Unplugged

Posted: July 30, 2019 in Body Count, Humanity is a virus, Shovels

When MTV still did meaningful music, there were two or three times they made a difference.  One, oof course, was the Nirvana unplugged broadcast, and then there were two times they had REM do it.

And here you go (mikey should love this one) featuring the goddess Patti Smith:

 

Because I had the weirdest day in my office today, in that I came in and the internet connectivity was wonky.  Now, this is not that weird and a bit of rebooting of the hardware usually makes it stop.  But this time it didn’t

I spent much time on the phone with actual humans, and we tried several things.  Of course, the service provider would not do anything past their machines, which seemed to be functional.  So I reworked my routers, and reset all my settings, swapped out my routers, and nothing worked.  In the meantime, I was using my phone as hotspot.

So in a final call, I was hoping for a schedule of a technician, and the phone tech managed to ask me about which piece of hardware I was plugged into.  And here was the array of shit they had installed and left me plugged into:

The big tall thing is my Apple router, and the other four things are….something else.  I brought them all in for internet and phone, and the cost is like 1/4 of what AT&T was charging me.  But they had me plugging my router into the tall thing with blue lights, and that’s where we we falling down.  So after talking with the tech, she asked me if I was plugged into the short thing, and I said no, they told me to plug into the tall thing.  So when I plugged into the short thing, everything turned green.

Here’s the weird thing.  The white box on the left is a wireless router that I apparently never used.  Never asked for.  but it was wired in.

So, the upshot is that the guys wiring this shit didn’t know what they were doing, I don’t know what the fuck I am doing, and somehow it’s working now.

John Oliver, who is being a heavyweight offsetting that fucker Maher, had a great episode on the ERA.

As he does, on everything he does.  But his show reminded me of a younger zombie.

A zombie who joined a couple of buses of people., going to DC (my first time!) to attend a rally in support of a final push to ratify the fucking ERA.  Because, of course, America!  where equal rights has always been a controversial idea.  It did seem, at the time, that a few loud voices would help push it over the finish line, and holy hell, how optimistic was I?  All of it, Katie.

Kind of distressingly, a reporter from a Madison paper stopped and interviewed me while we sat on the Mall.  Ignored, of course, my wife and all the other women around, to do a ‘fish out of water’ curiosity rocks piece about an actual MAN that supported the ERA.  Because, fucking patriarchy.  FWIW, even my parents, who had no knowledge of our participation, noticed the interview, which was funny as hell.

One of the things Oliver brought back to cognition was the existence of ambulatory horrorshow Phyllis Schlafly.  I understand if you wanted to never think about her ever again, I know I didn’t.  But Oliver detailed the intensity of her hate for her gender and how ardently she worked to make sure they did not have legal protection for their rights.  Yes, she is one of the most horrible people that had ever existed.

We are one state away from ratifying the ERA.

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Illinois ratified the ERA last year, which was the 37th state.

Phyllis is a loon, who is a tool of the patriarchy.  She lied.  She once thanked her husband for allowing her to make a speech.   She lacquered her hair.  I really did not like her, and I am not happy that I still have to think about her.  Tolkien would have left her out of Lord Of The Rings as too evil to be believable.  I have read several alternative novels about hell, and  none of the levels seem to suit her perfidy.

I don’t like her, is the feeling I am trying to get across here.

But most of all, let’s think about this.  I went on this demonstration  THIRTY FUCKING YEARS AGO.  This is a terrible statement on our country’s lying about our dedication to equal rights.  Yeah, like all those years of enslavement, rape and brutalization of brown people, and the way we are now putting slightly brown children in cages is not able to demonstrate that we have never, not really, grown beyond it.

Well, I started out being kind of cheered by John’s show, and now I think I will start drinking.  Anyways, here is his show….

 

 

I have visited these sites, where incredibly brave people decided to strap themselves into prisons and ;punch themselves in to the unknown.

