Archive for May, 2012

Every day we cry a little to save our sanity

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

There are times insanity spirals in a rapidly descending plume like a blinding maelstrom.
In this modern age, we frequently don’t know where the insanity ends, where it begins, or if it’s even justified in announcing an existence.

You think you might have made sense of something, perhaps ironed out its baffling nature. You think you’ve discovered an iota of clarity, a smudge of logical justice, but the maelstrom suddenly spins in like a tornado and rips your sanity away.

The pod people are everywhere but they can’t be found. They are nowhere to be unearthed, but each time you try to dissemble latent insanity, you embark on scurrying dark souls as if you overturned a rock in a shady garden.

Insanity springs forth from the last vestige of clarity you thought you had.

The evil of insanity is that it feasts parasitically upon sanity and manipulates it into an amorphous teeming blob of confusion and apprehension.

The paper holds their folded faces to the floor…

Today I heard an appropriate joke, a hilarious joke, which I thought is a comical blueprint of the plummeting spiral of madness that lures you deeper into the oppression of the wave of clarity’s facade.

I heard it at work and the delivery was impeccable. I will do it little justice in the blog medium.

The director of a mental ward was asked by 3 long-term patients to grant them weekend leaves. The director was hesitant, considering the rather lengthy period of intractable insanity the patients had displayed. “OK, well I want each of you to show me your ability to display sane behavior, if even for a short time. I’ll grant you weekend leave if you can prove to me your sanity on command.” He turns to patient 1. “What is 3 times 3?” The patient looks incredulous at the simplicity of the question. “Why, 138!” he exclaims. The director shakes his head, and turns to patient 2. “OK, your turn. What is 3 times 3?” Patient 2, looking smugly impressed at himself, barks in a confident tone, “Why, it’s Wednesday!” Once again, the director shakes his head and utters a “tsk-tsk” condemnation. Finally, he turns to patient 3. “OK, now you. Can you tell me what 3 times 3 is?” Patient 3’s face brightens and he stands up proudly. “It’s 9!” he answers. The director is flabbergasted. He cannot believe one of the patients answered correctly. “Wow! You’re correct…I’m so surprised. How did you know this?” The patient shrugs and answers obviously, “Well, I took 138 and divided it by Wednesday!”

The downward spiral of insanity. How do we stay afloat?

Poor Bad Luck Brian.

Why don’t minorities use coupons?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

 

You see, it’s because no one talks to me that I assume no one is talking to me. It’s a vicious circle. I rarely get “opened” by strangers. Perhaps it’s my inadvertent “no trespassing” mannerisms that scare people off. When I hear a stranger speaking in my immediate vicinity, the last person I expect the talking to be directed at is me. Turns out, today I went to the store to pick up some items because I had a host of coupons that are expiring tomorrow. I’m a coupon hound. I wouldn’t call myself “extreme,” but I do indulge in coupon clipping with a degree of unusual devotion. Coupons frequently expire on the last day of the month and I usually try to round up and use those set to expire in one fell swoop in a last-ditch, end of the month shopping putsch. I was off work today and I imagined a Wednesday afternoon is as good a time as any to shop if you really don’t care to be around groups of shoppers.

 

So I heard a woman in line behind me say something in Spanish as I paid the cashier. Naturally I didn’t assume she was speaking to me so I tuned her out completely as is my custom. She repeated the question, more insistently, and this time I looked. She was a middle-aged dark stout Mexican woman and I didn’t hear her complete question but I did make out a couple of snippets. “Donde and “cupones” with a “?” inflection. Ah! My spoken Spanish skills suck and it takes me a long time to recall proper words and usage so it wasn’t until I was walking back to my car that the word struck me, too late (periodico). I had just told her, in English, “the newspaper,” and she understood. She had asked me where I got the coupons. Evidently she was impressed by my vast discount savings!

