Jack Kerouac, as Sal Paradise once said: "I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." And I think that's a rather apt description of my blog over the years, and perhaps the most perfect description of me in general that I've ever read. So that's what this blog is, a collection of the falling stars that are beckoning me at any time.

20 August 2005

I've built my little soap-box out of post industrial scavanged boards

I've spent the last couple of days clicking links to vendor sites from the Renegade that's going to be in Chicago, I definitely have wanted to go, I was even planning to somehow find enough people in the art department to make the cost of gasoline for such a road trip quite affordable (it's been a while since I made the trek from here to Chicago, since I moved back east for years until this little blip for the degree conferring, but it's only a 7 hour drive [depending on who's doing the driving and whether the stupid state patrols are hovering around trying to boost state revenue that day] so I think 4 tanks of gas would cover the round trip so with three other people the gas bill would only be $25 a piece instead of a most unworth it 100.), but I'm already going to have to take off an extra day that week for the Sufjan Stevens show, and besides I'm sure as hell not going to have any money to spend there anyway. My tuition is almost 2 grand this semester right now and if I get forced into having to register for that freshman comp class that the last advisor swore to me I wouldn't have to take because I already have 8 jillion credits in writing (the trouble being that I took AP English in high school and took the AP exam, so at Emerson I didn't have to take the Comp 1 requirement because my exam counted for it, and so I just had to take comp 2, but the univeersity I'm at now won't take the AP exam as credit so technically I don't meet the English writing requirements for graduation. Actually they are claiming there is another class I don't have involving writing, all of this is stupid seeing as one of my specialisations is writer's workshop and I have umpteen classes demonstrating that I know how to string words together in understandable thoughts, I've got several screenwriting classes, a comedy writing class, a shit-ton of fiction studios, let alone film theory and criticism where I had to write a dissertation on feminist imagry and symbolism in the films of Jane Campion (ok so it wasn't like they handed me that and said, here you look like a girl who'd like to muck on watching the Piano about 20 times this semester and counting the number of oppressive camera angles, I saddled myself with that topic after the research on my original topic turned out to be a bust, but still, if that paper doesn't count for an entire comp class then there is something wrong with the halls of higher learning.) I'm already going to be under a considerable workload this semester with my final fiction studio which is geared toward novel writing, book 2, and then bookbinding, so trying to cram in a piddly freshman level busy work composition class, which will add another $500 to my tuition that I'm already going to struggle to be able to pay ontime as it is, is really going to frustrate me, even worse if the last advisor I talked to before I took my little 3 year sabbatical was extra full of shit and I have to take 2 such classes. I have to graduate this December, there is simply no exception to this. I'm not staying here until June, not over freshman comp.

As much as it would suck this would not be the crisis that it is right now if my parents had helped me out on last semester's tuition, especially since I had a hard time finding work when I got back. As it was I spent the entire summer putting forth my measly earnings toward paying off Spring semester and the extra 200 in late fees I had because I couldn't pay by in time for the billing dates. (this wouldn't be exactly the bone of contention in me were it not for the fact that my narly 25 year old brother who's never worked a day in his life, is still completely supported by them financially and has his tuition paid for what is going on the same exact number of years in school once you take into account the fact that I took the 3 years off to get my shit together in Connecticut.

But, I guess there's no use getting stressed about it until I speak to an advisor to do my official senior check which hopefully I'll take care of Monday, after all a little computer trying to randmonly do your degree check isn't going to really be able to do the figuring where it comes to all those credits from Emerson that don't match up to anything here.

But I digressed, I was talking about web boutiques, only I'm no longer in the mood to rant about what a complete waste of important marketing buzz it is to be listed amongst the vendors on the site for a pretty large sized independent design and arts colective sale, and not even have a brief page put up to talk up your wares and where people can get them or offer a mailing list when you do get a shop up and running. I know this whole "diy" movement seems to have taken on the air that no one should look like they care about making a dime nor should they look like they know their head from their arse when it comes to having any kind of business sense because that might take on that consumerist edge if you admitted you'd like to possibly make a living off your creative talents, but, for pete's sake, in a burgeoning industry that's really starting to take on the tinge of glut, you should at least know enough to know that getting your name and vision out there and as much as possible is more and more vital to your survival. If you are serious enough about your products and art to apply and pay into being a part of the event, then you should care enough to put up at least some kind of homepage, if for nothing else so that after the event you can keep customers who are keen to supprt your work and buy more stuff in the future informed of where you get places to carry your stuff or when you have new stuff. In fact if you're serious enough to do a major event like this your web store or page shouldn't look like you let a chimp with lou gehrig's disease design it. I mean you don't have to go get some fancy graphic design firm do it up, that wouldn't be very independent (Yes I have a real pet peeve about the misuse of the term "diy." It's diy if you decide to put in your own sink instead of having a plumbing contractor do it, it's diy if you see a Marc Jacob's dress that you think is absolutely the most beautiful thing ever and so you whip up a pattern yourself and recreate it or at least somehting similar, it's diy if you think spending 20 buck on a wallet at some lame mall chain store so you just design and make your own. It is not diy if you design something, produce it in a small edition or as a one of a kind item with the intetions of selling it, that is being an independent small retailer. The reason I dislike the misuse of the term isn't just nit-pickery for me, it's something I see as a belittling of not only the people who put in the work and effort into producing these goods, but as something which is an instrument of big business and and behemoth retailors to subvert mass consumption backlash. I think that as a culture of craft and the tendency of our business ventures in goods that aren't mass produced and entirely machine made to have risen out of a love of crafts that we started as a hobby, we take on the term without really considering the implications that the word puts over our goods. DIY is a term that implies a lack of professionalism, that what is produced is the result of a casual hobby. I know we can all raise our hands and admit to having had at least one occaision where when asked about something we either made or bought from someone who handmakes their items when we brought up that it was handmade or diy, we were treated to a comment expressing surprise that it "almost looks good enough to have come from a store" as though if it weren't made by some 12 year old Cambodian for 2 cents a day in a room with no ventilhation it can only be inferiour. Handmade used to be the mark of real quality, it's a notion that seems to have died off about the time that we stopped calling people milliners and artisans.

To me all of the wonderful things out there for sale by people who decided to pursue that dream of selling thier creations to the world, the only thing diy about them is their ethos. That spirit of screw you corporate media, you can't tell us how to think, feel or what to like, and if you won't put out our records, if you won't give us magazine content that has substance and interest, if you won't design clothes that fit our real selves and not some ideal you try to feed us, if you won't give us what we actually want instead of what you're trying to tell us we should want then we will, like the people who founded your damn companies back when they had 5 employees that they actually viewed as people and not disposable machines that they try to cover their disdain for by giving them inflated sounding names to make it seem like they really do care about you, take that risk that there are others who share our views and tastes and make our own damn company, or magazine, or record label, or movie production company and the world will probably be a better place for it.

Right so that was a soapbox full :) I tend to be the sort of person who gets an opinion and gets it passionately, I'd have been great in the old days of fiery stump speeches and riding around in the back of locomotives campaigning. I'm too long winded for our soundbite times though I fear.

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