Real Life Fiction

How are you making your choices, who is making your choices – is that even you making those choices? Important questions, especially if your finger is on the button…

R E A L   L I F E   F I C T I O N   b y   J o n   C h r i s t o p h e r

handmade-steel-dice-15mm-d6-singleJimmy rolled the dice around in the fingers of his right hand. He stared at his list of options in his left hand. This was a big decision and Jimmy needed help, as usual. Sometimes Jimmy would use his lucky coin, an old fifty cent piece, but this decision had too many choices – five to be exact. Well, five plus a bonus option. And that required using his dice.

Jimmy always counted on his special dice or his lucky coin to guide him. Guide him? Actually, to make most of his choices for him. Not that he was obsessive/compulsive about it. He just trusted chance more then his own decision making processes.

“Life is a giant crap shoot,” his dad had told him endlessly while growing up. It was one of his dad’s favorite phrases, that and, “Don’t gamble with another man’s dice.” Those two phrases pretty much summed up his dad’s wisdom.

Jimmy held the dice and tried to compress as much of himself as he could into the dice. Not really, but that’s what it felt like to Jimmy, like he was making the dice a part of himself, as if the dice were a part of his own consciousness. That’s why he trusted the dice to make his decisions for him. It was a strange, half-ass theory that made sense to Jimmy and that’s about it.

Somewhere along the line Jimmy had gotten it into his head that the dice was an extension of himself because it was his dice and when he rolled it his dice would give the correct answers he needed. So far the system had worked out pretty good.

Jimmy rolled the dice around in the fingers of his right hand. He stared at his list of options in his left hand – and then the scene replayed itself again.

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Peter watched as his Jimmy character looped through the short cycle. He hit the pause button and stared at Jimmy, frozen in motion on the screen. Who is this character? Why is he doing this? What is the point? Peter was wondering a lot of things. Once again he found himself deep in an assignment without any idea what he was going to do. Not that it was a problem.

Of course he’d come up with an answer, some clever idea to make his bosses happy – that’s why they had hired him in the first place. But that didn’t mean he had to like this part of the job. Somewhere – no one told him where – a real person named Jimmy was living his life and it was just about to be hijacked, once Peter had come up with a new storyline that fit the Company’s agenda. There was always the Company agenda.

Peter’s job was buried deep inside the intelligence network – almost no one knew him and he knew no one. His assignments showed up at his door in plain wrapped envelopes. All the information he needed to do his job except a reason why. There was no reason why when it came to the Company. No reason was offered when he was hired some twenty years earlier, and no reason had been offered since. The Company itself was it’s own reason why.

Peter was a specialist and no one ever told him how to do his job. The envelopes told him what needed to be done and the exact completion date – how he accomplished his job was never an issue. Just make a new life for this person, make it seamless and follow the guidelines, and that’s it.

Peter was a fiction writer of sorts, except he wrote real life fiction, personality replacement fiction. He created conspiracy theories, highjacked real peoples consciousnesses into his fiction and inserted them, rewritten, back into the reality matrix. Well, he didn’t do the inserting part, that was another department’s area, but he was part of the process.

Peter invented UFO sightings, Bigfoot sightings, Bermuda Triangle anomalies and more. If there was an sub-category of the paranormal you could think of, Peter had been involved in creating false stories to dis-inform the general public. Nothing like “almost the truth” to muddy the waters – at least that’s the best guess Peter had for why he did what he did. Until now, he had pretty much avoided the whole “moral conscience” part of the job equation, but more and more it was starting to rear it’s ugly head. The question why was popping up in his mind more and more.

The fact that several of his recent fictions had been mass shootings – hijacked personalities who were set on a violent trajectory with great success – had started to eat away at his dispassionate approach to his job. Making people believe they saw the Loch Ness Monster was one thing, sending people into a public place with mass murder on their mind was another.

This latest assignment, this “Jimmy” case, was even more troubling. Whoever this Jimmy guy was, he was a problem assignment. Just glancing at the personnel file which was included in the envelope Peter had received was enough to tell him this was a top level person – someone who had their finger on one of the many nuclear launch controls. It seemed the Company planned on giving Jimmy a list of five cities to choose from to target for nuclear attack: Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing, Tehran, Pyongyang – and the bonus choice – all of the above.

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Moving To The Hi-Desert!

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During our vacation last month, as wonders of the southwest desert constantly opened up in front of us, Tania and I would often say, “you might still see that in the desert…” – based on a line from The Orb’s song “Little Fluffy Clouds.”

This phrase has become a mantra for me and invokes all that I find missing in my urban environment and the creative spark in myself that needs recharging – “you might still see that in the desert.”

Don’t get me wrong – we love Long Beach and it’s been a great home for over 23 years, but our creative journey is now leading in a new direction – to the Joshua Tree area.

