Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Shame On All You City Girls

Shame on all you city girls
In bright red dress and dainty curls
Now going here, now going there
Now giving looks all pretty fair
Entreat you me come closer near
Retreat us both away from here

Letter IX On The Obseration Of Humans

It is a curious phenomenon the way these Humans adore objectivity, though they understand full well that any objective statement is subject to interpretation. Indeed, despite a knowledge that any observed event related by linguistic symbols is subject to verbal biases, the humans still choose objectivity with the belief that objective detachment brings them closer to conveying the “full reality” of an event.

One sect of humans striving for true, objective transference of information are called “empiricists,” and they aim, most admirably, to provide interpretations of events for their fellow humans which are purely informational by omitting certain emotionally qualifying words and holding to words they think of as ‘unbiased’. This technique can be best explained through example, so I will adopt their style of observation and description and apply it to a place here on Earth the humans call “Off The Leaf” located in a human settlement called “Billings” in a sub-section called “Montana” of the continent the humans call “North America”.

This “Off The Leaf” is a type of dwelling called “a coffee shop” which is designed to provide humans with beverages called “coffee” and “tea” and a category of food they call “snacks”. The main entrance of this building is on the side designated “North,” on the Earth’s rotational axis, and is made of glass. Glass makes up a little less than half of the entire wall space including half the North wall, much of the west wall, and half of the South wall with a second entrance made of glass on the South Wall. The interior is divided into two areas.

The first area is a composite shape made of the Western half of the building, and the Southern third. This area has a tables running along the walls, and in the South Western, South-Eastern and North-Western corners are areas with soft “sofas” and “couches”. Along the Eastern wall of this first section, in the middle third of the building, is the counter where the humans request their coffee and snacks. The space of the main interior is further divided by artificial hedges where water and waste reciprocals are placed, as well as napkins, glasses, and some spices. On some of these hedges are tall chairs called “stools” and a small shelf is on the hedge for the humans to place their coffee on.

The second section extends from the North-East corner and runs two thirds of the Eastern half of the building. The North-East corner of this section is separated from the main section by a sliding glass wall, and contains sofas arranged in the style of a human living room. South of this is another area separated by wooden walls, and contains a large table surrounded by chairs. This room is called a conference room. South of the conference room is a small area called the kitchen, where the coffee mongers clean dishes and make snacks. South of the kitchen are the bathrooms, which have doors facing South towards the South-East corner of the main area. This is the general structure of the dwelling called “Off The Leaf”.

The inhabitants of this dwelling change constantly, and, in fact, “coffee shops” are only temporary houses for the humans. Of the inhabitants of this “coffee shop” there are two species of inhabitant: the coffee monger, and the patron. Within the Mongers there is a distinct social order where the lead Monger, the “Manager”, ensures that the other mongers are creating beverages and maintaining the space in an effective manner, while the other mongers work more closely with the patrons.

The Mongers’ main task is to provide beverage and snack to the patron, and the patron, in exchange, gives the Monger currency. Obtainment of currency, is the ultimate end of the Monger, and the techniques of “customer satisfaction” and a “excellent product and atmosphere” are ways for the Monger to receive more patrons and therefore more currency. The Mongers tend to be humans aged between 17 and 30 years.

Patrons vary more in age and occupation than the Mongers. Often, the patron is identifiable by a certain drink or a manner of dress and the Mongers make it a point to remember what are termed “regulars.” Regulars are patrons that come with a high regularity and order a “favorite drink” and often go to a “favorite spot”. The regulars are a species of patron that, at times, have been visiting the coffee shop longer than some of the Mongers have been employed, and the regulars are the kind of patron coffee shops desire because regulars are the kind of patron that provide a constant currency. Patrons, regardless of visiting frequency, offer a wider range of activity than do the mongers.

Patrons will often speak with other patrons, or sit for long periods of time with their computers and technology while drinking a beverage. Other patrons come in “couples” and speak with gestures and looks that are signs of human affection, and still others come in groups armed with books to discuss information needed for their institutes of social conditioning. Hostile actions are discouraged between patrons, though some patrons can be observed to “grimace” and “glare” at other patrons.

