Ultimate Tinder Best Friend Experience

At our increasingly semi regular meeting, I floated the idea of taking over my beautiful friend Grant’s tinder profile for a month if he let me buy his beer. He refused, which is obviously bullshit, but it got me to thinking; why? Why wouldn’t he want one of his best friends who only wants his never ending happiness to manage his love life? No one knows what’s better for him than Sean(who would obviously help) and myself, so why would he refuse?

It’s pretty obvious, let me count the ways:

  1. Grant is afraid of being happy
  2. He doesn’t want to find forever love in this lifetime
  3. He’s rightly suspicious he’ll die of a sex overdose

My commitments conservatively, on what he’ll get out of this:

  1. 3 first dates in this month
  2. 2 second dates
  3. The greatest trust fall experience he’ll ever have

So what does the world get out of this?

I’ll blog every interaction of this experiment. The world will watch Grant meet the dozens of women of his dreams by way of the clever wit and prose provided by his partners in blogging and he will of course have a beautiful life experience that he can write about, of course from the bed of his new soulmate that he’ll meet probably just hours after letting us use his account.

Now I don’t think he’ll be super interested in this, so i started this petition on change.org. Let’s just assume he can’t say no if we get 100 signatures. Hell, I think 10 would be more than enough.

Come on Grant! Do it for love!

 

 

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On entropy

I went for drinks with my brilliant startup programmer friend the other week. It’s something I do from time to time and it makes me feel full of life (nothing like my dreary writers group!) and we talk about great things and we drink too much. Despite making his life as a programmer, his background is in physics and while discussing the current state of our union, he mentioned that it’s just the universe increasing in entropy.

Now I also loved physics as a high school and college student and while I didn’t major in it, I certainly got my fill as an engineer and I too know that the saying is ‘the entropy of a system always increases.’ I was mistaken however when I repeated my understanding of it(as I think many understand it) as the disorder in a system increasing (which also made sense given our current political atmosphere).

He corrected me by describing entropy as the release of energy, or restated it as a system will always find a lower energy state.

Now we were pretty drunk at this point but I tried to hold fast to my ‘but isn’t that still chaos?’ idea.

Your car wants to break down, it wants to stop working, right? That’s an increase in chaos.

No. You might experience chaos personally as it sputters and dies, but it, or its individual parts, are releasing energy and are then finding a lower energy state by not working anymore.

Ok, ok, so how is our current political system not going towards chaos?

It’s just a lower energy state. People don’t have to understand anything anymore, so they don’t. Less trying, less effort, less energy. They just latch onto a narrative. People stop voting, or they vote with the least amount of information possible, despite more being available. It would take more energy for everyone to engage and to get good people in place to fix the things. The low energy path is putting in more of the same, or encouraging the same system down its current path, until it inevitably breaks, you put an ego maniac in place whose proud of not reading and your pistons finally seizing and the car stops.

And then chaos! Right?

Well maybe, what is the next path to the next lower energy state? Is it riot and revolution and rebuilding, or is it a shuffling of the cards where only good people get through the door because that’s an easier system? I don’t know. I wish I could project but things only really happen if the system makes it easy and we’ve built a system for corruption. What does it look like when that system chokes itself out?

Enter the lake wobegon or dunning kruger effect: Dumb people tend to think everyone else is dumb and we’ve made it ok to be dumb, or at least validated the dumb persons idea that dumb is just as good as smart (a lower energy state, surely) when it comes to discourse. How is this increasingly relevant idea going to play out? Intellectual civil war? Books vs guns?

I wish I was Robert Reich here and could logically identify the historical trends that are about to reemerge but I can’t. I can say thought that you should go have beers with your friends. You’ll talk about some crazy things for awhile and you’ll feel better about the world because there’s someone out there who likes talking about the same things as you and you can reinforce all of your cognitive biases because that’s the easiest path.

Sorry.

“Observing Observing (a white cup): Anne Petty”

Interview with my very talented wife for an upcoming show.

