Archive for the Crafts Category

Sharing Success

Posted in Cooperative collaboration, Crafts, Creativity / Imagination, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, jobs, Organic Development, relationships, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2020 by Drogo

SCOD Sharing Culture and Brand Theory

Simply put, most of us cannot depend on financial success anymore, in an economy that is rigged against us more the harder we try. Also sometimes no matter how hard we try at things, we do not always get as good as others; but it is important to do what matters the most to us, even if we are disabled or never the ‘best’. Any success of my work is measured by who shares in the joy with me, because they understand the merits of doing what you love with friends by sharing, not trying to exclude by maximizing solitary ‘ownership’ profit at the cost of others. Those who like me for what I do and who I am will know that any concept of ‘brand’ that I have for myself is dedicated to changing the fake world of corporate representation into real organic cooperative democratic partnerships. I have been repulsed by the term ‘brand’ due to the painfully loaded corporate associations and assumptions that people will ‘buy into brands’ even when the corporate brand only considers them a consumer fan, and not a partner. It is possible that popular ‘brand’ ideology can be reclaimed from being like a cattle logo that is stamped on us, to something that we stitch into our own shared creations.

Organic cooperation is how we filmed our collective movies, how I do collaborative compositions and jam music, and how I produce art and books with other possessive egos involved. Those that want to do their own thing in order to always dominate attention, and have exclusive rights and profit just for their selfish inner circle are not part of what I define as being ‘worthy’ anymore. In previous decades I accepted that people felt forced to be greedy due to the rules; but I have been a part of sharing culture enough now to know that a viable alternative exists to the main-stream. Sure we cannot all get along all the time, and there will be some that we try to avoid; but as population increases compromises and truces built on love become more important to avoid hate and murder. We are all in this metaphysical mess together, whether you play with or against others is a personal choice. We all want to be left alone sometimes down by the creek; there will always be things we do not want to share all the time or in all ways, but relations dominate most of our lives and our proportion of sharing (willing or unwilling) increases with population density. 

One of the most important reasons for increased sharing at the highest levels has to do with top secret ‘national security’ issues that are defended by saying that there are no limits of the tyranny of power when it comes to perpetuating war and terror in the name of defense profit. The military industrial complex used our money and resources to wage war and destroy our global environment. Those in power who do not want to share have done terrible things that they have gotten away with, but it is very important to have more citizen journalists and non-fiction authors strive to share important facts that most of us would never know about.

In conclusion, ‘branding’ has the duality problem of “selling yourself”; selling out your integrity with an artificial facade vs marketing who you ‘really’ are. The more commercial a person is, the harder it is to distinguish the two, because they appear to be a ‘professional product’, not a real human. Most of us can be very competitive for survival, but collaboration is better than competition for sustaining happiness in any community.

Trumpian Economic Report 2020

Posted in Book Reports, Cartoon Comics, Commercial Corporations, Cooperative collaboration, Crafts, Critical Commentary of Civilization, jobs, Legal / Laws, Multimedia Communication, news, Organic Development, portraits, relationships, Services, Sales or Trade, Society Clubs or Social Groups, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2019 by Drogo

Artisan Vs. Commercial Market Selling

By Drogo Empedocles – January 2020

In a Trumpian economy most of us are forced to be beggars even when we offer work in return for money, due to an excess of labor not needed or desired by the rich. Trickle-down Reaganomics has failed us, and is still being pushed on us by Trump and all corporate politicians who sold out. We must resist falling to the attacks causing the destruction of our lives and plan to not just survive but rebuild a better world for our children.

Trump’s tax plan benefits the rich, and diminishes the middle class. The estate tax is gone now so that rich children can inherit all their parent’s wealth freely without earning it, while poor children suffer without deserving it. Personal exemptions have been removed. You can still itemize donations, but the standard deduction bar was raised with an overall .5% tax rate reduction. Those basic changes might negligibly benefit lower incomes, but average to upper middle class households are losing thousands on whole due to other changes in the tax plan.

I lost some financial support despite my working through the holidays on several projects. I won’t be able to do as much free or low-budget work with others, until i can secure more income to cover my own expenses at least. my income is only $700 a year recently, so i feel like i get by with quite a little actually. I only currently use one sound program most weeks, and focus on word (writing) programs, which have glitches between formats, but i am able to publish that way. So for over a year i have only been using two editing programs.

