Star Gazing

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

Limited Time, 2017

“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.”

I used to camp on a picnic table at Bean Hollow Beach, long after they would lock the gates, check the bathrooms and say goodnight to whatever needed saying goodnight to….I’d walk around the heavy yellow pipe barricade, with my sleeping bag, a flashlight, a small styrofoam cooler and my journal…I always had plans…didn’t always initiate the plans but had them nevertheless…Often I’d start a small fire under the concrete picnic table that was my bed to warm it up…I’d lie there, drink some beers and watch the star filled sky…watch for anomalies and satellites…strange events, anything that wanted to come forward…it was an experience I often think of today and how it was, simple and easy….a pleasure to be a part of a few times each month….I owned the beach, and everything on it…it was mine for about 8 hours…sometimes I’d count the stars like the minutes…because I could…

Star gazing music:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

The Collective of Think A-likes

West Texas ramblings, Writings from the "Cuff'

 


“Hajime ni” © 2017 Robert Redus

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

In the movie, Full Metal Jacket, when private Pyle has finally lost the last drop of sanity and is confronted by private Joker in the head. the end result is expected, and not a surprise.  Private joker says to private Pyle, “If Hartman comes in here and catches us, we will both be in a world of shit.”, Private Pyle replies, “I am in a world of shit”….then Pyle’s greatest moment is not far away…nevertheless,…a seemingly cohesive collective  is seconds from taking on enough water to capsize the entire vessel….

I really used to believe that the power of a collective was an unstoppable power that when directed and adjusted could accomplish incredible things…yet now…I don’t believe that so much, why? you ask…well because every collective has at least one private Pyle, 1 person who is in a world of shit, for what ever reason creating a compromise in the integrity of the collective…I mean think about, we all are in a world of shit…who knows, could be a few days a month…once a quarter…maybe twice a year…

The word collective means: “a cooperative enterprise”.  Herds,( my favorite is a quiver of cobras)… flocks, packs, gangs, parties, anything with people sharing a common idea/goal is considered a collective, creating something called, “Collectivism” which is defined as:

“Collectivism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the group and its interests. Collectivism is the opposite of individualism. 

or better put…”the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.”…

And that to me is where the notion of the collective fails completely, and not because of the group priority…but because of the diametric opposition of those within the group on the really small micro scale….in other words, everybody in the group is on a different part of the group’s bell curve…let’s simplify…remember this part, OK?….in a collective, individuality is in the back seat, while the collective itself drives….right? yet if everybody in the back seat has a different way of driving, directional skills, methods of getting from point A to point X….and exactly what they define point A and X to be, somebody or some group of bodies is going to decide the driving habits of the collective….now a box within a box within a box….yabitty…yabitty…yabitty… So, the collective now is no longer about the collective, rather about the individuals guiding and directing the collective…sort of individualism directing collectivism….sound vaguely familiar…

Here’s my solution and I’ll start with a 2 questions first…here they are…

If tomorrow you woke and you were doing exactly what you wanted to be doing, you know that ikegai, that passion that we all have for something and long to live, (here it is) what would you be doing?…..and what are you currently doing to get there?….if you can’t answer the first question….you can’t answer the 2nd question either….So before you join a collective, you think you kind of believe in most of the time, answer these 2 questions….then start the process of living that life….

Here are 10 readily accepted scenarios in the world we live in…we should think hard about changing these….. 

  • WE PRIORITIZE MONEY AND THE ECONOMY OVER BASICS LIKE AIR, WATER, FOOD QUALITY, OUR ENVIRONMENT, AND OUR COMMUNITIES.
  • WE UTILIZE AN ECONOMIC TRADING SYSTEM THAT FACILITATES THE DEATH OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE EACH YEAR.
  • WE DIVIDE THE WORLD’S LAND INTO SECTIONS AND THEN FIGHT OVER WHO OWNS THESE SECTIONS.
  • WE CALL SOME PEOPLE “SOLDIERS” WHICH MAKES IT OK FOR THEM TO KILL OTHER PEOPLE.
  • WE TORTURE AND KILL MILLIONS OF ANIMALS EVERY DAY NEEDLESSLY FOR FOOD, CLOTHING, AND EXPERIMENTS.
  • WE SEND CHILDREN TO SCHOOL FOR THEIR ENTIRE CHILDHOOD TO MEMORIZE FACTS AND SKILLS THAT THEY WILL RARELY USE. 
  • WE IMPOSE FINANCIAL PRESSURES ON PARENTS, FORCING THEM TO MISS OUT ON VITAL STAGES OF THEIR CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT.
  • WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF RELIGIONS, EACH ONE BELIEVING THAT THEIR GOD OR GOD-STORY IS THE ONLY TRUE AND UNIQUE VERSION.
  • LOVE AND COMPASSION, WHICH PROMOTE LIFE, ARE MOCKED AS FACILE. WHEREAS WAR, WHICH HARMS LIFE, IS SEEN AS HONORABLE.
  • ANYONE WITH A REALLY USEFUL INVENTION CAN FORCEFULLY PREVENT OTHERS FROM USING OR MODIFYING IT.

