Hot Air: Post 012

Push Open the Door

This Hot Air Post might be one of the most personal to date. But, as with writing, sometimes a topic needs to be discussed so I can better understand it, and maybe it can help someone else. Depression runs in my family and I am not one to escape from this illness as well. For years I have tried to hide it. Maybe it was acting like nothing was wrong if someone asked me, or maybe it was days when I couldn’t shake unhappiness within me when everything outside appeared fine. How could you be depressed? I have my health. I have food. I have shelter and I live in one of the greatest countries in the world. Underneath this disguise, a cloud appears so often, and casts a long shadow over me. Please understand that this is my own particular experience and not one to compare too or criticize in any way. I recently watched a video clip from an episode of John Oliver’s show, where he spoke about Mental Illness as a topic America still does not understand.

I live and work as most Americans do and are blessed to be living in one of the most diverse and creative cities in the world. As an artist, I get to create projects to satisfy a curiosity and maybe one day this will become my full time occupation. The threat of war is far from my doorstep and I can walk to a grocery store and buy any item my stomach desires. I do my best to eat healthy and workout as much as I can. Yet, depression still finds a way to surround me and take control. Recently, a bout of depression hit me so hard that I had trouble believing that I wasn’t a failure. That each decision I made was a “mistake”, all of them, but none of them where as big of a “mistake” as the decision to leave Charleston. I even thought about each moment of my travel out west as a failure and a foul’s errand. Lying on my back, staring at the ceiling above, listening to my fan rotate, all my thoughts were negative. To provide more details of how depression held me down, I rather not get into specifics. I just know that depression is an illness and something I live with each day. A fight I will win but is an illness many of my friends and family fight as well.  

My mother battles depression and she has learned to cope as best as she can. Today she is doing better than ever. But this illness runs deep within my family and unfortunately not all of it is good. What is important for me is not to look back, but better understand this illness by the triggers that cause an episode to occur. I love to be a busy person. I don’t know where this comes from but even today, I make a list each morning of things I want to do. Maybe it’s an OCD thing, but making a list, striking off an item from that list, in bold red ink, makes me feel wonderful. Maybe the list is a trigger, I don’t know. What I do know is that depression will manifest if I don’t get enough sleep. This I can relate to the fact that I love to do as much as possible within a given day, to complete my list. Sometimes this keeps me up late. If I need to get up early, without much sleep, this could be a trigger. More importantly, alcohol abusive is a trigger. I know this. I do my best to avoid alcohol as much as possible, and knowing my addictive personality, I do my best. Yet, sometimes I drink. Maybe too much, and a trigger can happen. But, more importantly is that this year, I have made large scale decisions in my life, that the stress of those decisions have caused me to become depressed at certain moments, sometimes days. Such dramatic changes for me has caused me to lose focus on how important those changes are for me.

To describe my depression, is to picture a door swinging closed. This door is closed so tightly, that I can barely push the door open with all my strength. Moments like these I often reach my lowest point. I feel as if I can’t “see” my way out. I will suffocate under all the decisions I have made. Good or bad. It doesn’t matter. Depression keeps the door shut closed as hard as I try to open it. But depression won’t win. I will not let it. I am making better choices and leaving Charleston was one of those. Spending the 7 weeks on the road I learned much about myself, maybe too much. Yet, I know that each day I spend concentrating on the moment, the present, the NOW, I don’t need to worry or stress about past decisions. This is easy to write of course but I do my best to put forth my strongest effort of living in the NOW. Meditation is a morning routine of mine I have been practicing for almost a year now. No it’s not the cure all. But what mediation has taught me is that worry, stress, and thinking about the past and future is not a positive way to spend the day. To concern myself with only the NOW, the present is my best approach. I have spent too much of my life thinking about the past. Too much time spent looking back, why? This is not good. I don’t know what the future will present. No one does. What I do know is that I am learning to be on the lookout for triggers, and understand that my depression is an illness I will battle each day. I will not let depression win.

