Archive for December, 2010

All Things Considered

It’s weird seeing people fight in public, especially couples. Suddenly, you’re sucked into the most intimate of moments between two people and I don’t know about you, but all I can do is snicker to myself. Now don’t get me wrong, as most people do: I laugh with myself as much as with anybody else. Back when my girlfriend turned out to be a lesbian and just barely cared enough to tell me over the phone, first thing I did was sit down and laugh.

So yeah. I was walking home the other day (I have a daily routine now, you know) and passed by a couple who, oddly, walked with me as they fought. They just came barging out of a house as I went by, and proceeded to share their deepest issues with the world, specifically myself. Kind of went something like this:

Girl: “It’s always the same with you. It’s always what you want.” She was physically chasing him at this point.

“You know that’s not true! You remember last week when I did all of that for you?”

“Oh yeah great, that was just that once. But who asked you to come barging in now?” I was under the impression that they had an on-and-off relationship or something of the sort, and he wasn’t really welcome, anymore. This made it kind of strange that she was following him as he stormed off, the irony of which she suddenly seemed to realize, as she stopped. So did he.

“Well everything is perfect, then, right?? I’m leaving, and I’m not coming back. You’re finally rid of me!” I could hear the slightest hint of his voice cracking, and could sense that he didn’t mean it. Perhaps it was his lack of tact, or bad timing, but he had come back for a reason that he had failed to explain.

Her reaction however, made her point clear.

– “…Am I really? Because I just know you’ll come back.”

As a mere passer-by, even I could feel the sting of her words stab right through him, and me, at that moment behind him. I had a sudden urge to go “Ooooh that must have hurt” but I kept my quiet pace.
He for one, didn’t know what to say. The best he could muster was:

“F-… Fine! I’m going!” And he turned around and left. I expected him to pass me by again but he disappeared somewhere in a garage or driveway.

I’m not sure why I’m going on about this, it’s just something that stuck inside my head, quite like chewing gum under a school desk. Maybe he has apologized by now, or was true to his word for once and kept away. I’ll never know, and rather wouldn’t anyway- I got my own shit to keep track of. I just hope they’re both alright and leave it at that. Nobel enough for your typical egocentric state citizen, I would think.

While we’re on the subject- All Was Going Well. This one-minute short stings quite the same way. Hooray for awkward.


So I guess I’ll have to demonstrate yet again, that just because they can’t, doesn’t mean that I can’t, either.

This is something I caught myself doing, too: To project the lack of enthusiasm and early stage of problem solving (which is problem detecting) onto anyone with a great idea. “You know how difficult that is, right? I mean, there’s this and that to consider, not to mention all sorts of issues with irritating individuals like myself who seem out to discourage you.”

When you are one of those people –and everyone is sometimes-, learn to shut the fuck up. I’ve encountered your kind so many times in my life, and if there is something holding people back from becoming the best they can be, it’s you. When an idea is proposed and you have nothing to do with it, get that straight and shut the fuck up, your opinion is not appreciated. The right phrase is “Wow man, I never would have thought of that (because I’m a douchebag). If you need any financial support or discouragement, contact me and I can provide you.” That way you’re still honest, without bringing down someone with better ideas than yours out of sheer jealousy or whatever makes you tick.

With just about everything I’ve done or intended to do in my 26 years, there have been people watching, shaking their heads and yelling their unasked and unappreciated opinions. I bet your ass some dumbshit uncle was watching me take my first steps saying “Are you certain about that? You’ll surely fall.”


It’s been a long, exhausting month for me and it’s about to end in complete suckage. I’m going through yet another fucking rough patch, topped off by the confrontation with new boyfriends who, granted, are nice enough (I went into that before) but not quite material to be dumped for.

I’ve been over and over this before so I’m not going to, again. Consider it an apology for inconsistent, aggressive writing and short temper in real life, should you notice/care.

If you’ll excuse me now, I have sand in my vagina.

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Bigotry and Sin

The bigotry of the non-believer is almost as entertaining to me as that of the believer.

