Charles Darwin once famously wrote of his gradual loss of ability to enjoy music or any of the other simple joys of life, post-Theory; and I must say that at times I understand what he meant. For entirely different reasons (chemical, not spiritual), I, too, often feel incapable of discerning the bright joys of quotidian life as I used to. Yet even though the smell of life's roses goes sometimes undetected by my nose, I have faith that roses still smell sweet — and that faith is enough.
So it was in 2009. Though in many ways a cherry pit of a year, it did have its flavorful moments -- some of which I was able to appreciate, others which I accepted as flavorful even though I could not taste them. In either case, I'm thankful to God that I was there to experience both.
Yuki's springtime visit was, of course, the highlight of the past year. Having my "first child" back under my roof was wonderful. Depression or not, Love always burns through the Fog, and there was love indeed at Chez Bitpig when Yuki came home. I didn't know how strong love could be until I had children, and even though Yuki is not our flesh and blood, she will always be "our Yuki" to mundeemo and me. Prior to having Yuki as our "daughter", Mo and I had no real idea of what being parents would be like, and I dare say that having had her as part of our family has in some ways made our current happy home life with Hans possible.
Another big plus of 2009 was my career change. This was the first year I made my living entirely by writing instead of by working as a visual artist, and I am more convinced than ever that my decision to change careers from artist to writer was wise. I started the year with a full-time writing job, and ended it unemployed (save for freelance work -- ironically, from my former employer). In between, I learned a great deal about the craft and mechanics of writing — knowledge which is certain to expand my prospects in 2010.
I haven't given up on my first love, comics, however — and I made progress on several fronts in that regard during 2009 as well. Foremost among these was finding an artistic partner — a talented and hardworking young lady with whom to work on upcoming comics projects. We've already got a good start on our first collaborative effort, and I foresee great things for the team in the future. I've also been gifted with a new burst of creativity in terms of drawing style and storytelling technique that should enable me (health and time permitting) to put out some true high-quality comics in the coming months.
2009's fourth positive was my personal philosophical renaissance -- my "radical honesty" policy. This was the year I decided to stare Reality in the face rather than viewing it through the veil of my own wants and needs, and the change has been shocking. (It is the nature of truth to be shocking, of course.) I have had to come to grips with some hard truths — both political and personal — but I have grown as a result. This growth came at a cost, of course: I have lost friends, alienated people, and felt a great deal of pain over the past year — but the benefit of not having to play Let's Pretend any more far outweighs these costs.
There were setbacks in 2009: I lost a full-time job. I gained weight. I became more socially isolated. But these scandals were endurable when compared to the progress I made. When I add these four big postives to the basically happy nature of my everyday life with mundeemo and Hans. I have to put 2009 firmly in the W column for Team Bitpig.
And what of the future? 2010 has the potential to be a true breakthough year. My policies for the coming twelve months reflect the lessons learned.
First, I intend to follow a strict STFU policy when it comes to my personal views -- keeping them for my work (both written and drawn) and off the useless sinkhole that is the Web. As a result, the size and number of my posts here on this LJ will decrease drastically from now on, and my posting to other web fora will dwindle down to near-nil. I once thought that a Socratic approach -- antagonizing people in an attempt to force them to face the contradictions in their own thinking -- was a worthwhile policy; I have since learned better. I'm no Socrates and never will be, and most people refuse to accept anything as truth unless it is in accord with with what they want to be true. As a result, I intend from now on to direct my inner fire and outward efforts toward attainable ends, rather than at targets I can never hit. By doing so, I hope to place my passion and intellect (what there is of it) in more effective service to the truth.
Second, I intend to continue writing -- both in terms of expanding my business as a writer-for-hire and writing for publication. I am currently beginning work on a new nonfiction book proposal, and I intend to write a novel this year as well. By doing this, I hope to increase both my income and the satisfaction I derive from earning it.
Third, I have decided to continue my education in 2010 and begin the process of finishing my bachelors degree. To this end, I have located a small, intensely Catholic private college in this area with a course structure and a cost with which I believe I am compatible.The eventual completion of this degree will not only mark a personal milestone for me, but will open for me a world of employment opportunties hitherto inaccessable -- to the benefit of my family.
Fourth: I have got to take better care of my health in 2010. I am going to restrict the consumption of all junk food and beverages to feast days and other, infrequent special occasions. I am also going to begin taking some kind of regular exercise. Although I'm healthy now, I weigh too damned much, and I need to correct this physical handicap before it begins to create a negative impact upon my health. I also intend to resume the treatment of my depression, both via therapy and, if indicated, by switching to a different prescription medicine. My wife and child need me to be functional and able to excel, not an emotional cripple.
