Friday, March 14, 2014

Comedians Pete Holmes and Ben Schwartz discussing Happiness and the Haters

Pete Holmes in conversation with Ben Schwartz discuss Happiness and how trolls and haters fit into the equation.
You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes: #198 Ben Schwartz
BEN SCHWARTZ: (28m 40s) I would want to make everybody happy. As I got older you realise it would waste your whole life to try to get people to love, you just want people to be happy, not everybody's going to like your sh*t and not everybody is going to think you're good and by the way you may not be good in their eyes... Not to be egotistical about it and let it slide. The more you get hit by it, the more you fail, the more you get hurt by stuff like that the easier it is to learn to let it go
PETE HOLMES: But its also, your interpretation of happiness is you and that person getting along...
SCHWARTZ: Yes which is - Great call!
HOLMES: - which isn't true
SCHWARTZ: That's not true, you're absolutely correct. That's not the way to live anybody's life. A random person I don't know
HOLMES: ... It's manipulative for me to try and make everyone like me... Some people hate what you love that's just how it is... Maybe their happiness is hating you. I'm not saying they shouldn't be saying racist things on YouTube. I'm also not saying that's their higher self being filled with hate and spewing darkness. I don't think that's good. Maybe you're not for them and that's OK.
The comedians inject Bill Waterson's ('Calvin and Hobbes' creator) quote about happiness into the conversation. It's not the first time the quote has come up on Pete Holmes' podcast, ambition and the drive of an artist are recurring themes on the show.
Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it's to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You'll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.
- Bill Waterson
Zen Pencils: #128 Bill Watterson - A cartoonist’s advice
The Zen Pencils' comic illustrating the Waterson quote also gets a repeat mention. Fittingly Zen Pencils is currently presenting an original multi-part story commenting on the tension between Creators and Haters. Find them here:
- 144. The Artist-Troll War 1: HATRED BREEDS HATRED
- 145. The Artist-Troll War Part 2: NEGATIVITY DESTROYS ALL
- 146. The Artist-Troll War 3: CREATORS > HATERS

Find previous Pete Holmes podcast references below:
Pete Holmes collection: Adjacent experiences
- Zach Cregger: Being a kid again and the power of "play"
- Matt Besser: Travel coincidences and Counting the serendipities
- Duncan Trussell: Traveling, living the dream and remembering it
- Kyle Kinane: Being excited everyday
- The Sklar Brothers: Performing, possibly failing - That's living the dream
- A question answered with a quote: Comedy Podcasts

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A 'Memento Year' exhibition, Hamburg 2011

<< crossposted in the 'Loz in Transation' blog

You know the random things you collect in life that have no monetary value but worth the world in sentimental meaning? Scribbled notes, containers to things long depleted and tickets to events come and gone. When you're on the road you tend to collect more of those things.

I met a German artist at the start of my EuroTrip at a Gallery opening in Venice. Fast Forward 10 months later, I got to crash at his gallery over Christmas and decorate my bedroom. It was a tribute to the people and moments that defined my trip.

Memento Spotlight: Find out more about the Mementos featured
- UFC and WWE autographs in England
- Conversation doodles from Firenze, Italy


The Exhibition runs from December 22 to 27, 2011 at Elektrohaus Art Gallery in Hamburg, Germany.

'A Memento Year' title wall
Trigger Days:
- Trigger posts
- Trigger: Day 244 - 8 months in review
- Day 177 - My second camera's 100 Day anniversary
- Other milestone days of a Memento year: Day 200, Day 150, Day 100
- Hair, There and Everywhere: Haircut days in Europe

Collateral and Postcards collected
- Jacques Henri Lartigue: Why I'm getting a camera
- Your image as a construct - What to Wear (Barcelona)
- Art imitating life: "Neo - Ruin" by Hisahara Motoda
- Free Art Exhibitionism

Germans in attendance
- Louis Theroux, Couchsurfing and Holland
- Social Sunday Sports, Basketball in London
- Other people's stories - Tales of: Living in the moment

Sleeping quarters
- Live: Edinburgh Fringe comedy roundup
- Coolspotting: Nerding out in England - Comics, CosPlay, Video Games and Wrestling
- Road Music: Live. Forever.
- Road Music: Hipsters and Hardcore in Lisboa, Portugal
- The kids are alright: Subculture in the South of Spain
- Live sports results: Barcelona, March 2011

