The Bad Touch of the Technical Boy

PART I

Sometimes I want to take it all down. Then I realize that it’s 20+ years of my life. It is part of my life’s work. Everything that has gone up throughout those years has made a difference. If it didn’t change my life it gave someone else a start, a jolt, or annoyed them off into another direction which they were meant to travel. Even if it was one dumb photograph or one line in the thousands of paragraphs. One good jack off to my Flickr album. 

I used to be the type of person who thought the only way to engrave my legacy upon history was to create things. As a very young child I understood that to last meant to have your own statue. I grew up near Gettysburg Pennsylvania where there’s a lot of people throughout history we wouldn’t know about if not for their bronze semblances on horseback. One foot up. Both feet up. All feet down.

I would morbidly share my desire that when I died I needed my family to erect a great statue at my grave and etch upon it how fabulous I was. I knew it was my only chance of survival; to be unearthed hundreds of years from now by some planet of the apes culture to dote upon my chiseled likeness.

Then, later on, I had those mind-blowing realizations about how nothing lasts. Whether it’s one hundred years from now or six billion, eventually the sands will pour over it all and we will be no more. The libraries will burn. The paintings will melt. The statues will explode along with the planet as the sun goes supernova or Andromeda finally collides. Our memorialized thoughts will vaporize. There is no preservation that lasts forever except that of spirit from mind. As long as the universe is alive then we will be alive in some way; albeit not the way we probably want to be.

The only way we live on is by influencing those around us and implanting pieces of ourselves into others. These pieces shape them and then they shape others. These little legacies do not come with a name tag. I don’t get the honor of being the known influencer. I get to be a building block. The one who influenced another who then influenced another and onward into greatness.

The only way for your spirit to survive is biological. Not only by dating, mating, and extricating; but by inspiring fellow creatures. This is not about intentionally changing people’s lives. I gave that a try too and it creates some good work, but what really packs a wallop is the unintentional changes. The people befriended on the other side of the planet (or down the street) who were made confident by your own confidence to then become confident. The little things you did or said that inspired someone else to build something great. It’s the general kindnesses that you give away without thought that may make the world to another person and send them spiraling in a direction of fabulation. This is where pieces of ourselves spread to others and get unknowingly passed through the centuries. Some kind of poetic epigenetical masterpiece.

I sometimes want to take it all down because I’ve outgrown it. I was once a living version of Max Headroom, your very own Technical Boy among the gods of technology. I ignored who I was because I hated the person I appeared to be. The Internet gave way for me to build a New Me and I never looked any further until one day I started living life offline. When that happened I needed to work out who I really was. I had to take what was online and put the work into what existed offline. That person who is true to themselves, for real.

There are times when I feel I’ve come beyond it to a level of embarrassment. Some days the Internet can be like a doting mother showing your baby pictures to your new lover. But it’s a little late for that now. What was built will have to remain because it’s what we built. They’re just going to have to accept what happened yesterday if they want to accept me today.

I leave it all be, because I won’t be the one to tear up all of the work. That vlog from fifteen years ago could save some kid’s life like some other vlog probably saved mine! Not to mention all of the brain cells and human organs that were spent creating the treasure that became The Artist D.

Time will be the one to destroy me and my work. I don’t have to end any of it because it will do that all by itself. The social sites will shutter to new ones. The servers will transfer out to oblivion and someone will eventually stop paying the light bill. It’ll all be absorbed bit by bit into the cells of the cyber world like a bad Geocities page filled with broken links.

The Internet has become a gigantic dumpster fire. It is nothing like it was and the normal people ruined it for everyone. I can choose to stay away from it and not actively participate in it, but far be it from me to remove any of it just because it makes me feel one way or the other.

PART II

It was probably Spring of 2008. I was driving back to Nevada from California during a monsoon. There was this one part of the highway where when it floods enough it looks like a lake with a road running through it. The water reaches up on both sides tickling the roadway just enough to begin to make you nervous.

I was thinking that I had nowhere to go when I got home. “Home” being a very loosely used term for me. I never felt like I had a home. I spent my first eighteen years on Earth trying to escape the home of my progenitors. After which I hopped from place to place, usually within six month leases, desperately searching for the home I never thought I had and never thought I could find.

A lot of my life could pose the question, “Well, what did you expect?”

Sometimes I wonder what I did expect or how I expected certain things. Of course hindsight is a bitch. The older I get the more I can look at things with a disconnect that surpasses the perceptions of before. It’s unnerving. It’s annoying. I don’t think I really appreciate hindsight like other poetic bastards do.

I have flashbacks of that highway surrounded by water. They come to me like slow motion grainy filmstrip pieces in a Rob Zombie film. I think it was because I had been so very in between things and that is great point of reference. I don’t remember what I had been doing when returning from California and I don’t know to where in Nevada I had been going. I do know that there was a significant feeling of nothing. I felt as though my time in California had come to an end. I thought that what awaited me in Nevada had no chance of succeeding. The To Do List had been thoroughly checked off and I had no idea what “Next” looked like.

I never did find the home I expected. Presently I’ve come to accept what home appears to be. Because after so much moving and life spent you’ve got to stop spending that much on something that wasn’t being discovered. Just like the career of an Internet Celebrity.

Hindsight asks many questions which often appear in self-help articles. What is important? What really matters? What did you expect?

As I drove across that long road surrounded by water I expected the world. I’ve always expected the world. I wondered why the money, success, fame, and glamour had not been awarded to me simply for being fabulous. I now know that the more brilliant a person is, the harder it will be to succeed. Society does not reward those who deserve it. It rewards those fools who fight the most unfair games to steal it.

