Tuesday, November 28, 2006

response to "how can i help?" emails

my friends.
i am coming to you in response to several of you emailing me and asking how you can support my trip to india, well i am not one for charity concerning myself but did indeed find a way for you to help. even though my trip is paid for we could always use help with building supplies and there are some others that really want to go on the trip that need to make ends meet just to go. i still have about 30 of the lithographs still available that i designed for our haiti trip. email me at modestyguild@gmail.com and i will give you more details how you can order the lithograph and help support our trip to calcutta, india. if you did not get a chance to read about the trip you can click here for more information.
thanks so much,

Sunday, November 26, 2006

more tomorrows than yesterdays. for now.

this past week i had the chance to hang out with my family, we had a wonderful thanksgiving weekend and had the opportunity to spend a lot of time just reading and listening to the new album leaf record (a perfect compromise for parents opposed to anything to loud.) we went to an imax presentation of into the deep, a 45 minute documentary on creatures in the ocean, some that i had never seen or heard of before. it was beautifully filmed and danny elfman solidified himself as my favorite soundtrack writer.
afterwards we stumbled into a museum which turned out to be a children's museum, and after a couple of minutes the lot of us were completely jejune & done looking. on the second level hidden away was a doddering machine that had an anti smoking warning from a local police department.
as i sat down i realized that the machine projected what you were going to look like throughout the rest of your life, i was instantly intrigued. after i took the picture i waited the minute required in processing. then it appeared.
me at 82.
i sat still staring. staring myself years and years from now. i looked sad. my eyes were worn, my face sagged, the bags under my eyes were dark and my hair had turned grey. i can't tell you what happened but it clicked. i realized that we are all going to get old. we all know the fact, but we never have to stare the reality in the face. that was me and i was him.
what would he have wished i would do different now? why did he look so sad? what thoughts were going through his head?
who is his family? who did he choose as his wife? what were his regrets? if he could switch just one day with me what would he do, would he go and call all his family members and tell them how much he loved them? would he warn someone of danger or avoid a person all together?
i took a picture of myself with my camera and have to admit that i have stared at the picture for a couple days now, its rather inspiring or sobering in an odd sort of way. because i think to myself that i cannot waste time. i want to know that these hours of rest are spent wisely. that whatever i put my hands to i must do with all my heart.
we are all going to be there someday. we don't see it now, and for others we don't want to admit it. but were all going to be at a point where we have more yesterdays than tomorrows.
take today, and for the rest of the day pretend you are 82 and magically you have one more day in your body, in your mind.
what are you going to do with this gift of life in the spring of it? because when winter arrives, and it will, hopefully you have spent your days wisely and have very few regrets.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

a brief social commentary #3 (mating rituals of homo sapiens)

i find it so intriguing the way us humans participate in the mating ritual. time and time again i would be watching national geographic channel or discovery and i would gasp to myself as to the correlation between the animal and the human "pull". i once saw a male bird build a nest for days and days, and after calling all the female birds in the area several female birds came and sat in the nest. if she felt comfortable, stable, and taken care of she would stay and if not she would leave.
have you ever driven in an area of town where the houses are run down and trash lines the streets and noticed that the cars that the home owners drive are mercedes, bmw's, and other such high priced cars? i always wondered if that was some sort of adaptation where they attract the female, much like the bird, by putting their best foot forward and giving the female the illusion of stability & comfort.

next time you are participating in a social event watch the "single" people around you, the first stance you will notice is the individual guy and girl groups. the male species will most likely be levying for alpha male status, this is observed through simple things like eye contact or lack there of, slaps on the back, even the way they sit or stand plays a part. reaserchers stated "that success (in the male group) came from expansive “dominant male” gestures towards fellow men. Leaving women in no doubt that they were the focus of attention (with the other males) was also key; then there is the glance twords the female or females of his desire."

after men have volleyed for position amongst their own gender it is on to the glance, they begin to watch or look in the direction of the female or females of their desire. the same researchers noticed that for a successful conversation to occur there was at least "13 glances in half an hour for the average “pull”.*

after the conversation is initiated then it is time for whit, charm, and humor to click in. in all reality we are summing up the other person to see if they would be a good potential mate. would she be a good mother to my children, would she care for the nest, would she even be fertile, is she healty? all these questions never once enter the conversation subconsciously they are imperative. (of course she is thinking the same thing; can he produce, can he protect, is he healthy, etc.)