I was child when humans landed on the moon, but I am almost certain we watched; everyone did, you know?

yes, people did.  It’s a terrible amount of power and it is easy for it to go sideways with no warning.  I have visited the site of the Apollo 1 tragedy, and while I have little empathy for the haunting folks, I will say that that is the only place that I have ever visited that I believe is completely haunted.

I support all of our efforts to get off of this doomed gravity well of a planet.  develop the fukcing moon, send us to Mars, let’s develop long term ships to nearby suns.  We have already shown that we have about half of our our polity, that is unable to even comprehend that they are going to suffocate themselves  Let’s fucking go.

When I was a child, I watched our civilization reach out, against all the terror and risk, and land on our nearest planetary neighbor.  It inspired me.  I built all the models, I still do.  We visited Huntington, and we spent like an hour with an actual rocket scientist who had not only flew one of these explosive devices, but also walked out in the completely terrifying unsupported spacewalk efforts.  We did not check his dick, but we imagine it was immense, as were his fucking balls.  How do you design a spacesuit to accommodate the size of those fucking balls?>

I once visited the EAA when they had Spaceship One do a fly by.  It was awesomely loud

And then we had Star Trek, which demonstrated we could hope for love and fellowship against hate and violence.

I still believe that.

As has been said, let’s light this goddam candle.

Not one of you asked for this, which is why I am putting this out.  LOL.  You guys are all masochists, I am sure.

So, we went to Spain.  This was, as you might expect, very cool.  But I have a history, you know, or maybe you don’t and here you go, whether you want or not.

In college, I was in a studio that had restricted admission, that was involved with the area that was the Olympic Village, and we had one of the architects from the master planning firm drop in for visits.  But I was admitted based on my prior studio work.   I spent much time researching the city and its architecture, and of course I fell in love with the city and with Antonio Gaudi.  Because of course, I have affinity for insane people.

We flew into Madrid.  Lovely city.  and then we went all over the country, and spent much time on a bus, but…. Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Seville, Cordoba.  Every one special in their own way.  But here; I needed to go to Barcelona, because that was where that old project was centered.  And I finally got there, like 25 years after. And we saw Cathedrals, FFS, cathedral after cathedral.  I am so tired of Cathedrals, I know all of this from my Architectural History classes, and I am so tired of thinking that the Church has done nothing  but steal from their people for thousands of years….

And here;  this is the kind of modern intervention I love in the midst of historic cities.  Because, yes, cities are built over time and reflect the new stuff every time, and this is alarming until the next generation, who just say this is part of the city.  But this:

 

Is lovely and exciting example of modern intervention in the midst of an historic city., and this is the kind of thing I love.  The only complaint I have on this is that throughout Spain, all the paving is wonderfully textured and complex and tough to walk on, and this was depressingly plain.  I think there was a lost opportunity here, to make the plaza below a well woven part of the city…

Barcelona is a real, for fucking real city.  Hundreds of taxis, and most people use motorcycles and scooters at best.  Also, they have actual transit.  And after much great times across Spain, we ended up in Barcelona.  Where I wanted to be.  Where I wanted to SEE.  Being in this city was lovely in every way.  But here is where I have to get all architect about this.  SO bail if you would like.

Antonio Gaudi was a lunatic who connected with a patron.  He was aggressive and shitty, and his fame largely came after he died.  Which happened because he was driven over by a tram driver.  Gaudi loved to stop traffic so he could look at his work and he would walk into the street to stop traffic so he could look at his work, and come on, but tram drivers must have hated him. So one ran him over.  And because he dressed like a tramp, he was ignored until someone took him to the hospital for the indigent, where, after a couple of days, someone recognized him just in time for him to die.  Which is the health care the Republicans think we should have available.

So I loved what I found about the city.  The rules about the expansion.  And after being here, the way those expansion  regulations have been incorporated into daily life.  The 8 sided blocks.  The sidewalk cafe culture.  We had sangria and nachos while staring at Sagrada Familia and feeding the pigeons: IMG_2875

Here is where I am going to tell you to go ahead and skim the rest, because I will be getting into the weeds and lots of feels….