I think we each have to work on changing ourselves first…plant tomatoes, raise some bees…take longer walks…have less stuff…write more…talk less…read more…teach more….learn more…maybe your neighbor might see that and do the same…and their neighbors might see them doing than and their neighbors, neighbors might see….and then that world of shit just might not be that bad….if its compost….

here’s some great music…and some great mescal

“You are only as strong as the liquor you drink, the tables you dance on and the of friends that hold you together”

 

 

 

 

432. November 3rd…Adaptation is like being invisible….

West Texas ramblings

“Look” 2010

“Any way you slice it, the best pies in America” – The Village Inn

Adaptation is a rather odd concept….especially these days…seems if I’m adapting too much….I am spending far too much time trying to make it happen rather than just….make it happen…seems it’s probably a great deal like trying to juggle fire or moving chain saws…

These days I’ve no problem with adapting to the small things…you know slightly adjusting the small screws in my life…maybe a small turn one way or the other…I don’t want to drill any new places for new screws…nor do I want to install a great deal of new hardware…. I’m learning….and that’s what counts…

My cats love me for who I am….sure they probably want something more from me…and until they either write me notes or start speaking….food distribution and catnip still fall under my control…kind of a grocery drug dealer in a way…I guess…and they’re pretty close to communication on a different level…things are looking up…

My father once told me that if I thought I was invisible…I was invisible…I walked around truly convinced I was impossible to see….that really changed how I thought about being me…

made me wonder about who I couldn’t see because they too thought they were invisible….That’s when it started getting…..confusing…,

279. April 9th…Spring has arrived….creativity is at its peak….and I’m wanting something spicy…for lunch….

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings, Writings from the "Cuff'

“Right on Time” 2010

“To know one thing, you must know the opposite”. – Henry Moore

I had a feeling today was going to be one of those days….a razor edge walk….with a few hundred pound bags of potatoes….big puffy clown shoes…and no fear what so ever of any danger….I kind of like those days….they tell me that what happens within the next few hours…is like the tip of a candle flame….beautifully unpredictable….wonderfully productive….and full of excitingment…these days used to be called “Manic“…now they are called… “Carnival Days“…a trip to some place for a few hours….knowing I’ll win every prize on the shelf…..and that’s good to know….

I’ve been monitoring my creativity lately and found when I have something to do other than paint or build jewelry…I am at the peak of creativity…and I think that is because I see there is a limited amount of time before I have to put everything up…get ready to be the other guy for a few hours….I look more at the clock…sing less out loud in the studio…focus more on detail and batch processing….and generally feel a pressure though not uncomfortable nevertheless a pressure…to finish….and I do accomplish more….I’ve noticed

funny how we work better when we have certain things in place in our lives….I recall H. Joe Waldrum writing about painting naked…that was his deal….I’d bet if each of us were to take a look around we’d find some thing or things required to produce what we think are optimum results….I think for me I require…..a certain mixture of clarity and uncertainty at the same time…to start the ball rolling after that…Chick Corea or some appropriate music….to light the fuse….then the rest of it is all about placement…where things go…based on how they look or don’t look….what seems to be a “better” place than not…or a not so better place….but somehow a series of events happen that transforms my relationship with the work into something different from when it all started….familiarity for a time being….a knowing that may or may not last….but all of the elements make the event….like dancing a great Tango….

whatever the creative endeavor….the courtship of the work…is the slow motion process….the part like a Martin Scorsese…western shootout….the work has a life of its own….a personality that though perhaps a self portrait….has been altered and remade into a different expression from the original idea…..if it’s painting naked…eating bowls of fruit….rooms full of Macaks….wearing a fluffy lime green bathrobe with hiking boots….all of it matters a great deal…and what you and your studio look like that makes your work explode…..is all that matters