PROGRAPHICA: In the Mind of the Artist

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #15: Anne Petty

1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

My first instinct was to stick a figure into the paintings, as that is my usual subject matter, however I don’t often paint still life’s, so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to do so. The cup I used is ceramic and reflective. I wanted to use that quality and…

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On the Way to That Place You Thought You Were Going

Creativity doesn’t always come easy. It doesn’t come from a place of merely wanting to write. That doesn’t make it be. It doesn’t always come out the meeting of four well-intentioned guys, hoping to sip from the fount of profundity, hoping to dip digital pens in it and spread it across a blog somewhere in the vast internet. That fount doesn’t beckon to any random call. It wanders about the ether invisibly, alighting upon the unwitting at random, only some of which take advantage of that sudden inspiration instead of vegging out on reruns of Friends on Netflix, or finishing Firefly because it is supposed to be good.

Sometimes camaraderie is worth the trip, even if the goal was to concurrently write something of worth and weight. The goal isn’t always the thing that matters. The goal is a point of direction. The trip to that goal is something more worthy of the time spent, even if that goal is never reached or that goal morphs into something altogether different. Sometimes you get four guys together to write about Seattle music, but you end up eating amazing food, drinking great beer, and having unvetted and directionless conversation while looking out over Ballard to the mountains backed with the oozing yolk of the sun.

This blog doesn’t have to define itself just yet (maybe never). It merely has to be a sounding board. It needs no true goal yet. The trip will define it, if we let it. Its goal may turn out to be rather mundane and unglamorous. That does not say anything of the path that led it there. Write to write. Write when the fount has alighted upon your head. When no-one is watching, you’ve no reason to explain how anything you write fits inside the blog’s raison d’être. We’ve got all the time in the world to cordon things off into themes. Right now, it’s better to just write about something.

So, this is a call to arms (typing fingers?) for my fellow bloggers. Don’t over-analyze it. Write. About whatever. In the meantime, we can revel in the incidental camaraderie of our well-intentioned meetings. And drink beer.

Help this blog!

Want to meet some new people? Want to find an outlet for yourself in 2015? Well good.

We need more writers! We could also use an editor!

Why the need? We are some working class dudes and although we love this website and getting together to work on it, we few, we four, can really fall behind or really lose track of time.

Why do we do this? Because in a world driven by commerce and logic and science, we all need some creation and some art in our lives. We all have a thing for writers and writing and we come together to ‘get it out’. Continue reading

November

It’s November, and therefore it is National Novel Writing Month, which is a reason for the sudden dearth of activity on this scrappy little blog of low and variable attendance. NaNoWriMo, as it is called amongst those that choose to attempt it (being people of many words that somehow prefer brevity when referring to the activity itself), on its surface is a month wherein the participants put on their discipline pants and try to write a novelesque thing that measures in at 50,000 words or more. This usually takes the form of genre fiction, as the Great American Novel has a tendency of complexity which one can’t really afford while speeding through an average of 1,667 words a day. One would assume that most of these special humans are also working during this month, and eating, and sleeping. This is truly a heroic effort by those involved and with little real reward besides self-satisfaction and pride.

cold

Everyone is inside writing a novel

 

Anyway, back to us. Grant and Stephen are both doing some form of this challenge. I’ve decided that I could reasonably expect a poem a day from myself, a feat which pales in comparison to the definitive goal. I feel fine about my decision and have kept pace quite easily (though the quality is not always up to snuff). I’ve already completed the true goal two years in a row and was rather excited to sleep and eat and socialize this particular November. We’ve continued to meet up (mostly), and I’ve even accomplished spilling a good amount of beer all over the laptop I am now using (enter montage of prying up and cleaning all the keys on the laptop then reconstructing from photos). We’ve postponed challenges in order to focus on fulfilling our goals and critiquing each other’s work. And drinking beers. Plenty of beers.

We will soon be back to posting regularly, for those of you who care.

Further, here is a challenge to those who aren’t writing: Drink these winter beers.

Micromanaging an Ant Hill (A 10 Minute Challenge)

During our last meetup, we went for an extra 10 minute challenge. And this one was abstract. Hilarity ensued.

Micromanaging an anthill.