men want women to know that they are conquerors and can supply stability to the nest; this usually comes out by talking up the males current employment, stories of financial victory, & the cost of what we drive away in. we want them to know that we are healthy; this is a visual observation and is the reasoning why the male will spend hours in a gym, absorbing a fake tan, and picking out clothing that shows off the weight they have or have not obtained. the male wants the female to know that he is brave and can protect the nest/territory: you can hear it when you observe the male tell stories of athletic victory's, other various aggressive sports he may have participated in, adventure & outdoor activities, or other such demanding tasks.

its rather funny if you break it down to the scientific aspect of a lot of things we do. but to us they are just ordinary, no one is 'wierd' if they check out someone of the opposite sex or talk about camping in the wilderness, but what are they really trying to say or the character quality they are trying to portray.

*(john elliott, uk sunday times article)

post script: ladies please don't think about this social commentary on your next date, or you will be laughing to yourself the whole time after you realize he is telling you all these stories and trying to be witty just so you will come back to the nest that he has built and then attempt to make sure you feel comfortable, stable, and taken care of so you won't leave. (unless of course... he lives with his parents).

Friday, November 10, 2006

my album of the year...

the time travel/ an exploration of a distant mind.

i have had the amazing experience of getting into someone's mind. reading private thoughts and exploring a whole new world and time. my whole life i have always wanted to read someone's journal. secretly wishing someone would leave there's behind on a table or desk so that i could see there thoughts, psychoanalyze them as best i could; find out who they are, who they think they are, experience where they are going.
maybe the bottom line is that i just wanted to feel normal. think that maybe my worst fears are there's as well. and we are all connected on some level. it never happened. no one ever left their journal. and even if i did find one i don't know if i would have had enough guts to read it, because i know how violated i would feel knowing someone read one of mine.
it is apart of me. i would feel violated, hurt, as if my words held no more weight. which always brought me to the question, what should i do with all the journals in my life. should i burn them? should i put them into a capsule that should not be opened for at least 100 years after my death (that way no one can see how human i really am).
while in houston the other day i stumbled into a used book store. it was much like any other used book store in that it had the decomposing paper smell, and an elderly man behind the counter. i found it odd that no music was playing in the background. maybe he liked it that way, music seems to be everywhere. but the man had a content look on his face staring into the near distance.
i wondered through the store, i had a bit of time to kill so i wondered through each and every section mentally taking notes as to what books in this building i would like in my library someday. i especially like books on travel to places i have never been, i love black and white photography books, because i end up cutting them up and taping them into my journal. history, science, math, psychology, they were all there. after about an hour of browsing i came upon a lone glass case. inside was one book, with no title, no author, no date. it was an ash grey and looked like the edges had been dragged on the concrete.
there was no key in the lock and my curiosity got the best of me. i asked the elderly man what was in the case, his curiosity was also peaked because he had no idea what the book was since his wife owned the store.
as he pulled out the book i noticed the plastic engagement was perfectly taped as if the book store owner knew this was some sort of treasure.
the man set it on the front counter and let me open it. as i began to open it up slowly i open realized the paper was flaking in certain areas and felt very fine and old. as i opened it to the first page the first thing i noticed was the beautiful calligraphy used. the ink would start very dark and as the words continued it would fade and then dark once again.
the opening line was a mistake, because he tried to cross it out.
"spring is my favorite season, as if the whole world is again coming alive."
what was this?
then the second page said
the diary of jonathan jones
december 23 1848.
i had found a treasure, and after an exchange of minimal currency (as compared to what i thought it would be worth) i was walking out of the used book store with thoughts, dates, and a distant time i myself could never physically experience, but was about to time travel to.
i have read almost half and can not tell you how my heart has raced more than once. he is an amazing man from north dublin (either in georgia or california) i am not certain yet. he writes every day of the week, moment, hour, & month in every entry. he is so very concerned with time. i am not going to say he loves death but he is so very intrigued. he believes in God ("thanks to the divine being for his infinite mercy and goodness") and his country. and his wife often gets sick. he claims he is poor but i don't believe he is, i think he runs a mill and hints to the fact he has hired several servants. there is so much more, i wish you could read it alongside of me.
i have stumbled into the past, and figured so much about the present state of humanity. though we may not have existed then our humanity sees no time, survival knows no distance, love & friendship surpasses what we have or will ever experience. of course we feel we know this, but i have never read the manuscript of thoughts. we can read history books but never have i read the thoughts behind the history.
i admire the strength of jonathan jones, he is an upright man who is concerned with more than just himself in life.
i wonder what others will read in my journal someday. will i be strong, or caring? or will i just testify that humanity does not see or feel time or space. i hope so.
what will others read about you one day?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