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Above: The road to our new home…

By this time next month we should be settled in our Jackrabbit Homestead-style home on 5 acres in Gamma Gulch, just above Pioneertown – about 25 minutes from downtown Joshua Tree.

We’ll be living down a long dirt road, surrounded by the beautiful hi-desert landscape and boulders with a front yard full of Joshua Trees. If you’ve ever camped in Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree National Park, then you can imagine what our “neighborhood” looks like.

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Above: The view from our deck…

We have a trillion new things to learn about living in a rural environment but we’re looking forward to the challenge. Our little home is just barely tethered to “the grid” and I’m looking forward to learning about permaculture, composting, rain water collection, solar heating, using a wood-burning stove, the native flora and fauna, the cycle of desert seasons and so much more…

Thank you Long Beach (and everyone that includes)! We hope many of our friends to come out and visit us in our new piece of creative heaven soon.

NOW AVAILABLE: Awesome Eyebama T-Shirt Goodness!

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Four T-Shirt Designs NOW Available from NOSUCHAGENCY on Zazzle.com

Prices start in the mid $20 range (plus shipping) – product fulfillment handled by the fine folks over at Zazzle.com…


The Original All-Seeing Eyebama Design

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“This is the original Eyebama T-Shirt, until you hear otherwise…”

Available in Black. T-shirts from American Apparel, Hanes and others – many different styles available for men and women (boys and girls).

Prices start around $24.00 with sizes up to 6x available.

T-Shirts usually are printed and shipped within 24 hours. Allow 3-5 days for delivery. All t-shirts printed by Zazzle.com.

 

 

shopping link: http://www.zazzle.com/the_all_seeing_eyebama_t_shirt-235075759492418124


The All-Seeing Eyebama – Yes We Can (See You)

round-original-t-shirt“The All-Seeing Eyebama – Yes We Can (See You) T-shirt…”

Available in Black. T-shirts from American Apparel, Hanes and others – many different styles available for men and women (boys and girls).

Prices start around $24.00 with sizes up to 6x available.

T-Shirts usually are printed and shipped within 24 hours. Allow 3-5 days for delivery. All t-shirts printed by Zazzle.com.

 

 

shopping link: http://www.zazzle.com/the_all_seeing_eyebama_yes_we_can_see_you_tshirt-235017358730923669


BANKERS – Giving You The Finger

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“Yes, that’s you they’re giving the finger to… how does that feel?”

Available in Black (and other colors). Printed on t-shirts from American Apparel, Hanes and others – many different styles available for men and women (boys and girls).

Prices start around $24.00 with sizes up to 6x available.

T-Shirts usually are printed and shipped within 24 hours. Allow 3-5 days for delivery. All t-shirts printed by Zazzle.com.

 

shopping link: http://www.zazzle.com/bankers_giving_you_the_finger_t_shirts-235861189614878798


The All-Seeing Uncle Sam

i-want-you“The All-Seeing Uncle Sam says, ‘I want you to give me your data.'”

Available in Black (and other colors). Printed on t-shirts from American Apparel, Hanes and others – many different styles available for men and women (boys and girls).

Prices start around $24.00 with sizes up to 6x available.

T-Shirts usually are printed and shipped within 24 hours. Allow 3-5 days for delivery. All t-shirts printed by Zazzle.com.

 

shopping link: http://www.zazzle.com/the_all_seeing_uncle_sam_t_shirts-235429222956587196


Every Purchase Supports This Project!

More souvenirs from this project available from NOSUCHAGENCY on Zazzle.com

Creating The All-Seeing Eyebama

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While working on some NSA-leak inspired graphics earlier this week called “Freedom, American Style“, I downloaded the official portrait of President-Elect Obama, taken on January 13, 2009. Notice, he has no grey hair yet…

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I was wondering what it would look like if I pasted the all-seeing eye from the back of the one dollar bill over the president’s face. So I scanned the image of the all-seeing eye into my computer and started to work with it…

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The resulting image is a graphic metaphor loaded with all kinds of different meanings, from the power of money in politics, the NSA intrusions into our privacy, the rise of the surveillance state during Obama’s administration, to conspiracy theories about secret societies like The Illuminati controlling the President, and, of course this image means all those things and more.

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Eyebama Street Team

Last night I printed up a bunch of 2″ x 3″ stickers – soon to be mailed out across the country.

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My friends know how to get a hold of me if they want some sent to them…

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Now On T-Shirts (And Other Stuff)

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T-shirts, hoodies, posters, framed wall prints, drinking glasses, a drinking flask, and other stuff adorned with the Eyebama image are NOW AVAILABLE at the onehumanbeing shop on Cafe Press.

