Politics. Employment. A Tiny Grain of Sand. 1.19.2020

Sometimes you have to work for people who are less than honorable to keep the lights on.

Sometimes integrity is a luxury that people with resources can afford, and the rest of us wish we could.

But for those of us once stuck in that machine, and those of us now “free,” but much more poor and wounded for the experience, there for me was once a comforting thought I had after it was confirmed I was losing that job.

There was a young man who had been in a similar job within the same company for years. He saw the work I did and occasionally came to me to ask how was I able to design for causes and people I found detestable.
I confessed to him, some things I created made me physically ill. Pounding headaches and nausea and I had to sit in the dark to create them and try not to be eaten up by disgust and self hatred.

But two things allowed me to get through it.

Reserving funds from their work and donating to the opposite cause.

…and being a grain of sand in the machine.

I did my work and provided quality design but often on one of my comps, I designed in the truth they wished to hide, and if you were looking for it, you could see it. In meetings, I would ask the questions that would make the project managers realize the people we were trying to mislead were our family and friends, and the energy in the room would drop, and I’d forward ideas on how we could do that, each with a tiny grain of sand.

A grain of sand is tiny. It really can’t do much but be subtly annoying, but over time, that grain of sand can ruin the smooth working of machines.

I told him, if you find yourself in the same position, keep yourself alive, but find a way to lodge a tiny grain of sand in the machine.

You’ll be surprised at how this can alleviate despair.

So the end came a year ago or so, and I packed my things, and declined to go out for that final drink, because I said my goodbyes to those I liked, and it was a bridge too far to ask me to smile and be kind to those I really detested, so I put my things in my car, and despaired on the drive home since I knew it was going to be harder to keep the lights on.

I was underemployed for almost 7 months, doing everything from delivering booze, to taking small design jobs from friends who probably could have done the thing themselves.

Friends took care of me in big and small ways and to those friends I am grateful and often feel amazed and undeserving of their kindness and care.

More clients came. Not quite the same as before and never as much money as before but the lights stayed on.

…and occasionally I hear from the other designers each inside their own machines in various degrees, occasionally asked to make the thing that kills their souls just a little bit to keep the lights on.

…and I remember the little grains of sand.

So I told him my secret, and he smiled a smile that should never be on a face so young, so I know he understood me.

So, if you are stuck inside a company, and they ask for the thing that is detestable and you do not have the privilege to fight openly or decline, focus your despair, your rage, your disappointment. Distill it down to a tiny point, no bigger than a grain of sand. Do the best you can so you can keep the lights on, but make sure that grain of sand makes it into the machine.

Because a grain of sand is tiny. But too many of them over time degrade and eventually destroy the machine.

…and in doing so, in feeling a little less futile maybe you can save yourself.
Sometimes my rants on here are like little grains of sand…

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The 400 Dollar Apple Juice

I bought some apples about a week ago from Costco, and wasn’t quite ready to make pies yet, but I had a craving for some apple juice.
I usually tend to stay away from the store bought kind because its really not a lot of apple and mostly sugar, and the 100% juice kinds are rarely all apple juice. They usually add some other juice in like white grape or something and I when I want apple juice, I want apple juice.

Yeah, I know, but its how I am.

I also get a bit of an itch in my throat when I eat apple skin. Its not full on throat closure or a major allergic reaction, but as I get older and allergies pop up at the strangest times, I tend to peel my apples before I juice them. I tend not to drink cider for the same reason. Probably losing a lot of nutritional value taking off the peels. 
Didn’t care. Wanted apple juice.
I bought a juicer. Used to have one in the attic but that went out in a purge two years ago and a smaller, less painful to take apart one now sits in the kitchen waiting for a craving that I’ve had for about a year and use maybe a couple times a month?
So I peeled three of two kinds of apples, honeycrisp and snap dragon, cut and cored them, popped them into the juicer and had a tall, slightly frothy glass of delicious juice sprinkled lightly with nutmeg like fancy people do.
I really should have just thrown the peels in the trash.
I really should have emptied the compost pail but it was rainy and I was lazy.
I really should not have put apple peels down the Insinkerator.
…but I did.
I tend to cook with fats that go solid under cool temperatures and while most of the fats go into my belly, some residual does occasionally go down the sink, chased by lots of dish soap and hot water, but doing that still coats the insides of your pipes and when it gets colder, those pipes get narrowed with built up grease, usually remedied by hot vinegar or lemon juice sent down the drains, but again, lazy.
Then there were the cocktail darts from a few months ago.

