Friday, September 24, 2004

Thought for the Day: The Death of Art

As an artist, I find it hard to admit this, but I think art as we know it is dead.

In the thousands of years of human history, art has always existed alongside such things as violence, sex, religion, consumption, etc. As we've evolved, art has become increasingly more important to us but the scale has tipped too far now. In the past where art was splendid, beautiful, and amazing, people have lost their appreciation for art. No longer will people see a painting by da Vinci and think of how wonderful it is. Instead, they'll focus on everything that the artist probably never intended on the viewer paying attention to. Gone are the days of admiring the artist's skill with a brush, or how we captured the ambiance of nature perfectly. We've turned into the world's largest art critics in human history.

Now-a-days, we humans can't walk past anything without passing judgment, whether they me animate or inanimate objects. With art, we analyze anything and everything. We don't look at the subtleties of what lies in the art, but question what everything means, why the artist did something, what the artist stands for, and so on. We've made simple art more complicated than ever. Children's art is being analyzed for future criminals or disturbed individuals, instead of encouraging them to continue drawing. The criticism is endless and exists in every artform that is practiced currently.

We have lost contact with the grandeur of the world as it exists. While a lot of people would be overwhelmed with the beauty of places like the Grand Canyon or New York City, most will shrug their shoulders and pass on the judgment of it. We've become jaded and can't see how amazing the construction of buildings are. In an ironic twist, it is not the creation of something that amazes us, but the destruction of something that causes awe. We don't care what the tallest building in the world is, but when the Twin Towers fell the world froze to watch. I'm not praising the efforts of the terrorists in what they did, but they hit the nail on the head to mark the end of art. Las Vegas almost always blows up a hotel or a casino for New Year's Eve now, people are enthralled by the hot-dog eating contests on Coney Island and the world, people watch extreme sports for the hope of seeing crashes, and people watch WWE and boxing for the destruction of man in front of them.

We don't love the creation of something anymore, and that's deeply saddening for me, and when people do create something, we ignore it and tear it apart to find its true meaning. Humans have turned from creation to destruction, and it's a path that will probably never end until we're all dead.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Thought for the Day: Technology

Today, I was reading the Business section of Monday's NY Times (I was too ill to finish it last night) and came across several articles talkin about the technology sector. I zeroed in on one article in particular, To sum up the article, it's about the ongoing battle between Sony and other media technology groups about the next format for movies and media. The secondary battle is about where the technology will be played, a television or on the computer.

My take on it is this: why do we need another format for movies and media? Yes, eventually, we will most likely need a larger format as movies become more sophisticated and require more space, or more people purchase DVD-burners to make their own home movies easier, but not at the moment. CDs have only been around for a decade or so, and DVDs are younger than that. There's still a lot of people out there who don't have a DVD player, and I know there's still people with tape players in their car. Is there really a need for more technology for the general public, or is this to satisfy all the technology-geeks of the world who thrive on having the latest technology now! ? I can't see the general public needing something like this right away, and it would probably be more beneficial to encourage people to trade in their VHS players for a DVD player.

I can understand why these businesses want to push forward with the new technology, to make a profit and be seen as being on the cutting-edge of technology. But at the same time, there's so much wrong with the current stuff we have, why can't they focus on fixing it? For instance, there's still problems with Windows XP, but Microsoft is planning on launching the next release of Windows in the near future. Will the old problems be solved in the latest version? Probably not.

Companies thrive on the failure of their products. If their products didn't fail, eventually, people would never have the need to upgrade, buy the latest thing, etc. It's the danger of having such large monopolies like Microsoft. So many people are dependent on their technology that if it fails, those people will have no choice but to upgrade. Do I sound too pessimistic? I challenge anyone to give me one example of technology that has been able to last a long time that never broke down. It has to be something electronic, however. I know a hammer can be classified as technology, and odds are it will never break down in your lifetime, so I can't count items like that that are built to last. I'm talking about all the temporary technology in the world: computers, cellphones, PDAs, stereos, etc.

There are days when I worry that this "failure in technology in order to suceed" can also apply to medical drugs and doctors, but that's a different story.

My stance on technology is I want something to work, reliably, for a long time. My current stereo system has been running strong for over 6 years now, and I'm quite glad I never had to go out and buy another one. Everything else has small faults in it, that I just put up with. I'm not out to buy the latest gizmo, because I don't have either the money to afford it, nor the time to play with it, nor a need for that item. I will probably never have a need for a PDA, nor a Blackberry, nor a handheld game device from Nintendo or Nokia, or whatever else may exist in the world that I don't know about. I prefer reading books and newspapers to reading online, especially the NY Times. I'd prefer to talk in person than over a cellphone, as hard as it can be for me. I am thankful for computers and the ease in writing on them, until they fail on me, but I still enjoy writing with a pen and a small notebook so I can make sketches around my words.

I want technology to work for me, and not have me work to make it work. I want companies to stop advancing so quickly and focus rather on the consumers' needs, and forget about profit for once. Making a customer happier will lead to financial success through word-of-mouth, I think. I wish they could teach people this at business school.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

An Urban-Hermit?

An urban-hermit. Seems simple enough, right? I suppose the OED would have a definition along the lines of, "A loner living in a city environment who tends not to go out at night." I feel like I'm much more complicated than that. I hate stereotypes, and I often wonder how they ended up being created in the first place, but maybe I'll leave that for another entry after this. First, my definition of what an urban hermit is, and this is solely based on who I am.