rolf

Hot Air: Post 011

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Living Unplugged for a Week

Living without cable is something I do not miss. But living without the internet, I must confess, has been difficult. Much of the stress of living without a home cable or internet service is that, I have never lived this way before. I have always had internet access wherever I have lived and managed to at least keep basic cable running on some TV I owned. Yet, moving to Los Angeles and renting an apartment in LA, meant I would need to live without particular services. Once I was able to find my first LA apartment, pay the huge expense of moving into this apartment, taking on another financial burden is something I didn’t want to do. Understanding the cost, and then deciding to eliminate cable and internet service is easy to realize but actually living without these services is a bit harder to put into practice.

Having internet service and cable is always something I just had. I didn’t really believe that people lived without these services. Using the internet at home was just something I always had available, no questions asked. I didn’t really question life without it. Both my websites LoW BiT LoGiC and Rolf Anthony Designs, where created and built using a home internet service. As an artist, finding inspiration takes different forms. Never is inspiration more available than random internet searches. Understanding how a sewer system works in an old building, finding clues about Tarantino’s next movie, or viewing pictures of baby elephants, the internet provides me all the inspiration conveniently at home. Why go outside when there is so much to Google! Aside from the artistic pursuits, the internet is an entertainment source for me. From watching music videos on YouTube, binge watching TV shows on Netflix, or listening to music on SoundCloud, all types of media was readily available. The internet is the comfort food for my curiosity. Life without a Comcast bill was just something I never thought would happen.

I believe the idea of living without a home internet or cable service matured during my 7 week road trip to Los Angeles. By removing myself from the need to be completely connected at every minute, of every day, I was able to learn to live without. This experience had its moments of positivity as well as moments of pure frustration. What I learned is that I can live unplugged. Not too removed from the grid, but just far enough off that I can sense life without. Now after arriving in LA and moving into my apartment, do I really miss home cable and internet service? The answer is a mixture of yes and no. Do I really need to pay for this service? No. Do I really want this service? Yes.

Life with cable for me became more about gearing my lifestyle around a particular TV show. If I really enjoyed the show, I would construct my evenings to make sure I wouldn’t miss this show. The feeling of waiting for a new episode of The Walking Dead on the day of the show would result with me completely changing my daily routine so I wouldn’t miss the episode. No matter what! For the short amount of time I have lived without cable, I better understand how much television watching constructed my way of life. Yet, I do miss TV shows and the comfort of spending a rainy Sunday afternoon watching football games. Allowing myself to get lost in cable programming provided a false sense of security for me. This experience also existed with my home internet service. But by living unplugged, I find that my thought process is more focused on the present, a meditation technique I have been practicing since the start of the year.

To concluded, I doubt I will live the rest of my life without home cable or internet service. Heck, the idea of these two services actually being separate platforms of consumption is an old business model to draw upon. How quickly these services begin to become so accessible to everyone on the planet, starts to make me believe that both should be free. Maybe not so much the TV shows as they do employ a fair amount of people. But the internet is a service that you really shouldn’t pay for. Not to say that companies won’t provide cable/internet packages at cheap rates for people to choose. But, after spending the summer crossing the country by car, I soon realized how easy it is to tap into a Wi-Fi network at some coffee shop, pay for a cup of coffee, and get online. Also, how much the next generation is using the internet not just as a service but more as a way of life, lets me believe that free internet might be something to believe in. But internet providers do make money so the idea of living in a free internet society does seem a bit of reach in today’s economy. Yet, as an individual making a choice not to pay for cable and internet, it does seem a healthier lifestyle change for me.

rolf

Hot Air: Post 010

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My First LA Apartment

Renting my first apartment in Los Angeles, California is an experience I will forever remember and a burden I wouldn’t suggest people to carry. From the first apartment I thought I would move into, to the one I finally rented this week, LA once again proves to me that it is one of the harder places to live yet at the same time continues to teach me new things. To be specific, I have had to relearn everything I took for granted when I lived in Charleston. Being accustomed to everything around you, knowing the ins and outs, you eventually believe things will never change. By allowing myself to live in a consistent circular existence, as I did for 13 years in Charleston, moving to LA has opened my eyes that I lived a life as a steady submissive beat that sounded a balance for my way of life. I fed into a machine and it fed me. Removing myself from that cycle has been one of the more aggressive challenges for me. Yet, one I still believe was the right decision to make.

