The reason i was in the UK.

I have been receiving bags of fanmail (mostly from Europe, where i'm huge) asking me, "why exactly were you just in Scotland a few weeks ago anyway?"

I was hired to go take photos of a golf course in development on the East Lothian coastline of Scotland, also known as "the cradle of golf". Now i can already hear you art nerd cynics out there going, "ewwwww golf??? how borrrring". And that's sad really, but understandable. Chalk golf up as yet another thing that americans have pirated, gutted, and frakensteined into some new monster cash cow with virtually no soul. The truth is, if you go back to the roots of the game, beneath all the bullshit that has been piled on top since, you will find one of the greatest games that Nature ever provided.

Nature? Yes, i said Nature. The Firth of Forth, a bay in the east of Scotland, is lined with sand dunes. Over time a grass became strong enough to tame those ever shifting dunes, locking them in a frozen undulation. Rabbits burrowed their homes there, feeding on the grass. When you walk the dunes still in Scotland, you see that the grass is mown with machine like precision to nearly half an inch high... Add all this to the primal human instinctual need to place things in holes (and pass time) and there you have it: Golf. Hitting rocks to rabbit holes with sticks over rabbit mown fairways on grass covered dunes.

Since, men have figured a way to tack on lots of bullshit to the game... making it elitist, exclusive, expensive and environmentally exhaustive. Sounds a bit like art, eh? And like art (and most things), underneath all of the constructs and destructs and dump trucks, something pure is still there. Something worth knowing and participating in.

Because golf is a practice, like yoga, spiritual and physical, that teaches one how to align mind and body all in conjunction with the natural world. All of the principles, all of the information for our Selves, is in golf.

Now there are some Americans trying to get back to the roots of the game. Golf course architect Tom Doak and his crew are an excellent example. They have crumpled up and recycled the American formula for CAD drawn golf courses. Tom spent much of his young life playing the courses of Scotland and studying all of the original mastery of courses hundreds of years old. He has surrounded himself with people that share the same love and have the same creativity and concern for the future of the game and the future of our planet, and together they make courses that are not only environmentally sound, but would make Andy Goldsworthy look like color by numbers.

In fact, walking Tom's course mid process, listening as he and his coworkers speak about all of their intents and purposes, seeing it all without a time worn social construct, i couldn't help but think that this was one of the greatest contemporary works i've seen in years.

So here are the photos. There are lots so browse as you like or not at all. My intent was to capture just the slimmest impressions of a work in the middle of its process. Just to get the hints of what is going to make this course, like all Tom's work, so amazing.



The Price of Oil.

Well with a title like that, for sure it's gonna be a cheery post. But i gotta do it, just to help it get around, and so i can reference this later for Dickhead Republican Uncle (who is becoming quite the guest star on Nonprophet).

Seems the National Priorities Website (that i found thanks to CnL) has this way of calculating what the US could do with the money that has been used to pay for The Mess in Iraq. Like, instead of "war profiteering disguised as a Freedom March" we could have............. (prepare to weep)

  • 16,733,296 People with Health Care or
  • 627,551 Elementary School Teachers or
  • 4,767,634 Head Start Places for Children or
  • 25,168,314 Children with Health Care or
  • 235,246 Affordable Housing Units or
  • 4,390 New Elementary Schools or
  • 7,685,109 Scholarships for University Students or
  • 616,017 Music and Arts Teachers or
  • 741,482 Public Safety Officers or
  • 117,140,845 Homes with Renewable Electricity or
  • 601,790 Port Container Inspectors

but wait...

that's only counting the money spent by California's taxpayers.
(40.3 Billion... aka 40,300,000,000 or Forty Thousand Three Hundred Millions)

But at least we found the weapons.
At least we caught Osama.
At least we have planted the seeds for a peaceful and democratic Middle East.
At least terror is on the decline.
At least the Iraqi's are free of tyranny and have a working democratic government.
At least they have electricity again?
um..... what day is it?
Well at least we caught Saddam.
In Baghdad... right where we left him.