-Einstein

There may come a time when we can move on without letting logical fallacy cloud our judgement on right and wrong, but it won’t be any time soon. Today, we still live in a society torn by contradicting views. Let’s get one thing straight on that subject: No opinion causes conflict in itself. It’s the difference of which, that leads to a lot of pain and misery.

Anyone aware of this should be able to conclude that they should be a little careful shouting their views for all to be heard. If these people exist, they are likely in the vast minority.
People love their freedom of speech so much to compensate for their freedom of thought, which they rarely use. A fact that should be taught in school at an early age. It’s not that everyone isn’t entitled to their own opinion, right or wrong (because looking at the naked facts, an opinion is always right or wrong), but the intolerance of which towards others’ wil bring our global society to its demise one day.
I’m looking at you too, atheists.

I am not one of them, but an enormous number of people need something stronger, higher to believe in. Whether it is a God or some powers attributed to quartz, they need to feel that there is some mystical, invisible power they can wield to help heal themselves or make the world a better place.
They use it to solidify the ethics they carry, to materialize the notion of good and bad and put it to good use in the name of something greater than them.

So no, I don’t think religion as a principle should be fought, or contained within the living room of its practitioners. So many wonderful things are done by creationists for the sake of doing good, probably more than you and I are doing, right now. Who are we to say they are fundamentally mistaken?

Yes, terrible things are done in the name of religion, just as well. But I think these things are related in the same way computer games and gang violence are. The people considering it necessary to take things that far and destroy what was built, may point the finger to some higher being as an excuse, but (as with everything), there is a major difference between an excuse and an actual reason. They’re fucked up enough to take any reasoning as a valid one in order to go and commit murder. Attacking them unprovoked on their religious views will merely give them a reason to retaliate.

All this pro/contra religious bullshit divides us and draws our time and energy away from things that do matter, like the fucking consequence of our actions, which defines whether we are good people much more than the reasoning behind them. Surely this isn’t so hard to follow?

Let’s be fair for a moment: For me, it is very hard to believe that we all come from a single forefather. I can’t accept that the earth is a couple thousand years old, or that there is some big white guy in a beard watches over us. What I find far more likely, is that scientists now managed to create a mini-big bang by colliding particles and that all matter consists of little vibrating strings.
What’s also true is that a unicorn shat in my backpack the other day and I baked delicious cake of it.

If I would have changed the paragraphing slightly, it would have been damn hard to figure out just where I was serious and where I wasn’t just now (other than the fact that I don’t ever bake cake). It all sounds equally unbelievable if you rip it out of context. So who am I to claim that my views (that exclude the alternate-universe string theory) are more sound than anyone else’s? I all got it from hear-say anyway, passed down from physicist to a computer to a reporter to another computer to me- and that is the shortest possible route, laced with oversimplification.

While unlikely, I don’t think it’s entirely impossible for me to die one day and stand before Saint Peter. And I can swear to you, that I will fall to my knees and beg for forgiveness in the case that I got it all wrong and there is actually a hell for those who don’t repent. It might seem selfish and short-sighted, but fucking Maynard, what more proof would you need?

I have my opinion and I’ll defend it to the grave, unless you can prove me irrefutably, that I was wrong. But that doesn’t mean I claim to be right, and neither should you- or anyone. Second-guessing oneself is a habit that will not only increase your own quality of living (though not your peace of mind), but arms us, as a society, against outside (read: above) influence. And don’t kid yourself: that influence is there, in the form of advertisement, cloudy politics, and whatever they come up with; “they” being those with the knowledge and means.

The assumption that you’re correct bring with it war, inner conflict and the decay of our society, all in their most literal forms. It controversially makes the arrogant weaker. The simple act of back-tracing your thought process and double-checking it with the things that you know, because you thought them out in the first place -rather than been spoonfed and assumed real- is of critical importance.

In human terms:
You could be wrong. Don’t assume that you are but get ready to accept that you are, at the first proof. Until then, stick with your principles but don’t enforce them upon others (like I am now, oh the irony). Believe me, please: It makes you stronger, more stable, and less likely to be influenced in seriously dangerous ways.