If some kid was asking their elder for a little sage advice I’d tell them that it’s really not about what they earn, it’s about what they take. But they need to take it as if they earned it.  We now live in the time of “fake it until you make it” gone terribly awry.

I see a shift ever so often among people. One day the people on my friends lists and follow walls start saying they feel very differently today. That little sparkle of universal shift that probably fades away in five seconds. But it’s there. Many people have said so recently and I feel it too.

I don’t know what that means. 

This life feels like a magician’s act. And for my next amazing feat. And for my next. And for my next … is anyone there? Hello. Hello. Are you out there? Squinting, peering out into the audience, with the stage lights far too bright to see that no one is out there.

PART III

I kept creating because I was afraid that to focus on me would be self absorbed. I’ve been  forced to create at times from nothing but terror and paranoia. I sacrificed nights and weekends to push on to write, record, and blather. There was such a fear of what happens when I stopped.

I thought sitting on the couch and reading a book was selfish. Well, it could be done, but just make sure you’ve uploaded this week’s shows, blog, and scheduled out the social media first.

It felt like if I stopped creating I may stop breathing. And I’m still not convinced that isn’t completely untrue.

I can tell you that if that’s what you’d like to do then you should do it. Those people used to make me so angry. The friends at home reading a book and keeping their genius to themselves. Spending all of that time on themselves. Having a coffee without an Instagram. Enjoying a library read without a bit of Twittering. It’s just as maddening as when people spend time with their mate or their children. The bane of an artistic existence.

The bane of an artistic existence. When creativity comes second or third. When your stage performance can be called off. When you no longer think the show always has to go on.

It only took a few decades to figure that we are not the original explorers, financiers, navigators, and cartographers of rationality. It just so happens no one is listening by choice, not by lack of available resources. They said they wanted the answer until they heard what it was. They never wanted the answer and I’m 99% sure they never will.

We’re as original as Columbus. Not very original at all.

There are all kinds of people out there. It all churns the machine forward. The creators and the readers. The workers and the leaders. The martyrs. So, take your time. It’s alright now. Read that book while sprawled on the chesterfield without photographing it. You don’t need the statue after all.

The Artist D, a Technical Boy, May 2019

The Artist D, a Technical Boy, May 2019

Cyber Scripting

If you’d let me. If you’d be so kind. If you’d allow me to crawl out
of this box of dead Youtube celebrities.
To climb over the hanged Soundcloud miscreants. The twitter bird is
lying at the bottom of the cage in a mine.

Oh, it went by in an Insta. We turn the pages to the end within
a book that has no face
and then go back to page 1.

I don’t like intrusions.
Let’s close the door and go back
down to the basement.
Shuffling
through
the 70 year old ladyboys
and leather-clad bears.
Yes, Daddy.
No, Daddy.
Thank you, Daddy.

Ferocious.

Someone, turn on a light. Please?
My close up has come and gone and come.
I’m so hot can I come out now?
These blankets are so heavy when I’m in bed
with myself.
Look at me, raving like
a goat in a hailstorm!
May I have this dance? Let’s read all this history
voraciously.

I can hardly see through all of the haze,
all of the shop talk.
The story is so old
we stopped posting.
We stopped dancing on the webcams.

Slide the VHS in deep and
press “record”.
We shall proceed?
Shall we proceed?
The fallen angels,
the milquetoast devils.

They lured me in with passion
to find my passion going tactical nuclear.
Leaving them sundered
while I dance my dance of The Thousand Zeros and Ones.

If you’d let me. If you’d be so kind.
Close the door.
There’s a gig of draft in here and someone keeps spraying for terabytes.

The Artist D, January 2019

The Artist D, January 2019

Authenticity Gone Missing

The problem is a lack of authenticity. But has there ever been any authenticity in the first place? Has there been anything new since the postmodernists?

New age is old age. Since the new guard became the old guard. We have surpassed the neo-postmodernists and they didn’t even know they were neo. We are members of the rearguard awaiting the changes.

I come from the underground, but where is that?

Have you been alive long enough to remember when people used to add people to their friend’s networks? To be friends. When the phrase was “go hang with your friends” instead of “go network.”

I can’t tell you the last time I got “followed” by a person. I mean, a real person who just exists in this world and wants to read my thoughts.

Everyone is a business these days. “I’m not a businessman,” we used to joke. “I’m a Business, man.”

Now that’s no joke.

For a decade or more it’s always another content creator trying to add me in order to network with me. It’s no wonder Corporations are considered people. Everybody is a business.

Friends with benefits. I’ll be your friend if you buy my makeup, my CD, my oh my my. The modern day Avon salesperson.

The neo post Avon salesperson.

Remember when friends with benefits just meant we were also getting laid?

Those were the days.

We are not friends. We are network partners. We are a bunch of artists, musicians, and writers adding other artists, musicians, and writers so we can bolster our numbers and network towards success.

“Wow, I really liked what you wrote there. Have you seen my Patreon?

The innocent and naive question that stirs often is, “Where are all the people who are just people?”

Everyone has to be somebody and I can’t blame them because since birth I have been very busy being somebody. I feel stupid even wondering why anyone would just want to be an observer or a consumer. I wouldn’t.

And yet if you look out into the crowds of the world all that seems to be there are consumers! But look into the Interwebs and I don’t have an audience. I have a network of networkers. Except for my old friends. The friends I made when we had friends lists and observed each others work, as friends.

