, 2016|06:16 pm]
Greetings Fellow Comstoks!
Over the last week Fort MacMurray, a major city on Canada associated with the tar sands, was partially destroyed by a wildfire which is still burning. It was one of the largest mass evacuations in Canadian history - but not the largest, which wasin 1979 when a chemical train derailed in Mississauga, Ontario forcing 218,000 people to flee (it's now called the Mississauga Miracle because no one died).

It was massive, spectacular connected to climate change and spreading smoke as far as Wisconsin, impacting the weather even further. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan had expressed regrets about not being able to help more due their own wildfires.

I'm up on much of this because part of my daily podcast listening are news break pods from Canada, but it's also been getting major coverage in Australia and Ireland. I suspect this is partially a commonwealth/former British thing, partially a sense of kinship in massive natural disasters that have increased in intensity in recent years (for Ireland floods, for Australia, flood and fire).

Yet despite fire being high on the list of atavistic fascinations for humans, conversation about this was light on my social feeds. I follow a lot of people, but that conversation involves enough factors (Canadian or paying attention to Canada, paying attention to the news, uses social media to discuss news and/or terrifying/depressing things, has thoughts about a specific event they consider interesting enough to post, posting at a moment when I'm watching feed) cohere into a venn diagram far more rarely than the confirmation bias machines in our heads expect. Instead the social media slot machine coughed up far more chatter on how long it took for the coalition in Ireland to select a Taoiseach. At my workplace, well, the conversation is limited most of the time. My in the flesh friends and family had little to say on this particular item out a million others save "WTF". So I had feels in every direction with no outlet and now the crisis appears to be passing without enough massive devastation to buzz in my circles at least. Which is about the least interesting aspect, but there you are. It's me on Livejournal.

To somewhat coalesce this set of tangents, the most recent news search I did while typing this post produced this comic yet appalling result.

No one died except my profit taking.

The algorithms decided the biggest trending aspect I'd be interested in was how less tragedy than expected was a bit of an economic loser. Capitalism everyone!
Link11 said it all|what you say?

Two Decades Yet Totally Now [Feb. 15th, 2016|04:38 pm]
Greetings Fellow Comstoks!
Via Twitter, I found out today is the 20th Anniversary of the Shawinigan handshake (that link provides most of the info, except how the Prime Minister broke one of the protester's teeth). It's one of those things which is amusing on one level yet not fucking funny at all.



The guy getting choked was protesting cuts to unemployment benefits. An obscure iconic image from Canada is as much a harbinger of North America's future.
Link4 said it all|what you say?

Quotable from a recommended writer [Feb. 9th, 2016|11:55 am]
Greetings Fellow Comstoks!
@girlziplocked or Holly Wood is a pseudonymous author writing with energy, wit and creative swearing about politics today. Her work resonates. You can find her on twitter on Medium and tumblr (which includes a link to a tumblr of great quotes she curates). I've got decidedly mixed feelings on twitter's long term utility, but there are a number of great writers, most not dudes and/or white, whom I never would have found otherwise.

Here's a quote from a piece she wrote for the Village Voice:
If I am alarmed, it is by the profound languor of the comfortable. What fresh hell must we find ourselves in before those who've appointed themselves to lead our thoughts admit that we are in flames? As I see it, to counsel realism when the reality is fucked is to counsel an adherence to fuckery. Under conditions as distressing as these, acquiescence is absurd. When your nation gets classified as a Class D structure fire, I believe the only wise course is to lose your shit.
Link2 said it all|what you say?

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