 

 

Obviously I’m being facetious. A 17% coupon savings is nice but not as much as some of those lunatic coupon junkies you see on television. I use coupons and treasure the small savings I gather here and there and over time. I’ve had many occasions where I saved more. Couponing is something I “discovered” since the economy took a dive in 2008. I learned many, many ways to save money which I instituted with fanatical (some would say sick) devotion since. There were a few moments back then when the well-being of my job seemed a tad precarious, but things have gotten better. Still, my penny-pinching ways became an integral part of my allure and I partake in many avenues of personal austerity measures. Coupons are a habit I’ve taken up and rather enjoy. Couponing is not purely an act of saving money, not if you’re honest with yourself. It is a very nerdy activity. Shuffling through store aisles and planting yourself in front of displays excitedly while you rifle through your coupon holder is not the penultimate definition of style or hotness. I don’t care. Typically, you don’t expect men to coupon, but shockingly, 48% of coupon cutters are men.

 

Another thing I’ve noticed is that you rarely see Hispanic couponers at many of the stores in East L.A. The fact the lady had to ask me where to find coupons illustrates this quite well. Even in many of the middle class Hispanic neighborhoods, you don’t see a lot of Hispanics using coupons. This is one of my unofficial obersvations, and apparently there is survey data to back up this assertion. Marketing surveys show that African-Americans and Hispanics are predominantly non- and low-users of coupons, while White households account for almost 80% of heavy coupon usage. More counter-intuitive is the fact that affluent households are more likely to be heavy users of coupons. The driving motivation for coupon usage appears to be “saving money” as opposed to “eeking out” survival. One theory (and they are scattered all over the place) is that those who are indeed eeking out survival are more likely to use government assistance and are therefor unlikely to devote much effort into saving money (why save money when it’s not even yours? This is an extension of the principle that renters degrade the value of a neighborhood because of their lack of personal pride/ownership).

 

Another theory as outlined by an AOL financial blogger, Tom Barlow, is that there is a perceived sense of shame which dissuades Blacks and Hispanics from using coupons which is implicit in the cashier’s disapproving body language when presented with coupons. The thinking is that a sense of shame accompanies coupon use and it is minorities who experience the most shame whereas affluent Whites (those most likely to use coupons) experience the least “eye-rolling” and “sighing” feedback loops from cashiers they greet when when producing coupons. I don’t entirely buy this. As I noted, I don’t see a lot of middle-class Hispanic coupon usage even in stores where most of the cashiers are Hispanic. Perhaps Hispanic cashiers tend to be less receptive of coupons? There sure doesn’t seem to be a sense of shame when the girl with 3 kids stuffed in the shopping cart pulls out her WIC coupons or the ghetto soldier pulls out his EBT card with a flourish. I don’t believe shame is that strong a deterrent to coupon use. Shame is a strong consideration if there is nothing to be gained, but if you use coupons wisely, you can save a lot of money. The savings in themselves should counteract any pangs of shame you may entertain. People are notoriously shameless when it comes to personal profit. Perhaps I’m being cynical, but I think some people don’t use coupons because they are lazy and short-sighted. As I said, coupon clipping is a nerdy, overly cerebral (yes!) activity which requires forethought and devotion to trivial detail. It requires a studious mindfulness and application and the ability to carry this mindset with you into the most mundane of real-life activities: grocery shopping. There is something going on in the Black and Hispanic cultural perspective that inhibits such painstaking behavior.

 

Interestingly, according to the USA News article, African-Americans and Asians were equally likely to be non-users of coupons, despite the fact Asian economic and educational standing essentially parallels that of Whites. My theory is that Asians are more likely to entertain the aforementioned “shame” outlook in regard to coupon use. Asian-Americans tend to be inordinately class- and status-conscious, materialistic, and even a bit more pretentious. The supposition that coupon use is dissuaded by shame and self-consciousness works well in describing Asian coupon behavior.

 

When it comes to Mexican and Black coupon behavior, I think it’s safe to say that usually they just don’t care enough about saving $4.25. They don’t fetishize minutiae.