nude descending a staircase

this is a painting from a man by the name of marcel duchamp called nude descending a staircase. i dont know why i love this painting so much. maybe it is because when i was taking art history it was one of the first DADA movement pieces i had ever seen. we had just got over the jejune and boring era of realism and anything other than monet, renoir, or degas would have been welcomed. when this piece appeared on the screen i froze in my chair. it was nothing i could think up (as opposed to a girl tying a ballet slipper). it was genious, and the colors alone were enough to allure me for another glance. part cubism, part symbolic, all rebelious. that is why this is one of my favoite art pieces of all time.
duchamp only painted about 20 pieces in his whole life. he moved to new your city in 1910 (i believe) and after finishing the small number of works in his life devoted himself completely to chess. random. but true.

(a little history)
'Marcel Duchamp (28 July 1887 - 2 October 1968) was a French painter and theorist, a major proponent of DADA, and one of the most influential figures of avant-garde 20th-century art. After a brief early period in which he was influenced chiefly by Paul CEZANNE and Fauve color, Duchamp developed a type of symbolic painting, a dynamic version of facet CUBISM (similar to FUTURISM), in which the image depicted successive movements of a single body. It closely resembled the multiple exposure photography documented in Eadweard MUYBRIDGE's book The Horse in Motion (1878).

In 1912, Duchamp painted his famous Nude Descending A Staircase, which caused a scandal at the 1913 ARMORY SHOW in New York City. In the same year he developed, with Francis PICABIA and Guillaume APOLLINAIRE, the radical and ironic ideas that independently prefigured the official founding of Dada in 1916 in Zurich. In Paris in 1914, Duchamp bought and inscribed a bottle rack, thereby producing his first ready-made, a new art form based on the principle that art does not depend on established rules or on craftsmanship. Duchamp's ready-mades are ordinary objects that are signed and titled, becoming aesthetic, rather than functional, objects simply by this change in context. Dada aimed at departure from the physical aspect of painting and emphases in ideas as the chief means of artistic expression.'

Friday, November 03, 2006

a brief social commentary #2 (observance of the second beginning)

if you watch a child and his or her behavior they usually have a routine, even though its spastic and not always in control the basics and primary needs are pretty much the same. for the youngest they need to be fed and constantly watched to keep them from harming themselves. when a child is in the room many people are watching him/her to make sure that they don't fall down or lash out at others.
if you watch an elderly person at the later state of his/her winter they usually have a routine, even though it is spastic and not always in control the basics and primary needs are pretty much the same. for the elderly they need to be fed and constantly watched to keep from harming themselves.
it seems we once again begin the cycle that we started with right before we die. i wonder if it was designed like that, the womb not yet life, death not ever alive again. i am not sure, but as i have said before it is not death that scares me it is getting so old that i no longer can care for myself.
we as a society treat the elderly like children, almost in a degrading way. we do not value the old but honor the young, even though we the young are the most unintelligent and gullible of any stage of life, especially when compared to those with grey and wisdom. we speak up into the phones as if all elderly are going deaf, and expectantly use small words. we pretend to care but continue to finish our email while we are talking to them. we refuse to explain technology because they are more outdated and we do not believe they can grasp it. why do we sell them so short. they survived. they lived full lives. but we reduce them to mere children. childern whom we watch in rooms to make sure they do not fall down or lash out at others.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

anchor&braille update

anchor&braille has a new merch store.
if you want to create a design for A&B i would love to see anything you come up with!
-stephen christian

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

a brief social commentary #1 (the looming)

while walking through a city the other night my mind stumbled to the
buildings looming high above me, so very out of reach. i marveled at
the architecture and thought how amazed someone from centuries ago
would have been at our modern achievments and may have thought they
stumbled onto heaven if only by the shear mass of the structures. i
then realized that the tallest building two hundred years ago would
have been a church, and upon further observations i noticed that the
tallest buildings in america now would be financial institutions.
in orlando, where this dawned on me, it was bank of america, wachovia
bank, and sun trust bank that were the largest buildings downtown. i
wonder if that is where our hearts have left of, or where our hearts
have turned us. no longer do we pursue things outside our grasp or the
intangible; but have reshaped our nation to the tangible.