Though there are more layers of information that could be relayed with this technique of empirical observation, this should be more than enough information to demonstrate the general idea of the practice. More could be written, for example, on the possible interaction pairings of monger-patron, Monger-monger, and patron-patron, or on the varied styles of clothing, the coloration of “Off The Leaf”, and such levels of detail that would be impractical for this overview of the human interest in objectivity.

However, please note the details omitted and consider the difference those details would make in the interpretation of the facts above; though they are all true, and accurate to the best of my limitations, the insertion of details of different kinds can be used to change the possible interpretations of any objective observations.

Words, Words, Words

Words are remarkable creatures. They can create worlds we’ve never seen, people and places are granted life, information and history are conveyed and preserved. Words live together as a language, and define realities, and inform ideas. Though they look so innocent laying there on a page, just these little dribbles of ink, or points on a screen, Words are deceptive creatures, and Words are powerful creatures which have life and vitality that seeps into the minds of readers. These little creatures, like other animals, have come with us through a vast history of meaning and change, so understanding them takes a great deal of time to achieve, and there are a lot of them to get to know.

There is such an array of species: Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, Pronouns, and sub-species, cross breeds, not to mention their interactions within a sentence, or a paragraph, or a work. Even a simple sentence where a single Noun and a single Verb live can have a variety of meanings. If the Noun “Dog” is introduced to the verb “Dig”, then the possible progeny of this marriage have varied potential: “Dog dig” – “Dog digs” – “Dogs dig” – “Digging dog” –  “Dog digging”   and that’s not even feeding them punctuation or articles.

Words live in complex environments of meaning, and are subject to individual interpretation. They are key to creation and understanding, and they are tools for shaping perceptions of the world. When an object, person, or idea is defined with words, those words assign it meaning. Saying, “Sam’s dog is obnoxious,” defines the dog, and leaves little room for alternate interpretations. If, however, “Tom thinks Sam’s dog is obnoxious,” the meaning is altered slightly because Tom finds the dog obnoxious, but there’s the possibility that others do not.

But for individuals to maintain constant verbal vigilance and meaning mediation is unrealistic. There is a saying, that “Humans have 20/20 hindsight,” and an old Greek advised others to examine their lives and think about those mistakes made in speech or action, and think about other ways to approach them, and think about other ways to phrase a sentence or take an action. By doing this simple thing mistakes can become lessons for the future, and measure by measure the power of words and language will become clearer, and more accessible.

Do It Right The First Time

Do It Right The First Time

An entry about inventive process from the blog I write for Rocky Mountain College

Butterfly Effect

Butterfly Effect” is an older collection of photos, taken with a Polaroid i830 DSD about May 2012. The collection emerged by the odd accident, as I remember, of finding this butterfly, a swallowtail, outside which was barely able to move for lack of warmth. I was surprised that the creature let me hold her, so I took her inside and began taking pictures. She was rather patient with me, allowing me to place her on the book, and on flowers for my photographic pursuits.

Looking back on these pictures, and on the circumstances of their formation, I’m compelled to impose some degree of meaning on the butterfly in context of my life at the time because the butterfly is symbol of transformation, and of the soul. My life, back then, had entered a transitional phase and I was emerging from a period of mental oppression. Like this butterfly, my spirit was out in the cold and could barely move.

There is no ‘salvation’ in this resolution; after taking my pictures I decided it would be best to leave the butterfly outside and leave it to Nature. This, too, seems like the oppression of my spirit, stiff and motionless which was taken in by Fate and used, perhaps for good, then set back into to Nature with a new experience.

These photographs, show the spirit in a ‘natural’ state, a typical ‘butterfly in a flower’ setting (Butterfly IV – II), then the hand of fate changes, not only the flower, but the location (Butterfly I). This experience changes the spirit, and suddenly the spirit searches for sustenance from something else (Book and Butterfly I – III). From this experience, the spirit is introduced to books, and through books a concept of love (amor). Here the visual story ends, and the spirit is left alone, unguided by fate.

My own spirit, from 2012, felt subject to fate and chance. Cast from one event to the next with little regard for my will, and after fate had finished with me I was left on my own. Fate had given my life back into my own hands, and though this was empowering it also meant I had to ‘fly or fail’ and this ending, where the butterfly is returned to Nature, never concludes.

Butterfly I

Butterfly I

Part of my newest gallery: Butterfly Effect. Seven photos of a butterfly’s impact on an average day.

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