 

 

Darkly angelic siren

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Everything with me must be grave, emotionally burdensome, cathartic, immobilizing. I’m a serious guy. Always have been, to a fault. Levity is not my strength. If I attempt it, my act crumbles. In my mind, all art forms must be disconcerting and mortifying if I am to respect them. This is the reason I dislike most bubble gum pop crap. Music must rattle me. It must strike a chord deep in my soul. If music is insincere or formulaic, I want nothing to do with it. I will not waste my time on music like this. This essentially covers most modern pop music. Music is not a form of enjoyment. Not for me. Music must devour me from the inside out. Music must have something to say and say it well. I don’t care about the message per se, but I do care about the motives the artist had for recording the song. I believe there are some great love songs because the artists sing about love from a pit of perception that the typical crappy American Idolized puppet rehashing the same old song over and over can never relate to. I respect music that comes from the heart, music that is flagrantly unconcerned with profit or market share. I don’t like music that says nothing. I want music to be a grueling experience. Or why even bother listening?

Even if a song’s lyrics suck, the song can redeem itself musically if it ventures boldly into technique and mechanics that are groundbreaking and wildly unique. So while I may prefer a song’s lyrics to be poetic and insightful, it’s not necessary if the musicianship dares to make a statement by virtue of its form alone.

A song that can make me cry!

I live for this. I live for musical torment. What purpose is an experience that leaves you unblemished? Life is too short to spend it dwelling in the vacuous Billboard top 40. We must experience harshness and welcome the distaste. We must weep. Music should accompany us on this mortal journey of gloom. Otherwise it does me no good.

Moby has always been one of my favorite musicians. I’m not such a fanboy of electronica or techno that I detest his legacy as some seem to do. I like his music. I enjoy his melodramatic mixes and the way he lapses into occasional profuse waves of high-energy sampled insanity. And many of his lyrics are bitingly sweet. A few years ago he teamed up with alternative vocalist, Kelli Scarr, to record his album, “Wait For Me.”

The 10th track is called “jltf.” Moby’s doomed instrumentals coalesce after the song begins into a morose procession of apprehension. The music marches toward an impending finale that Scarr’s unapproachable vocal laments narrate for us. Her voice’s timber is ensconced firmly on the frequency wavelength that directly disrupts and upsets the foolishness of your placid heart. As with all thoughtful lyricism, “jltf” has two meanings. The superficial story of junkies counting out their remaining days. There is another level to be discovered to those earnest enough to spend mental energies scrutinizing the lyrics, as I am fond of doing. A deeper, oblique symbolism can be teased out if you allow yourself to delve more deeply than is healthy. Scarr’s voice is angelic, darkly angelic. She is the siren but she is bringing the doom to you. Stand clear but listen hard.

A timid proposal for a new (a-xxxx) way of thinking and consideration

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Hark!

I’m in the midst of a re-examination. Of everything. I’m questioning old arguments, old contexts, tattered paradigms.

I am discovering the kernels of a new vision that is based on a fresh, from-the-ground-up perspective. You know how some houses are in such utter disrepair that the new buyers decide to raze the structure and create something completely new? That’s how I feel about many old questions and old arguments. Old conflicts that send an electric schism bolt through the heart of man’s heart because the conduit depends on separate camps squaring off against each other rather than re-thinking or re-calibrating old arguments or feuds to begin with.

We are embarking on the age of release. I’ll call it this. The Age of Release.

The Age of Release because that is what it requires of us before it can reign. The Age of Release needs us to relinquish all the old arguments, tensions, conflicts, beliefs, stubborn intractable pissing matches, antipathies, ancient social artifacts…and in wiping the slate clean we will behold the new playing field that does not humor the stale paradigm.

This will be difficult. We are attached to our arguments. Not the facts.