They look like fancy blowdarts made of metal, and look really cool garnishing a well-crafted cocktail.

One found its way out of the dish rack and into the disposal unit and made really ugly sounds when I flipped the switch.
I was able to extricate the dart with pliers and just a little blood sacrificed from scraped knuckles, and the unit still worked, but was a lot more rattle and hum than it used to be and probably didn’t cut the bits of food up as fine.
I bought a standby disposal last year and stuck it in the pantry, waiting for the day of the big failure, so I could get under the sink and replace it.

This house is old, and apparently flippers or amateur contractors got in at some point and rather than installing iron pipes with eased curves, they went with PVC, and some pretty impractical pipe joins.

So there have been clogs before and usually I was able to work them free.

But apparently ground up apple peels running down a narrowed pipe during the first good cold snap of the season made for perfect conditions to lock that pipe down.

So I replaced the dispose-all. Works lovely. Nice quiet whirr.


Checked the P-trap (curved pipe headed toward the wall).

All clear P trap, but clog is still down there somewhere.

So, I tried hot water.


baking soda and vinegar and hot water.

Lots of fizz, but NOPE.

Then the noxious chemicals from the clog aisle came home on 5 separate degrading trips to the local Lowes. The clog aisle with the plumbing supplies is terrifying. There’s lots of chemicals that should never be near each other all on the same shelf, some even in the same bottles wrapped in plastic marked PELIGRO in big warning letters, and lots of bottles of stuff that’s “guaranteed to work or its free” but the process to get your refund will take you more man-hours to do than just eating the cost and moving on.

All of them in various configurations with and without hot water found their way down the pipe along with trick plungers, augurs that don’t work too well on PVC with sharp turns, and lots of bailing out the sink and sequestering my dogs to my office as I carry buckets of smoking evil from the kitchen into the toilet and flush it down.

My eyes ached. My body ached.

Do you know how horrible it is to not have coffee in the morning or at all during the day and have to do stuff like this?

So I went on Next Door, typed “plumber” in the search bar to pull up recommendation threads and picked someone who got good recommendations, was reasonably priced, cared about his work.

I tend to stay away from the big-name folks when it comes to stuff like plumbing in an old house, because they seem to train the new young guns to up-sell everything and find random things that NEED TO BE FIXED RIGHT NOW OR YOU”LL PERISH IN FLAMES, but delivered in a folksy calm voice.

I’m tired and haven’t been caffeinated for 3 days, the headaches from withdrawal are bringing out the stabby side of my personality, so a nice dude who has his own gear, is a master plumber, and is open to side jobs after his main job is done sounded like the ticket.

A dude showed up on my doorstep on time, looking authentically grimy, driving a grimy truck, came in, introduced himself, we chatted, I went back into my office, heard him dragging in tarps and heavy sounding things that grated and whirred.

15 minutes later, the glorious sound of free moving water going down the drain was coming from my kitchen.

I have a big bowl of full sized candy, less than a few weeks old left over from Halloween. I’ve seen kids go by, but they never come ring the bell. Not sure why, but there’s always leftover full size bars.

I’ve never seen a grown man so happy. He said, “I don’t want to be greedy…” but you knew he wanted to be greedy.

I said, “go on. It will go to waste. You have people at home who will enjoy some candy bars so take as much as you like.”

I don’t think the guy gets a lot of side jobs. Probably doesn’t advertise? Not sure. But he did a great job, seemed really happy with the check I wrote him, cleared up after himself and left happy as a clam with a lunch-bag full of candy.