Hold it, did you say drinking flask? Yes I did…

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David Icke, They Live, Eight O’Clock in the Morning and OBEY…

This little excerpt from my life began with me wondering, “Who is David Icke?”

I had heard of David Icke from a number of people recently – it was one of those names which kept popping up at some of the websites I was visiting while gathering information for my ongoing novel project. What little I knew about him was some vague idea that he was some guy who had some far-out thoughts.

My curiosity increased each time his name came up, so I decided to check him out, to try and get a comprehensive understanding of his worldview.

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Finding out about David Icke’s ideas isn’t too difficult –  he gives epic-length lectures. One of his lectures last year lasted for nearly 7 hours, and was presented to a very large audience at Wembley Arena in England. You can watch it on YouTube. It seemed to me that listening to 7 hours of him talking non-stop about his ideas should give me that overview.

So I’ve been watching it in short pieces every few weeks – 30 minutes to an hour at a time.

First off – The man can talk! Wow. And he covers a vast amount of material about various so-called “Conspiracy Theory” subjects – New World Order, Reptilians, Hollow Moon Theories and all-kinds of cool and groovy topics far outside the mainstream. If you like going out beyond the fringe, then you probably want to check David Icke out.

Because I’m always listening for new sound collage material – David Icke sounds to me like an untapped well of sound bites. Like I said, this guy can talk.

They Live

One of the movies he mentioned during his lecture was the 1988 John Carpenter film They Live. Here’s a clip of David Icke talking about the film in a T.V. interview. In this clip he gives a very accurate introduction to the story. Watching this will not spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it yet.

Of course we had to rent it, which we did this last week. Basically, it is excellent, in glorious b-movie style! It’s one of my new favorite films, or part of my personal top-ten favorite films of all time. Judging from the responses on Facebook I’m just the latest person to join the “I love They Live” party. How did I miss seeing this movie before? Cultural blindspots or something…

An added note – I think it would make a great double-feature with the 1984 cult classic, Repo Man.

Here’s the trailer for They Live:

“I have come here to chew bubble gum, and kick ass…”

Just to get a taste of They Live, here’s a classic scene from the movie.

This is the point where our main character, Nada, played by wrestler Roddy “Rowdy” Piper, is coming to an full understanding about the false illusion of the world (thanks to the sunglasses), and he doesn’t like what he sees!

So, like a good American, he grabs his gun and takes business into his own hands…

As we join the action, he has just entered a bank building and he says…

“I have come here to chew bubble gum, and kick ass…
And I’m all out of bubble gum.”

Mayhem ensues.

WARNING: Gratuitous Gun Violence Alert

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The Man Who Quit Money

Above: The Man Who Quit Money from Sacred Resonance on Vimeo. Length: 23:37

Meet Daniel Suelo

I watched this video several times yesterday, and I really love what Daniel Suelo has to say about living without money. And even more, I love what he says about breaking from the money-centric-mindset which dominates our society. He does it with a philosophically way of speaking which is grounded in the reality of having lived the life, having walked the talk.

This video conveys a message of hopeful truth: You can step outside the money system, and here’s an example of someone who doing just that, right now – and has been doing it, joyfully, for a number of years.

Here’s the little blurb about this video from Vimeo:

Meet Daniel Suelo. He’s been living without money for 12 years. When our paths crossed synchronistically in Moab, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to learn from this wise man. I interviewed him and found his philosophy and way of living inspiring and visionary.

For more about Daniel and his experiment of living without money, check out
zerocurrency.blogspot.com/
sites.google.com/site/livingwithoutmoney/

video source: https://vimeo.com/65171169

Learn More – A Great Book About Daniel Suelo

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While we’re talking about Daniel Suelo let me tell you about a book I read this last week.

The book is called The Man Who Quit Money and it is, in short, a well-written exploration into the fascinating life of a very interesting subject, Daniel Suelo, while also discussing a wide range of topics from the money to religion, from faith to healthy living in a freegan-style, from life in Moab, to life in a cave – and so much more…

I found it to be a great reading experience. Thank you Mark Sundeen for writing this book! Really, I mean that.

Note – Mark Sundeen, the author of this book, has not quit money, so buying his book would create no great moral dilemmas – no one’s ethics will be violated if you buy a copy. Heck, we’re even going to buy a copy of this book to keep in our library. As they say, “This book’s a keeper.”

My friend Josh loaned his copy of this book to me saying I would probably enjoy it… thank you very much Josh, you were right!

Once I started reading it, I devoured it in nearly an entire sitting which lasted until sometime after two in the morning. It was that excellent – even more than excellent!