274. Aril 3rd…Nature…vs…Nurture…or is it Nature and Nurture vs….Godzira…….

Art and my thoughts about being an artist, Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

Photo of me by Ren Adams 2008

“Be that self which one truly is”. – Soren Kierkegaard

I was thinking about what makes us who we are…there is the Nature vs Nurture argument…we are part what we are and part what we are made into….and all of that makes perfect sense…yet what makes us pursue a particular life…is it the fire for the object…or the familiarity of the object…already…something perhaps on a level of……..”Already Done”…that we have somehow experienced the feeling of what we want….to pursue…maybe just a small amount like a taste of something delicious….that somewhere along the way touched our tongues…and left just enough memory to keep everything moving in that direction over a lifetime…..

great people are great because they do the same thing over again many times….they may be great in an unknown sense…to the world…..but their greatness….appears on a smaller scale….that effect almost every person that ever enters their circle…I know a few people like this…and even better….I know a few people who in their life time will be like this….and I don’t think they are aware of it…..perhaps they are but I doubt it…..these are the type of people who continue doing…without thought or end result thinking….they will be doing what they do today…many years from now…yet the result will be refined….sharpened to a scalpel edge…..effortless…..everything trimmed away from a lifetime of the exercise…..I admire that more than almost anything else I can think of……

my task…is to follow the examples of the people I know….that burn the candles all night long…..that when I am resting….they are busy working on the “next project”….thinking the next experiements…..starting the first lines on the canvas….never really knowing where it is all going to end up….other than one of the many places they already know……

how or why we end up in our pursuits….is maybe not the issue….it is what happens while in pursuit…..where all of the necessary elements align to make the pursuit a gift…something that we as the recipient are able to return as a gift to those that walk into our circle…someday….

270. March 30th…It’s right over there….over the rainbow…..on the other side of that hill…where the wind blows and they sell big glasses of butter milk…right there by that crying baby…..

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

“The Land of Oz” 2010

“Never give up. No one knows what’s going to happen next.” L. Frank Baum

we are in the midst of this weird time…somewhere between winter and spring…I don’t particularly care for this time because of the unpredictable nature of each day…one day a jacket…the next short sleeves…I’d rather the change be abrupt…eliminates the guessing and all of the preparation necessary just to go for an afternoon….

this time of year is awkward for me….I get off track very quickly…and begin to pile things up…as I have all of my life…I suppose…this is about hoarding for the winter…finding I don’t need all of the stuff I hoarded and standing amidst it wondering how all of this happened….and most importantly…what to do with it…it seems such an arduous task….yet one really good thing has come from it….I am going to narrow down even further…this summer…get rid of the things I’ve not touched  for 6 months…that makes sense….

where I grew up…the wind this time of year blew unmercifully for a couple of months…generally everything was covered in a brown gritty shroud filled with swirling paper…tumbleweeds….plastic bags…and anything that could stick to you and stay stuck to you for as long possible….it was a trip to purgatory….just gave you a taste of what being a bad person was going to be like for an eternity…..

speaking of which…have you ever tried figuring out your personal hell….I love to figure out someone’s hell based on all of the things they tell me they can’t stand….it is really interesting that someone’s personal hell might include things like drinking milk that has been sitting out for 20 minutes….or wearing garbage bags around all day…or shoes without socks…or really old people….or being licked in the face by a dog….and when you think about it…singley….nothing is really that bad….but combine a dozen or so things that tip you right over he edge and that’s when hell begins to emerge….just a little side trip……

but this is part of my hell….”WIND”…..a daily dose of 30 mile per hour winds….is like a good hard….pince for me….something I have never liked and never will like…..so there is the climate for my hell….throw in some tight spaces for a few hours….large plates of really soft over cooked vegetables…..eating cans of salmon with the spinal bones of course…..a baby crying endlessly….someone blowing a car horn…..really loud static on the radio…standing in a crowd of people with really bad body odor….a few well placed hard pinches every 5 minutes or so….a heaping glass of butter milk……fingernails scratching the chalk board ……and my hell appears to be pretty complete….see what I’m getting at

so in theory if there is a hell….I need to be very careful…that I live my life with really really good intentions and actions….and the more I think about the “Transition” from winter to spring…and the wind…and my dislike of the whole thing…..I am going to embrace it instead….learn to love it….after all….I’m here and not there….and here at least I’m not certain what’s going to happen at any moment…where as there…I pretty much know what each day is going to look like…..

come wind…30 mph is all you got…!!!!…and I’m wearing layers of clothes that I don’t really like so I can leave them where I take them off when it warms up….I am loving this weather…..really……I am…..