I did a thorough cleaning on all surfaces of the kitchen, replaced my gel mats (they don’t do well with caustic chemistry), and then I tallied up the cost of that apple juice, between augurs, plungers, nitrile gloves, two big jugs of vinegar, like 9 bottles of drain cleaners and the plumber who took all of 15 minutes to clear the problem up.

I spent $400 on a fucking glass of apple juice.


I guess some of it was required, but I think next time a clog happens, I’m calling the plumber.

You know what I want right now?

Another glass of apple juice.

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Sex. Art. 10.6.19. Model: Peter and some collage figures from previous sessions

It’s been a while since I’ve drawn – largely because the time I used to have to draw and blog and focus on creation has been redirected into nurturing.

I was in line at the local supermarket, being nosy as a woman was having an animated conversation about her friend Tony, and an informal network of folks who find homes for unwanted dogs. Our county’s shelter may be a kill-shelter vs. a rescue shelter, so pet lovers are forming their own informal networks.

I adopted a pair of small dogs, to be informed on the day I was to pick them up that the female of the pair is likely pregnant and asked if I still wanted them.

Of course I did.

Two months later, Kora, ready to pop, did so while I was out to breakfast, and I came home to find her in labor and a tiny hamster sized dog mewling and trying to crawl behind my home office trash can.

That was 5 weeks ago.

He of the pair has been neutered.

The puppies are now teething, in the process of being weaned, and leaving me with just enough energy to draw.

…so, here are some drawings.

…and some puppies.

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Politics. Guns. Another weekend, and two more mass shootings in the US, and counting. 08-04-19.

Do you know who can stop mass shootings?
Gun manufacturers and the GOP, but they won’t.
Stopping production won’t get the existing guns off the streets.
Sure, its legal to make them.
Lots of things are legal that never should have been.
Slavery was legal in this country.
Gun manufacturers make deadly weapons, and advocate that anyone can have them if they have the money, and that people have the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The gun manufacturers know what their product does and what it was created for, and still they make it, and they give money to an organization whose job it is to scare Congresspeople and Senators into continuing to allow them to sell a deadly product without being bothered to check these people.
Some gun-owners clearly aren’t responsible enough to handle owning a weapon.
Then, of course, there’s the side business of acting as a pass-thru for Russian oligarchs to fund campaigns.
if anyone bothered to run background checks on people who desire to buy a weapon, decline weapons for people who have beaten their spouses, have a history of violent and unstable behavior, and those showing up on messaging boards stating that they’d like to kill a lot of people and maybe we’d see a lot less mass shootings?
Right now, we have a few mass shootings each weekend, specifically done by the people the gun manufacturers have marketed these weapons to; specifically White young men who want to be seen as tough and dangerous.
My guess is they are afraid of the world, and afraid of losing their place in dominating it, which would be why White Supremacy also seems to hit as a data point pretty frequently with these shooters.
So, in essence, the gun manufacturers are arming unstable cowards.
I guess that doesn’t matter as the money still spends so they will keep on doing it, and one day, someone they love will be killed by a product they made.
The GOP could stop this, but they are so afraid of their base and the monster they have created, they seem to have no choice but to double-down, offer thoughts and prayers and do nothing while kids buy bullet proof backpacks in preparation for the new school year, suffer from PTSD and nightmares from Shooter Readiness Training,
…and people look at whether its a good idea to go to big public events anymore.
…since it would seem there is always some angry young White man with a gun who wants to take the day and make it all about him, his unmet needs and his fears by posting some bullshit manifesto and then going out and bringing shame on his family name.
What must it be like for the parents of these dumb-assess to have to go grocery shopping, or back to work, while their neighbors and friends have to try to figure out how or if they can be around these people anymore after they’ve produced these monsters and released them on the world?
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Politics. The Unsurprising Racism of Reagan. 08.03.19

“Go Set A Watchman” was a better book in my opinion than “To Kill A Mockingbird”