I could list experiences I have had since arriving in LA but I want to be more specific to my current experience; the apartment hunt. The process does sound like a simple equation. Find an apartment, submit rental application, decide deposit, sign lease, and move in. That in theory is how it should work. Yet, it does not follow that course of action when in LA. From the five apartments I was interested in, the final one, was the one I signed my lease for.  What are not included in this equation is the many different listings I visited throughout the LA area through the iPhone app Rad Pad. Rad Pad allows a person like me to search multiple listings from my phone and filter those listings according to many different variables. The top choice for me was price range. Yet, this was not just about searching through an app and making my decision. It was more about finding a place and then visiting the location of that place. This is because my biggest misunderstanding about LA is the location of things. What is the neighborhood like? What would my potential neighbors be like? Most importantly, other than price, what is parking like? Maybe I could have spent most of my time just using the app and setting up appointments for viewings without visiting each ad until I found a potential match. But in doing an extreme amount of driving, I was able to make a quick decision once I arrived.  Dismissing the obvious, I quickly discovered that if I wanted to pay cheap LA rent, less than 1,000 dollars for a studio/1 bedroom, I was looking at areas south of DTLA and closer to Long Beach. Problem for me is, it opened me up to areas I considered high risk. Yet, by just increasing my monthly rental limit between 1-1200 dollars per month, would open me up to more areas which I would prefer. Thus, my idea of living in central downtown LA came true.

At this point you might be wondering, why not approach finding a living space through Craigslist. Great idea! Trust me I put many hours into searching the mindless, often similar, listings with Craigslist. I even went so far as to meet a potential roommate through Craigslist, only to watch the whole idea fall apart right when I was ready to move in. How familiar am I with others on Craigslist? Nothing what so ever! People of LA are so strange that the idea of actually living with someone from LA, makes me more nervous than driving in LA.  At 37 years old, and having lived with roommates since I was 18, living alone is the best scenario for me to be successful. Another reason is the high amount of scams on Craigslist in the LA area.  

Each person’s quest to move to LA is different. Maybe like me, you want to change your life and place yourself in such a foreign location, that it makes you feel the need to relearn everything about anything. Finding my first LA apartment was an experience unlike any I have ever had. Add to my request, is the need for a drama free living space and a strong level of quietness. Access to metro stops is another suggestion and some parking available would be great as well. Sometimes I felt that during the process of me viewing a property, that same place would be rented before I even left the place. I often thought people must rent places sight unseen. Add to the burden of finally finding “your place” is the financial situation you need to be in before renting your first LA apartment. Most rental companies I dealt with wanted not only a deposit, which is the sum of the rent, but an additional month’s rent. So be aware, if a listing is 1500 per month, be prepared to pay x3 to close the deal. In short, fat stacks of cash are needed. Maybe your apartment hunt will be more successful than mine and hopefully cheaper too. But in the end, I rented an apartment that fits my needs and is something I can call home, for 12 months.