Where are the new friends? Where are the couch surfers and the bohemians looking for love? (Sure, where have all the cowboys gone?)

With every “add” I receive there is another message asking me to please “Like” their page or “Try” their wears.

“I follow back!”

Can’t we just have a conversation? Can’t we just travel through and get drunk together? To share a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Can’t we take some pictures for our personal photo album and not share it with the world? Polaroids, perhaps.

When life was a great night out ending with a great story. Instead of a great night out ending with me subscribing to your Youtube channel. Of course, you already had subscribed to mine.

But what’s wrong with that? Why can’t we have an unbalanced superstar vs. civilian relationship? Why can’t the consumers just give adoration, adoration, adoration?

Why can’t you give me the respect that I’m entitled to? Why can’t you treat me like I would be treated by any stranger on the street? (Mommy Dearest, 1981)

Because everyone is out for their 15 minutes. Because Mr. Warhol promised.

The Artist D, November 2018

The Artist D in the Red Room, November 2018

Self Mythology

I never really expected that I would get to be myself all of the time, every day. That goes along with my gender too.

I think as a child I decided that I fully disagreed with everything my family told me I was. Since we were in total disagreement I would need to be the opposite. That or I would at least have to ignore the person they told me I was. I really didn’t like that person, because it wasn’t me!

Never listen to other people’s stories about you. There’s a good satisfying piece written about this in Thee Psychick Bible. It goes beyond doing or being what your parents tell you. It truly spotlit for me that which we already know about (parental expectations, guidance, and rule), but there are these stories that we are told by the society around us. And they go beyond the usual “you’re going to be a Doctor when you grow up” or “you’re going to marry a beautiful woman, have 12 babies, white picket fences.”

These stories go deeper than those blatant expectations. The stories are actually what we believe to be our first “memories.” These memories are actually hand-me-downs from other people. Amusing anecdotes passed back to us about ourselves. These stories are from a time in our lives we cannot recall ourselves and dastardly enough we actually begin to build ourselves from these fables.

“Usually, without much consideration of veracity or motive, we assume those original stories (whose source is usually parental) are true, rather than separately authored and constructed mythologies. Yet, with the best will in the world, they are edited highlights (and lowlights) from another person’s perspective, interpreted by them, and even given significance and meaning by their being chosen to represent the whole of us, before our own separate SELF consciousness sets in.” *

That was the paragraph that set off an explosion in my brain. It sticks with me years after first reading those lines. I had fought for most of my life to not be what I was told I should be, almost out of spite, but I never considered what foundation had been put down before I even consciously arrived on the scene.

My family told me that I would be like my father and I would follow in his footsteps. That meant to me, a Sun Sign and wild egotist, that I would never be my own person and forever live in someone’s shadow. I have nothing against my father or his chosen lifestyle, but you don’t tell someone that when they practically have marched from the womb with mighty delusions of grandeur.

I remember the type of anecdotes mentioned above most from a grandmother. If anyone was a fan of the mythology of me, it was she. She would observe me acting in a way she felt was “not me” and then go through great pains to tell me how the child I could not recall would have never done whatever I was doing. When I think about it like that I can see how that really did hurt me. To think as a child that you are not who your people know you to be. It means something different than it would mean now. Because as children we believe that these grown mature people towering over us surely must know something about who we actually are. Surely their time on Earth has been longer and they must know something.

We should all be able to remember a time when we were told, “This isn’t like you.”

How is something not like you? If you are doing it, then it must be like you. What they meant was that it did not match the myth that they had constructed of you in their own heads. I’ve always been the person I knew me to be. The only reason I did something unlike me was because it happened to be a trait I had that they ignored. Until they could ignore it no more.

I now know that these myths, anecdotes, and the common built-in expectations harmed me. They somewhat stunted my progress as a human. I hated things about myself because of what they represented to other people. My name was not just my name. It was a label indicating that I was secondary and “like my father.” It did not speak to the individual I insisted I was. And due to that it expected me, a flamboyant homosexual, to be strong and manly. Therefore I hated my label and therefore my gender. I hated its connection to masculinity and shunned anything presented in the masculine tense. This hatred stopped me from experiencing and learning normal everyday things. For example, as an angry teenager I refused to change my car’s oil or pump my own gas because the society I was raised in said it was a man’s job. I refused to do a man’s job because I refused to be a man if being a man meant everything I was told it meant. To me at that time it meant being something I wasn’t.

I created the persona of who I knew I was and I made sure it was very distanced from the mythology of “a normal boy from a poor farming community.” Instead I would be a glamorous transgender woman (looking back it was more transvestite), an individual, an artist, a raconteur and provocateur. It would service my ego, my lust and sexuality, and banish who they insisted I must be. That person I was before I could even remember being a person.

There was rarely a time throughout all of my youth (0-30) where I ever considered that I would have to acknowledge my birth identity or any of those masculine labels society had placed. I went to school, but that wasn’t really me. At home behind closed doors was when I was me. I went to work at a normal day job but when I came home the wigs flew out of the closet, the martini was poured, and I was living My Authentic Self online for millions of people to adore. Picture the story of Bat Girl from Batman. By day she was Barbara Gordon, the police commissioners quaint daughter, and at night she came home to a closet that secretly revolved to display a wardrobe of masks, spandex, and “interesting implements.” She was not really Barbara Gordon. She was Bat Girl.