“Go Set A Watchman” was the un-cropped picture, with all the flaws, with racism intact.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” was the cropped version of the same story, told from the viewpoint of a young tom-boy and brave adventurer, who idolized her father. It was the image Hollywood felt America was ready for at the time – the father as White Savior who tried to save the Black man but ultimately did not succeed, but still is honored in some way by the Black community.
“Go Set A Watchman” is the story told by an adult, the soft filter and rose coloring lifted from her eyes – the story, complicated by another woman’s sexual desires, her father’s duty to defend in spite of his own racism, and her racist tendencies as well.
This is what Reagan’s daughter is seeing now.
Her father was not the leader that much of America romanticized him to be. There were parts of him that were admirable – he had integrity and once set to a course of action, he followed it through and was there to accept the consequences if his course of action failed.
On the other side of the scales, he ignored AIDS, and privately mocked it and laughed at it as a disease of low-people, “Africans,” drug-users, Gays, and the promiscuous, in large part influenced by the advice of Roy Cohn, one of the most opportunist and morally flawed human beings ever to cross through American History.
It was not until he found out that young White people were infected by receiving blood transfusions from a tainted blood supply, and that Roy Cohn was himself dying from it, did he even mention the disease, and mobilize the US Health and Science systems to do anything about it.
…and privately, as with lots of people of his generation, he didn’t consider it to be racist if you were racist in private – if you told nigger jokes when no visible Black people were present.
He could not see, as many Americans cannot see, that willingness to wink and smile at racism while nobody is looking carries forward.
It carries into unconscious bias in hiring decisions.
It carries into higher levels of scrutiny of your Black and Brown employees, and a willingness to make excuses for and accept behavior from White people that you look to punish in people of color: lateness, poor grammar, policing of language and of emotions (angry black woman, angry black man, “YOU HAVE AN ATTITUDE PROBLEM”), when EVERYONE is late, and EVERYONE occasionally gets angry, and sometimes uses profane language.
Its shocking to begin to understand that your parents are racist.
…and the rest of us wonder when you will realize that YOU, TOO are RACIST.
…and when we say that, it does not mean you are guilty of any moral failings or that we think of you as a bad person.
It means, at a minimum, sometimes when you say or do things, we have to pause, and decide if we want to confront you in the moment and lose a friendship, or if we have to just bite our tongues, smile and laugh along with the jokes, while on the inside, we sadly have to move you into a box that contains all of the other people we cannot rely upon, since we know, when the shit hits the fan, there’s a chance you won’t have our backs, and you’ll take the word of the White person over ours, every. single. time.
…and you should know that when you hear us pause before we laugh along with you, that was the sound of you being moved into that box.

This brief essay is in response to an article in Time magazine, regarding the release of the Nixon tapes in which President Ronald Reagan is heard making racist statements, unaware that he was being taped at the time.

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Politics. Our Injustice System in the US. 08.01.19

There is an organization called The Innocence Project in the US which works to get DNA tests, compile evidence and assist in bringing cases to justice in which people were incarcerated with tainted evidence, inadequate legal resources, or sent to jail as part of batch-plea agreements in which the justice department is so overwhelmed with the volume of cases it must process, rather than review each case and bring it to trial, some prosecutors and public defendants are compelled to group a bunch of unrelated cases together, offer a cursory review, and then go back to each client with a plea deal, regardless of guilt or innocence, and attempt to coerce the defendants into accepting the deal, mainly to reduce case burden.

There have been a few White men and women falsely convicted and exonerated by The Innocence Project, but most of their success have been with exonerating Black men.
It would seem that once resources are properly applied, and cases properly investigated and adjudicated, there are quite a few people behind bars claiming innocence that are innocent.

It is assumed that once a person is in jail, if they are still proclaiming their innocence, they are lying, and that’s what cons do.

Proper resources will never be brought to bear to prove this out for a few reasons:

We’ve incentivized both corporations and our justice system in the US to put people in jail – corporations via the private prison system, but also via the cheap manual labor that companies like McDonalds, ProFish, USFoodService, and yes, even Costco utilize cheap prison labor to prepare their goods and provide services.

Here’s a handy list of companies that use prison labor.

Many customer service call centers that have been brought back into the US. Once it became cost prohibitive and people complained of bad customer service – too often because the racist American Ear cannot stand to hear the music of the various Indian, Pakistani and other call center accents and request to speak to the supervisor entirely too often when they reach an Indian, or Filipino, or Bangladeshi call center.