rolf

Hot Air: Post 009

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One Month in LA

I am writing this latest Hot Air post from Hollywood, California. My temporary living space is a cozy room at the Roxy Motel located off Western Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. Since leaving Charleston, South Carolina, my living situations have consisted of campsites and Airbnb’s. Now that I have lived in Los Angeles for the past month, my living arrangements have moved to the more interesting hotels in Anaheim, California, to different locations throughout the LA area. My immediate desire was to visit as much of Los Angeles as possible, living in different areas, all to help me figure out where to live. I quickly realized that LA is made up of so many different pockets that trying to visit them all, in a short amount of time, is not a wise decision. I think I thought of this grandiose idea before I started driving in LA. To describe what it is like driving in LA, imagine you just robbed a bank and need to make a quick getaway. Or think of an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard, where the entire episode is nothing but hundreds of thousands of General Lee’s all driving as fast as they can between red lights at a distance of a block each. Yet, I don’t want to dwell on the obvious problematic parts of driving in LA. What is important today, is that I am writing this Hot Air post to celebrate my survival in LA for the last month.

My transition to life in LA has consisted of the seeking regularities of my modern life; finding work, finding cheap rent, finding stable Wi-Fi, finding delicious cheeseburgers, and finding strong coffee. The last being the most important, of course. But besides those necessities of my life, I really want to celebrate just SURVIVING my first month in LA. After living on the east coast all my life, and living in Charleston, South Carolina for the past 13 years, attempting to conceptualize LA from my perspective has been tough. To paint a better picture, the entire population of Charleston is just 1/4th the population of Long Beach, with Long Beach representing just one portion of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. But the point of this post is not to compare LA to Charleston. That would only pin point Charleston’s short comings in representing a strong contemporary art scene, and eventually become a post about how LA consistently saturates its audience in the Kardashian culture. What I want to focus on is surviving LA for a month. I will not provide places to live or quick jobs to find. Use the internet for that. This Hot Air post is about survival in La La Land.

It is very easy it is too loose focus on your goals when in LA. Maybe it is the massive concrete landscape that is LA, which can overwhelm you. It did for me and at times still does. Be careful of this feeling because it only allows for LA to swallow you. To describe the experience of being swallowed by LA, is to describe a life of a small innocent fish swimming effortlessly in an ocean thinking nothing more than swimming. Then shortly, after finding a perfect swimming rhythm, a larger fish sees the tiny fish and quickly swallows the poor bastard whole. The larger fish then continues its course only to be consumed by another larger fish and the cycle repeats. Figuratively, not my best example but I hope you are smart enough to understand the metaphor. The best counter attack to being swallowed, is to place yourself in the MOMENT. Seriously. Think nothing more than what is happening at that moment. Are you walking? Then walk. Are you eating? Then eat. The idea is not to THINK about the past or future because both of those you cannot control. But to live in the NOW. The PRESENT. I wrote the important words in capital letters to emphasize my point. This thinking is based on my own practice of meditating each day or at least, trying to meditate each day. Since December I have made a daily effort to meditate. Or as Tai Sheridan so politely states, sitting quietly. Living in the NOW is so important to surviving in LA because it allows for everything to become manageable. This daily practice has worked, so far, for me.

LA is an organic experience. It changes each day, each hour, and doesn’t wait for those who don’t respect the hustle. And that is one of the more important things I have learned during my first 30 days in LA. Everyone is hustling. Be it music, comedy, or Hollywood tours, the hustle game runs deep in LA. So respect it. And, find your hustle. Finally, everyone in LA is either an actor, artist, musician, comedian, or life expert. Maybe that is a broad brush stroke that unfairly paints all of the individuals living in LA, but why else would you want to be living in a city that charges you more money at a gas pump than any other place in the continental United States of America. Just my thought, but there must be a reason to be here. Dream chasing? What I find myself doing more than ever is thinking how regular people are somehow chasing a Hollywood dream. Again this thought process is singular in my nature as a long time day dreamer, but I like to believe that the overweight bus driver is secretly writing the next great mobster movie. Or maybe the skinny store clerk that I bought a pair of black socks from will one day become the next big action star. Funny how strong your imagination can become when living in such a city like LA. Tomorrow I will wake up in Hollywood, in my cozy room at the Roxy Motel and begin the process of living in LA all over again. I hope to share more experiences in the future. But for NOW, I must find strong coffee.

rolf

Hot Air: Post 008

The Road to Roswell

So there I was. Standing in the middle of a two lane road that lead to Roswell, New Mexico. All around me was nothing. I mean, not nothing, but nothing I was familiar with. The sun was setting, displaying a view so strange and unknown that I wonder if I was moving in the right direction. Lucky for me, my inner child yelled out, “we are going to the alien place!” I had to smile. I was going to that “alien place”. Yet, I soon realized that though my surroundings where unknown, the road to Roswell felt as welcoming to me as if I was meeting an old friend, late night at a small empty bar.