Trigger Music

Trigger: Germany Revisited, Impressions of Köln
- Runnin' (Jay Dee remix) by The Pharcyde
Trigger: Living Island Adventures in Estonia
- 'Born To Be Wild' by Steppenwolf
Trigger: "A moment in time" Panevėžys, Lithuania (2011 m. Rugsėjo 7)
- 'This is the moment' by David Hasselhoff (Jekyll & Hyde)
Trigger: Egotripping II - England, on the road again
- 'On the Road Again' by Canned Heat
Trigger: Crazy Times in Holland, Day 185 - Day 195
- 'Crazy Days Loca People (What the f**k)' by Sak Noel
Trigger: "One hell of a night" Rotterdam, Netherlands (Juli 26, 2011)
- 'Soundtrack 2 My Life' by KiD CuDi
- 'What a great night' by Hilltop Hoods
Trigger: "Qualidade de Vida" in Casa dos Gauchos, Porto
- 'Good Life' by Kanye West
Trigger: The impressions of Porto
- 'Bad Boys for life' by P Diddy
Trigger: Ego Tripping in Portugal - Sintra, Obidos, Ericeria, Coimbra
- 'Road Trippin' by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Trigger: A Memento year - The first 100 days
- 'Sonata for Viola da Gamba No. 1 in G' by Bach

Eurobasket 2011, Lithuania corner
- 30HomeGames Blog
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part I
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part II
- Trash Talk: News and notes on Lithuania and EuroBasket2011

Portugal corner
- Trigger: "Qualidade de Vida" in 'Casa dos Gauchos', Porto
- Trigger: Ego Tripping in Portugal - Sintra, Obidos, Ericeria, Coimbra
- Sintra, Portugal: "O mundo gira" - The second chances we get in life and travel
- Portugal: Eat - Fine Food with Friends
- Portugal: Pray - Saints and Sinners
- Portugal: Love - Portugal sure is warm!
- Tudo Bom: The first 3 days in Portugal (1 of 3)
- Tudo Bom: The first 3 days in Portugal (2 of 3)
- Tudo Bom: The first 3 days in Portugal (3 of 3)

'Loz in Transit' Countries visited
Find the collection of quotables here:
- A question answered with a quote: German + Italian edition
- A question answered with a quote: Spain edition
- A question answered with a quote: Portugal edition
- A question answered with a quote: Holland Edition
- A question answered with a quote: UK Edition
- A question answered with a quote: Lithuania Edition
- A question answered with a quote: Latvia + Estonia edition
- A question answered with a quote: England edition
- A question answered with a quote: Germany Revisited edition

FIBA Basketball jersey, retired and presented

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Facebook, consciousness and connection: Theodore Twombly has found "Her".

Single meets Singularity
Director and tastemaker Spike Jonze is getting plenty of press for his new movie 'Her'. A new age love story that asks questions about "real love" is in the Digital age. In an interview with James Bell for 'Sight & Sound' (Jan 2014) Magazine, Spike explains that on the one hand we as humans are afraid of connecting but afraid of connecting also. Afraid of not being seen but afraid of being seen.

This touches on a similiar theme Comedians Harland Williams and Pete Holmes touched on in an episode of the 'You Made it Weird' podcast.
You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes: #127 Harland Williams
HARLAND WILLIAMS: (27m 45s) Let me ask you this? Maybe people have shifted their focus from - I don't think people on a daily basis think about rocks and twigs but maybe people have injected a little bit of their souls into their cellphones and their computers because all these things become very personal now.
I've literally gone out to lunch with my cellphone instead of calling a friend because I want to be with my cellphone and I want to read USA Today, I want to play a game. I want to spend time with my cellphone, so maybe inadvertently we've shifted some our soul into these belongings but its sad because its not real. They're not part of the earth.
PETE HOLMES: Its a synthetic. We're mainlining a fake type of social [interaction]- but its better. It feels better, like a drug. Like a synthetic drug. It feels better than actually conversing with somebody because you can control it. Its a little bit more private. You read your tweets, you look at your Instagram, you look at your Facebook, you play a game, you read your. Its all very controlled.
Whereas when I'm talking to you, I can offend you...
Other posts on Technology
- Being truly free [with the help of Robots?]: 'Whatever You Wish' by Isaac Asimov
- Technology VS Human instinct: From Inuits in Northern Canada to Jungle Guides in the Amazon
- Comedian Louis C.K. on what Smartphones are taking away
- Comedians Pete Holmes and Eddie Pepitone on the phone as a "Life Companion"
- Dan Harmon talks Television with Marc Maron on GT4: "Hamburger" Art and living in a "concrete, Orwellian Honeycomb"
Other posts on Consciousness

Single meets Singularity (Hurt Edition)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Let's Get Real - Episode 7 preview: Losing Yourself

Its interesting listening back to the expectations had before a trip. My 7th conversation occurred a week before my 6 month jaunt around South America. It was also recorded after a particularly colorful evening that doubled as a farewell celebration. The unforgettable night reminded me of the "Elysium Intentional Community" featured in David Wain's 'Wanderlust' (2012). Naked people frolicking, outdoor bathtubs in the rain with a warehouse rave in between. "It was quite a trip".