Jealousy
won’t get you anything
that you lost

-Gossip

And don’t we all know it. Shame though, isn’t it? If only jealousy would get me someplace, my god, I’d be rich and famous by now.

Yeah yeah blah blah blah I’ve been so over and over this before. But it’s still there and it never diminishes. I’ve lost count how many times I feel that stinging feeling when that person you thought you were clicking with, turns around and goes to hump some smooth-talking guy’s leg. “Alright, once and never again” I then promise myself, and end up jumping headfirst in that same trap again at the next opportunity, up until when I could just kill them both but instead end up going home.

Such is the life of the melancholic, hm? It’s got its advantages but if I could, I would shed it like old skin and simply grow out of it, so I could love people as they are, without the hatred that grows proportionally.

Could’a would’a should’a. I can sing it by heart.


"If you don’t give a damn, we don’t give a fuck!" chants an emcee before his incitements are abruptly cut short when the power plug is pulled and the lights snapped on.

Dawn breaks and the last of the after-after-parties begin to spill into the streets. The hipsters are falling out, rubbing their eyes and scanning the surrounding landscape for the way back from which they came. Some hop on their fixed-gear bikes, some call for cabs, while a few of us hop a fence and cut through the industrial wasteland of a nearby condo development.

The half-built condos tower above us like foreboding monoliths of our yuppie futures. I take a look at one of the girls wearing a bright pink keffiyah and carrying a Polaroid camera and think, "If only we carried rocks instead of cameras, we’d look like revolutionaries." But instead we ignore the weapons that lie at our feet – oblivious to our own impending demise.

We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

Douglas Haddow

Throughout history, decadence always shortly preceded demise. Right?
Food for thought.


Army Issue

I have a past as an intern, squatter, orphan, roadie, anarchist, photographer and security guard, and people forget; but the one image I’ve had a hard time shaking off is that of a militarist. Ever since I was in the army and continued to wear the uniform pants as work gear (and a khaki cap wtf), people have been eyeing me like I’m personally responsible for the US foreign policy of “shoot first”. Five years later I still get comments, sarcastic or not, that they “Better watch out, he was in the army”.

What I do still have from boot camp as a medic, besides an in-depth knowledge of your butt-naked physique (wink), is the attitude. Combat training will do that to you: Besides teaching you the ways to escape gruesome death, it informs you just how to inflict it upon others.
Just the other day I was chatting up this girl in my favorite local bar and some buzzcut knuckledragger couldn’t seem to leave her alone. Despite her attempts to send him walking, he ended up putting his arm around her.

I carefully peeled his paw off by the pinky, dropping it back on the bar. He stood up before me: About 2 meters, 90-100 kilo’s. With my own 85 of muscleweight, I was somewhat outgunned but like I said, if you were taught to catch 5.56 bullets with your teeth, it’s kind of hard to be impressed. I calmly rose in front of him and told him with an annoyed grimace at the smell of his breath, “I’m very sorry sir, but she’s with me.” To demonstrate, I put my hand dangerously high up her thigh, feeling the tremble shimmer through her.

I sensed a shadow rise behind my opponent’s broad back: A tall, skinny man with bouncing adam’s apple. Must be the gorilla’s buttmate, I figured. “Are you crazy, asshole?” he chimed in. “Do you know that this guy is national champion Muai Thai?” Confident that his partner in fellatio had his back (har, har), he shot his hand forward to grab my collar.

Expecting as much, I caught his wrist with my right hand and reached forward with my left, slamming his acne-decorated face down on the counter top. With his bitch at our feet and out of the way, I looked back at my previous conversation partner with the annoyance now somewhat clearer in my frown. “Do we really want to go there?” I asked. Shaking his head timidly, he backed away. I snaked my arm around the willing girl’s waist and with a toothy chuckle, snatched the rope dangling from the ceiling, flinging out the door and off to fuck in my treehouse in the jungle.