Part of my ongoing transition from whatever I was to whatever I am now was the realization that it was all based upon a myth I accidentally believed. We are impressionable children being told stories about our past and our future. What the hell else are we going to believe?

When I legally changed my name it was on the heels of slowly acknowledging that I was going to be the person I knew myself to be, 24/7. I came to the horrifying realization that I might always have a day job and that I wouldn’t be prancing around in stilettos for the rest of my life. I wanted to build relationships with people from the world of daylight just as I had from my preferred world of darkness. And I could not do that while carrying around labels I absolutely knew I was not. There is this invisible barrier when you have to explain who you’re pretending to be vs. who you actually are. Then you’re friends adopt that same policy. They start to explain you to their friends as this great person who has to pretend to be this other person. Bat Girl never talked about Barbara Gordon and vice versa, it was a smart move but it really put a damper on her social life.

People from the streets could not get to know me when there were dozens of labels standing in my way. It’s like living a public double life. There was nothing private about it. And society told me I had to wear all the labels, unless I officially changed them. So, I stripped a few off so my authentic self was a bit more clearer by day as it was by night.

This marked a great psychological change over time. To have people call you something that you want to be called is a game changer. To be treated as the person you display yourself to be instead of the person people were told you were. This is why, among many other things, I can completely understand a person’s need to change their gender, name, identity. It’s not about them hiding who they are. It’s about them becoming what they’ve always been. To shed the mythology is exquisite. It is a psychological breath of fresh air to let a little more of yourself out of society’s bag.

Out of that journey is how I fell in love with being a man. I learned to love myself because I was able to figure out who that actually was. Then I learned to love others. Then others loved me. I learned that men don’t change oil. People change oil. The mythology I bought into as a youngster was that the world I would enter was black and white. Men did one thing. Women did another thing. And growing up in Pennsylvania during the 80’s it was clear that Men were boring and Women were interesting. So, who would want to be a man?

Had they told me that I had a penis and everything else was negotiable, I may have been much more open to the concept of being the man I was. But people didn’t do that. People still don’t do that! “Your name is Joe. You are going to work in a Button Factory. You will have a wife, three kids, and a family. When you were born you were a good kid who loved Jesus Christ and you never cried in church, so you need to stick to that or else we’re going to fuck you up ...”

This alteration does not disqualify the times I wanted to be a woman (or thought I was). It only addresses a constant transition which all humans should be allowed. We are not the babies we once were. We don’t have to be the teenagers we acted out. We do not even have to be the young adults making the same mistakes. We should be allowed great sweeping changes if that’s where the waves take us. We should build our own stories and not believe our mythologies.

The Artist D, October 2018

The Artist D, October 2018

 

*Quote from “Being the First Part: Change the Way to Perceive and Change All Memory,” pg 277 of Thee Psychick Bible

Ancient Thoughts on Net Neutrality from an Original Internet Superstar

Preface  I know exactly what Net Neutrality is and the danger of living without it. I understand the difference between websites and ISPs. This article is a bitter old Net Queen’s unabashed ranting for people to get off of her lawn.

The overall reaction to the repealing of Net Neutrality has left me in confusion. People act as if it is the end of the Internet that they know today. They are posting memes on Facebook with the ridiculous spin of, “It’s been nice knowing you!”

The mass populace probably has nothing to worry about because they are already the almighty consumers of corporate crap. They’ve been eating what the mass media has been feeding them since 2004. That’s roughly the year I recall where the true Internet underground fell off the map and was replaced with a steaming pile of dog shit. It’s been down hill ever since and a look back in my blog can remind us that I’ve been saying so all of the way.

With the repealing of Net Neutrality ISP’s will be able to further control what you see. As if you’ve had a problem with that lately since all you have been looking at was Facebook, Tumblr, and Gmail. Without Net Neutrality you may have to pay to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime, kind of like we already do. To your astonishment now that Net Neutrality is possibly gone you may find some websites blocked from your view! Just like Facebook blocks you from seeing most of my posts linking you to my website or Internet live streams. Unless I pay Facebook, that is. Just like a country blocks you from content if you have a specific IP address outside of that country. Unless you pay for a VPN tunnel. Hmm, yes, it’s going to be so unfair, just like it already is.

The people it will hurt are people you haven’t cared about for years! You’ve already enabled the corporations to steamroll over the content creators and independent underground artists by allowing the Internet to become what it already is before, during, and after Net Neutrality. YouTube single-handedly put beautifully articulate content creators in a bind in favor of monetizing vanilla bullshit. Oh, but, without Net Neutrality it will allow the ISP’s to be unfair! As unfair as the corporations owning the websites already have been. It’s just another level of unfair frosting to the unfair cake.

It’s all just crushing the little guy a little bit more than we already were. But you didn’t care about him or her or them anyway! The Fourculture Magazines of the world are just going to be a little more strangulated. The underground zines and that unpopular YouTube shows will still be just as neglected, demonetized, and regulated to the corners. You have nothing to worry about because there will still be Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and probably even Tumblr porn. You have nothing to worry about, almighty consumer, because for the Internet to exist at a profit they must continue to provide you with the bullshit you already consume! They are probably not plotting to take away your Netflix. They’re plotting to take away your indie underground artist whom may dare to turn a buck without giving a cut to The Man.

They’ve been erasing people like me from the day they found out the Internet was a profit center. That was the day it all started to burn to the ground. And that was a long time ago.