Most people should know that any work has a price; and so my work is for sale, as with any artist; we need means to live so we try to sell prints and originals if we can. If people do not know how to want to share money with others, i am not sure how i can help them except to remind them by bringing it up sometimes. I focus on my work more than sales, because i do it for the work not the sales. If i am asked to be more of a sales person i would not do it. i dont know if stating that i will keep doing my own work the way i want no matter what will reduce interest in investing in me or increase it long term; but i really do not see many options to sustain my career legacy. I may get some temporary side jobs like working for Census, but even if i got a huge increase in income what matters to me is what is created with what i have ultimately.

SCOD social capital has increased overall i believe, which is hard to define since it is not income based. I am close to founding a tristate network for hosting art, music, and writing events; but the design is mostly socially dependent, using properties in WV, MD, and VA. The financial components like ticket sales and payments are totally based on how many people i can get to coordinate together. we currently have several proposals still being formed, for multimedia broadcasting and sharing local events, i can pursue these negotiations without financial losses. ive felt on the verge of something big over the years, but i never know when the tipping point will come because … and this is the hard part to talk about, the complex dynamics of partnerships.

I am proud to ‘beg’ with something of quality to offer in return. When you buy my work, you support many other people; because I collaborate with and buy from other artists and friends. To anyone that thinks I am begging by being honest that I do not earn much, I argue that bragging about how good your work is and saying you have been ‘financially successful’ by taking more than you need is worse than begging because to me that could be considered just as unworthy of support. Getting money from other people is not proof of deserving money, it is simply how people pay their bills. Also I am not just begging because I offer plenty of services and products in various fields. I am simply saying why I could use more income, as opposed to those who do not need more for basic living. I have many jobs, and i do them. I tend to give things away for free and make reasonable deals to work with lower income people.  I apply to better paying jobs, but I do not get them, and when i have had them before i cannot keep them for psychological reasons, one being i cannot stand authoritarian control because i desire to fight back against bosses the same as I would with any willful cruel or ignorant jackass; but when we trade self-respect for money we suppress our resentment which can fester and build to a break-down or illness.

I will not spend time defending myself by arguing against assholes, they are not worth my time. I am too expensive for them because they cannot pay me enough to work for them, and it is easy enough to block them and delete their petty comments. Their attempts to troll me are pathetic when i can shut them down easily. It is amazing that people will ‘friend’ me only to wait for chances to attack, without ever once being kind.  These are the type of people that would tell homeless street musicians to “get a job” too.

If fees are low enough with time i can advertise more without major losses on more websites; in hopes to get at least a few sales. Social reception is usually less than enthusiastic on a whole from audiences on platforms. Amazon is the best example ive had because ive been using it for years, i struggle to get a few sales a year even when i post the links and talk about them etc. I know it is not because my books are not as good as ‘Diary of a Whimpy Kid’ or ‘Captain Underpants’ which are best sellers, it has to do with commercial control of the market at the high levels. I mean sure we could argue whose art or story sucks more, but with enough exposure anti-authoritarian subversive books like ours do well with children and ne’er-do-wellz, which are a large portion of the population.

Ironically most of the people who buy my books are part of the vanishing middle class; not the lowest or the highest earning. There are more lower middle class people so they do buy more books, compared to the few upper middle class people who are interested in my books. I have had people with large incomes talk with me for hours, and i gave them books and they still did not buy any, so spending money has more to do with personalities than wealth; which is why those with less wealth will spend more if they have an income, which creates financial flow and opportunities in an economy.

All of these opinions of observations are reasons why many of us are not satisfied with status-quo commercial politics. We want more leaders like Bernie Sanders and progressives on the right or left who can be held to account by their voters who are also the majority of their campaign financing. We cannot afford allowing corporate sell-outs to further rig our own economy, environment, and country against us.

[ see also Lucas Chancel, World Inequality Lab ]

 

Online Musical Appreciation

Posted in Cooperative collaboration, Crafts, Creativity / Imagination, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, Multimedia Communication, POB Audio, Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2019 by Drogo

I do not know why comments on my Soundcloud account are supportive, and comments on Audiomack tend to be lame, but that is the difference in the platform community i guess. Hopefully more creative and kind collaborators will join Audiomack, so competitive jerks can get pushed off. Most serious good musicians know how to treat other players regardless of talent, but like any other genre extreme fans (or those without fans of their own) get nasty because as consumers they want to be expert judges on ‘what is good and what is bad’. When people call your original creation (which is always a collage blend of influences to various degrees) bad, let us hope for the sake of humanity that someone else finds something good about you; because art is personal expression.