Hahano

You idiots are fucking rich. Seriously? I was in there for 2 years, 5 years ago, as a fucking medic. Even if I would ever have seen any real action, which I didn’t, it would have been from the sidelines until the coast was clear to drag those mouthbreathers out of there, patch them up, and send them home in a wheelchair or body bag.

In the one or two cases in my life where I punched somebody with the intent to hurt them, they basically laughed it off and continued taking their swings at me. That’s how harmful I really am. Never hurt a fucking fly and yet, perhaps based on the type of jokes I make, anyone aware that I was in the army seems to think that I mentally got stuck there somehow, and that I, with my 60kg, am dumb enough to go around picking fights.

There’s two things I am very good at in a fight: Dodging, and running. While I will do what is necessary to defend myself and others, for fuck’s sake, I couldn’t hurt you if I tried.

 


The guys and I are planning our next hike as we speak. After crossing Scotland and the Norwegian Lysefjorden, we all pretty much did what we originally planned to do, and find ourselves fresh out of inspiration. It’s not that we can’t find a place that catches our interest, there’s just too much of them.

In a desperate attempt to top Norway, we thought we’d take it to the extreme and go see Lapland. Because I was occupied elsewhere, the planning happened pretty much without me, while I just kind of cheered “Lapland!” from the bleachers. The bunch of us met up tonight, including me for once, to arrange the details. Someone had brought a printed brochure of our trail with black and white pictures. I took it and looked it over while they discussed things like cabins versus tents.

An hour in, I put the papers down and posed carefully, “Is there anyone who, like me, only half likes the idea of going there?” They all felt silent, and stared. I pointed at the brochure. “We’re going in July, which, by the looks of it, means that there will be no snow. With hardly any mountains to speak of, the place looks just like Scotland, which is cheaper, closer, and warmer.”

So after letting them plan the whole thing out and exchanging websites I never looked at, I pretty much said “no” and they made the mistake of taking that into account, even though I insisted that it was just an opinion and I would go with the group if they decided. When they asked for alternatives, I honestly said that I had none- I just felt like we could do better. The 24-hour sunlight probably wouldn’t allow for us to catch any northern lights at all (which was one of my prime reasons of wanting to go) and without snow, the whole place does indeed just look like Scotland.

When I admitted I had no alternative, I wrongly thought Iceland was off the list for some reason or other, I assumed the travel cost. When it was mentioned as an option again and photos were looked up, I pointed again. “That is where I want to go.”

While doing the Norwegian trail, I was already thinking it would be hard to find anything that even came close to the view there. But even then I knew the evident answer: The shit you see in Iceland, you don’t see anywhere else on this planet. Glaciers, hot water springs, geysers, fjords, cliffs and landscapes that fucking blow your mind all in one country. Did I mention they have puffins? They have fucking puffins.

So yeah, I’d like to go there. I’m not sure it will fly with my friends though, after my consistent and complete neglect. Still, it’s worth the trouble. Iceland is one of the many things on my “pre-death” list, which could become “post-death” tomorrow- You never know, right?. So the sooner, the better.


Photorealism

(Hold your cursor over pictures for more info, clicking on them will show the large size)

The Author, watching you masturbate.It’s entertaining sometimes, how naïve people can be when it comes to photography. I think, of all arts, that photography, or at least the (semi-) professional kind, must be one of the most misunderstood.

The masses seem to still tie photography with journalism, which in turn is falsely believed to strive towards unbiased, non-fictional mapping of facts. Without going into the latter too much, I can assure you that in both cases, they are way off.

In one of the theater productions I worked for, I also played photographer. I had just gotten my camera back then, and was learning by leaps and bounds. But of course, professional pictures were needed, so a professional photographer was hired for the job. Several actors ended up telling me they liked my shots better and while I disagreed, I certainly was flattered- Until I asked why that was, and I was told, “Yours are more honest, while his are edited.”

Let me just share something with you, and remember this well:Original below, Photoshopped above

All shots taken, are edited. Analog, digital, professional, amateur: The very act of taking a picture is not a display, but an edit of reality.