I am asked if I am upset about the changes regarding Net Neutrality and I’ll tell you that I was upset before and after! It has nothing to do with Net Neutrality making things better or worse. It already was shit before they got started. It was shit when we, the content creators, were pushed into the margins and our hits were reduced to nothing as people began to flock to the corporate cannibals. It was shit when the gates were opened and a global population logged on to make the Internet just like everything else. And worse yet, to make it a part of society!

I already pay a premium for my personal outgoing Internet speeds. I already pay extra for faster web service to bring my content to you at a decent downloadable speed. I already have to pay Facebook if I want it to share my project links with all of the people who want to see them. This all in a world of Net Neutrality! What’s so neutral about it as it currently is? Even my YouTube videos get demonetized and hidden away in favor of the corporate content, right now in a world with Net Neutrality.

Without Net Neutrality the ISP will be able to limit your access to websites. Websites that are already limiting your access to the content upon them. That sounds like another level of bullshit to me.

All I’m hearing are a lot of people complaining that they might have to pay more for their entertainment. Well, they never paid me much for mine, so I’m not particularly dismayed that they’re now screwed by The Man. You welcomed The Man into this box and you let him survive. You could have left him behind in the terrestrial world with antennae and television tubes, but you brought him into the Internet. You let him load us up with shows and incorporate all of his records and paper pileup into our circuits. You let him destroy the organic artistic freedom that once was and now you’re upset that he’s charging admission. Potentially a steep admission!

It seems there is a fear that with the repealing of Net Neutrality we may lose some people from the Internet. But if you ask old Internet Superstars like me, well, we’ve been waiting for the mass populace to get the fuck off of the Internet since 2004. It’s been a shithole since and it’ll be a shithole with or without the Neutrality. You’ve got nothing to worry about Almighty Consumer, because they need your money. They don’t need my art.

It’s funny how much you realize you can live without something once you’ve had everything that it can offer. At times like these people like me are aching to get back to our flip phones and 5 AM newspaper deliveries. I would not have ever wanted to live my life without the Internet, but now that it has become all that it is, I think I could do without it.

The Artist D, December 2017

The Artist D, December 2017

Ahead of the Curve and Off the Cliff

People are creatures of habit. It leaves most creatures very uncomfortable when breaking procedure, the status quo, and routine. You have to be an agent of chaos to live your life on a limb without any habitual addictions. Everybody has got their something.

A recent sweeping example of people addicted to the past is when I hear Trump supporters wanting President Don to get their factory jobs back. This goes for anyone who thinks “that’s the way things have always been” is a valid reason for something to be the way it should remain. We’re all addicted to our schedules and we all love plans. This is not about the GOP, but they do give a lot of great examples when it comes to the way things were versus are. The Grand Old Party, an old school party, continuing to run on the standards of yesterday while refusing the intricacies of today.

People truly can be racist and bigoted nasty creatures, but I think there would be a lot less of that if they were somehow allowed to have what they used to have within the updated structures of the 21st Century. It seems that with change came acceptance, but there also came the removal of their livelihood. As the world became more out and proud their factory jobs died and their white picket fences turned to shit. An unfortunate coincidence?

Maybe they’d be happy to allow us to live our lives the way we choose if only their lives were thriving. But they aren’t thriving. (This is all thinking from within a 21st Century paradigm. To give the bigoted hateful white man his coal mine job back, but keep the current laws and equal rights we have obtained. Then he may be more likely to swallow instead of spit.)

I have watched the whole ordeal and I still listen to the grand old people. They just want their lives back. They want to be able to go off to the factory and come home to a good cooked meal wrapped in cellophane. They want to put the blinders on and line up like sheeple when approaching the steeple each Sunday morning. They want to close the curtains and shove dogma down their children’s throats until their children are old enough to escape. No biggie. Simple requests. Keep it simple and all within the box.

The uncomfortable part is that they have not yet realized their jobs are gone. We don’t do factory work anymore. We have obtained robots to do that. It’s not a bad thing. People could never seem to make my hamburger right anyway. And to anyone’s dismay at being overtaken by the machine, all I can say is “Welcome to the club!”

Being an Internet Pioneer I was among a handful of several thousand who came along first. Anyone who has generally come along to a club first knows how this feels. We lost our Internet to Myspace, then Facebook, and then to the rest of the corporate hounds who messied up our day.

It’s no fun to lay the groundwork and think you’ve setup shop for life only to find out that it’s all just been washed away by progress. The money just started to pour in nicely and then some assholes came along for a piece of my pie. I imagine the old school folks of America feel the same way. They had it nice and set. The streets were lined with clean white houses with a nice big car in every garage. Then the rug got pulled out from under them. Equality was a side effect of technology and therefore they hate it all. Technology took their livelihoods away. Technology, progress, progressives, liberal ideas all happened along the same lines and so they hate it all. I get it! I’m just as pissed off in my own realm.

In the 21st Century progress washes away any trace of foundation faster than ever before. People used to have at least ten to twenty years of stability, but now it’s all gone just right about when you figured out how to work it. Ten years is about six months in Internet time.

Adapt or perish. Perhaps my generation and the generations to proceed are not as shook up by it because it’s almost been our entire lives. It caught me at a time where I was just getting comfortable, but I haven’t been comfortable since. I’ve had to upgrade my knowledge and keep with the times at a rapid pace ever since. Just when you get the latest coding there’s a new code. Just when you figured out the Instagram market you are forced to Snapchat it into oblivion.