I am not a professional musician because i do not get paid, although i frequently practice aka play. That being said I think we can cheer on our favorites, without being terrible people to those who we do not like as much. Maturity takes time, and not everyone will be able to respect the feelings of others as much as we might like; but know I have improved from the days when I attacked everything I did not like by insulting people who did like those things. Now I try to limit my aggression to the most important issues, and only occasionally give my opinions about silly stuff like pop music.

As Kyle Kulinski says uncensored comments can be as democratic as a bathroom wall. I encourage anyone who likes things to please rate and comment, because the assholes seem more motivated sometimes. Part of the problem seems to be with consumers not realizing that they have been conditioned by commercials to only consider popular brand names to be “quality”. We need to retrain society to invest in itself more.

Online appreciation of music is of course related to other arts and digital media. We have similar cultural problems regarding the support of authors and artists. Many of us desire to value human lives more than we have; and one way is through online appreciation and support for others in whatever ways we can.

 

 

PBS & NPR Corporate Funding

Posted in Commercial Corporations, Crafts, Creativity / Imagination, Ethics & Morals, Multimedia Communication, news, POB Audio, POB Video, Politics, Services, Sales or Trade, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2019 by Drogo

Corporate Propaganda Influence on ‘PUBLIC’ Broadcasting

PBS is routinely threatened with significant budget cuts by Republican U.S. Congress attacks. Republicans oppose government public funding for broadcasting in favor of capitalist commercial corporate crony ownership over content. The right-wing war against journalism and documentaries labels them as ‘left-wing’ is because of their fear of public opinion. Most people (see the history of unions) have concerns that go against the grain of corporate power and pollution, so it is in corporate ownership’s interest to reduce democracy in favor of plutocracy. Environmental and peace programs threaten corporate profits, and both corporate-run neo-lib-con parties of our 2-party system will not tolerate sharing their national wealth hoarding in favor of resource desecration. [See Climate Change & Current Extinction Rate

Some members of PBS self-audit and comment on the problem of increasing corporate influence. PBS ombudsman Michael Getler reported “on what seems to be ethical compromises in funding arrangements, and lack of real transparency for viewers caused, in part, by the complicated funding demands needed to support public broadcasting.”

The LA Times reported on the billionaire John D. Arnold production of ‘Pension Peril’, which blamed pensions for California state economic losses. “In another such case, a PBS unit that funded independent documentaries canceled a film about the Koch Brothers last year, fearing the reaction of one of its major donors, David Koch. That underscores the cynicism of the steady withdrawal of public funding from PBS since the Reagan administration. It’s another example of the old story of big government getting off the horse, so big business and the wealthy can saddle up.”

Salon article headlines by David Sirota read “When did PBS become the Plutocratic Broadcasting Service? Proof our public media is doomed: Former Enron trader John Arnold is using the network to wage his war on pensions. Our most prominent public media outlets are becoming instruments for special interests to launder their ideological agenda through a seemingly objective brand. Starved for public resources, these outlets are increasingly trying to get their programming funded with money from corporations and wealthy political activists – and that kind of cash comes with ideological expectations. It doesn’t have to be this way. To preserve some modicum of independent journalism, Congress could simply provide the same amount of resources for public media as other advanced democracies do. Congress could then bar PBS from accepting corporate and special interest funding.”

According to Wikipedia – The following corporations have funded PBS programs: Exxon Mobil; Liberty Mutual ; Suburu ; Canon Inc.; Chevron ; Bank of America Corp.; Intel ; Monsanto ; Toyota ; Merrill Lynch ; General Motors Corporation (GM); Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad; GlaxoSmithKline ; British Petroleum (BP); Merck ; Pfizer Inc; Siemens AG; Dow Chemical Company; McDonald’s ; Columbia Forest Products…

A Truth-Out article titled ‘The Corporate Dictatorship of PBS and NPR’ reads, “On November 7, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act. The act set up public broadcasting in the United States, by establishing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which led to the creation of the Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS, and National Public Radio.”