Yes, it is true, that the “alien thing”, as one local called it, is prevalent. But having lived near Myrtle Beach for over a decade, nothing really compares to a more egregious use of crap than Ma-Beach. So seeing the six or more alien gift shops wasn’t really a big deal. I even bought two small green alien beings for my Cousin’s children. Not to feel left out, I purchased a book titled “UFO Secrecy and the Fall of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Donald R. Burleson, Ph.D. Noticing the multiple books written by Burleson, displayed in a circular fashion like a UFO, I immediately understood Burleson as a major player in the world of UFO conspiracies and their direct link to major US events. Finding another title by Burleson, “UFOs and the Murder of Marilyn Monroe”, I couldn’t think of a better person to drink a cold beer with. So I purchased the Oppenheimer book. I had to support Burleson’s driving effort to believe “the truth is out there”. Leaving the alien gift shop and venturing into a local coffee house, Stellar Coffee, I soon began to think of Roswell as more than the surface experience. I feel that deep underneath the “alien thing” is a small city growing into a unique center of interest for me. I immediately started to understand that Roswell is more than the “alien thing”. It is a place mixed in a strange facade of early 60’s architecture design but developing a strong artistic edge that builds small cities like Roswell, into a dynamic areas for creative types. There is a strong independence to Roswell that I did not anticipated when I drove in late Sunday night. Serve this with a level of kindness I had not experience since leaving Charleston, Roswell is in fact, a very hip place to visit. Though the road I traveled to reach Roswell, lead me through three towns each one smaller than the other, with the last one marked only by a single building a few yards away, arriving in Roswell, I felt comfortable.

The land of New Mexico is far different than anything I have seen or felt before. Unlike Texas, that is as large and grandiose as I imaged, New Mexico is the charming little brother. The rise and fall of the elevation coupled with the mountain ranges in the distance, make you feel as if you are landing on a different planet, as cliche as it sounds. As a person who has lived on the east coast all my life, driving on the road to Roswell meant that I had driven farther and longer than I have ever before. Yet, spotting a tumbleweed blowing past me, I immediately wanted to capture that moment as best as I could. So, I texted my mom, “I just saw my first tumbleweed”, followed with the emoji shocked face. Texting this made me realize how limited an experience it is living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. The fact that seeing an actual tumbleweed, tumbling past me, I knew that breaking away from my comfort zone, that had held me in fear of leaving Charleston, was the best decision I could have made. What happens in the months ahead, the fact that I saw a single tumbleweed tumble, gives me hope that this experience of driving on the road to Roswell will be a strong influence on the creative risks I planned to take after my road trip ends.

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Rolf

Hot Air: Post 007

Black Rock Mountain, Georgia

Primitive Tent Camping at Trail of Tears State Forest and
Hearing a Tornado Siren in the Background