Tania is reading it now, so Josh might not get his book back for a bit…

Here’s the blurb about the book from Amazon.com:

A Walden for the 21st century, the true story of a man who has radically reinvented “the good life”

In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings—all thirty dollars of it—in a phone booth. He has been living without money—and with a newfound sense of freedom and security—ever since.

The Man Who Quit Money is an account of how one man learned to live, sanely and happily, without earning, receiving, or spending a single cent. Suelo doesn’t pay taxes, or accept food stamps or welfare.

He lives in caves in the Utah canyonlands, forages wild foods and gourmet discards. He no longer even carries an I.D. Yet he manages to amply fulfill not only the basic human needs-for shelter, food, and warmth-but, to an enviable degree, the universal desires for companionship, purpose, and spiritual engagement.

In retracing the surprising path and guiding philosophy that led Suelo into this way of life, Sundeen raises provocative and riveting questions about our relationships with money and the decisions we all make, by default or by design—about how we live and how we might live better.

source: http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Quit-Money/dp/1594485690

Watch, read, and enjoy!

Imagine My Future

A short story by Jon Christopher.

This story was originally titled “Press The Record Button” and submitted to several magazines earlier this year. After having it rejected I decided to re-edit it, gave it a new title, a slightly different ending, and to post it here to celebrate the 36th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie on May 25, 1977.

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The future was just a radio signal away…

Jonathan rapidly spun the tuning knob of the bulky shortwave radio sitting on the desk in front of him. He was scanning the AM band, moving from one top forty radio station to another trying to find his song. At the moment that song was the Meco #1 hit – Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band.

It was the fall of 1977, and Jonathan had just entered 8th grade, but Star Wars was what was really on his mind. The movie had come out in May and had changed everything for him. Jonathan had been a childhood Trekkie, but that was nothing compared to the impact Star Wars had on him. Since he had seen it for the first time – and he had seen it over twenty times by the time summer ended – it was just about all he thought about, all the time.

And now there was a song out on the radio (yeah it was disco and disco sucked, but this was Star Wars) with the theme song from Star Wars that included really cool laser sounds and R2D2 beeping, light saber sound and other sounds from the movie.

Jonathan was hunting for the song to capture it with a tape recorder. He had been doing it all Saturday afternoon – tuning from station to station trying to catch the song from the beginning so he could get a really good recording. He was sitting at his desk in his room. Most of the desk surface was taken over by the large, post-World War II era shortwave radio. His dad had bought it at a garage sale, but Jonathan had convinced his dad to let him keep it on his desk in his room.

Jonathan had constructed a spider-web like antenna array tacked up on the wall behind his desk. He was sure this helped him get better reception. He also kept his parent’s tape recorder sitting next to the speaker on the side of the shortwave radio to record things he heard. Often times he recorded the various foreign voices that came through the static just because they sounded so strange. Today he was using the tape recorder for a more basic need – capturing a pop music song.

So far he had recorded the song twice, but not completely. One time he had captured the end of the song, and once he got it about halfway through. He had been at it for several hours and his mind was starting to play games with him, offering suggestions like, “If you take a break for exactly 5 minutes then all the radio stations will reset and you’ll get your song” and “first tune to 10-Q and then over the KHJ, then quickly to the Spanish language station on the right end of the dial, then back to 10-Q” and so on.

After awhile of this Jonathan decided to take a short, five minute break and cruise the shortwave bands. The radio had three different shortwave bands which Jonathan would slowly scan from one end to the other, using the fine tuning knob when he found something interesting to bring the signal in even better. The eclectic mix of sounds and static as he moved across the dial was both interesting and soothing at the same time.

Near the end of his five minute break a voice came through the static, “Jonathan, press the record button on your tape recorder.”

Jonathan stopping turning the tuning dial.

After a couple of seconds the same adult, male voice repeated itself, “Jonathan, press the record button on your tape recorder.”

Jonathan pushed the record button on the tape recorder.

“Jonathan, I am going to tell you some very important information. This information will affect your whole life from this moment forward. Before we go on I must point out that what I am going to share with you must never – NEVER – be shared with anyone. No one but you can know these things. If anyone finds out you will be a dead man (or worse). Tell no one. Trust no one. Again. Tell no one. Trust no one.”

Jonathan’s adrenalin was kicking into high gear. He quickly got up and made sure the door to his room was closed as the voice continued.

“Jonathan. I am you, but I am 52 years old now. The year I’m living in is 2016. Many things have gone wrong in the world since I was your age, things I wish I could have done something about but couldn’t. I never had enough leverage, enough money, enough power to be one of the people that helped shape the world. When I was your age Jonathan I thought I would be one of those people…”

Jonathan knew exactly what he meant. He saw himself as someone who could be a politician or a judge or something when he grew up.

“Jonathan, what I have in mind to do is to give you the keys to the future, and the ability to change my current reality at the same time. If you make the changes I have in mind while you grow to be my age, together we could change the structure of the world.”