We cling to arguments like waves of blood gushing from a severed artery, but it’s the argument we seek to protect. We worship the traditional arguments and rebuttals we enjoin to fulfill our patterns of dispute. We obey scripts of dissent and disagreement. All the comment squabbles, all the blog squabbles, the wars, the terrorism, the ideological clashes: this is all about the old arguments. We are shaped by the old feuds, the old enmities. When protecting our ego, we are loath to surrender the old argument.

There is a new way, but it is difficult because we are distrustful of those who demand we refute generational-tested arguments in favor of new angles. We are addicted to the accustomed distrust we know. We resist shaping a new outlook which might require surrendering distrust.

We are overly conscious of the brevity of our stay on this earth. Our nature is to witness change now in order to experience fulfillment in our life. To admit a greater, life altering “paradigm pull” infers that our life denotes nothing of significance more than a blip of minute sand particle in the ant procession to erect…what, we do not know.

We expect our existence signify something. If we approach social evolution from the angle that our thoughts and donations affect little or nothing immediately visible, we scurry. We cannot accept this. This is what happens when we ask people to forsake their old arguments in favor of a new paradigm. They are losing everything they held dear. The old arguments are the currency of self-worth.

I’ve entered this mid-life crisis mode that doesn’t really mean much. I’m examining old arguments and antagonisms and seeing clearly for the first time their archaic uselessness. They are limited by our blind devotion and unimaginative re-conjuring that faciltates itself over again each tireless generation. The old becomes older in the march of evolution when there is no mutation. Elemental human thought has not mutated for a very long time. We have been regurgitating old arguments since time immemorial. There is nothing new streaming out our dulled psyches. We are the same old crap over and over and over and over. We throw in different approaches under the pretense of progress, we form and recognize new schools of thought, but it’s the same thing graced with a new blade.

We should perceive anew. I thought of this when re-reading my rather glib, offensive (if you really think about it) comment yesterday. Looking back, it occurs to me that I didn’t spend enough time expounding on the thought. On the surface I essentially was telling people that god means nothing which is obviously not true. God means a lot to everybody. Civilizations rise and fall on the pretense of god. To disavow the importance of god is ludicrous. You cannot turn that clock back. The point I’m making is that the argument of god’s existence means nothing. It’s a trivial bitchfest.

What I really want to know is this: is the existence of god relevant? Does god matter?

Arguing the questionable reality of god imbues the concept with consequence. The atheist, arguing against that which he doubts, is thus breathing life into the imaginary character. The argument of the ages demands our attention. Does god exist.

Any argument to the effect, or against, does little to invoke the existence of a non-existent god. It is a foolhardy egotistic human charade to butt heads about something we can never have the ability to derive a concrete or scientifically repeatable answer. If you light a fire and measure that water boils at 212 degrees repeatedly under different conditions with different thermometer instruments, this is an irrefutable measurement. If you argue with someone about god over and over and still are unable to clearly answer the question beyond measures of absolute faith, the scientific conclusion is that we do not have all the facts in our possession. Without the complete set of facts at our disposal, what good does argument do? It soothes our self-involved fixation with an elusive truth which is just distraction because you can never know the truth if you don’t know the question. We do not know the question. We think it is “is there a god?” This is not the question. The is a muse. The question implicit in the grand god question is simple. Is there is an end? How do we seek reassurance that we can live this life’s dreary unknowns to the very end. We can never know if god lives or has ever. The argument placates our revulsion but answers nothing. Arguing about god is an exercise of vanity.

And then I also thought of my buddy’s blog, Right View from the Left Coast. The good right-winger that he is, everything in his life is painted and molded from the conservative angle, the rehearsed conservative angle and his political arguments are framed within the context of a viewpoint which is delineated by black or white. You are with us or against us. For the sake of fairness, I will not dwell on RVLC. He is sincere in his ideology. However, I use him as an example to illustrate the method of argument and rebuttal that is ingrained in political observers. We are committed and married to the argument, the viewpoint, the rehearsed refutations. We don’t disconnect for that Zen moment; a view of the argument and conflict with the clarity of indifference or “aconflict.” Aconflict as in asocial or atypical.