It starts with the framing of the shot: A picture stands or falls with its composition. Cut a face in half, and you might as well toss it. A photographer chooses to catch what is interesting, in an interesting way, and everything else is excluded. A supposedly “unedited” analog shot is a distorted, one-minded take on reality.

And don’t think analog is holy. It starts with the choice of negative (you don’t think the world is actually black and white, do you?), and goes on when developing; using filters to alter contrast, burn or dodge certain areas to make them lighter or darker… Compositions of different shots can be made with surprising ease, involving nothing remotely like Photoshop but creating situations that never existed.

Original to the left, Contrast/saturation adjusted to the right.Digital photography goes way beyond that, even. Don’t think you don’t edit shots taken with that retarded cell phone camera, either. You don’t really want to know what that plastic little lens really “sees”, you wouldn’t accept it. Heavy sets of software are thrown on the information given through by the sensor, to alter contrast, color saturation, brightness, and reduce butt-ugly “sensor noise”. Digital photography has the editing of shots at its base of existence.

The key factor behind this philosophy is the fact that digital sensors, after all these years, can’t even come close to the quality of analog negatives. Anything at all that could make these pictures compete, would have to be written as software. The main difference between your point-and-shoot camera and my bulky DSLR and complicated software, is that I insist on fixing these things manually, rather than let my camera do all the work.

Original to the right, white-balanced to the leftSo a huge part of all this editing is the attempt to compensate for the digital sensor’s shortcomings. But how do you get it back the way it was, in reality? The answer is, you don’t. Only when you have photography as a hobby, do you know just how much our mind alters the things we see. The difference between natural and artificial light, for example, is immense. What you call “white light” is in fact, plain and simply orange, or blue. Even the difference between noon and evening light asks for completely different settings. If you were to reset the settings on your shots, you’d end up with orange or blue rubbish- not even the kind an amateur could live with.

So what is your reference, what do you refer to when changing a picture? Not what your eyes saw, but what your mind remembers seeing. This of course adds another, huge factor: Subjective emotion. If you remember what you saw as fucking epic, you’ll want to change the photo so that it screams “fucking epic”. This often asks for not a reconstruction of the facts, but a subjectively distorted travesty of them.

Kind of self-evident? Do check the larger size.The so-called “honesty” in photography doesn’t lie in the photographs themselves, but in the photographer. What he needs to be honest about is where the limit is, and what he wants his photograph to portray. Does it need to tell facts? Does it have to show the photographer’s view on them? Is it simply for entertainment purposes? Does it need to sell itself/something else?
The viewer too, should be aware of this choice and adjust his take on the shot accordingly.

We’re all very sorry, but if the purpose of a photograph is to please and sell to the masses, there are no ethical restrictions holding anyone back to push the editing of say, a fashion portrait, into the absurd. As long as we’re clear on that, there is nothing “dishonest” about any shots. Even when sticking to reality as much as possible, the very process of capturing the image is an edit, in itself. Technically speaking, the greatest of all.

“Photography” means “drawing with light”. It is a creative process and those do not exist without the influence of the artist and his tools. So get it straight, once and for all:

All photographs that you see, be it in the newspaper, on billboards, on facebook, or on the screen of your point-and-shoot cammy, are edited- It is just a matter of how much. And when you try to guess just how much, there’s a good chance you’re not even scratching the surface.


Set Sail

It’s the tenth of December now and I’ve been “back in school” since the twentieth of September.
So how am I faring?
Let’s stick to the facts for once, without going into the deep, epic mental impact like usual.

First of all, I underestimated this course on pretty much all levels. It is much more difficult than I expected, but also more interesting and rewarding. While I was afraid to have unmotivated theorists up front, we are getting technicians and engineers who know what’s going on in the field (except for the douchebag giving us “lifting techniques” while never having seen a flight case from up close), giving us practical information and answers that make sense. How many teachers haven’t I seen that give us a whole lecture about something while proving that they can’t even grasp the basic principles, themselves?

My first test got me 87%, which by my standards, is off the chart. My theoretical and practical exams won’t be as successful, but I still have a good feeling about them. Fingers crossed.