Jonathan didn’t quite comprehend what “himself” was saying, but the voice did sound vaguely like his own voice when he heard it recorded. He sat listening as the voice from the future continued.

“I am going to tell you somethings that will happen in your future, my own past, so you can use this knowledge for financial gain. I’m going to give you stock picks, market trends, lottery numbers, World Series winners, Presidential winners – everything you need to be one step ahead of everyone else.

We have several problems to take care of to make this work for us. The first problem is every bit of information I give you will start to change my own world. Our existences are entangled, and just your knowledge of these future events will change my present, your future. I have run extensive computer models to make sure we do this right. I have concluded that only by introducing certain ideas in a certain order, spread out over a certain period of time can we make these changes without completely messing the whole thing up. This is a delicate operation, but I know you Jonathan, and I know we can do it.”

Jonathan was overwhelmed at this point. His mind whirled on the impossibly of his situation. The voice continued.

“I’m going to give you a set of dates and events in a series of three broadcasts. We have to let a short period of time pass between the broadcasts so we don’t make errors we can’t fix in the next broadcast.

Remember – never, ever share these broadcasts with anyone. If even one other person knows, everything will change in ways we do not know nor can we predict.”

Jonathan from the future then read off a list of events, dates, and subjects for Jonathan to pay attention to at certain points in his life. He gave him companies to invest in, ways to get the money he’d need to invest, people he would need to know and ways to know them – for 20 minutes he gave him the basic insider’s guide to the next 39 years of American culture, politics, business and finance.

At the end of reading the list the voice from the future told Jonathan the next broadcast would be the following Saturday afternoon, at the same time and on the same frequency. And then the voice faded into static. Jonathan hit the stop button on the tape recorder.

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Don’t Just Do Something…

Every month I like to throw a new quote on the header for this site. The quote for this month reads, “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

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We live in a world where people and events push us to react emotionally, or overreact, all the time. Whether it’s in personal relationships or in the mass media, we constantly find ourselves in situations where we are being pushed to react as quickly as possible – don’t just stand there, DO SOMETHING!!!

We’ve seen this repeatedly over the last year – immediately after a horrific event, emotionally traumatized people, fueled by the media, clamoring for those in authority to do something, do anything, to create an illusion of security against this same kind of trauma happening again.

If you’re in a true emergency, and are a first responder, it might be necessary to do whatever is needed in the moment, but not after the initial trauma is dealt with – not in the aftermath.

We saw this reaction after the tragedies of the Aurora Theater shooting, after the Sandy Hook school shooting, and after the Boston Marathon bombing. We will see it again next time a horrific event happens.

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The Wall of Weed

Happy 420! To celebrate I’d like to give you a wall of weed!

The Wall of Weed

Above: Online promo graphic for The Wall of Weed… feel free to copy and share.

About The Wall of Weed

This art piece contains 1960 photos from over 650 different batches of medical marijuana. There are close to 350 different strains represented on the wall.

These photos were taken between 2008 and 2012 in Long Beach, California.

Link: http://onehumanbeing.com/wall-of-weed/
Note: the page can take up to a minute to load – lots and lots of photos to load…

Here’s a short bit I wrote awhile ago about how I got started taking photos:

In June of 2008 I started taking photos and posting menus on WeedTracker.com for a local, Long Beach collective called CCLB, Canna Collective Long Beach.

The whole thing started as a fluke – I just wanted CCLB to keep up with their menu posting because gas prices were soaring and online people wanted to know what was available before they made the long drive – sometimes coming all the way from San Diego – a nearly 300 mile round trip.

My round trip to CCLB was only 10 miles, so during June I started my volunteer gig as the Menu Guy for CCLB. Over the July 4th weekend, through a series of events I’ve written about elsewhere, I officially became an unpaid, community volunteer at CCLB and through October of that year I photographed nearly 80 different strains, some of them several times…

Goals and Format

I had several goals in mind while taking these photos:

  1. Capture the most average, “representative” buds to photograph. I was not looking for the biggest and best buds to photograph, just the buds that an average patient would get if they went to the collective.
  2. Use a repeatable format so people could focus on the herb, not the photographs.

The format I settled on after about a year was 3 photos per batch.

  • The first shot was of four (more or less) buds grouped around a quarter to give the idea of size. I weighed each of these buds to add to the image when I processed the photos.
  • The second photo would be the single bud shot.
  • The third shot was the close up, and by 2010 I had finally started to achieve some great shots with the close-up.
  • For awhile I took a forth shot – a jar shot from above.

I usually took about 60-80 photos of each batch to make sure I had what I needed to pick the best shot.

These photos were used as “menu photos” for the websites of the various non-profit collectives I volunteered at during this time.