VIDEO: 'Wanderlust' (2012)

These festivities provided a great leadup as it made experimentation less urgent for my trip. Its true that if one seeks Drug Tourism in South America, it can be found. In some places its common to see locals indulge in the lifestyle, in other places "plant medicines" are linked to the indigenous heritage. More often than not I found locals who resisted drugs of any form and lamented the shallow impression foreigners were being exposed to.

Practising phrases in Spanish Class
English: Where are you going tomorrow?
I need to relax all day for the ceremony.
In Ecuador I had an opportunity to go on a Sacred Medicine Journey with the San Pedro Cactus. Whilst waiting for the weekend ceremony I did a homestay with a Spanish Teacher. She gave me an insight into how the Economy of the neighboring town was skewed by Cocaine traffickers. My Ceremony never transpired, at first it was postponed then cancelled altogether as the shaman was worried about a "negative energy in the air". I was at peace with her decision. I'd spent time with a disproportionate amount of Conspiracy Theorists in Ecuador, I was aware of how precarious reality could be and was not going to risk it if conditions weren't right.

The Shaman educates visitors of their traditional culture and
the unique process of what he does
My only contact with Ayahuasca besides the countless conversations about it was in the Amazonas of Ecuador. We were able to ask questions of a Shaman who regularly took the plant to diagnose and assist his patients. Interestingly the motorista of our boat was the Shaman's brother, their departed father was considered one of the tribe's best shamans. They were following in his footsteps.

Our motorista and the Shaman's brother
Our motorista who began consuming Ayahuasca at the age of 14 gave up this path to be with his love, a Christian tribemate who didn't approve of the tradition. It highlighted the tussle between indigenous tradition and modernism coupled with foreign influence.

Further reading:
- The representation of Ayahuasca in Hollywood, Ayahuasca: What Jennifer Aniston May Not Know About the 'Spirit Vine'
- San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi) wiki
- Ayahuasca brew wiki

Friday, January 3, 2014

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty': Ben Stiller on hyperreality and losing yourself in the moment

Australia's Movie Guy, Marc Fennell dubbed 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' as "the best 2 hour Travel Agent ad you've ever seen". So its only fitting that I found this Ben Stiller feature on the Delta Airlines inflight magazine 'Sky'.

Delta Airlines' Magazine 'Sky' (December 2013): The Ben Stiller Magic
The profile written by a forgivably gushy Steve Marsh, injects some psychoanalysis of Ben Stiller
The Ben Stiller Magic
Stiller, at least in the movies he directs, has always seemed obsessed with reality --specifically with how reality is shaped (or warped) by the stuff we watch when we’re on the couch... 
"So why are you so interested in this notion of reality? It seems like your entire career has been obsessed with this idea."
"Wow," Stiller says. "I never really analyzed it. That’s interesting you say that, because I’ve never thought about it that way." He pauses.
As someone drawn to Dreams and Reality this was right up my alley.
I ask him if he ever daydreams. "No, not really," he says. "When you're making a movie like this, or any movie really, you're so in the moment, you’re not really daydreaming. But I do try to take time to appreciate the experience of doing things you wouldn't normally get to do."

He remembers one moment on the set of Mitty: "This wasn't really a daydream, but it was just kind of a moment of realization. I was in the water and we had to do a shot where the Zodiac boat is approaching me to pull me out of the water, and the only way we could get the shot was to put the camera in the boat, because it's like a POV of the boat coming at me. We were a mile or half a mile out to sea in the ocean off Iceland, and the swells were pretty big, so they dropped me in the water and just drove away. It was just a funny, surreal moment. Cause I'm really in the ocean here by myself. I couldn't see anything; the boat went far enough away that it was gone, the swells were at four feet. And I was like, This is crazy, this is actually... this is happening. I'm really in the ocean. If that boat doesn't come back... I mean, I know they know I'm here but... It's like the funny crossover of reality and movies, where you do real things but somehow you think because you're doing it for a movie that everything is OK. And, actually, the weird thing that you're doing is as dangerous or weird as it would be if there was no camera there; you're still really doing it." 
Whether its an Astronaut going about his routine or a backpacker off to his next destination there is an element of being outside yourself that is necessary to accomplish "extraordinary" things.