To me, an urban hermit is, like I suggested above, "a loner living in a city environment" but I'm not sure if I can agree with the second part I put down. I'm going to break my quotation down into segments so things can be that much clearer for people reading my mangled mess of words.

a loner:
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not totally fond of people in general. Let's be honest, people are the most cruel creatures on this earth. They can also be real stupid and make horrible mistakes, they can also be real idiots when they're drunk or high. Most are out for attention, which explains the whole blogging explosion. All in all, I really despise being around people for the most part. There are rare exceptions, but I mainly just tolerate the people I'm around. The question surrounding a loner is not "why they chose to be that person" but rather, "did they have a choice to become something else?"

I feel that I didn't choose to become this person. There were a lot of circumstances and my personal history that attributed to me becoming someone who's seen as anti-social. It really bugs me, and I internalize a lot of those angry feelings towards people who target me as such. I try hard (sometimes) to escape being this lone wolf individual, but it's becoming increasingly more difficult to be someone else, to be someone normal. I don't think I will ever escape this mental and social prison that has been created for me, but I can always hope for something better.


What is it meant when people say they're living? Does it mean going out and having fun, or is it something simpler like eating and sleeping? Where does work fit in? Is living based on fun and excitement, or survival? Did humans become too bored with the simple tasks in order to survive that they created other activities to entertain themselves? How many different degrees of living are there in the world? If I choose not to live the lifestyle of a frat-house (drinking, partying, sex, etc) does that mean I'm not living even though I'm around the same age? It bugs me and discourages me that hierarchies in life are based on power and lifestyle. Because I chose not to live the way someone else is, that person can look down upon me and think of me as lower-class. I have the utmost respect for people living in poverty right now, and I long to put people in the higher eschelons of life down into the gutter.

Back to my situation. My lifestyle, at the moment, is plain and humble. I work during the day or at night, then I come home and listen to music or read. Maybe I'll venture out somewhere to explore, but I'm still new to my surroundings and hesitant. Seeing how I'm earning only a few hundred dollars (beyond rent, phone, etc) my eating habits are very simple, too. One of these days, maybe I'll publish, or at least write on here, The Urban-Hermit's Diet. Diets seem to be fashionable these days, so I think it'll be a good route to go. My clothing style is ... somewhere. It's definitely not an urban, hip-hop style, but it's not a touristy look, or totally mature look, or retro, or whatever. It's clothing. It's comfortable, or cool, or warm. I wear it because it suits the weather, not to look good in public. When I say I'm living, I'm living for myself and not trying to be up-to-date on any hot trends. I try not to be extravagent in life and keep things to the basics. That's living.

in a city environment

Cities are disgusting places. I'm not sure why people are attracted to such messes in this world. There's just as much opportunity outside of the city to live a good life, but everyone has it stuck in their mind to earn money and potentially make it big. I hate it all and wish I could get rid of it (like so many other things in this world). Of course, I can't destroy a city without damaging lives, and that's not what I'm here for. Because of this, I tolerate cities as much as I can.

Unfortunately, in my choice of career, theatre, it rarely exists outside of a city environment. I think there are a lot of opportunities to make it grow outside of the city, but I am anxious to learn more so I had no choice but to come to a city. I suppose there are other people out there like me, but I'm sure there are many more who could be doing their job and living their lives outside of the city. What things do I enjoy about living in a city? I like the architecture, depending on where exactly you are living. Some cities are just ugly. Others, majestic. No place is ever perfect, but I wish someone could design a city completely so it wasn't quite such a mish-mash of architecture styles and ages. I think that's the only thing I can truly say I enjoy about cities. The smell is horrible. The noise is worse. And the people are the causes of both. Green space can be nice, but it so ironic that we now have to create our own little Edens instead of living there and going out to our concrete mansions to work. Somewhere, there are higher beings laughing at us.

who tends not to go out at night

I've come to the final part of my quotation, and I think by now it should be evident why I chose this part last. I don't go out at night because of all the above reasons. I don't like being around people, but even if I did, I'll never be able to fit in properly. I'll never fit in properly because I choose not to live the same type of lifestyle as my fellow citizens. I choose not to live the same type of lifestyle as my fellow citizens, because I live in a city and can be different without consequence. Because I live in a city and can be different without consequence, I choose not to go out at night.

An urban-hermit, in sum, is a simple person living in a maze of people, noise, smells, and buildings. They don't necessarily enjoy being in this environment, but they can never escape it and may or may not have the option to leave. Our only true escape is into our apartment where we can absorb ourselves into our work, music, and other items that we deem more worthy of our attention than the bar stars of the world and the jocks.


Greetings, and salutations,

Since this is the very first post, I thought I'd provide an introduction to myself.

First off, the important facts: I'm currently 24 years old (in 2004) and was born in Canada. I was born to American parents, so got my American citizenship when I was 21. I was born in Saskatchewan (north of North Dakota and Montana) but I grew up in a few places. My dad wasn't in the military or RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), neither was my mother. We moved because of job opportunities (first to go to graduate school, then to go to somewhere to use that graduate degree). Needless to say, I grew up in Regina, SK, then in Whitehorse, Yukon (by Alaska).

I returned to Regina for University in Technical Theatre, with a short diversion to Hartford, CT for an internship at a theatre. While going to school, I worked fulltime for the final three years of the degree, but I'm sure I'll mention more about that later. There were many strange happenings at University and my job, but not the wild, drunken parties that most Americans are probably used to.

So I'm out of school now. I just finished my classwork in the summer, and I knew it was time to move I started looking for internships, apprenticeships, jobs, etc. I found one, and now I have landed in Syracuse, NY. I'll explain my title in another entry, but for now this should give you an idea of my background and what kinds of mysteries are there.

One more thing for this post, to give you an idea of what some of my interests are and what you might read in here, I'll tell you that almost anything fascinates me and I'll write down my thoughts on whatever comes to mind. Anything goes for me, but I'll probably end up writing a lot about life in general for humans and theatre or the arts. I have a strong interest in philosophy and ideas, so I hope you'll find something of interest amongst my pages.

Welcome to my world.