For awhile there I felt like the grand old people who just want their lives back. They had it worse than I did. They had decades of normalcy. Everything was fine and then technology eroded their plans. I was about 18 years old when the popularization of technology eroded my life. I didn’t have very long to be set in my nefarious ways. Can you imagine losing grasp after you’ve truly setup shop with a house, some kids, and a “solid” job?

It was most devastating and they haven’t gotten it back since. No wonder this glimmer of hope shaped in the form of old school white picket fence White Man Lifestyles was so appealing. He’ll make their America great again taking it back to when it was great. When the coal mines were booming. When the white picket fences were white. When it was all so simple. Dad went to work, mom stayed home, and there was always a nice fresh chemically treated shirt hanging stiffly in the closet.

As I found out with My Internet and My Lifestyle, you can’t go back. You can’t go home again. You all won’t disconnect from these devices and cable televisions. You will now continue to plod away at the digital circuits for the rest of our lives. To go backward they’d need to nuke it all and start over. And if they did then I’ll bunker down and plant my potatoes, but outside of that I guess we’re all just going to have to keep moving forward. And sooner or later people are going to realize that they are obsolete if they do not figure out that they need to create new positions for themselves in the 21st Century, not old ones. It is no longer a unique concept that to succeed one must diversify. Diversification is now status quo. Adapt or perish.

We are heading towards living in a world where computers overtake all factories, fast food chains, and standard cashier checkout stands. You order your wares online and they are conveniently dropped at your front stoop by a drone. Room service is now delivered via a toaster oven on wheels manifesting a smiley face on a screen. The technology is obliterating the nominal slave labor positions at lightning speed and it is glorious! Yet, people don’t seem to think so. The creatures of habit are frightened and have begun to bang their clubs on the ground in protest. They scream out that they want to stand behind that cash register all day! They picket up and and down that they want to go back down into the dark mines and develop black lung as soon as possible!  They need to go back to the way it was because they have absolutely no idea how they could move forward. That would take thought. That would take planning. That would take responsibility and accountability!

Instead of welcoming the technological age of automation as an escape from their chains, they’re trying desperately to put their chains back on even though the master has left the building. We have been given a damn fine excuse to figure out new and exciting things for everybody to do to make a living. We could live in a world where we say to kids, “There are no simple jobs left, so you better figure out a way to be paid for bringing your personal brilliance to the world.” And the responsible society could figure out ways to pay all the people to do something instead of allowing everyone to scatter like ants on caffeine.

I’m not saying I like it either. It is honestly uncomfortable to diversify your life from start to finish and never feel solid. Nobody likes change and yet that’s what humanity seems best at. It’s so easy to go back because we’ve already been there. Even I would go buy that fax machine and plug my phone back into an answering machine if it meant I had a guarantee in decades of stability. To play the game. To really fake it and play the game. I’d get that matching tie and pocket square, wipe off my eyeliner, and save it all for the closet, if I could so easily just make the money over three martini lunches with The Boys. Steamrolling the less fortunate to build my mansion on their backs. But that’s not going to happen. You don’t get that lifestyle just like I don’t get my 1999 Internet lifestyle back.  We’re all shit out of luck and pushing it forward without a good plan, since no one can decide on anything as we scramble, scramble, scramble.

The Artist D, July 2017

The Artist D, July 2017

Dirty Thirty

They (whoever They are) often say that people find themselves in their 30’s. It’s a time where all of that pretense and angst of the 20’s is shucked. The bullshit factor is greatly reduced to a place where you begin to “really” live what you think is your life.

Whereas most people have found who they are in their 30’s, I found out who I am not. I never suffered from the same 20’s muck that most did. If I’m to believe the lore, I was actually living my 30’s in my 20’s. I was invincible and on fire. My teenage inhibitions slowly fell away as I stepped out on the town in fabulous stiletto finery.

Learning who I am not has come as a great shock to the system. I continue to blame the circumstances of the 21st century for that. That’s the easy part. We can always blame the times for our troubles, because they are always working against us. The Internet gave me everything I needed in my 20’s and then the Internet took it away in my 30’s.

The dreams of being a star eventually fade to a reality based endeavor. I grew up with the idea that I would be paid for being Me. What did I want to be when I grew up? I wanted to be Me. I wanted to be Famous. I knew that I was unique enough to be paid for simply being. What did Quinton Crisp do? The art of being.

Your body begins to speak to you on a more serious level as the decades continue. You are no longer invincible. The drug and alcohol bender that used to take a day to recover from now takes an entire week leading up to the next bender. The lifestyle which used to be easy is now tedious. You don’t go on the bender because you don’t have enough time for that. It used to be so easy to go into work on the brink of alcohol poisoning.

A lot of this has to do with being an Artist. What do you want to be when you grow up? An Artist. What kind of Art will you create? The Art of Me. I will be Art.

As you can see I have always been a deeply shallow individual.

In my 30’s I learned that I would not be getting lucky by just being. I always worked side jobs, day jobs, night jobs, as a temporary gig. I never once considered the possibility that it would last. Participation in normal every day life was simply something to do while awaiting money, fame, and glamour. I’ve worked for a lot of years now and only recently did it ever occur to me that it may stick. I would rent an apartment thinking that in a few years time it would get better. Surely dollars would pour into my accounts from adoring fans to support me. To be paid for being me. The Artist who creates art by just being.

Unfortunately I grew up within a generation where everyone else had the same idea. While I fought to capitalize on my brand of lifestyle, so did everybody else. The only difference was that a lot of them worked very hard for it. I always added a bit more entitlement to my style. I showed up and I was fabulous, shouldn’t that have been enough? I worked hard, but they worked harder.