Sean Flannigan

I see you. You’re the laze-about. Don’t think the others haven’t noticed. They have. They stop talking at the water cooler when you walk through, haven’t you noticed. How worthless you are, they say. You think that they’re actually just standing wordless at the water cooler? How dumb are you? They will literally eat you alive. Usually they would pick you up and throw you from the anthill, block your entrance with ant bouncers. Here they need to just “dispose” of you. I can’t help you. In that plastic cave, you are only acting as like an ant version of Sopranos to me. And let me tell you, you are not a main character.
This guy over here, for example. He’s one of those toughies. Gets shit done. He’s most likely the one who’d do you. He doesn’t feel pain they say. He got the clap, they say, and clapped back at it so hard that it ran off in fear. You’ll die in there, don’t think otherwise, and I will be here to watch it. I’ll be here, hovering like an angel of death. Just waiting for your eventual end.

Stephen K

Argh, why are you moving that leaf there?
You, don’t stop digging! We’ll need more storage by next week!
You can lift many times your own weight, and this is what you brought in here? I hope the queen doesn’t see you.
Scouts just reported there’s a carcass to the east. You lead a line to it!
Is the fruit to the north completely collected yet?
Where is the scout team for the house? They’ve been gone for a very long time. Either they found a way in or they’re dead. Prepare a team to followup.
SOMEONE JUST STEPPED ON THE MOUND! Builders get moving right now!

Lucas Orion Cain

“Move, you little fuckers!” I look through the plastic walls into the tunnels and I’m disgusted at
how slow they are. Little grains of sand. Little disappointments.
“You need to bury your dead.” It said on the box that you bury your dead, but they are just lying
there; upside down with curled legs. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. This isn’t my farm.
It said to give you drops of water and food pellets. I did that. It said to watch as your queen makes
babies and you make a nursery. You didn’t. That’s why I’m mad. Two weeks in and nothing.
The tunnels follow a zig­zag pattern along the enclosure. Those are fine.
“I’m giving you a new crew,” I tell them with contempt in my heart. “Out on the back porch I saw
a bunch of you little fuckers.” I’m their queen now. In a mason jar I collect several hundred black
and brown ants. I pour them into the green and clear cage with a funnel made of paper. These new
ones will be better.
I watch the war begin. With mandibles, they cut through the bodies of the invaders. “Stop!”
“You’re hurting them.” I watch in horror as, one by one, the new recruits are killed. They bury the
bodies. At least they got one thing right.

Grant Granger

Productivity remains at enviable levels, but the project managers on the front lines have departed from their orders in ways that suggest either gross incompetence or the more dangers combination of artistic license and naked ambition. The workers themselves churn through earth with singular purpose, but clearly these lines are all wrong. Three of the main passageways have been carved twice as wide as designed, the exhaust vents are all over the map, and the main chamber has no clear traffic flow. It’s a goddamned nightmare, and who’s going to shoulder the blame? You. No one’s going to glimpse this staggering failure and blame the pea-brains at ground level.

You push back the yellow plastic PlaySchool helmet and fog the glass with the embers of rage. Your finger raps the pane with demonstrative toddler authority.

“Move your thorax, bub!”.

Betraying a Friend (a 10 Minute Challenge)

The first of two 10 minute challenges from our last meetup:

Write a first person passage from a narrator who has decided to betray a close friend.

Well, that’s rather grim. Let’s see what we came up with

Lucas Orion Cain

I’m gonna eat that whole pie. That one his mom baked. It’s his favorite. A pumpkin pie that came in the mail. How long has it been since he’s seen her? One year? Two? I can’t believe how well it survived in the mail. As I opened the brown box, cutting the strapping tape with a cake fork, I knew I was in too deep. I can see that she used dry ice to keep it fresh as my senses filled with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and many fall days from his youth. I wish my mom was so thoughtful. Instead of care packages filled with memories, my days are filled with hash smoke and regret. Guilt is such a silly emotion. God, I’m hungry. Maybe I should just eat a little and hope he understands. Now it looks like I’m nosy and sneaky. I’ve already committed a federal crime by opening his mail. I agreed to walk his dog today and now this. I brought in his mail. He doesn’t know it’s here. I’ll eat fast. I’ll hide the evidence. He’ll never know. “In for a penny; in for a pound,” I think as I marathon through every last morsel.

Grant Granger

I can’t even remember the last time Joseph and I really talked, to begin with. For years we’ve relied on the familiar syncopations of a time-honored give and take more than any deep conversation in the moment. We may see each other every few days, but I wonder how much distance truly separates the two of us, the chasms of choices made and lives devolved in parallel, but divergent. What is it to have known someone all of your life, as we have known each other, while trying to understand the fraying and shifting strands that connect you?