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' (2013)
Whilst walking around Cartagena I spotted this perch by the water. Not being scared of heights and with my fondness for climbing things I decided to scale it. I could be like a Pirate of the Caribbean.
Only at the top did I realise how precarious and foolish the endeavour was. What was I thinking?
From Below: Crow's Nest in Cartagena, Colombia
From above: Probably not the best idea 
We "get into the zone" or are under so much pressure we forget to appreciate the moment. When you're caught up in the moment or swept by momentum, things you never thought possible can be mundanely achieved.
We just have to remember not to appreciate them mundanely.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Being truly free [with the help of Robots?]: 'Whatever You Wish' by Isaac Asimov

What the future holds: Plotting new systems of living in Vilcabamba, Ecuador
One of the interesting things about my time in South America is seeing people adopt realities that suit them. Travelers in general live lifestyles outside the norm but often times this is only a temporary endeavour. Because of its relatively low cost of living and the culture of lucha and revolution in South America, people all over the World come here to forge new lives.

A reality above the clouds
Hippies trade their wares and perform their craft. Entrepreneurs and free spirits open Hostels and eateries. Dreamers start Eco Farms and assemble intentional communities. Retirees swarm to stretch their lifesavings or get a headstart in spending it. A few people are even escaping governments they feel are on a downward slide.

You can't help but ponder what it would be like if everyone had the means to create their ideal future. If everyone had the time, money and access to pursue their longheld dreams. Whilst in Quito, Ecuador crashing with a lovely couple and their newborn I read 'Robot Visions' by Isaac Asimov. A collection of short stories and essays envisioning our possible future with Robots. It provided an insight into what that utopia might look like:

Will future generations live in a Utopia made possible by Robots?
'Whatever You Wish' by Isaac Asimov
What about the majority of the human species in this automated future? What about those who don't have the ability or the desire to work at the professions of the future—or for whom there is no room in those professions? It may be that most people will have nothing to do of what we think of as work nowadays.

This could be a frightening thought. What will people do without work? Won't they sit around and be bored; or worse, become unstable or even vicious? The saying is that Satan finds mischief still for idle hands to do.

But we judge from the situation that has existed till now, a situation in which people are left to themselves to rot.

Consider that there have been times in history when an aristocracy lived in idleness off the backs of flesh-and-blood machines called slaves or serfs or peasants. When such a situation was combined with a high culture, however, aristocrats used their leisure to become educated in literature, the arts, and philosophy. Such studies were not useful for work, but they occupied the mind, made for interesting conversation and an enjoyable life.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Exploring Worlds in life and in Video Games - The Indoor Kids #59: Why we Play, with Pete Holmes

This world is "Super"
Funnyman Pete Holmes in a discussion with the Indoor Kids' Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon describe the appeal of Videogames. The liberty and achievement found in them that isn't always as accessible in real life.
The Indoor Kids #59: Why we Play, with Pete Holmes
EMILY GORDON: (28m 22s) When you're a kid there's so little you have control over... when I was a kid playing games part of it was that I got to exert control over a world because in this world I was a f*cking kid. I had no control whatsoever. And the older you get and the more control you have, you're just using the knowledge you have. "I can f*ck this up"
KUMAIL NANJIANI: And you trying to f*ck it up it is the ultimate expression of control. Like you're now even trying to control the boundaries of the game and get outside it.
What are we waiting for?
Travel to me is taking the time to discover the wonders the world has to offer. Exploring the many people, cultures and landscapes.
PETE HOLMES: (24m 38) Kids get more excited about how is this game going to be made, or what details and Easter Eggs are they going to put into the game... when I was kid I wanted to take it apart... let me give you an example because I'm not being very clear... everytime I got a new Sonic game the first thing I would do was start the level and then have Sonic stand still
KUMAIL: Oh yes so he could do the things, tap his foot, look at his watch
EMILY: Cause you feel like somehow its a communication between you and the people who made the game... what did they think of to thwart what you were thinking of
KUMAIL: So that's interesting for you its more of a dialogue between the makers and not what's inside the world. You're trying to sort of, in a way break the game but just sort of see what the boundaries of what they've thought of are
Let's go out there F*ck shit up
In my travels I'll walk around aimlessly looking for things that pique my interest. I never found the appeal of guide books, preferring just to stumble onto things or take suggestion from others. Better yet ego-tripping with new running mates.
PETE: (30m 07s) Everytime I get Grand Theft Auto and I start from the beginning [I like to play the story] but then I'll try to go to parts of the island you're not suppose to because I want to see what happens
EMILY: and there's always a Police Line or something really stupid set up
KUMAIL: and you know what's really awesome, if you find a place that you're not suppose to get to and when you get there, there's like a little message on the wall and you're like "You knew I'd be looking for this. You win this one"
Other posts on "Life as a Video Game"
- Dan Harmon and Duncan Trussell: We are in a simulation echo. God was originally a mortal programmer who "sacrificed himself as a player"
- Other 'VideoGame' posts