Fun Fact: Each photo in this collection is 420 pixels by 420 pixels – except 1. Can you find the one odd-sized photo?

Dedication and Thanks

The Wall of Weed is dedicated to my friend Josh Howard who got me started on this photo project in June of 2008 when he was the budtender extraordinaire at CCLB. Thanks Josh!

A special thanks goes out to those who helped facilitate this project over the last few years – Eli, Nichole, Sam, Val and Harvey.

 

P.S. I know the question you have in your mind, and the answer is yes – I did sample more than 90% of the batches shown here… Happy 420!

PORTFOLIO – The Art of Jon Christopher

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Jon, onehumanbeing“So, what do you do?”

“I’m an artist.”

“Really, what kind of art do you make? Do you paint?”

This is where I always pause, while my brain quickly runs through the mental catalog of the numerous art objects I’ve created over my lifetime, the wide variety…

“I do all kinds of stuff…” I usually end up replying.

If they look like they might want to hear more, I might say, “Mostly I make collages. Just about everything I do is based on collage – putting separate items together to create a new image, object, idea, sound-scape etc.”

Most people seem to go blank at this point. That’s when I throw in a new idea for them to consider, “Right now I’m focused on consciousness, and how to make art out of consciousness.”

I’m very proud of the brave people who want to find out more after that…

Introducing PORTFOLIO

PORTFOLIO from onehumanbeing.com

  • 112 Paintings
  • 98 Drawings
  • 155 Collages
  • 41 Photo Works
  • 9 Videos
  • Sound Collages – 6 albums, 7 EPs, 5 Singles and 4 Early Works

I’ve spent the last week (about 80 hours of computer time) adding work to the online retrospective show of my art since 1991. This is a major upgrade to a site I started work on in 2011 – if you visited it before you’ll find that the whole site has been extensively updated.

It’s been a very involved process, and just might be my favorite website I’ve ever built.

The PORTFOLIO is now open and ready for viewing! Continue reading

Roadtrekkin’ To Anza-Borrego

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This last week we took a road trip to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in a Roadtrek 190 – here’s the story…

Intro – The Roadtrekker Plan

The plan for this adventure began last year, with the goal being to go camping in our friend’s Roadtrek 190 RV (a very generous friend!) to see what “RV Camping” was like, and to decide if we’d want to take the RV on a cross-country adventure later this year.

A month ago we added another goal – to make a perfect Moscow Mule while camping. Very important stuff!

Last March we made reservations at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for this year – we got a site with “full hook-ups” – A term we weren’t familiar with yet, but were told this is what we wanted.

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All of our camping in the past has been car camping and tent camping. We had a Vanagon back in the mid-90’s, but it wasn’t anything close to the experience of the Roadtrek 190.

As we discovered this week, RV camping is very different from regular camping… Continue reading

Selected Eclectic – Volume 3

[This is Volume 3 in the Selected Eclectic series – you can find Volumes 1 and 2 here, along with the story of how the Selected Eclectic series started…]

Selected Eclectic – Vol. 3 – March 2013

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Both Tania and I have been making our lists of songs we like which we’ve heard on KCRW’s Eclectic24 since our last playlist in January. Here’s the results…

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Playlist – Mixed March 24, 2013

01 – 00:00 – A New Life – Jim James
02 – 04:23 – Emmylou – First Aid Kit
03 – 08:32 – Something’s Rattling (Cowpoke) – Benjamin Gibbard
04 – 12:17 – Simple As This – Jake Bugg
05 – 15:30 – Seven Nation Army – The Dynamics
06 – 19:44 – Brazil – Cornelius
07 – 22:52 – Rock With You – Seu Jorge and Almaz
08 – 27:02 – Who Did That To You – John Legend
09 – 30:49 – State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.) – Jim James
10 – 35:47 – The Valleys (feat. Tanya Auclair & Milly Blue) – Natural Self
11 – 40:45 – Holiness – The Tellers
12 – 43:24 – The Seed (2.0) – The Roots and Cody Chestnutt
13 – 47:49 – Heartbreak – The James Hunter Six
14 – 52:05 – Sad Blues – Jesse Harris
15 – 55:27 – Bombs Away – Eels
16 – 1:00:48 – Solitude Is Bliss – Tame Impala
17 – 1:04:40 – Be Here Now – Ray LaMontagne
18 – 1:10:37 – Long Ride – Ry Cooder

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The Man Who Planted Trees

The Man Who Planted Trees

In honor of the first day of Spring I recommend a wonderful and uplifting short story of what one human being can do to improve the world around them… simply, quietly and without fanfare.

Enjoy!!!

