1. When I was living with my Dad he always had very odd ideas and he would write letters about his ideas and world views. Me being a visual artist would say to him ‘ why don’t you make a picture or diagram?’ It never occurred to me at the time that writing was just as valid. It was a creative escape and clarified his world view and projects. He wrote thousands of letters over the years. Many didn’t make sense but they followed a logic of their own. It was difficult to read Dad’s letters because they seemed quite critical and personal. Now though I can see the attraction to writing. To setting out ideas and trying to understand the world around you. My own foray into writing books has been a tricky journey to start. There is something very fragile about the written word. It seems so direct and almost a being of its own. It is full of emotion and that is maybe what I find hard about it. It isn’t just a big thumbs up to your mates though it can be. It can be embarressing and revealing. I think though it can be cathartic in that it opens up a conversation about the world and world views in general.

Over stimulated

I had a talk with a friend a while ago about over stimulation because I tend to calm myself down by limiting music or movies and I was wondering if his stress would go down if he tried the same thing. Then I thought what I could do for myself to really limit my own stress as it would still come in ebbs and waves but usually every few weeks. So I applied a blanket rule to everything I do and went into limiting everything. We all need some stress but I applied limits that were more about moderation and so far it has been about a month and it seems to work. Once my mind becomes too engaged in whatever I try to pull away if it isn’t a necessity. Only putting my mind into overdrive if it is important and I need to do it.

I tend to throw myself into things that really don’t have a point. They may just be a distraction and my life is still in order so I am limiting the right things and I am managing my mental health way better than a few months ago where my head would literally be spinning with over load. I still get tired but I am no where near as delerious as I normally would be if I reached that point of over stimulation. I have had a lot of stress this year so I really needed to act on this. Lets see how it pans out going forward.

Thermal printer

Came across an interesting Raspberry Pi project and was not interested in the physical computing side of it but in the software. It was written in Python and had four components which would work together. It was one component that I was interesting in and so I had a look at the repository and downloaded the project to look at. I am not much of a coder but I can basically tell what is doing what. It was fairly straightforward and I was happy I could find the parts I needed stripping back the parts I did not need to do what had popped in my head when I saw the project.

I only have one friend who codes and he is quite advanced, he only does art projects primarily. We sometimes look at code together. Every now and then coding pops into my mind. I realised how I could fix a physical project with some code which is Arduino based but in the meantime the Pi project popped onto my news feed and it was more of an art project. Normally I am not interested in making some kind of IOT beer temperature regulator which is cool literally but I want art. So the latest gadget I would love is a thermal printer and that was part of the project. The code I doctored had little to do with the printer but the printer drew my attention instantly.

There are a few reasons beside it being kind of modular and almost pointless. There is the fact that thermal prints slowly fade so you have built in temporality which is the drawcard like aerosol art. It is small, tick. It can print long scrolls, tick. It is kind of useless and has art appeal, tick. Also thermal printers are so hot right now! Well they are pretty accessable and small computer gadget sellers are promoting them which was probably the point of the whole project in the first place. You won´t find me forking out a fortune on those sites though as they are pretty much available on ebay or gumtree.

Visual saboteurs

If the world was about investment then what had we invested visually into our urban environments? Graffiti was in a way a type of investment though it was purely visual. It lay outside of the normal tenets of law and order. It was typically unsanctioned and out of the normal flow of function and form. The answer though wasn’t simply making it happen within certain guidelines but lay in the planning of the built environment itself which by luck it was duly considered. The reality though was so many spaces were not going to change quickly enough and so people had to find a way to make the investment themselves or collectively. It should consider as many people as possible that may lie outside of the effort to not leave others to try and sabotage the project.

The issue itself was that as so many had been left out normally because they were anti-social or criminal types and great projects became shared spaces that in a way suited everyone in different ways. Even though the saboteurs were frowned upon they inevitably joined the project but on their own terms.

Sowing fear and doubt

Yesterday the idea of emotional investment popped into my mind from a post on social media. I had a long talk with my daughter who was frustrated by the emotional responses to Trump at her school. A lot of her friends are Muslim and they don’t seem to have any convincing arguments to dislike Trump. I talked about various policies and associations that may make Muslims feel uneasy with Trump. The kids are learning about the US election and globalisation and various facts.

Someone mentioned that an emotional response was quite logical which I agree with but I needed to round out the argument and create a bigger picture. It was hard because clearly I am biased against Trump and I had to be fair in my arguments. So lets say it was a long talk. But what popped into my mind was the emotive nature of suicide bombings and that brand of terrorism. There was no honour or glory in a western sense just the emotional sowing of doubt and fear.

Doubt and fear that seem to breed dissolution and dissatisfaction which seems to be the point of the act. I had read an interesting comment from Ziźek where he mentioned that suicide bombers compare themselves to westerners as lesser than. That they see themselves as inferior so they are happy to kill themselves and others in their acts. This has lead to me think that they also make this act an emotional investment to sow their own doubt of themselves into the acts they perpetrate. And into the wider world.

It seems to be a rather logical argument which would explain so much of the dissatisfied world we seem to live in.

Toxic masculinity

I have been looking back at old photos that document buildings. It made me realise that with painting and art I have been pressing the same buttons for an age. Like I jokingly said to a friend once ‘we keep pressing the button, but no banana’. Well I thought back to my teenage years and remembered the presence of toxic male aggression. If it wasn’t different crews it was your mates. They all seemed out to prove themselves. This brings me to a golden age for me which was when I reached my twenties and started spending most of my time with the opposite sex. It wasn’t what you may think. It was a time where we would eat scones and jam and sit in the sunshine having fun. This was the best time for me. I actually never tried it on with females but annoyingly I got harassed by them. It bugged me all I wanted to do was be friends and have fun.

From male aggression to female sexuality, by my late twenties I had pretty much settled down and this was pretty good but I started coming apart mentally. I never wanted to be around male agro or females treating me like a piece of meat. Luckily most of the ladies were well behaved and we had a great time! It was the best time of my life and when the looming time of starting a family came into play bridges were built and burnt. It is a difficult time because you are ready to have children and that is when you have to make one sided decisions. At least that was how it was with me as I got let down by the new set of demands. Life isn’t without decisions and luckily I made some good choices but not without there own pitfalls.

The issue now is adults are so locked into their lifestyles. You can’t just have a simple picnic in the park because now you have teenagers or small children in tow. They were some great years back then it was so simple and innocent. But I am currently quite happy as I can look back at these times and see the good and the bad. I am still upset with toxic masculinity. Terrorism seems the brainchild of this mentality. Woman though so less violent are usually the innocent victims of men who are out of control. Men also can be the victims and most men’s answer to violence is yet more violence. When these issues are finally addressed maybe we can all truly live in peace.