An issue much more on my mind lately is the arrangement for internships. We’re supposed to do at least ten separate days and in the end, a two month stretch with some company. Even more than with other jobs, real progress comes from guided experience rather than the books. Which is possibly the thing about the industry I like most of all.

I’ve been contacting an independent light technician I know from work, a local borderline anarchist organization, and two cafés nearby that do live acts. So far, the only actual internship (aside from the usual theater work) I’ve done is a day at something that calls itself a music center, which has its own record label and everything. Keep in mind that this place is the size of a café, a small one at that, and then picture me this.

(Somebody I didn’t know, as I came in) “Hello!”

“…Hi. I’m Maarten, I’m doing the sound tonight?”

“Oh you, too? Hmm. It could be that I’m a week early, or they double-booked us.”

I just stared at him for a moment. After all, this one statement provided me with a flood of information.
– I’d be working with somebody who can’t tell one week from the other.
– This place works with people… who can’t tell one week from the other.
– Quite possibly, they put us two together, in hopes of creating one sound technician out of two inexperienced ones.

This man didn’t have the brains to work out how to unfold a mic stand, but he did have the balls to jump forward and introduce himself as “the sound technician” when the band came in. As a result, they used him as a spokesperson, representing the both of us with sheer retardedness.
I left him in charge of cables and such while I did the microphones, in fear of their fragile functionality. I ended up having to re-do all his connections, as well.

Then, a rather dashing young man stepped forward, whom I had assumed was one of the musicians, and said with a Colgate smile, “Hi. I’m Bart. The motherfucking sound tech.” At this very moment, the only thing that kept me from dropping everything and walking out, was the minimum of professionalism I try to hold.

Three sound technicians, one table. And nobody had the damn rider. The most useful thing I did that night was fetch the man a beer, and I learned: Nada. Some fucking internship.
In retrospect, I only half mind because when the show was over, the band asked him how things were for him, to which he responded, “Hell. The cables give a buzz, the mixing desk barely works and the speakers crackle at a certain frequency. At one point I even lost your signal altogether, but the acoustics are so bad that nobody even noticed.”

I appreciate my friend trying to get me rolling and the faith he has in me, but even as an intern, I refuse to work in places like this. If I picked up anything at all that night, it would be how to keep this shitty equipment in that shitty bunker, in check, as opposed to how music should sound and how to accomplish that.
Yes, I’ll go back there if they ask me. But clearly they don’t have the attitude I’m looking for, to put it lightly. And they call themselves a music center. Oh and get this: Afterward they sent me an email asking if, next time, I could roll up the cables properly (which I never touched) and to reset the mixing table (ditto).

I learned my lessons and decided to look further. The other café I checked with is a jazz café, which means less decibels and (thus) more quality. If I get in there, I really think I can get some actual education, which has been scarce outside the classroom, so far. Again, fingers crossed.

This whole “initiative” thing is quite new to me, and takes a lot of energy. Working up the courage to step forward and promote myself as a competent technician is hard, especially for someone introverted like myself. But it’s proven successful so far, and that’s a great confidence boost.

Voluntary work is one thing. You walk in, and every finger you lift is in contribution and everyone will be forever grateful as though you saved their Shih Tzu from a burning house. When getting paid however, especially when getting paid like you should, things are different. You come in with your pay in negative, and the idea is that you have the whole day to catch up and make them what you cost them. Gratitude only follows if you exceed that expectation.

In other words, shit’s about to change and I’m treading unfamiliar territory. The job I’ve been getting paid for so far can be done by monkeys and perhaps that is exactly why I’m rather good at it.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with expectations. I have the motivation, but this shit is all so technical. I can tell you all about sinuses and PFL and DMX protocol by now, but I will just as well turn the guitar too low.

Compression, effects, relative volumes, monitoring, recording, equalizing; each instrument has its own infinitely complicated properties, making the complete picture a scary thing for beginners like me.
This whole operation is big; Life changing big. Stakes are high, and it’s all on me. But coming from squats, to the army, to here? I’ll manage.