Not anti-, but a-.

I propose the Age of a-.

We are not antithetical to the idealogists and politicists. We are the new generation, new age, of a-‘s.

Our movement does not bother with opposition as a motive or justification. We merely observe other routes of beholding. You vote for the R or the D. You vote for no one. You vote for a paradigm. You vote for a pre-ordained system of perpetual fallacies that find strength in consistency. Voting for R or D is empowering humanity’s death. It’s not the politicians who are screwing you. It’s the system. It’s the process. The politicians reinforce the system by virtue of their existence and competition and monetary investment, and your vote for them is a vote for the system of self-enclosing doom. The world is too big. There are too many people. Worse, the world is too intertwined and everyone’s opinions are floating in the free fall curriculum of instant knowledge so knowledge is now the currency of “aignorance.” You are all screwed if you continue feeding the politician’s wallets and egos. Politicians are trivial and lifeless. They serve another but it’s not you. It’s not even themselves. Politicians are the most subterranean form of soulless sycophancy. Don’t entrust your life to someone who can’t even respect himself. The upward wavelike motion of respect and observance means nothing now because the ceiling continues to descend as the true lords seek to distance themselves from the chaos. We have no say. We have no quarrel with our quarrelers. The argument is now an illusion. If you continue to argue, you will increase the boiling point and those outside will enjoy the freedom of their clean air.

Stop. Back off.

Refuse the process.

If no one voted tomorrow, what would happen? When votes become currency, we turn into consumers of the politicos.

Stop.

Our hollow avocations

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

I’m convinced Lev Yilmaz is my alter ego. Or should it be vice versa? Does it depend on who has more cred that determines how you describe the active/passive partition of the dynamic? If so, then I would have to say then that I am Yilmaz’ alter ego. I submit to his greatness! All disgusting sycophancy aside, the dude has an approach to life that I embrace. His disdain and cynicism of social culture and its maze-like descending delusions mirror my own hall of horrors.

I saw this video for the first time last night. It appears to be about 5 months old. Titled “I Am Sick Of This,” it is a cynifest laced with cathartic disavowals of pop culture’s zombie expectations and mindless soldiering. “This is how you must act and think. Drink the special Kool-Aid.” Learn to love it.

Yilmaz’ video doesn’t refute the cultural charade. He merely shrinks from it. There is no conquest or revolution written in stone here. Merely relinquishment.

What I extracted from the video is that which I feel strongly about at this moment: the Cult of Awe regarding celebrities. He doesn’t speak of sports, but I feel the dynamic is the same.

Sports and celebrities occupy a useful role in this capitalistically blind culture. Sports and celebrities are distractions and tools of mass hypnotism which divert anger, aggression, frustration, and intolerance away from actual visceral culminations. The fixation on celebrities and their meaningless lives and the deification of athletes/celebrities diffuses the cathartic frustrations that would normally drive the human race batty and subversive. A compliant and mesmerized consumerist populace serves the oligarchs most efficiently. It’s the practice parents use to shut their 3-year-old’s up. Distract, humor, replace distasteful but accurate emotions with inauthentic mental excursions and dead ends.

That’s what all this ridiculous celebrity and athletic worship really is. A dead end. It serves no use, benefits no one except the subjects of our awe, doesn’t put food on our table or a roof over our heads. Yet we devote so much time and energy to propelling it by our comments and empty-minded interest.

It’s our hollow avocation.

This is the greatest asset the media and government elites have. Our hollow avocation. It drains our revolutionary malaise and makes the dangerous civilian force focus on useless garbage rather than where it needs to be focused: elitist’s shenanigans. Their deeds prosper in the shadows.

Score 1 for the oligarchs!

What is Khloe wearing tonight??

Better yet, who is she fucking?? It ain’t me :(