Fifth, I'm going to read more, and read better, in 2010. This is hardly a sacrifice, but it does entail the curtailing of "junk reading" -- mostly on the Web -- in favor of reading more "nutritious" fare. By this, I hope to improve my mind and nourish my spirit, thereby becoming better suited to my task of being a husband and father.
Most important of all: I am going to resume the course of my spiritual growth in 2010 as well. I have slipped badly in my practice as a Catholic, and the suffering which has resulted is too much to bear. My only hope for becoming capable of truly loving others (and myself) is immersing myself in the Sacraments and Mysteries of the Church. This I firmly intend.
And so one year ends, and another begins. I look forward to this year as a time of challenges to be met and frontiers to be crossed, and hope that by my efforts and the grace of God that I may become less of an isolated, self-focused human being and more of a loving, God-and-fellow-man-directed human person.
To this end I ask for your prayers and your support.
On behalf of team Bitpig, I offer all of you our prayerful best wishes for Anno Domini 2010.
Napolitano Announces Obama Plans to Give Amnesty to Illegal Aliens
This afternoon Department of Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano announced that President Obama Plans push for “immigration reform” by giving the estimated 14 million people who are in the United States illegally “fair pathway to earned legal status.” ...
“A tough and fair pathway to earned legal status will mandate that illegal immigrants meet a number of requirements—including registering, paying a fine, passing a criminal background check, fully paying all taxes and learning English,” Napolitano said Friday at a panel discussion at the liberal Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.
“These are substantial requirements that will make sure this population gets right with the law,” Napolitano said. “It will help fix our broken system.”
Napolitano said the Obama administration is working to end the recession and put Americans back to work but said giving legal status to illegal aliens will “strengthen our economy.”
Hey, Obama voters, when one of these guys shoots you, robs you, or takes your job, just remember: you asked for it.
And yet there were warning signs, such that were we not blinded by our fears and cowardice, we would not merely have seen them, we would have acted on them—and prevented last week’s terrorist attack.
According to the London Telegraph, in an article headlined, “Fort Hood gunman had told U.S. military colleagues that infidels should have their throats cut”:
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman who killed 13 at America’s Fort Hood military base, once gave a lecture to other doctors in which he said non-believers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats.
He also told colleagues at America’s top military hospital that non-Muslims were infidels condemned to hell who should be set on fire.
Hasan made these incendiary jihadist comments “in front of dozens of other doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington, D.C.” during a talk on the Quran, according to the report.
And how did his fellow doctors respond?
Although they were horrified, “One Army doctor who knew him said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim soldier had stopped fellow officers from filing formal complaints,” reported the Telegraph.
Are you with me? “A fear of appearing discriminatory” caused 51 brave American soldiers to be shot by an Islamist monster, 13 fatally.
Yes, yes, I know, I'm a racist, extremist, hater “Islamophobe”, etc, Fine. Whatever. Mea culpa.
But still, you have to wonder: who will be the unlucky victims the next time some "quiet, hardworking American Muslim" decides to use a gun to earn his 72?
3:03pm: the happening world / LA LA LA ISLAM IS RELIGION OF PEACE LA LA LA
The BBC's Gavin Lee interviews 'Duane' at the Islamic Community of Greater Killeen the day after the killings at Fort Hood:
Duane: I'm not going to condemn him for what he did. I don't know why he did it. I will not, absolutely not, condemn him for what he had done though. If he had done it for selfish reasons I still will not condemn him. He's my brother in the end. I will never condemn him.
Gavin Lee: There might be a lot of people shocked to hear you say that.
Duane: Well, that's the way it is. I don't speak for the community here but me personally I will not condemn him.
Gavin Lee: What are your thoughts towards those that were victims in this?
Duane: They were, in the end, they were troops who were going to Afghanistan and Iraq to kill Muslims. I honestly have no pity for them. It's just like the majority of the people that will hear this, after five or six minutes they'll be shocked, after that they'll forget about them and go on their day.
"Most Muslims are peace-loving people who would never dream of committing a terrorist act". Yeah, right. ENDE
Fort Hood shooting: Texas army killer linked to September 11 terrorists
Major Nidal Malik Hasan worshipped at a mosque led by a radical imam said to be a "spiritual adviser" to three of the hijackers who attacked America on Sept 11, 2001. Hasan, the sole suspect in the massacre of 13 fellow US soldiers in Texas, attended the controversial Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia, in 2001 at the same time as two of the September 11 terrorists, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. His mother's funeral was held there in May that year.
The preacher at the time was Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni scholar who was banned from addressing a meeting in London by video link in August because he is accused of supporting attacks on British troops and backing terrorist organisations. Hasan's eyes "lit up" when he mentioned his deep respect for al-Awlaki's teachings, according to a fellow Muslim officer at the Fort Hood base in Texas, the scene of Thursday's horrific shooting spree.