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 states – “It is in the public interest to encourage the growth and development of public radio and television broadcasting, including the use of such media for instructional, educational, and cultural purposes… it is necessary and appropriate for the Federal Government to complement, assist, and support a national policy that will most effectively make public telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States.”

The original purpose even as stated by President Johnson was that ‘we the people’ declare that we want more than just material wealth; we want spiritual, ethical, or environmental quality of life. Reaganomic’s ‘trickle-down’ ideology slashed funding accountability since the 1980’s political deregulations for corporate oligarchy. Public broadcasting institutions now rely more and more on corporate and billionaire cash to operate, which is why PBS and NPR now filter what they play on their airwaves, so that they don’t anger their wealthy backers.

“David Koch has donated upwards of $23 million to public television. And when you donate $23 million dollars to public television, you get more than just a tote bag or a coffee mug – you get to dictate the on-air programming.” – Jane Mayer of the New Yorker

Regarding the PBS & NPR budget diagrams below, i doubt the overall budgets reflect the funding by corporations TO MAKE all the programs. They may only show the purchasing and distribution funding within PBS and NPR, not the corporate manufacturing money invested into the products they then purchase and distribute. Also “Individuals” may include plutocrats who donate large sums on behalf of their companies, as there is no evidence of a cap on individual member donations.

 

 

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Pokeberry Plant

Posted in Crafts, Food & Drink, Nature Studies, Organic Gardens, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2019 by Drogo

Pokeberry plant leaves are edible when young, but most toxic when mature (like rhubarb). Many people are allergic to the toxins so all parts of the plant are poisonous to them. The roots are the most toxic. The leaves are edible when young after being boiled 3x in water changes, or for those of us not allergic to poke frying in oil or butter is fine. Documented cases are common for people allergic to poke, but there are people like me who have been around poke their whole lives, handled the plants often, and squished the berries for stain and ink without any problems beyond our skin getting stained crimson for a day or two. I have heard of someone getting a skin rash from poke (like poison ivy), as they are allergic to touching it; but I am not. My mother had us paint and print with poke berry ink on water-color paper as children, with no problems.

Poke berries are not edible, but when used with vinegar and salt (and other blends) can make ink for writing pens and printing on paper. Pokeberry ink is not archival because it fades over time on paper, even when not exposed to sunlight everyday. However pokeberry ink is a interesting local organic native alternative to industrial toxic inks, but modern use is still experimental although the chemicals in it are known. In gardens they are beautiful in full maturity, with their ornate ‘goblin’ fruits.

“Indians and early settlers used the root in poultices and certain drugs for skin diseases and rheumatism.” – Michael Owen, ISU

The late 19th century herbal, the ‘King’s American Dispensatory’, describes various folk medical uses that led individuals to ingest pokeberry products. Modern commercial medical companies (big pharma) snubs remedies that are found commonly, for obvious pharmaceutical sales reasons, and so serious testing might be hard to study at length with funding for the purposes of common good, for free but cautious home use.

CAUTION:  Many people are allergic to poke toxins, so limit your exposure to the plant to reduce possible effects. There are many medical claims that eating poke roots, berries, or anything from the adult plant can kill in sufficient quantities.

Other articles: ‘Making Pokeweed Ink‘; ‘Pokeberry Ink‘;

For safer printing for all people, perhaps black-berries or mul-berries or huckle-berries are better? For long-term organic industrial printing, using a weed like poke which is not used for human food would make more sense for sustainability though. [Link Process for making any type of berry ink]

[photo from Wikipedia]

Phytolacca_pokeberries

How to Price Art

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Crafts, Illustration, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2019 by Drogo

SCOD List of factors for pricing Art:

1.   Market previously for similar items or services

2.   Social associations of symbols

3.   Artist’s feelings about the art

4.   Relationship between artist and customer

5.   Customer’s feelings about the art

6.   Quality of craft technique

7.   Quantity of materials

8.   Hours invested

9.   Demand currently

10.  Design spirit (alien influence?)

The best thing about art, is that it needs no justification. If someone asks you why you priced it the way you did, you can simply say “ALIENS” and leave it at that. Most subjects and work that we do can be considered in terms of ‘science’ and ‘art’; the artificial value of any product or service (or anything) is subjective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Publishing Paradox

Posted in Book Reports, Commercial Corporations, Crafts, Critical Commentary of Civilization, jobs, Languages, Pub Library, Services, Sales or Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2018 by Drogo

How DC area book stores handle major publishers vs. local authors in 2018.