Read The Story

The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono

The story begins in the year 1910, when this young man is undertaking a lone hiking trip through Provence, France, and into the Alps, enjoying the relatively unspoiled wilderness.

The narrator runs out of water in a treeless, desolate valley where only wild lavender grows and there is no trace of civilization except old, empty crumbling buildings. The narrator finds only a dried up well, but is saved by a middle-aged shepherd who takes him to a spring he knows of.

Curious about this man and why he has chosen such a lonely life, the narrator stays with him for a time. The shepherd, after being widowed, has decided to restore the ruined landscape of the isolated and largely abandoned valley by single-handedly cultivating a forest, tree by tree. The shepherd, Elzéard Bouffier, makes holes in the ground with his curling pole and drops into the holes acorns that he has collected from many miles away…

read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Planted_Trees

Link to story: http://homepages.tcp.co.uk/~nicholson/theman.html

Watch The Video

Below is a really good animated short film made from the story. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1987.

Above: The Man Who Planted Trees from MrGreatShortFilms on Vimeo.

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The Great American Cowboy And Other Images

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Yesterday afternoon I watched a really long alternative history type documentary with pretty low production values – lots of appropriated “History Channel” kind of video material that, well, mostly fit the narrative.

Towards the end of the film the video quality totally deteriorated. Bad video compression? Copied too many times? Both? – I don’t know, but the picture was digitally trashed.

After a little bit of listening to the narrator talk along with the rather abstract video, it made me start to think, “hey, it’s actually better this way” – a lot of the digital distortions had a very painterly touch.

I ended up spending several hours crawling through the last part of the video selecting and capturing images, starting with the cowboy (The Great American Cowboy I call it because it looks so iconic) image at the top of this page.

Here are some of the many screen captures I made last night… enjoy!

Philip K. Dick Reading Club – The Beginning of the Adventure

[Update – February 17, 2013 – There is now a Philip K. Dick Reading Club website for all my PKD postings]

PKD-reading-club-2-2013It started with a post on Facebook on Saturday morning (February 2, 2013):

“I have never read any work by Philip K Dick, even though he’s considered by some to be one of the greatest novelists of the Twentieth Century. This month I’m launching into a marathon reading project to try and read all 45 of his novels (not all in one month, but I’m starting now…)

My dilemma is that I’m not quite sure how to approach this body of work, which includes the story that became Blade Runner (many of his novels have been turned into major films).

Should I start with his first novel (Solar Lottery) and read them in order of publishing – the linear approach – or should I read certain books first to understand the Philip K. Dick world before I read his more obscure works?

Feedback from PKD fans would really be appreciated! Thanks…”

There were some comments that went back a forth and by the evening time we had a small book club started 🙂

We begin our reading journey on Saturday, February 9th with PKD’s first novel – Solar Lottery

Our official Facebook page is here: http://www.facebook.com/PhilipKDickReadingClub Continue reading

A Conscious Change

This is the follow-up post to Driving Towards The End Of The World – After The End Of The World, Part One, a look back on 2012 and my own personal adventure during that year riding the bipolarcoaster, creating art and watching the wheels go round and round as each day we moved closer to the end of the world…

In this post we go down a rabbit hole of books – into fear and loathing, conspiracy theories, alien abductions, near-death experiences and finally into the NOW as I write about my reading journey to the fringes of the world of ideas in pursuit of my subject, consciousness – while looking for better descriptions of the human experience.

After The End Of The World, Part Two

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Change is an unpredictable process. Every day you’re constantly in the process of changing, but once in a great while a quantum leap kind-of-change can come along and really speed up the process.

It arrives suddenly, quickly, in a moment, but it’s usually the result of a number of changes over a period of time which have built on each other like a kind of pressure. When there’s a new vibration, frequency or idea which pushes the pressure past the tipping point a quantum leap change can happen – and then suddenly everything becomes different.

After the year I’d had in 2012, and the devastation which depression was wrecking upon my psyche, I desperately needed a change. Not an external change but one inside me… and not a little change but the quantum leap size change. I just had no idea what it could be that would do this, or how to get there… Continue reading

Selected Eclectic – Volumes 1 and 2

Music mixes that capture the songs we are listening to at this particular moment in time…

se·lect·ed – To take as a choice from among several; pick out.
ec·lec·tic – Deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

Selected Eclectic – Vol. 1 – December 2012

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Tania and I started working on this project together, which has been titled “Selected Eclectic”, in early December of 2012 while we were getting ready for the holiday season. It grew out of the music we were listening to while cleaning, decorating, working on our Christmas card and just hanging around the homestead.

Towards the end of November Tania had suggested that we should start listening to the KCRW music shows to freshen-up our music selection. What a great idea! Neither of us had listened to the radio in a long time, and our music selection was getting a bit stale, so over Thanksgiving weekend we started listening to the radio again.