I think my thoughts of tent camping before leaving for Los Angeles were mixed with fantasy and reality. I had tent camped in the rain for one night. Thus, I thought, I can handle tent camping in rain. But as of this Hot Air post, I have camped for 5 successful nights in the rain at two different locations since I left Charleston on July 1st. Beginning in Georgia, at Black Rock Mountain State Park, and then at Trail of Tears State Forest in Jonesboro, Illinois. The last of which was made more interesting when the lightening, that was electrifying my Coleman tent with a light works show better than my Nashville July 4th visit, coupled with a loud distant tornado siren, resulted in me thinking, can it get any worse? I like to admit that I can “rough” it with the best of them. Yet, this past Wednesday, fear of being swept away like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz became a real possibility for me. But what do you do? I did my best to try to sleep through it. No such luck. Images of trees falling down on me or my Cube hit me like the rain hitting my tent. And the major fear I felt was that I would NEVER BE ABLE TO LEAVE. Yes, I would never be able to leave campsite S-2. Forced into a life of living from a water pump a half-mile from my campsite. Only to use vault toilets forever. Man, the mind gets really out of focus, when fear is allowed to play havoc.

I am happy to report, that I survived the night and the morning, all while thinking, morning couldn’t come fast enough. By 6am the following Thursday I had packed up everything at my campsite and sat at the driver’s seat trying to decide my next move. Maybe a logical person could have made a decision quicker but for me, I felt completely lost. Not sure of which direction to go, or whom to talk too. But I knew I needed COFFEE. Yes. The roasted coffee bean from Columbia would be the only way I would make a decision. Using my Garmin, I searched for the closest local coffee shop, and drove immediately to Kiki’s Coffee House in Anna, Illinois.

Having never been to this establishment, my only thought was first, get away from the rain because wet clothes make you lose focus quickly. And second, regular coffee wasn’t going to cut it. I would need a CAPPUCCINO after three stormy nights at Trail of Tears State Forest. Being the first customer of the day at Kiki’s, was my best advantage. I could find a dry seat and best of all, Kiki’s had free Wifi. Heaven! What transpired soon after my arrival was far more wonderful than what I could have imagined. As the first customer at Kiki’s, I had the pleasure of meeting all the locals as they arrived for their morning cup of Joe. And as one from South Carolina, the topic that occupied the news feed in Anna, was the Confederate Flag and its removal from the State House in Columbia, South Carolina. Maybe not the best way to start a conversation with stranger by speaking about a subject so entranced in southern history, but I was happy to share my view on the matter, which lead more to the removal of the flag. This conversation slowly evolved around me and how I managed to end up in Anna. Describing my three eventful nights of primitive camping with customers at Kiki’s allowed me to relax and center myself emotionally. Soon suggestions of where to stay and particular points of interest that surrounded Anna and Jonesboro allowed me to understand that I could stay here for a few nights. Coordinating with an employee at Hotel 7, a refurbished Super 8 Motel, I checked in and soon focused my energy on enjoying my stay in Anna. As of this writing, it is a Friday night in Anna, and I am enjoying a cold beer, dry clothes, strong shelter, and the storm front that was lingering in the area has finally pasted through. For the next two days I will continue to document my journey through pictures and video recordings. Yet, what has happen in Anna will always be special to me.

As I prepare to depart on Monday for Memphis, Tennessee, I will have grown a little stronger in character and realized when you hear a tornado siren while tent camping at a primitive site, hopefully you can find a town like Anna to find shelter in.

Thanks for reading,

Rolf

Hot Air: Post 006

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Charleston – A 13 Year Affair

For 13 years Charleston, South Carolina has been my home. I arrived in Charleston in 2002 after a month long hike on the Appalachian Trail. With no place to call home, I arrived in Charleston because my family lived here, and it was time to start life after college. Walking up to my mother’s home on James Island, after leaving the Amtrak station, I had little more than a hiking pack full of clothes and a fine arts degree from VCU. How funny it is to be leaving Charleston in much the same fashion as I arrived, but with a few improvements. My hiking pack is now a 2009 Nissan Cube packed with stuff I want to take with me. And I still have my degree but 10 years of professional work experience to backup it up with. Yet, what I am the most proud of is reconnecting to my love of art by developing LoW BiT LoGiC  – my Audio Visual Art project since 2013.