They (whoever They are) like to say that I have always been ahead of my time. It could be even as little as a decade ahead. Had I been in my 20’s in my teens I would have accomplished much more on the Internet in my 30’s and I would have been rich in my 40’s. By now I’d be sitting back to scoff at all the people in their 30’s struggling to profit off the Art of Being. But that’s Hindsight scooped into a blender with 1 1/2 cups of Nostalgia. It doesn’t work that way. Everyone is always struggling to Be. Everyone always thinks it would be easier if they were just born a few years earlier.

Newsflash: We’d be just as stupid to not capitalize on it then as much as we are now. Here, have another sip of your Hindsight Nostalgia Smoothie.

Somewhere along the road you come to the realization that you will not be who you thought you would be. Unfortunately it seems to often happen all at the same time. Dreams and goals morph, but so does the meat suitcase you are piloting. You become keenly aware of mortality as your friends and lovers begin to die at an alarming rate. To the point where you are no longer Superman, but instead standing with everyone else in a thunderously stormy naked game of Russian Roulette.

It could also be said that all of this has a lot to do with the chosen profession of Artist. When choosing that lifestyle path we rarely seem to keep in mind that most true Artists are not rich and famous until they’re dead. And between you and I that’s just a little too late for my tastes.

True artists are artists who had no choice in the matter. To be an artist is one thing. To live it is a harsh reality, if not for anything but our sweet sensitive artistic egos. I had no choice in the matter. I was an artist upon exiting the womb. I have been an artist as I crawl across god and country. I could not be anything else. I wouldn’t have chosen anything else. Well, I might have been a slender gay satyromaniac prostitute with a muscular stomach you could eat breakfast off of. But Simon Says that would not have gone very well for the elongation of my years.

In my 30’s I have learned to carry on. Definitely not to stay calm. If there was any give-a-fuck left I lost it when mortality came into play. I lost it when everyone started to fade away. I lost it when the halls of my Internet were destroyed by technology. I will always make art from being, because that’s what I wanted to be. It was genetic from the Universe.

The Artist D, February 2017

The Artist D, February 2017

Back to the 80’s

I just received an email regarding some products I ordered. It said that my order had been collected and it would be in the mail tomorrow. They really could have waited. They could have enjoyed a day off, instead of scurrying around the warehouse to collect my crap.

Now that we have experienced the technology and convenience of the 21st Century, I would be OK to give it back. Well, that’s my opinion about it all. The Internet has created a monster of society. A place where people have to work even harder than before to satisfy their consumers. Businesses can now do paperwork at light speed, so they get to do more of it. There is no more waiting. If there is some time to wait then there is surely more light speed work you can do while you are waiting.

It has always fascinated me that we wanted technology in order to make things easier, but then rejected how easy it could have been. Instead of allowing it to make time we adapted and picked up the pace. There in lies the problem. If we moved at the pace of yesterday with the technology of today we would have four day work weeks and a whole lot of vacation time. In response to that Utopia we decided that we should just do more and more with every hour that technology had shaved off.

Think about how much time it took the processes of yesterday in comparison with the technology of today. The reality is that we can probably finish a day’s work from 1970 in under an hour today. Our response was not to go home and put our feet up. Our response was to do more work.

I sometimes pause and think about the fax machine era. The slow feed of pages into the machine and then calling New York to see if they got it all in one piece. I think about when things closed for the day and you couldn’t get hold of someone on the phone because you couldn’t find them. For those who don’t know what that means, there used to be a time where people could not be found because their phone was at home on a base with a cord. You had to wait for them to come home to get the message. Unless you had their beeper number and they could find a pay phone.

Then I think further back into an era I don’t know much about. The time we hear about where the only transmission of documents was via postal mail or courier service.  There must have been a lot of waiting for that!

It’s not that I hate technology as much as I hate how people have allowed there to be no more time in between. The 20th Century seemed to find people inserting a lot of excuses to take a good break. They were waiting for the fax machine to finish so they took a break or they did some light filing in between. Now there are no more paper files.

A better example would be the infamous smoke break. I see it today in a country continuously stamping out  the smokers. Employers turning their nose up at cigarette smokers because that means they will – without question – have to take a break during the day. If you do not keep a smoking habit then why go outside? More time for you to put your nose to the grindstone and slave, slave, slave.

The breaks are so limited out here in the 21st Century. I have no doubt that for most of this I’m talking out of my ass. The people who really experienced work “back in the day” probably felt just as busy and just as burdened as we do today.

That’s why I’m OK with giving it back but not giving it away! If I had a magic Genie wish to make I would never wish it back to the way it was without the knowledge of how it is today. Knowing how it is today is the only way we may be able to appreciate how it was before.

There is such a ruminating delicious taste found in letter writing. To think it carefully over as you write and then to wait for your friend’s response to arrive. It’s like the typewriter. It was not easy to delete what you’ve written, so you better mean every stroke you make.

I love technology. Technology is good. I love having a computer in my pocket. I love all of the things the doctor can do to check vitals without hurting me. I love streaming music into speakers without wires. I love cars that sync to my every preference and immediately begin playing my Soundcloud. I love controlling the house’s thermostat while I’m hundreds of miles away. But I can’t lie about how much I would enjoy knowing that there is no more Facebook, Twitter, or vicious light speed emailing. To lavish myself in the privacy of writing a letter between intimate friends. To not feel as if life is lived on a soap box by force and not by choice. That is so long as I remember how it was before the Genie made it all go away.