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Pretty quickly we discovered that KCRW has a 24 hour-a-day streaming music channel called Eclectic24 – A blend of the various KCRW DJ’s tastes into one constant stream of commercial-free music, with a constantly updated playlist online so you know what is being played.

We started to hear songs we both liked (and some we really did not like) which we hadn’t heard before, were new releases, or were by artist we hadn’t heard of yet. Soon we were both making lists of songs that caught our attention.

After a few week listening to Eclectic24 we were both starting to have a love/hate relationship with some of the songs we heard – songs which we really did not like at first, but now… well, we’d wake up with those songs in our heads, sing them to ourselves during the day, and they were starting to grow on us. Darn pop songs. Continue reading

Family Photo Memories

box-of-family-photos-800pxSunday evening my sister Barbara stopped by and dropped off our family photos- our souvenirs of family memories stretching back from around 1919.

My two oldest sisters, Barbara and Judy, had organized them according to the various family members, with a plastic box for each of us, and also some big envelopes of larger photos. Now I planned on scanning a bunch of them into the computer so our whole family (and it’s a big family) can enjoy them.

Tania and I spent the night looking through my box (and a large envelope of all my school pictures) and then through my dad’s boxes (he has three) until our eyeballs were about ready to fall out from seeing too much.

I think I got a bigger view of how my family fits together from this photographic journey, including various aunts, uncles and cousins whom I have never met – branches of my family who now have, at least, a picture-like existence in my mind.

On Monday I posted a few of the family photos on my Facebook page, which I’m re-posting here to save for my own future reference, for my families benefit (not everyone is on Facebook), and for you to enjoy.

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Driving Towards The End Of The World

Introduction  – The Ongoing Documentation Of Life

For over 30 years I’ve been consciously saving little souvenirs of my journey through life – stuff to help document the adventure. I don’t know why this is so important to me, but it is, and it affects much of the way I approach life.

Writing has played a huge part of the documentation process – years and years of filling up journals, writing and editing stories posted on the internet and numerous short essays that I’ve never published. Millions of words just trying to capture the experience of one human being during this pilgrimage here on planet Earth.

Here is the latest installment in the story reflecting on the year I had in 2012 – it’s called “Driving Towards The End Of The World”. I choose that title because, you know, the world was supposed to end last year, which it didn’t 🙂

So before I jump into writing about some really nice changes that have happened since the end of the world I thought I should post something to document 2012 from this one human being’s perspective…

After The End Of The World, Part One

jon-2012December 21, 2012 – a.k.a. “the end of the world” – was quite a good day for me. Probably one of the best days I’d had in weeks, and definitely one of my top ten best days of 2012.

Maybe I was just glad we had reached that date we had all been speculating about for years, or maybe the day really did have some special cosmic alignment I was feeling. Maybe it was because my wife and best friend, Tania, had the day off and it was a wonderful happy morning around the homestead… whatever the cause, it was a day where the burdens of the world slipped from my shoulders for a moment, and the depression, which this year had been the worst it has ever been for me, was pushed back for a moment.

Now that the end of the world was behind us I could feel like something else might happen. Like we had passed a giant border sign while driving through a long desert, “Welcome to the State of Now”. At first nothing seems different, but when you stop for gas at the first town across the border you realize you truly are in a different state, and all that entails…

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The Novel As A Long Term Creative Project

The Late Great American Novel – progress report, early January, 2013…

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I’m finding that being “in the process of writing” my first novel-sized literary construction to be an excellent way to watch the long-term (meaning anything that took longer than a couple of days to finish) creative process as it happens.

I’ve struggled with long-term projects in the past due to my mercurial attention span. But this is now, and who I was in the past doesn’t matter much if it’s not helping me out in the present, right? Now I’m into long-term projects.

Most creative projects I work on are completed relatively fast, and things like paintings are finished much too quickly to stretch the creative moment out and really examine it. This novel is giving me the time-space to really watch the process from a “bigger picture” perspective, like watching creativity in slow motion.

In some ways it’s like I’m the only person who can see into this strange alternate universe coming into being out of an amazing stream of words which have their own source somewhere beyond myself, with a gravity all it’s own, drawing in the materials which fall into it’s slowly forming orbit.

For months (October through December) the story just stopped, but in that “hold on a minute, I’ll be right back” kind of way. Meanwhile all kinds of interesting ideas, flashes of intuition and useful esoteric information has drifted across my path and provided material which will make this novel much, much better – I think…

Lately bits of new writing have been flashing through my mind, building pieces for the next part of the story. Chapter 61 is now pretty much written out in my head, and is floating around my mind like clouds heavy with water. The forecast says there’s a 70% chance of rain by this next weekend.

Until later, best of health.