*At least we were able to pirate a shitload of oil out of the deal so i can continue to gorge myself on cheap gas.



My Grandfather was a modernist...

You scored as Cultural Creative.

Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com



Are we snug yet?

Just getting settled in again. Wasn't feeling all back yet since the Edinburgh airport decided to hang on to some of my stuff for awhile. Ugh. I really don't want to get into a rant, but i will say this: it's all a freaking lie, and the security is a joke.

How do i know? Well... from the minute you set foot into the airport last week, all you hear is "no lotions liquids or gels". It almost became kind of funny to us after the 400th time we heard it. Anyway, after the first leg of our trip in Atlanta, after we have been searched three times, my friend pulls a bottle of hand lotion out of his bag. Oops. So then, as our bags are being thoroughly searched again right before getting on the plane, i stick a bottle of water into the front pocket of my pants. Obvious as you can get... they let me go right through. I did the same thing on the way back. No one ever asked me about it. They did however, to their credit, manage to nab my chapstick. (Operation Moistlips foiled!!!)

So there's your secure world, America. Funny thing is, it actually IS secure. (Your odds of dying from lightning being greater than by terrorist action... getting a hole in one about a hundred times greater). But these guys, who are trying to protect you from terror, prefer it that you live in terror. Why? Well... There's this reason. Would they really do that? Yes, they would.

Now, I must say that i'm a bit more annoyed by it all than scared. Inconvenienced rather than fearful. Maybe we should reduce it to a War on Bother? And i am truly vexed when i hear people in the airport smile to the guards while they are turning their head and coughing, saying "well, it's all for a good purpose." No it's not... IT'S BULLSHIT. And that particular thinking is why there are hundreds of Islamic (and other shades of brown) men getting tortured in Cuba right now. And it's why this administration is getting away with illegal wire taps. And it is why they are doing all of it. Because they can. Because we let them.

So, as this shit carries on until November, just like it did in 2002, and 2004.... purring slow and steady, like a heavy cat lying on your chest... code orange... code burnt orange.... code orange... code cha ching... remember: they like it this way. Watered down fascism is the new poison. Hitler had it wrong because he burnt white hot like magnesium and was done just as fast. This is the slow drip. A few arrests here, a bomb over there, a supposed plot over here, a number two guy over there... and on it goes... that leaky faucet that drips just as you were dozing off.

Just annoying enough to stay in power, Big Brother has indeed become the Big Bother.

-more shiny happy positive stuff when i get all my stuff back and settle a bit.



Ay... Goot marnin froom Scoatlen

Well the jetlag has got me totally screwed up at this point. Its about 6 in the morning now and i finally decided enough staring at the ceiling and so here i am. Bleary eyed and blogging. Really worth the price of sleep to see this out the window of the flat i am staying in. That is Bass Rock. You can't see the color here but that is a huge white rock off the coast of North Berwick, on the East Lothian Coast of Scotland, in the Firth of Forth. It is covered, and i mean covered, with birds. Hence the whiteness... At one point in its career as a big rock, it hosted a prison that hosted prisoners that i gaurantee you were, towards the end of their life, deathly scared of anything that flies.

Just over to the left of Bass Rock is Fidra Island. Also now a preserve for birds, Fidra comes from the Scottish word "feathery". Feathery is also the word for the first golf balls, which were to peices of leather sewn together and stuffed with a top hat full of feathers. Took two days to make. i have held one, they are like rocks. Because golf as we know it was born on that coastline you see just next to the island, i have been playing with a theory in my theorymaker that the ballmakers would take a small boat over to the island covered with birds(which i did once, also influencing my theory, and making me deathly scared of seaguls... whole other story) to get their feathers... thus the name "feathery". I think it's a swell theory...

