[Another unedited rant for discussion’s sake]
Turning and facing the strain of the past year, I look at where I’ve come from, and where I’m going…
Read each point in 2007, and then the contrasting one in 2008.
1. Hated kitsch, refused to admit that I myself am actually a postmodern condition.
2. Thus, I had no appreciation for a band such as the Smiths. This was blown out of proportion but…
3. When my friend Rand helped me move, I paid him with a barbecue lunch. I loved me some meats. I used to eat snacks consisting entirely of pan fried processed meats.
4. Was beginning to explore the game of golf. ’nuff said. A sport which is about exclusion of the masses from large, open spaces. Even if ostensibly for their own safety.
5. Including weekends, I smoked a pack a day and drank probably 20 beers a week.
6. I loved my job.
7. I thought LA was the place to be.
8. Small one to close on. I used Windows at home and work.
1. A quote…
“But now -although no one I hang out with will believe this – my sense of camp is highly developed enough that I have actually picked decoration for its kitsch value.” regarding my X-Files posters.
By “I myself am actually a postmodern condition,” I mean that my stated aim for a decade had been the eradication of post-modernism as a style. I now know that it was because I clung to the philosophical underpinnings of post-modernism, and refused to see it written off as just a style. That, and the Eighties were a fucking awful decade for design. I thought I hated post-modernism, when it turns out I just hated to see it p!$$ed on.
2. I’m planning an art piece that incorporates a Smiths lyric. Doesn’t mean my opinion of Mr. Morrissey has changed. But I’ll actively use a trope of theirs that I like, even if it opens me to persecution from my friends.
3. Save extraneous ingredients in prepackaged food, I began stocking a vegan kitchen this weekend. I have been vegetarian for five months. It is exhilarating. I have incredible amounts of energy and resiliency ALL the time, and the only thing that is stopping me from going fully vegan is knowing that if I do, I’ll basically never be able to eat out again.
4. Golf was replaced with bicycling. As the folks at Orange 20 describe it, “Urban Egalitarian Cycling.” Basically, the anti-golf. While I am not an activist (holla to Vera, Tai, and Alex K!), being an urban cyclist is inseparable with land use politics, urban design and policy, and is precisely ABOUT retaking urban spaces that heretofore excluded pedestrians.
5. No cigarettes whatsoever. three, maybe four drinks a week these days. What the fuck was all that about? I never should have smoked in the first place. It was so bad that when I quit, I had a massive allergic break-out because my immune system didn’t have to fight everything, all the time anymore, so it freaked out.
But it was an attempt at self-destruction. As was the booze, in a much more minor way. Granted, I never had a problem with the drinking itself. But in retrospect, I got emotional when I drank and I’m sure I caused damage to essential relationships that I never should have caused. I will save the apologies for face to face communication.
I am not straightedge, but I have a plan tentatively titled “Menace of Sobriety” that I will elucidate in another post. [Actually, while fleshing it out, I wrote it all here, and it will be posted moments after this…]
6. I love my workplace, and the people there, but I cannot ignore my problems with the politics of building estate homes any more. It is against my beliefs, always has been, and I need to own that. Design and construction are an intensely political acts. [Which brings up not one, but two more posts.] Just like biking and sobriety.
7. LA is a wonderful place. New York has found out, and NYC expats are flocking here in droves. Basically, as awesome as this place is, and as much as I love so many things about it, LA’s losing its edge. I never saw this coming when I came back. One of the things that made Los Angeles so great as a design and cultural community; and as a city at large, was a lack of respect from the rest of the world. For decades, this place was where you came to work your ass off and reinvent yourself on your own terms. LA had to work really hard for respect, which was fleeting at best.
Los Angeles is gaining a lot more traction in world culture. People with names are coming here, it’s going from a street fair to a convention. And I feel that over the next couple years, it’s going to become harder to play the radical. The avant garde ain’t what it used to be. It isn’t a challenge to the status quo to be in the “culture industry” here anymore. The entertainment industry model is taking over, and everything is about a set of hierarchies and old-boys’ networks. This is no longer the place of the misunderstood crackpot making an empire (William Mulholland, Amy Semple MacPherson, Howard Huges, Frank Gehry) out of the force of will. Today, in 2008, I look toward places with more history in which to practice iconoclasm.
8. Use Ubuntu on both computers at home, and we are switching to Mac at work this week.
A lot has changed, a little worse for the wear, but a lot better in vocation, lifestyle, and self-understanding.
The past half year has been a motherfucker, but the dividends paid in lessons learned will carry me much further than the lifestyle and philosophical conditions of 2007 would have, had they gone unchallenged.
I guess the point here is that, I love a challenge, and the ability to learn and grow from one.
Thoughts? How has your life changed in the last year?