The Justice system has been incentivized since the Federal Government has shifted entirely too much revenue into the Military Industrial complex – specifically in paying private contractors for work that used to be done in-house by the military, local and Federal justice departments now obtain a substantial amount of their funding via fees, fines and court costs. Police departments are incentivized to arrest people for the same reasons, fees and fines in poor areas pay for police salaries and pensions.

They are not as incentivized to do so in the suburbs and affluent areas, since the tax structure and property values tend to be ample to support the justice system and the police in these areas. Since property values are artificially held low in inner cities until enough property can be consolidated and “redeveloped,” the tax revenue is never enough to support the police, justice system, infrastructure, education and all the other systems – and because we sequester revenues to the districts in which they are collected, vs. pooling resources to make sure everyone has equal access to police protection, fire services, education, etc, we wind up with, and continue to sustain inequalities.

It may sound like conspiracy theory, but its a sad reality for large portions of the prison population.

So, due to concentrations of poverty due to policies of redlining that are still in place with lenders, based on a credit scoring system that has now proven itself to be piss-poor at protecting our data, people of color are markedly more likely to wind up stuck in the gears of a justice system that has really not been “just” since the creation of this country, particularly not to people of color.

Its not a conspiracy, per se, but it is the structure of the current system in place.

You likely know all of this, but sometimes it needs to be restated for the folks who seem to have a belief that people of color are prone to be criminals, and can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that EVERYONE breaks the law.

If the police are always in your neighborhood waiting to catch you, or worse, if the police are incentivized to fill a certain number of arrests to make sure their department stays fully funded, new cars bought, equipment bought, and more “situational awareness” training, sponsored by our government, vs. de-escalation training which is effective, but does not have backing from the Department of Defense like Situational Awareness training does – then the police will always be present in neighborhoods where the police department’s funding relies on having people in its system to fine. and revenues provided by the State to house and feed the prisoners.

This unfortunately is the reality of our justice system in the US today.

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Art. To become a model. 07-25-19

As the runner of Naked Drawing Group of Washington, DC, I get a lot of random emails from people who want to model for us.

Some people have very strange ideas of what that means.

There are people in our group who are capable of drawing at a level that facial recognition tags pop up on Social media if the drawing is posted.

If you aren’t comfortable with being public about your naked body, the last thing you need to be doing is asking to stand in front of a group of artists and be drawn

I ask for ID and a face and body shot of models who inquire out of the blue to be added to the roster. If someone has been referred, I’m going to assume that the artist who referred them has done due-diligence.

The face shot and body shots are for distribution to the artists, so they can determine if they wish to show up to a session or not.

I personally don’t have a type I’m looking for with one exception – We have A LOT of White, Male, over 50, in good to average shape models.  We have a roster full of that type inherited from the last guy who ran the group, and the artists would like a bit more diversity and more of a challenge, so we’re looking outside of that range

Proof of age in the age of FOSTA/SESTRA in this country is MANDATORY.

A person writes to me at midnight last night, with a weird file attachment on his email (which I did not click on, deleted, and then asked for what I needed to set up a file in my model roster)

All the model needed to do is snap a photo of his driver’s license and black out the address and D/L number if he had concerns about privacy.

As the runner of the group, particularly from random models who haven’t been referred by someone else, there are things I have to do to protect myself from lawsuits and other kinds of prosecution.

People lie about their age all the time, and you would likely be surprised at the number of “requests to model” I get from people who are not of age, are not serious, or have strange ideas about what it means to model for a group where they think they still get to maintain anonymity.
Maybe I misread his intent in his messaging, and if I have, I apologize, but frankly, I don’t have a whole lot of time for pranksters, people who aren’t serious, and other folks who waste my time, and there were entirely too many indicators in the model’s response that put them in that box for me.
If you’re wondering what puts you in that box for me:
  • Late night emails (late night fantasies of being in front of a group of guys staring at them tend to become a bit less interesting to people wide awake during the day, and are usually just a horny guy feeding his fantasies)
  • Reluctance to send the requested pictures. (see above)
  • Reluctance to send ID (see above)
  • Flippant or short answers  (a particularly annoying characteristic of time-wasters, I have a roster, right now of quite a few models. I don’t really need new models but I would like more diversity in our roster. I’m not looking for someone to give me a hard time. I’m not getting paid for this, so my patience is EXTREMELY limited)
  • Repeated back and forth on emails when my request was clear as to what I’d need to set up a file in my roster.