Because I have been feeling, since my Adventures in Modern Medicine, that I seem to have lost the ability to feel strongly, for art or music or snuggly animals.  And as great as it was, coming soon after my heart attack, the Mekons show in Mineral Point, I have to count.  I have seen so many great musicians and enjoyed them, but they haven’t made my brain triggers go nutty nut nutters.

And based on that college history, I needed to see Gaudi buildings.  And we did.  But first, we walked around the Cathedral, and as I went around, I was feeling disappointed.  And as the guide talked about how there were a series of dudes who directed the construction based on their own ideas – because Gaudi designed by models and fudging and yelling at people on site.  And the 4 or 5 or 6 people running the show since, nobody really knows what he meant.  But you can see it.  Well, I can see it, you may or may not….

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I was tremendously amused by the fact that they already have to start cleaning the stone of the first efforts, while the remainder is still under construction.  I love that the existing stone  will not only be different from the new stone being used, but that cleaning the older stone will never make them look the same.

But here is what I saw, almost immediately upon walking up.  It is completely obvious that the newer parts of the cathedral are being done by someone else.  You can see that the bronze model of the whole mess is completely different from what is being built.  And I felt, that from the outside, that the lack of a supervising loud person has resulted in something that does not cohere.  My wife agrees, and FFS that is rare….

So here is the thing.  First, I walked up and saw the building and I hated that obviously the subsequent  architects could not resist to put their own stamp on it.  And as I walked around, I started to question the designs of Gaudi.  I found a lot of it to be silly and frumpery.  I became a bit harsh.  I became a bit tough.  I was no longer enthralled, this was not the masterwork it was extolled as, it was kind of a mess.

So the next day, we went to Parc Guell.  Which was completely amazing and a lovely work, in so many ways.  designed with two or three levels, it is a tour-de-force of design for landscape and the integration with the built environment.  It was a chance for Gaudi to party as a designer, and make all kinds of crazy that was still functional and would be a part of the life of the kinds of rich people who paid him for work.

It was all kinds of lovely, and a great ability to recover from my initial response to the Sagrada Familia…

Because then we went back down to the cathedral for an interior tour.  And that was a 4:30 afternoon, on a bright day, which is important.  We were there a bit early so we found a cerveseria, and got some sangrias and nachos, and looked at this:

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So, then we went to our scheduled entry of the church, and the first thing I noticed is that the bronze model of the church is much more complete and coherent than the current state of the exterior building, as I have been saying up above.  Architects love to fuck with shit; Gaudi took the basic floor plan of this church from a gothic architect, and turned it into this massive eruption of personal design.  The eastern apse is representative of the birth of Christ, and the western apse is representative of the Passion;  the southern portion is the eventual entry, which is scheduled for completion on or about 2026 (I am skeptical) which hilariously, requires the demolition of buildings that were built across the street in full knowledge that they would be time-limited, but they kind of thought it would take forever….

And then we went into the church.

It must be understood that Gaudi went beyond any Gothic design or engineering, by using Catenary arches to provide freestanding columns and arches that do not need subsequent support, and then there were more opportunities for colored glass and lighting from above.  He used innovative techniques to design the arches, which all work together to be a complete structure that works together.  And then he had glass artists that provided blues and greens on the birth side, and oranges and reds on the passion side.

I wandered the apse, and I had the audio thing but I paid little attention.  I was looking and seeing and absorbing.  I took some weird vertical panoramas which came out kind of nice:

The spaces within this building were astonishing, and I walked into people because I couldn’t stop looking up.  But the time we were there, we had the opportunity to see the afternoon sun casting through the red and orange windows and making the whole place sing with color.  And I felt joy.

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When we left the church through the passion entrance, which is much more severe and modern in sculpture, but they have a GOOD DOG:

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And a couple of nights after getting back, we saw the Musical Box, a tribute band for early Genesis; which they did not play the song Visions of Angels, if they had I would have likely burst into tears thinking back to the feelings I had in this building.