The murders by Malik Nadal Hasan at Ft. Hood, TX are not a "lone wolf incident" as being described by most media organizations. Hasan had been taught the ideology that is being advocated by hundreds of Islamic scholars and Imams in the U.S. We as a country can continue to deny there are numerous Islamic leaders and their supporting organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, MSA, and MANA, to name a few, who advocate killing innocent men, women, and children whom they allege "oppress Islam."
How many more incidents similar to this that have been occurring in America does it take before even the media wants to report the truth? Politicians will always say or do whatever will get them their next vote in an upcoming election, but there was a time in our history when journalists reported everything and were not concerned with "political correctness."
This type of journalistic reporting is dangerous and in itself is a national security issue. Journalists and their affiliated news organization are so afraid of being labeled or sued by organizations such as CAIR that they will withhold the truth from the American people. In part, the murders of innocent people are partly the fault of such journalists and politicians who support organizations such as CAIR.
My team and I have conducted first-hand research at over 200 Islamic Centers in the U.S., and in various Islamic organizations such as CAIR. There is one common denominator: There is an open hatred being advocated by Islamic scholars toward Christians, Jews, and Muslims who do not adhere to ‘all aspects’ of Sharia law (Islamic law).
The materials being distributed by these scholars are very clear in their message: violence against anyone who “oppresses” Islam is justified. It makes them subject to the punishment of death.
– Dave Gaubatz, federal agent, co-author (with Paul Sperry) of Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America.
Call me a bigot if you like. But next time, it may be your loved ones -- or you -- who gets to find out the price of tolerance.
Recently I revisited The Visual Craft of William Golden, a book published in the early-Sixties about the legendary CBS creative director. There is an essay in the book by CBS exec John Cowden that sheds light on Golden’s artistic integrity, and helps to explain why the advertising work created under his guidance remains to this day the strongest body of advertising ever created for a TV network.
Golden’s world revolved around graphic design, illustration and advertising, but I find his experiences to be relevant to creative people working in any commercial field, and especially animation. For example, Cowden recounted how Golden was offered a promotion from creative director to an upper management position. Golden flatly turned down the offer, Cowden wrote:
Many years ago, when he was offered the title of Vice President in charge of Advertising and Sales Promotion, he said no thanks. His reasons were significant—and characteristic. He said the stripes would be bars…that they would force him to become a “company man”…to take the so-called “broad view” at the expense of principle.
Bill preferred to keep his independence and to preserve his inalienable right to shout—when the occasion demanded—that the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes. In any case, he said he didn’t want to go to meetings, or be snowed under by administrative duties. I mention this because it reveals how Bill was willing to sacrifice anything—including his own advancement—if he felt it stood in the way of better design and advertising.
The story, incidentally, has an ironic but delightful ending. In scorning the conventional status symbols, Bill won far more. By turning down a vice presidency, he eventually gained a respect and status that outranked any vice president in the company.
Contrast Golden’s unwavering integrity to all of the animation artists in recent years who have moved into high-profile executive and management positions. In every case—with the notable exception of John Lasseter [OSCAR®-winning director and screenwriter, now chief creative officer of both Pixar and Disney animation studios-- Ed.], these artists have unwittingly weakened their creative influence and become part of the problem by entrenching themselves within broken production systems.
Golden, who refused to become a part of upper management, also had his own ways of dealing with clueless business people. Again, from Cowden’s essay:
This integrity and pride in craft were also apparent in his willingness to lay his job on the line if anyone tried to invade his special area of responsibility. I remember a layout for a rate card he once submitted to his superior—the President of the Division. It came back by messenger with a note saying “I don’t like it very much. Let’s discuss.” Bill’s answer was simply to scotchtape a drawing pencil to the corner of a large layout pad and send it back with this message scribbled across the top sheet: “Let’s not. Why don’t you make a better one.” There was no reply. The rate card was produced as originally designed.
Please link to read the complete article.
William Golden was the creative director at CBS during its glory years. He created the CBS "look", including the famous Eye, and with it the entire field known today as "corporate identity".
I have no idea what William Golden's politics were, and I don't really care. However, as a former advertising art director myself, I find his work and his story to be equally compelling. Suffice it to say that a guy like Golden would never survive in today's corporate world, where refusing to grovel before the Front-Office Scum is a guaranteed way to end up with the contents of your desk in a box by the end of the workday. William Golden did not take crap from bean-counters, marketing pimps, or stuffed-shirt MBA jockeys. He was a designer and did not tolerate Money Men who insisted they knew more than he did about his field. He could and did put his career on the line many times rather than permit non-designers from "corporate leadership" to interfere with his craft.
William Golden died in 1959 at the age of 48 -- far too early. We won't see his like again. There were men in those days.
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