Somewhere during all that, Fidra was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. He stood on that beach as a child and making up an entire mythology, one day becoming old enough to take the very small journey over to its rocky shore. Like the story, a boy moving into the world of men.

Fidra was also home to a monastery at one point, long long ago... which is where the old saying came from, "some rocks hold monks, some hold prisoners, seaguls shit on both." You can look it up.

Now global warming is even having a drastic effect on the life inhabiting this small island. The ground is becoming to warm and firm for a certain plant to grow, which the birds used to feed on... and so it goes.

(PS. I'd just like to say that i didn't Google any of that. Just chalk it up as years of research about a friggin rock)



more color by numbers

i don't think i posted these yet, and i meant to a long time ago. These were the paintings i was talking about a ways back that i did for a show and i got sick right in the crucial part. I consider them more sketches now as i learned so much about what i want to get out of this work. These went over well with a lot of people i guess, but for me they just didn't hit the mark i was looking for. I'm getting closer in the studio as we speak.

My issues with this work were that the weight of the color by numbers line was not heavy or absorbtive enough, and the images i painted on top were too tight and therefore didn't settle the right way. I had done many quick sketches on xeroxes that i was pleased with but i knew when it came to painting on top of the canvas with the color by nos. that i was going to really have to be connected to get to the heart of it. Then i got sick and was completely cloudy with the deadline looming. Oi...

Another issue i am having with this is dealing with this set underlying structure of the cbn. i am so used to painting right over the previous layers without care as to what i lose, because i know i can bring it back. But with the cbn, once its gone, its gone. The newer work i am doing now i think deals with this more successfully (at least for the moment).

I have also gathered a lot more about this concept(direction) and where i want to move with it. In the beginning i was speaking mainly about colonialism and absorption. Now I'm thinking a lot about Ideals, what it means to be "in ruins", the American fall from grace... (you can't tell i was once a catholic, can you?)

Anyway, i hate to give such and abbreviated version of this and run, but i gotta get ready for my trip today. There will be more to come soon though....


that other force of nature

I (too) have been reading a lot of what feel like heavy sighs around blogatopia... especially coming from the artsy area.

I remember this same lull when we started bombing in Afghanistan, and then Iraq. And now with the Middle East shit on the rise here we are again. I think we take this very hard as artists, many of us anyway... as it is especially antithetical to who we are and what we are about.

An artist friend of mine has had as her email signature for years, "the opposite of war is not peace, it's creation" (from Jonathon Larson Rent). And so it goes that when the drums start going and the bombs start dropping, we feel as if we have been punched in the sternum, the wind knocked out, and we might have to sit on the curb for a second to regroup.

It's how i always imagined a spider to feel when i bumble through the immaculate web it spent all day weaving. (Except there's no mass murder and i always apologize.)

Deborah Fisher has a good analogy to rock climbing. I would add to it that sometimes we take a moment to pause for tumbling rocks to pass before we resume our ascent (or descent... some of us just want to get back down to sea level).



the lunatics are in my head

i'm back from my trip. had the best time, but i realized yesterday that i'm floating in the blues still. not sure what's going on, but the state of the news looks a lot like the state of my brain.

art powerlines post has clued me into something a bit deeper about my headspace right now.

"What occurs in our neighborhoods is connected to everything. The new sidewalk outside my front door is connected to when Arundhati Roy asked, "Is "democracy" still democratic? What choices to we really have? Kerry, Bush, Gore, Clinton, "it's not a real choice. It's an apparent choice. Like choosing a brand of detergent. Whether you buy Ivory Snow or Tide, they're both owned by Proctor & Gamble." We are all held accountable for every decision our government makes, because even if we didn't vote them in, we are letting them do whatever they want."

i live in a city much like the one she speaks about. At the north end of San Diego County, Oceanside is the corner of the white bathroom the vacuum just can't get to. In its day, oceanside was the wild west, the place you wouldn't tell your parents you were going to surf. As each beautiful coastal town of my childhood gets rennovated to become a caricature of itself, Oceanside sits waiting for the time when it too can become part of Main Street, USA.