The decision to leave Charleston was made at a point in my life when I needed to decide what was best for my future as an artist, and as someone who wanted more out of life. Do I continue to invest my creative energy to realize my dreams in Charleston? Or do I pack my Cube full and head West? I decided that the latter would be more rewarding experience and a solid building block to grow LoW BiT LoGiC.

For the past 6 months I have prepared as best I could. In short, my plan is to make this journey a mix of camping at State and National Parks with arrangements made through the website Airbnb. As much as I like camping, it is vital for my morale that I find modern comforts – a hot shower, comfy bed, and air conditioning. The simple things in life will make my travel much more comfortable. During my two months journey, I will explore as many natural wonders this country has, yet, the core of my desire is to visit the Grand Canyon. For as long as I can remember the Grand Canyon has been a place I have wanted to see. I am hopeful that I can visit this site and other wonders as I travel. All the while deciding what would be a better home for me as an artist. I fully believe that to develop LoW BiT LoGiC means that I can no longer work within the parameters of Charleston. I can’t predict the future, but I can be more confident in my desire to succeed as an artist if I take a bigger risk. To DREAM BIG!

Thanks Charleston for the last 13 years. Also, a special thanks to all the strange, wonderful, and odd people that made The Holy City so unique for me. I wish everyone would find a home like Charleston once in their lifetime.

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ROLF

Hot Air: Post 005

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Always Get It In Writing

Hello again!

The past month has been a very interesting time. Holidays are upon us and the fever shopping season is picking up momentum. Yet, I must discuss my biggest short coming as a freelance graphic designer, especially those who are new to the freelance market. Trusting a verbal agreement over the written word is just plain stupid business practice. Don’t do it! EVER. Verbal agreements are just a ticking time bomb for a sure disaster waiting to happen. I decided to ignore my instincts, and believe a potential client’s word over a signed agreement/contract. The old rule should be tattooed on me as a reminder: “always get it in writing.” Working in the freelance market, the written contract is the bible to live by. Nothing breaks a business relationship faster than starting an entrepreneur endeavor with another individual without a written agreement. I am my own worst enemy on this subject matter too. I generally trust other human beings more than I should. But business is business not friendship. And this experience is such a consistent occurrence especially with artists that I am surprised that anyone gets paid for the art they make. Maybe it’s my attitude that the World likes to take advantage of artists. As an artist myself, I care more about the art making than the business of art. The very idea of putting pen to paper and signing on the dotted line is much nervier than beginning a painting. Please trust me on this; get a contract signed prior any artistic production because it is the only way to save your art, your time, your creative energy, and more importantly your self-respect. The World can be a cruel and mean place for artists. Protecting yourself and your artwork with a signed agreement is your best weapon against those who will take advantage of you for their own benefit. Get it signed first. Your art will thank you!

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ROLF

 

Hot Air: Post 004

SPAMMERS, UBER RIDERS, & FINISHING CRYPTONOMICON

So lets begin…..

Spammers! Jesus. Who knew the trouble that would be created by just allowing the comments section of my blog “Hot Air” to be open to anyone. Maybe I am just naive in thinking that people of the internet still have intelligence and would want to reply to a post of mine. Maybe its my 90’s high school attitude towards the internet, that sharing information on the World Wide Web for everyone to read, is an awesome thing. But, at the end of the day, people are just a bunch of assholes with keyboards. So, I closed the comments section for now until I can find a better alternative for a public discussion. 