269. March 29th…hard to beat a great day…except with a greater one….and then that’s pretty hard to beat….except with….

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

“The Good News” 2010

“The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.” – Malcolm Gladwell

…..yesterday was one of those days I was very “glad to be on the planet” days…it was a day of adventure….one of revelation and insight…and one I especially was glad to be alive to experience….there was a time where just sitting among the hills deflated me to a degree…I chose to whittle …nothing elaborate like a chain or a ball inside a box…but  basically take a large piece of wood and turn it into a bunch of really small pieces of wood…. with absolutely no function what so ever…

I didn’t see it as destroying anything…more the little flecks of wood … had bits of information I attached to each one to give a value other than what it already had…some secret only the small little pile of shaved wood and I know…like smoke rising from a fire….and delicatly placing those words some where there on the white-gray plume…to go to an unknown….but have a message when it arrives….so maybe the message finds the recipiant…in some way….and says what needs to be said….and it kind of ends there…..until another day like yesterday arises…

we spent some time collecting stones…twisted pieces of wood…..bleached sun dried bones….can lids with holes shot through them…and those special things that there is very little conversation about…they just end up in your pocket….carrying on a conversation all day….and periodically your hand finds their smoothness…or the edge….or the texture…that excited you enough to pick them up…..

I really like finding something very special….like maybe the perfect heart rock….or a perfectly smooth oval stone…or a crystal….and spending some time just feeling it…rolling it around in my hands….mapping it….every little aspect of it….and then leaving it there where I am…not taking it home…..and thinking about what it felt like or how smooth it was…maybe a few weeks later and see if it feels the same without having it there….in front of me….I’ve always liked to leave the “real treasures” behind…..

days like yesterday….really make the other days that seems pretty level….not so level….and predictable…it is a Sunday like I had that makes me realize…everyday is a gift…and within that gift are many other little things to take notice of…they may be the small stuffed animals at the state fair…on “these” two shelves….but they none the less are a prize…..

268. March 28th….nothing left to say……at least for now………

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

“One Sided” 2010

“I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy” – J.D. Salinger

“In Waiting”

“T or C 2”

“1992”

“Alley Way with Reflection”

“Birds on a Wire”

“Branch”

“Why…Why I wasn’t Home Last Night?”

today looks to be a beautiful day ahead….I awakened thinking in black and white…..perhaps it was what I was dreaming…

enjoy your Sunday…..

267. March 27th…Mea Culpa…..doesn’t that mean “Happy Friday”…in Latin…???

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

“The Laundry” 2010

“Textbooks are Soviet propaganda” Jerry Falwell

I went to a parochial school for 8 years…in that time there was the religious dogma that guided all of us uniform clad youngsters the direction religion leads people….I was far to  engrossed in the beauty of the things around me…to pay a great deal of attention to all of the sufferng…blasphemy…and death….we were being taught….the church was filled with some of the most incredible stain glass windows….intricately detailed….designed to be almost life-like….I would sometimes stare at one particular window for hours….because I liked the color of the robe Christ was wearing…a deep purple…darker than grapes….and how the tree stump was made…it was sort of a cartoon tree stump…but that I kept to myself…somehow the relationship of Christ resting his clasped hands and staring toward heaven….on a cartoon tree stump…doesn’t have a good end result if spoken out loud to a tight collared priest….

sitting in this massive church by myself…always got me points….because I sat quietly and stared in an upward direction….at all of the lavish decor the church had…anytime I was question about what I was doing…I simply said….”Thinking about God”……that answer got me out of a great deal of stuff….Priests want to hear stuff like that….

I was an altar boy for a few years…wore the white billowy outfit…lit the candles and either held the bible or stood behind the priest holding an elaborately decorated cross about 10 feet tall…..while he spoke to the masses…later in life I realized he could have been the priest double for the Father Karris in the Exorcist…as they could have been twins….