Book stores are still stuck in the old mentality with major publishers, rather than allow the flooded local markets to flourish with support. Retail profits largely hinge on perceived ‘popularity’ of brands, which is largely self-perpetuating based on reduced whole sale rates, and exaggerated sales advertising to push the merchandise on customers. Book mongers still have a very snobbish attitude towards local authors, even more so now that printed books are in competition with ebooks. Book mongers, like other capitalists will often declare that “there is a DEMAND’ for what they are selling, just as housing developers do when they create a artificial demand by making the supply and cornering the market with advertising and debt based commercial production.

Here is how one book store describes their consignment process on their website:

“Our consignment program helps us accommodate the overwhelming number of requests from local authors who wish to sell their books and host events at Curious Iguana. If, after reading all the information here, you have any questions, email. Please do not stop by or call the store with questions about our consignment program. Click here to download our Consignment Policies and Consignment Form for Author. Note that we do not read review copies, and we do not accept any books without a completed consignment form and FEE. About events – We receive numerous event requests from local authors every week. Only authors whose books have strong consignment sales and broad reader appeal will be considered for an event on a case-by-case basis. Authors should not expect that consigning books will result in an event.”

Consignment usually forces the local author to be in debt to the local store, rather than provide them with any net income. Local authors tend to purchase more books at stores from commercial authors in one visit, than their books may sell all year; so even local authors are more likely to spend more on international authors than their own book sales will make in years. After a few years of their books not being advertised, but often hidden, the author must then contact the store and ask what has sold, and then pick up their check if any have sold. Now that there are more local authors, they are even asked to pick up their remaining books to make room for others. In essence local authors are treated like cattle, and told they are not worthy to make money, and they should be lucky to have a consignment deal before getting kicked out. Quality differences in the contents of books, whether self published or not, have very little to do with these market issues; as mistakes can be found with many mass produced products. Even National Geographic published the wrong image of a sparrow in a major commercial release; not just typos but the very information that is the focus of the ‘best selling’ book can be factually wrong.

Perhaps some day there will be a book store just for local and self-published authors, and their books will be PURCHASED just like the major brand names are now, rather than relegated to forgotten shelves and treated as though they are not worth the paper they are printed on. Perhaps some day we will invest more in our local economies, rather than giving all profits to a few rich fat cats that could barely care less.

So in this area there are basically 2 stores that accept local authors, but due to demands by local authors that they have a place to sell their books, it is increasingly rare that the small portion of the store dedicated to local authors will have room for everyone in the flooded self-published book market. It seems that self-published is a niche market that is not being allowed space due to corporate monopolist priorities. The competitive cut-throat capitalist monopoly model of economics, stands in contrast to the sharing and networking pluralist (multiplicity) more free-market model. Some business workers pride themselves for being very morally patient with customers, clients, bosses, employees, co-workers, and partners; in that they value them as fellow humans and are very generous to the point of pleasantly accepting financial loss as sacrifice for more happiness. That moral model is considered a bad business model for serious capitalists however, because survival success of business is based on financial capital, not ethical capital. There is a strong historic argument to be made that more financial wealth can be made quicker and greater by meaner people that take huge risks, rather than generous people who tend to give away and share more (studies show these people are often considered ‘poor’).

Self-published authors can be economically vital, if local stores open to showcase them as the main product. Some regional examples may soon show that people will travel from around the world to visit unique collections that support populations directly with financing. Rather than stores asking you pay to maybe keep your book there temporarily, and refusing to talk to authors in person or on the phone about the issue of slavish consignment; an alternative option will be to support stores that support self-published authors, which would make independent authors the best meaning (and most fitting use) of the word ‘common’. Possibly current store owners don’t want to be harming the local economy by practicing their old business models, but supply and demand and advertising have very real aspects that corporations do not want commoners to discuss.

The self-publishing paradox is that although the book market is flooded by grassroots citizens writing and publishing books, the means to support them are not part of conventional business models. Even alternative efforts are suppressed due to social, economic, and linguistic self-destructive elitism. Most people that write books do it because they love it or are best at it, not because of the economic incentives because it is generally well known that artists, musicians, and writers are not given living wages. The attitude that the voice of the people is not worth hearing, has never been considered wise or good.