And so here.  All the feels I ever have.  This church and the previous Calatrava buildings, they brought it back, near as I can tell.  A buddy and I saw the Genesis tribute band the other night, and it swept me up.  FFS, I was walking over a bridge toward my office, listening to the new Mekons album and it brought tears to my eyes. Something- SOMETHING – has been repaired, somewhere.  Was it Gaudi?  Was it Spain?  Was it something else?  Dunno.  Should I care?  It feels good to feel something that has been missing….

 

Money Becomes King

Posted: February 19, 2019 in Fridge Note, it's the humanity, Shovels

A friend on facehell linked this article and I was inspired to expand it tinto a discussion.  Often, when new projects are publicized, people respond with hatred and little realization of the actual aesthetic composition of the project, but just like to complain that it doesn’t look like the idealized small community that they grew up in , the Twilight Zone/ Star Trek Next Generation hologram deck fantasy.

This is a very informative article on how changing construction standards, changing building materials, and changing building codes are having an effect on building form. What it does not say, is that this is something that has happened often in the past, and resulted in similar rapid expansion of certain building types or construction types. It is mentioned in passing, but the popularity of Balloon framing was massively expedited by the Sears company selling home kits, using that method; but balloon framing was found to be inherently dangerous from fire in that the walls provided internal chimneys that allowed fires to rapidly (meaning in bare minutes) expand to engulf the structure (noted that our house is ballon framed, but it does have rudimentary fire stops at the floor levels).

As a designer, I find the similarity in design to have a couple of sources. First, that this is what is acceptable to the market (whether secondary buyers or renters or condo buyers). And frankly, like much infill and mid-rise construction of the last hundred years, can be handsome and fits in well with most neighborhood design. There is nothing wrong with background buildings. Second, many designers of this scale of building are familiar with what they have seen, and find it expedient and successful to go with what has been built before. And I do not think any of those people are to blame for any of that; as a designer, I try to encourage my clients to stretch their images and think about new forms, new approaches, but it sometimes is OK to be straightforward.

Where I disagree with the article is about the way the model code arrangement is oriented. My experiences with the code officials, both at our state level and at the ICC level do, indeed, take their public responsibility very seriously, and they work very hard to respond to changes in the construction environment to protect the public. The expansion of sprinkler requirements over the past several years is one example; the recognition of nw materials is also a constant work in progress.

At the end of the day, where I disagree with the article is the idea that the basic building configuration (1+4 or 1+5) is the problem he dislikes. Designers respond to challenges in different ways. Most of them will respond in ways,(and in consultation with their clients, to be sure) that are conservative and similar to other successful projects.

It takes a rare combination of a designer who is able to see the opportunity, is willing to push the envelope, and a client that is willing to accept it.

 

I have been fortunate to find that combination more than once.

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I did not say in my professional forward-facing discussion, but as a fucking designer, just stop being so fucking unwilling to push the envelope.  And there is nothing wrong with discarding a crappy client that is tacky and insists on shit.

OK, I can say, there are times to play the standard card.  But a good designer can still make shit aesthetic look ….well, acceptable, if not good.  Pay the bills,, it’s OK.

well, hey.  You remember the other day, when I said Wisconsin was closed?  Well, we took a WHOLE GODDAM TWO DAYS OFF, not so much from the snow but from the 20 below temperatures right after.  But since then, we have had TWO fucking deep snowfalls, not to mention a couple of warm days in-between, which allowed some of the snow to melt, then get piled up behind the snow that did not melt, and then it all froze again.  Which then got covered by new snowfall, providing slip-n-fall hidden traps designed to kill Wisconsinites.

or, as the Eskimo say, kaniktshaq moritlkatsio atsuniartoq.  strictly translated, it says “Observe the snow. It fornicates.”  But the intent is clear:  LOOK AT ALL THE FUCKING SNOW.

This is the toughest snow year in a long time.  When I moved to Milwaukee, we had a snow year that had heroic piles of snow along side roads, and the intersections, you had to lean out and peer along to see if cars were coming.  And that was when I wasn’t even a property owner, where now I have to shovel that shit my own bad self (I keep an eye on the smartwatch, making sure I don’t over do it.  You know, if you read the past).