If they are someone who has applied before and I’ve said “no,” or haven’t called them in, its likely for one of the reasons above.

…or for one more reason: I don’t need to work with people who creep me out, and if it feels like you’re fucking with me because you think you can, the conversation is over pretty quickly.

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Politics. The Rainbow of Responsibility. 6.30.2019.

Happy Pride.

Its expensive to put together large celebrations, and the LGBT+ communities need corporate support to cover expenses like bonding, underwriting, insurance, etc.

That said, celebrating the diversity and achievements of the LGBT+ communities needs to go a lot further than slapping a rainbow around your company logo.

Are your LGBT+ employees supported, listened to, and when they advise you that your products are harmful to our communities, are you taking immediate action, or telling us to “be patient. This takes time…?

…and years pass and you are saying the same thing? Still inactive? Policies still harming your LGBT+ employees?

Have you congratulated an employee on their new marriage, and then fired them when they returned from their honeymoon? Some of you have.

Have you fired an employee because they are of a certain age and not married and having children, made the assumption they were gay, and found a way to get rid of them?

Or you drape rainbows on your logo, but you are donating to people who target our communities?

Or you are the funding behind organizations that don’t bear your name, so its harder to trace your actions, but the impact of the organizations and their agendas is even more severe and hypocritical against your rainbow-washed logos? Any time you see “People for the…” or “Concerned Citizens for…”, that seem to have been made up for the express reason of targeting at-risk communities, and making it harder to see who is funding the agenda.

“Disinformation” was a book that came out years ago and highlighted the process. Rachel Maddow regularly mentions and highlights the process on her show, and from time to time, news journals start to dig at the topic, but seem to only really touch on the surface of a machine that quietly hums on Madison Avenue, On Wall Street, in Washington’s Golden Triangle, and up the street in Congress, and at some of the fancier destination restaurants and watering holes where Senators and Representatives can be seen eating very expensive lunches with representatives from lobbying firms.

See if you can find out who the donors are behind those groups.

I don’t think you’ll like what you find out if you can,  and you’ll have a hard time digging, since there is a process in place and defenses hunkered in to make it harder, passed through law firms and agencies, etc.

Pride is about protest.

Companies appear to have figured out they can make money off of the LGBT+ communities when they slap on a rainbow in June. Our communities need to be assured that there aren’t sometimes knives out behind those rainbows. We don’t want your support if it comes at a price that may be higher than any of us wishes to pay.

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NDG – 6-24-19 RECAP – Model: CJ

This gallery contains 1 photo.

SPACE Space, since this group was founded, particularly a space willing to host us has been a challenge – that is, it was a challenge if you look at space as defined by how many people you need to fit … Continue reading

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Sex. The Jockstrap. 02.20.19

There’s a sewing room/lab upstairs that was waiting for me to have a bit of free time. I’ve liked the idea of sewing, but I really needed to practice, and because I wanted to make a thing that has a variety of stitches and joins, and something I don’t mind having a lot of, I settled on making jockstraps.

Leather jockstraps, mostly. There are some neoprene ones I may show, but people, once they’ve seen them seem to want one, so I don’t have a lot of them left to display.  I had no idea that a regular sewing machine will sew garment-quality leather if you go slowly and carefully until you get the hang of things, then you can up the speeds.

Here’s a few of the jockstraps I’ve made so far.

…side note – a lot of my blogging is about to move to Patreon. If I’m writing content that you like, maybe you could drop by, and subscribe for a few bucks a month? I’m looking to make more time to create, but exposure doesn’t pay rent or the light bill, so its time to see if this is something that can maybe start to support itself.

I’ve also started posting some of my paintings for sale here:
Fine Arts America

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