And it's coming. Our memorial is coming down by the end of the year to make room for a Starbucks. The first Starbucks in coastal Oceanside. Not only is that sad for obvious reasons but it will do nothing to help my addiction. And just one exit inland on the 78 there is a Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Best Buy, Staples, and Barnes and Noble that serve to block all small business from surviving in South O.

And that's nothing new i know. But that's not what i'm eerily apathetic about.

I guess what i'm getting to here is that it's not just happening to our cities, it's happening to me. this lull that i feel is fueled by thoughts of being overwhelmed and therefore wanting to give up. NO, not give up like toaster in the bathtub give up. More give up like Oliver Stone just did. After all, once you figure out that there is no difference between Ivory and Snow, then why bother?

Man wants to buy a pot for his flowers. Man goes to Walmart (where one in 5 purchases in this country are made) because the small gardening store went out of business. Man sees 5 flower pots that are designed based on the 5 different types of buyers. Blue for male. Red for Female. Tan for young couple. Forest Green for older couple. Lavender for old lady. Old men are dead or don't care. Reduced down to a carefully studied democraphic, he leaves with blue.

How passionate are we supposed to live when we have been reduced down to a carefully studied demographic?

See the community infest me. The parts of me that were once full of life are starting to feel scrapped for megastores, painted flat matte beige or salmon. There is a gentrification going on inside my head that allows me to listen to the blood stained news on my car radio and simultaneously think to myself, "should i get a frappucino or just an ice coffee?" I mean, i'm not quite as fuct as the people that have the audacity to make comments about what a nazi Mel Gibson is while we murder innocent "towel heads" every day, but maybe that's next? Is it a slippery slope to a gated community at 32 years old? If you stare at the sun to long will you blind? Should you really not eat before you swim? Is my dickhead republican uncle right with that saying with which he always ended our arguments: "if you are twenty and you aren't an idealist, you don't have a heart. But if you're 30 and you are still an idealist, you don't have a brain."

(i never accepted that i was an idealist. Just a realist with an obsessive compulsive need to fix things. But if that need to fix gets fixed, then what? Guilt free boredom... aka: apathy. )

i guess what i'm saying is that i've lost sight of what makes this country, the US, "great" anymore. And i'm not saying that with all the melodrama of rebellious collegiate youth (i wish i was). I'm saying it with a sadness of someone who has fallen out of love with their partner. This country is not honest with me any more. I cannot trust it. i used to be so fascinated with its promise of democracy. But now that is all a facade. Come to find out i was being used. Our long conversations that would last for hours into the night have now been replaced with silent dinners at Macaroni Grill. The passion i felt when we were together exists only in shopping now. She's spending more time in other countries... I'm spending more time in the ocean so i can get away from her. It's not that i don't love you, america. You'll always have a place in my heart, you know that. You know my family and friends... i think i just need some time to think.

Yeah... It's not that i don't love you, america, it's that im not sure if i love myself anymore. i don't know what makes you great anymore, and therefore i'm not sure i know what makes me great anymore. And i, like you, was raised on the notion that we were Great. This Great Nation of ours. A destiny manifested. "What occurs in our neighborhoods is connected to everything."

Maybe the reason we lose our "ideals" at 30 is because we wake up to the reality that this is all a hoax. And then we choose to

A. suckle up and stay fed (republicans)
B. stay in an abusive relationship (democrats)
C. become the disgruntled divorcee who gets drunk makes a fool of oneself at parties. (progressives, greens, liberals, bloggers ... me)

Anyway, as you can tell... my head isn't quite screwed on at the moment. So, I'm headed to Scotland on Friday for another 9 days on a job. I might write before then, but if i don't i just wanted to let you know... If America calls, just say i went to Buck's for a frappucino... or an iced latte, i don't know yet.