And of course I would bitch just as much now as I would if I could be transported back with the knowledge of today. Humans love to complain. To have to get up to change the channel. To not be able to preheat the oven via wireless connection. To warm up or cool down your car by actually having to go outside to turn it on. Rectal thermometers. Humans adore complaining. Humans are born to be uncomfortable no matter what technological comfort they have been awarded. It’s what we do.

It’s not nostalgia. It’s never nostalgia. It’s longing for certain things which we endlessly give up in exchange for betterness.

The Artist D, January 2017

The Artist D, January 2017

The Trouble with Being Myself

Go somewhere without it being a photo op.

Say something without it having to be a Tweet.

Don’t fill the moments of silence with thoughts on checking your Likes.

Take a shit without your smartphone.

Be something without promotion.

Have sex without your smartphone.

Enjoy a meal without Netflix. Try candlelight and Luciano Pavarotti.

Write something without crafting it for optimum SEO keywords.

Drift off to sleep without the light of the tablet’s screen.

Paint something without preparing it for the gallery or for sale on your website.

Read books for your own sake.

Turn off the modem sometimes, just because you can.

Wherever the crowd goes, go the opposite direction. (Bukowski)

Turn off your phone sometimes, just because you can.

And for crying out loud, don’t jump off the bridge just because everyone loves to jump.

The Artist D, December 2016

The Artist D, December 2016

I’m a Comedian, you Cuntbag!

It dawns on me that I may be one of the last from the Sticks & Stones generation. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me! That’s what they always told us. They even told my generation that and I’m still considered young in some circles. I grew up in the gray area where kids were beginning to win a trophy for just breathing and yet were still told to “Suck it up!”

I went through a very harrowing teenage existence where I wanted to kill myself, just like everybody else. I was embarrassed from kindergarten to high school. They called me a little pansy gay boy before I knew what any of those words meant. I fled from society and thought about packing it in several times. At the end of the day I did not kill myself and therefore I became a survivor. The torture I felt I had endured was par for the course. Ultimately, I did not survive because people coddled me. I survived because people told me to buck up, kid.

I ran from the big mean society of high school and retreated to the Internet. I was like any gay boy found throughout the 20th century. They grew up and searched for a terrestrial solution, a private club that would take them in and lick their wounds. Since I didn’t have that outlet or that era I found My Tribe digitally on the Internet in the 90’s. The beat up queers united within this Tribe, just as good as an offline one, and held each other up. When I emerged from this digital gestation I was a blend of my history. I learned that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Today we live in a coddled world where people take offense to everything. What they now call mean, harsh, abuse, is what I call growing up. These people aren’t exactly wrong. It’s an unfortunate process we all must go through. It would be much easier if we didn’t have to. But it would seem impossible to circumvent that process judging from the way they are turning out it.

Learning to live with stinging barbs and the reality of life is also the breeding ground for a great sense of humor. I grew up with people who hated me and made fun of me. I also grew up around people who loved me and made fun of me. It’s all about the context that it’s said in. We’re missing a lot of context in this 21st century.

I have experienced these children not catching my context all too much. I am now seen as “a big meanie” in the eyes of social justice warriors and special snowflakes. And it’s not all their fault! How can they understand my context when they don’t even know me? Who can know anyone on the Internet anymore? Who can know anyone offline anymore? You’re too busy just reading 140 characters or avoiding eye contact when we’re at the bar.

I’ve never cared about the things people have cared about. While I have always been on the side of the repressed freak unique, I have never wanted to be confused with a coddler. I have sympathy and I have empathy, but I have never told anyone that they should prolong their wallowing. I stand firmly with the fact you need to buck up, kid.

My barbs and my observations are comedy. That doesn’t make them fiction. That doesn’t mean I’m kidding. I’m quite serious. I’m a sarcastic bitch. I want to be the one always leaving the off-color jabs, but I always assume that you know I am coming from a place of love.

That’s the gray area I grew up within. The things said were all about the context of your relationship with the person. (Relationships. Ever had those with people?) I had this amazing friend once who was the meanest person I had ever known. Everything he ever said was insulting and a total put down. At first I was so offended because I had never had a friend who was quite so mean before. Then I got to know him and saw he was just a sensitive soul with a well-crafted comedy. That guy was more loving than most people could ever be and he made love like a lightning rod. There was nothing but love in him and the more comedic barbs he threw your way, the more he loved you.

I find I am walking through a constant winter wonderland of Special Snowflakes these days. They can’t take a joke. They think mean things are mean. They think calling someone black is racist. They think using the word trannie is a slur. They think making fun of girlie men is an attack upon the girlie man. All of which I direct you towards a seminar on context.

If I love you and make fun of your scarf then I’m not really hating you or your scarf. If I call my best friend a trannie hooker that doesn’t mean I feel she’s a slutty piece of garbage. I kid you for I love you.

It’s always been about perception. I’ve always told you that perception is everything. Because, have you seen me?  I’m a man in a dress. I’m a transgender freak unique who has decided to build my house on the fence between everything. If there is anyone who I have joked with more than anyone it is myself. I would never make fun of someone else unless I was doing so with a light heart, giving a sarcastic smirk towards a culture gone amok.

The wormhole chewed me up and spit me out to find that all  of those generic and annoying phrases were true all along. Have a sense of humor. Buck up. Don’t take life so seriously. Sticks and stones, kid, sticks and stones … 

The Artist D

The Artist D