Uber, Uber, Uber, what a job it is to Uber! Since the beginning of October, I have decided to use my 2009 Nissan Cube for Uberring the folks of Charleston, SC around. I lost my job in late September and decided that instead of collecting unemployment, I would take part in UberX’s ride sharing services. Let me state that I have never in my entire life done anything like this before. I personally love driving. So when I noticed the ad on Craigslist for UberX drivers I decided to give it a go. Boy oh Boy, what an adventure it has been. I understood what type of riders I would get as the bars closed late at night, but I didn’t expect the love and happiness which the Uber App has brought to the people of Charleston. Working as an UberX driver, I feel that I am seeing the end of the old dinosaur business model, the cab company. No longer are people left in dark corners wondering how to get home safely after a night of drinking. Just open the Uber App, request a ride, see the driver’s profile picture and car description, and within a few minutes you are home (minus distance of your request and timing of your request). How genius is that! Well, that is the Disney movie magic of the Uber. But lets be real. Drunk people are still drunk people, and getting them home is still a difficult job. Yet, Uber as made this experience so much better and much more interesting. And since no other equipment is needed for me to operate, other than my iPhone with my Uber driver App, and the rider’s Uber App, technology is the most important aspect of the job. So when it breaks, as it did for me recently, Ubering just becomes a crazy way to get a complete stranger home. Yet, it is one the best jobs I have ever had! Highlights: A girl played her guitar for me as I drove her to the train station. I installed small LED lights to the ceiling of my Cube, one for safety, and two for fun. This little experiment has resulted in people getting into my Cube and immediately finding happiness in small multi-colored lights. When working till 2:30 in the morning, this makes for an otherwise dark drive home much more exciting.  I will have more to share, but for now…Uber on!

Man, Crytonomicon by Neal Stephenson, is a 900 page treasure hunt that really only needed to be 200 pages. This bloated piece of nerd fiction is so dense and uneventful for hundreds of pages that I think, no, it is one of the worst things I have ever read. Yes. I know Neal is a genius. Yes. He is a future thinker. Yes. He writes about technology before it happens. But Neal, this book is boring! I did finish it only because I hate not finishing a book. But for a novel I started in March and finished two days ago (October), this gross injustice to the paper industry, is a book better meant for reading as a prison sentence. Maybe it is just me, but after reading Snow Crash, I was excited to find a copy of Cryptonomic in my local used book store for 2 bucks. But I will be honest, the characters are well developed and I am sure people who write code and study mathematics daily, will enjoyed this novel. But for me, I will never read another Neal Stephenson book again. Sorry, but I don’t get it.

Thanks to everyone or anyone who read my latest post. Again, flexing my mind in the blogging world, is really just a healthy way for me to vent. So, for you the reader ingesting this verbiage, I personally thank you!

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Hot Air: Post 003

gone girl

I usually let movies digest in my brain for at least 24 hours before I start to create an opinion on if the movie was good or not. But “Gone Girl”, David Fincher’s latest effort is not one to miss. But be prepare for a psychological thriller that will leave you breathless and wanting more. It is a film that stands out as one of Fincher’s best. And I love David Fincher’s work. I am not going to setup the plot for you, or tell you a small portion of what the movie is about. That is what the movie trailer is for. Instead, I will state that for a movie that runs over 2 hours, I was captivated for the entire time. Fincher’s direction is beautiflul. Technically, I believe he shot the film with a new aspect ratio beyond HD which allowed his editing crew to cut the movie in real time. This allowed Fincher to create new shots within the film itself. Regardless, the lighting, tone, and mood of each scene is calculated to perfection. Rosemund Pike’s character Amy Dunne is crafted in such a way that her performance reminded me of a character from Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Strangers on a Train“. If you are unfamilar with “Strangers on a Train”, do watch it at some point. I am sure you can watch it for free online.

So what to take away from “Gone Girl”? Marriage is a trap? No. Men and women will never be able to coexist without violence? No. Media is obsessed with pushing stories out to the American public without all the facts, just for bigger ratings? Yes. Police are quick to make a suspect guilty before proven innocent? Yes. Should “Gone Girl” win an Oscar? 100% yes! There is so much to take away from my first viewing, that I am still wondering….what the hell happened?! That is not a bad thing. But Fincher does a great job in allowing the audience to see the entire story from both sides. He leads you down one path, only to mislead you down another. At the end, you a left to create your own decision. And if you are like me, that will be a decision that will need another viewing.

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Gone Girl: movie trailer

Gone Girl: IMDb