This ambiguity gives me comfort, my hand warmed radiant through the cotton at the small of her back. She turns away from the stage, face awash in tavern neon, and smiles a pardon. When she leans in close, I’m sure I don’t have a friend in the world.

Sean Flannigan

I’m in pain. We’ll start there. Let’s not get too far into the blame game without having that on the table. A pained person deserves an audience, whether guilty of future crimes or not. He’s not clean. He’s not unguilty. I’ve got reasons. I love him but loyalty only serves a person so long. We are all selfish, whether seemingly selfless and devoted or not. In the end, we will choose ourselves. And so am I. So will I always. There’s no world where things are perfect. There’s no egalitarian place. That’s a dream, a distraction for those who will eventually find the knife. I will be sure to always be on the hilt side of things. I love him, I must say this again. I must not be misunderstood here. Many lives will go on. I will miss him but I will not dearly miss the leadership. I will not miss the direction of the nation. A new era begins tomorrow. Tonight I will be a demon victor for Rome. Tonight I will send Julius to his tomb, if only to buoy the republic, if only to save us all if not my own soul. The unknowing martyr. Tomorrow’s dead savior.

Write Club #5: Last Cup of Coffee

Our fifth writing challenge is the first time the group jumps from prose to poetry.

The last cup of coffee; unreliable narrator; 1st person; a poem

Sean provided us a great background on different types of unreliable narrators, and a little pep talk to encourage the less-lyrical members that yes, we could in fact successfully write poetry. Let’s see if we have any future in poetry, or if Sean should switch to a career in motivational speaking.

Stephen K

At this point my body is ready to reject the coffee, or at least it’s stopped having any kind of affect on me staying awake.

I imagine my blood replaced withviscous black sludge, my heart pounding to move it through my veins.

Why I’m even trying anymore I’m not sure. Forty hours in this hospital room and dad’s barely been lucid.
The hypnotic whirs and beeps of equipment, watching him, ready to alert us all to the end, sings to me like a lullabye right now.
It’s not like we might have any meaningful exchange, so I’m not sure why I’m staying
I suppose not being comfortable is the least I can do, the only tribute I can give to you now. To say I was here and I acknowledge you, you who’s loved, screamed, fought, won and lost. You will not disappear without note.
To some degree we can suffer together, just like old times. I take another sip.

Sean Flannigan

Cold and bitter by now, every leachable molecule pulled into the muddy stuff, every bit of caffeine pressed into nectar, into this ultimate cup, this multi-colored polka-dotted mug, this chalice for the end of an era, the beginning of my trudge through the coffee-less Mad Max world out there, the streets haunted by methamphetamine monsters, faces screwed into impossible smiles, they used to hack people’s IDs, now just scramble the crumby streets for some food or a fix, a tenner for passing by their alley hovels, their kingdoms of cardboard. Cars litter the streets, dogs gnaw on gnatty offal in the lawns, red in snout and jaw, lost to the viruses that apprehended our future, given to rabidity, like the rest out here. All but me. I won’t be here long, I guess. I should savor these lasts. This flat, before they find a crack by which to climb through, before I’m overrun, before they turn me to one of them, scabby demons they are. I’ve settled on self-infliction before these eventualities. I’ve settled on finishing these lasts first. The smoke swirls into the air, old tobacco staining my fingers, a small steel flask full of the dirty stuff, stinging the soon-to-expire innards of me, and this last bittersweet cup of coffee.

Grant Granger

Starting tomorrow, I’m my own man

Wind whipped and huddled tight against granite

Waiting out the elements and the light change and wave upon wave of harried businessmen

I’m tired of sympathetic looks over the coffee counter from doe eyed baristas

Names like Rozlyn or Janice or Chantel

They pout and shrug at me as I recite the daily order

We’re comrades in demeaning labor, yet separated by the chasm of gratuity

But it ends today, this pumpkin spiced errand

Is my last

I’m a white-hot ball of overeducated repression

And I’m not taking soy chai requests anymore.

Elevator chime and I stride forth to meet my fate

Brad, unseen harpy from accounts payable, blocks my path

I dole out a soy macchiato with water cooler amiability and a jester’s bow

I tell you, next year, I’m leaving this place to see the world.