To The Point

WikiLeaks is under attack. The site is down at the moment, but I’m not sure if that has anything to do with the fact that the founder Julian Assange has been on the receiving end of public death threats by Canadian politicians, arrested in the UK for rape (without condom!) and called a terrorist by Sarah Palin who “should be hunted down like Bin Laden”. No, I think the server just got too much traffic.

For those of you living under a rock: WikiLeaks is a whistleblower website, which puts documents online that were sent to it. If it has any political or economical importance, it is put out there for everyone to see, including classified files and under-the-table agreements. Millions of lives are at risk, according to the men higher up, by the careless way this guy puts everything in the public.

Liable to assassination or arrest, Assange had to cover for himself. What he did was put out a “thermonuclear device,” as his lawyer called it, to “explode” if he was ever murdered or imprisoned. It is believed that he referred to a 1.4Gb encrypted document, for which the 256-digit keycode is still missing. Tens of thousands of enthusiasts downloaded this document, risking a great deal by their public support.

What I think?

I think the man is a hero; a modern-day saint. I think no amount of lives he risks can match the ones we destroy every day in our blind consumption. I think no quantity of revealed documents will ever be enough, nor will it ever repay the debt we have to every single individual whose lives we’ve destroyed, by willingly letting ourselves be lied to and not care enough to find out the truth.

The truth, ladies and gentlemen, will set us free. Transparency isn’t just a necessity, it is the very foundation of a self-governing society and the missing link to our absolute freedom apart from anarchy. The importance of Assange, Wikileaks and the Insurance Document cannot be overestimated- I soundly believe that, if we let this man continue, not just we, but many generations to come will benefit greatly from his work.

So please, I ask you: Even if you don’t particularly care about this impending revolution in journalism and the idea of complete control over our own government, do me –and millions others dying, starving or ignorant- a favor and spare 1.4Gb of hard disk space. Shove it somewhere you’ll never see it again, if that’s what it takes.

http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/5723136/WikiLeaks_insurance

It’s a legit and safe file, featured on http://twitter.com/wikileaks on Friday November 26th 2010 at 02:04:25 RST. It appears that the site crashed soon after.

Strength in numbers- We are the many and we wouldn’t be lied to if we would only demand the truth, for once. We do have the power; We dictate everything if we just face the same direction. We have but to ask for change and nobody can deny us: Corporate companies, governments, world leaders. They answer to us. So speak, passively if not actively.


Insight through the Mundane

My routinely voluntary work at the local theater is finally paying off: Another group saw me work and decided they wanted one of those. Their story is remarkably similar, too: Their technician bailed at the worst possible moment and left the group frantically looking for replacement. Only, by now I do have some experience and have earned the right to ask for compensation, in the form of fifteen euro per evening. It’s a three hour show, so that’s still ridiculously little, as a volunteer I shouldn’t complain.

This is nothing like I’m used to, though. Where my first group was experimental, youthful and interesting, this one is the exact opposite. For no less than nine shows, I have to sit through the most tedious three hours since boarding school. In fact, during the sixteen page stretch where I have nothing to do, I literally fall asleep.

The play is about an 80-year old winning the lottery and buying his delayed son, who can’t speak, a laptop that can speak for him.

The end. No kidding. They can make this last three hours.

Which got me thinking. The whole time, this kid (well, man) is treated like a retard, petted and talked about in his presence. At the end, he proves his wit in nothing more than a few spot-on remarks (as far as anything is spot-on in this play).

So what if he would never be able to speak?

The way in which the actor sits and the way his laptop sounds (which ironically, is my laptop speaking), reminds me a great deal of Stephen Hawking. For those who don’t know Hawking:

Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA (born 8 January 1942) is an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences,[3] and in 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

(…)

Hawking has a neuro-muscular dystrophy that is related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a condition that has progressed over the years and has left him almost completely paralysed.

Get this: The man can move one (1) single muscle in his cheek, and with that muscle, has achieved more than you and I combined will ever achieve. He uses it to trigger a voice synthesizer and form words that way, taking several minutes to form even a simple sentence.