But this is what we do in Wisconsin.  We are all shoveling today, and tomorrow we will just go to work like normal.  Because we have boots and brandy.

So, now I got that off my chest, I have to get heavy.  Me, very heavy.

Some might expect that I might be talking about Ryan Adams, and I feel tough enough about that, but it’s not.  But it is related, in that his early work was released through an awesome label, Bloodshot Records in Chicago – they release Langford and Mekons content, and that should make them cool enough.

What I found out tonight is that the life partner of one of the founders of the label, was abusive and grabby toward one of the label’s artists.

This is appalling.

I friended this guy on Facebook, and have been a fan of his music.  I unfriended him tonight, as soon as I heard.

This is so sickening.  Every woman I know has these stories.  I start to look back and wonder, “when did I do something a woman did not appreciate and still hates me for?  And I don’t know when.  I feel queasy when I think it might have happened.  When I have been an employer, I never treated my employees in any other way, but maybe in my personal life….it makes me feel bad for anyone I might have.

FOR FUCKS SAKE, MEN, THIS IS NOT THAT HARD.  when they say no, they are not kidding.  back the fuck off, and if the deal changes, they will come back to you.  Being asked to call a cab is a pretty good indicator, don’t be a fucking rapist dick.

As has once been said, men are afraid that women will laugh at them.  Women are afraid that men will kill them.

The difference in power is what women say when they rail against the patriarchy, and the change is what men want to resist, because the status quo is a fucking good deal for them.

At this point, I don’t know what to say.  I am heartened that the Me Too movement is encouraging women (and men, let’s not forget the bravery of people like Terry Crews) to come forward even when the perpetrators are not the richest, most famous people.  The idea that this massive outpouring of stories of abuse and sexism need to stop being treated as some fakery by a small number of people, but that this is endemic, it exists everywhere.

I am very disheartened to find that people in the music industry I respect, have been embroiled in this.  I am particularly chagrined to find that a Musician I liked, is one of the perpetrators.

I think the only alternative is to continue and deepen the Me Too movement, in that people who feel that they have been abused in any way, come forward.  In a way, certainly that allows the accused (if named) to defend themselves or provide the alternative memory.

But this still taints me for musicians I liked.  And I hate them for that.

Related videos:

I recognize that second video is different, but as a black belt who helped teach women (and men) self defense techniques, I felt the attitude was good.

Meanwhile, guys, can you fucking just pull back a little?  Or a Lot?

 

You guys (all 3 of you who still read this pathetic blog) may remember a couple of posts ago, I talked about my brother and his estrangement from his daughter.  I was regrettably unable to go to her wedding in Vegas, but the pictures were lovely.

Talking to her mother, she has managed to put her troubled past behind her and is now married to a guy who seems to be great, and good for her.  And more importantly. they have a GOOD DOG named Quigley!  Which is a great dog name!

Chatting with her mother, we talked about the potential for my brother to lose contact with his grandchildren.  I said that as an uncle, I would be happy too be a stand-in Grandfather.  I think I would like to be called Papaw.

 

And so as a wedding gift, I did this portrait of them with Quigmeister.  Finally, after digging out and unfreezing the doors enough to get out of the house, managed to pick it up and get it sent off.  I am a bad uncle, but it is still done and in their hands as of tomorrow.

Yes, I cut off their faces.  It’s called framing, because the important thing here is DOGGO FACE!  Also, I am not so good at faces, so I stopped before I made them look like one of my italian movies.  But I think the important thing is that my local framing shop is run by FUCKING ARTISTS, and they take a good piece of artwork and make it SPECTACULAR.

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And this is because we are pretty likely to go see Sam Llanas from this band play in a tiny music bar just across the river from our house this weekend, for 10 goddam bucks and 2 sets…..

 

Unlike my brother, I still have love for my niece and wish her all the best and will do what I can if she needs.