I returned to the Parish school sometime in he late 90’s…no more uniforms….the top floor where all of the  classrooms were is now being renovated because the windows in each room are the only surviving works done by a particular craftsman…the parish chapel….is still very dark and forboding…while the larger church is filled with light and my favorite window hasn’t changed a bit…maybe gotten a bit smaller in my bigger mind…but things are still roughly the same…

at the time….going to a Parish school was like having a giant pimple on the end of my nose….for a few years…everybody noticed…me…with my blue on blue uniform…my sweater…large patch over my heart…..and brief case….there was no hiding it….we were targets….yet looking back on it…the experience was a unique gift…rounded me in a way that might not really be round but looked like it….and over all we were a large version of a small club…my 8th grade graduating class had 9 people in it….7 of them…I had been in school with since  1st grade…..

for as religious as I am not…..I have to say the consistency of the Parish has stayed very true to its origins….and has changed little if any….and for what ever that is worth…sombody is happy….

Here we are:

That’s me…between the 2 guys with the glasses…….

266. March 26th….Be all you can be…not necessarily in the Army….but in your own mosaic….

Thoughts from the "Tinman", West Texas ramblings

“Door Number One” 2009

“I know we’re not saints or virgins or lunatics; we know all the lust and lavatory jokes, and most of the dirty people; we can catch buses and count our change and cross the roads and talk real sentences. But our innocence goes awfully deep, and our discreditable secret is that we don’t know anything at all, and our horrid inner secret is that we don’t care that we don’t.” – Dylan Thomas

My life was once extremely simple…I could put everything I owned in my truck…top off the load with my plastic covered mattress and  a new direction was the paramount issue of the day….there was a lure about that then…that was just so liberating and freeing….where as now the notion of moving like that with no real destination in mind is not near as appealing…..could be a lot of reasons….maybe just a few but….there are enough reasons that keep me right where I am….for what I need to be here for…..and I guess knowing that is a nice little added bonus to just being….

I can’t stay up as late as I used to…or drink like I did before…..I stopped taking drugs so long ago….I wouldn’t even know what decade it was….my days of carousing have slowed….I suppose I’m getting to a place where smaller things have bigger results for…..me….I kind of knew this was out there waiting….for me….and I imagine if I truly dug down deep I could have admitted this a few years ago…but there was still some buck left in me that wasn’t ready to take this position…..easily….

don’t for a minute think I think I’m old…..I’m not…I am at a place in my life that is a comfortable pair of shoes…a place I can look all directions and see something I have done or know a little something about…that same place is a location that no matter where I go…it goes with me…within that location is everything that makes me ….me…..kind of like a suitcase I don’t have to carry….with all of the stuff inside…..being here is ideal…there are certain things I don’t have to try ever again…things I can say…”no…I don’t like that”….or “that is one of my favorites”….let me give you an example…

most of my life when it came to ice cream…I knew without a doubt that vanilla was not a favorite of mine….chocolate was right up there yet there seemed to be something else…something maybe I’d not had enough of…or had never tasted before…so I knew to say “Chocolate was my favorite”….was not a true statement…something I knew would change over time…somewhere in my 30’s “sorbet” entered the picture and palette cleansing was significant…over many years of sorbet vs chocolate…I finally settled on Rainbow Sherbet…..as my favorite…..what you say…where did that come in….Rainbow Sherbet is the point….it doesn’t have to be in the picture….to be in the running….you just have to know about it…..

so I know with little reservation…I don’t like…egg plant….okra…..Brussell sprouts…..most squash…..cabbage…..no matter how it’s cooked…..and I can say that with confidence…I don’t like twin beds…I like a queen sized bed…..not king sized…..I like either green or blue towels…sometimes tan….maybe lavender…but rarely red…..I like to tie my shoes tight…..and wear a belt……two shirts in winter…..ankle socks in summer…..I like to name everything that is white in my life….”Great White”….no matter what it is and how many white things are in my life…..(can never have enough “Great Whites”)

you do this too….maybe not so calculated or perhaps as calculated or even more calculated…this is called Our roving inventory of the small little mosaic pieces that make the image of us that is completely different from anybody else’s mosaic” …..Nice to know that what you’ve been doing over all of these years….actually has a name….not a legitimate name…but one that if you say it few hundred times…you will begin to believe it….really does exist…..