Now imagine if you will, that nobody would bother wondering if this man had something to say, and a means to say it. What if nobody would have gone through the lengthy process of hooking him up to a voice synthesizer, continuing to treat him like the mongoloid that he resembles?

People like me can’t even grasp his intellectual capabilities, let alone what they have achieved. All trapped inside that mind with a tiny muscle to let it out. And for how long? His illness has been getting progressively worse, and in fact should have killed him back when he was twenty-three. The books and articles he has written have shocked the scientific community many times over. This man is an intellectual goldmine, with an entry shaft the size of a penny (one for the quote books, I’d say).

Could it be that he is not alone? That there are others like him, god forbid, who weren’t as lucky to be born in a world of wealth and understanding? They would most likely be dead by now, or worse, trapped in a world with nothing but their eyesight, and immeasurable intelligence but a disastrous lack of knowledge. Fed, changed and ignored by fat aunt Wilma and forever searching for a way to scream out to either be killed, or listened to.

An odd ADD case myself, I couldn’t imagine sitting still for more than three hours watching the same joke repeated and explained, let alone with the kind of mind Hawking has, which by the way I am otherwise insanely jealous of.


CatchUp

I used to think financial rock bottom was when your bank account violently hits zero, and you wonder how you’ll get through the remainder of the month.

Now I know better: It’s around 600 in red, when you haven’t been able to pay last month’s rent –let alone any other bills- and you’re in massive debt with friends and family. It’s when you have to decide whether you’ll eat today or tomorrow, and the state owes you around €3,000 but it’s not coming today or tomorrow.

Welcome to the suck.
After stalling my paperwork for too long, it is now outside my hands and it seems I’m not the only one who hates bureaucracy. Funny thing is, I did get the right papers but they were copies, and apparently those just won’t do. They prove everything needed to get the ball rolling, but some over-eager pencil licker decided to fuck me over a barrel and reached for the DECLINED stamp.

Once again, my friends prove to be godsent and covered for me so far, providing me with the shrapnel I need for my daily pizza. In the mean time I am saving on every cent to try and make it last. It ain’t easy being dirt poor.

 

Everybody knows you dance like you fuck,
You dance like you fuck,
you dance like you fuck.

-Josh Hommes

Holy shit am I beat. You know it was good when your ears are ringing, your voice is sore and you’re as sober like Mother Theresa after she quit smoking. Or is that just me?

Amusing how, after seeing five years in the business worth of live acts, and studying as a stage technician who should have a relatively refined taste in music, I still find my entertainment in (besides the Silversun Pickups- so sue me) dark bars in the entirely wrong end of town, with chains hanging down from the ceiling and the entire eight pieces of Hellraiser on four widescreens on the wall. And did I mention the electro blasting through the speakers?

If you go through my entire, badly organized (since The Crash) MP3 collection, you might find a few on there of that particular genre because I happen to be a fan of VNV Nation. But other than that, I don’t care much about the whole cybergoth scene.

Except! They happen to build the best parties in town. There’s something about the music that triggers me, not to mention the BDSM atmosphere hanging there. Sitting in a corner chilling out is amusing in itself, watching the door and all the odd costumes walking through. All the clichés are there: There’s the pink bunnies, the cyber-outfitted dreadlocks with plastic tubing, cockteases with strategically placed gaps in their clothing, the sunglasses too cool to dance, and of course the dickweeds like me who don’t bother with the “scene” any more than necessary to be allowed in.

And yet, while at other events you get odd looks for dressing or walking different, they hardly give you a decent look-over here. Which is fine by me. Everybody looks like the Tron: Legacy trailer threw up on them and dances like a freak, and nobody is going to stare or point because you’re different. Put that on top of no-nonsense, scarily aggressive beats and you’ve got my kind of party. Standing among the freaks in a room lit by no more than four Double Derbys and two lasers, under mutilated baby dolls, is where I feel right at home.

What does that say about me, anyway? I chose not to care. What I can tell you is how badly I needed this yearly outlet.