Beliefs: The Fallacy of Equality

Last night I saw that many of my Facebook friends changed their profile pictures to a new “Marriage Equality” logo.

It’s so easy to put a new logo up as our Facebook profile picture, but what are we really willing to do for equality? There are still people who are excluded from families, social groups, and organizations because they think, love or just dress differently than the rest of us. As a whole we still demonize people who disagree with the “Group Think” or don’t have the politically correct views. I do it, you do it, we all do it…

We’re getting meaner, we’re hitting further and further below the belt, it’s increasingly more divisive and we’re making it more personal than ever before. We’re a society that’s in decay because we’re so focused on how we’re different while ignoring what makes us the same. Many of us actually like to be pissed about something because it feels “good” to have a justifiable reason to be pissed.

A new “equality” badge is supposed to make everything better. But what are you actually willing to do, what are you actually willing to change? So long as we continue to alienate people who have different thought processes or see the world differently via different beliefs then there will never be equality.

What more are we willing to do? And when I say we, I also mean me.

Let’s just imagine for a second that the Supreme Court rules in favor of Marriage Equality… there is still going to be discrimination in our society. There’s something about human nature that wants to exclude people because they are somehow different.

For some of us to “function” we need to have people to “hate,” to have an “Exclusive Club” we have to have someone to exclude. Perfect example is this debate on Gay Marriage Equality and the level of genuine animosity and hatred (yes, hatred) of from people who are for it against those who simply are against it for religious and sociological reasons. The people who are for GME (Gay Marriage Equality) are losing the debate with those people because of using strong-arm and bullying tactics.

Do they really think they’re going to wear their opponents down by vilifying them and using derogatory labels?
Obviously, those who are opposed to GME have used the same tactics against those are for it.

We’re going to get past this hurtle one way or another; eventually there is going to be GME; but then what? There are still going to be people in our own society that are going to be treated unfairly simply because they’re different. It happens in families, it happens with in schools, it happens at the work place.

Gay Marriage Equality is just the “tip of the iceberg.” What people are talking about with GME is a change in the law and a small change in our society compared to the true, genuine revolution I’m calling for. We exclude people and then we wonder why they hurt and betray us.
I’m talking about an internal revolution, literally changing the way we treat everyone.


Lesson Learned: Don’t learn the tricks of the trade: Learn the trade!

I remember back in the 1990’s reading this book that was full of short pearls of wisdom for professionals, a lot like “The Little Black Book Of Design” but more for a broader audience. There was one that stuck out in my head that I think about a lot during my time at Mount Wachusett Community College; “Don’t learn the tricks of the trade – learn the trade.”

Trust me; fewer words are truer than those.

Before attending MWCC to get this degree in this specific field, I was a freelancer with a background in Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD), Multimedia, Document Control, Telcom-Netorking, and I was a semi-professional writer working on a series of websites including my own. I was also making good money doing Graphic Design for other people but there was this thing that held me back.

At the time, I didn’t know what it was that was missing. There was this nebulous cloud of “stuff” that I wanted to clear up, sort out, master, and then move to the next level of my career. I just didn’t know how and where to go to define what this “stuff” was. Not knowing what this stuff was cost me a lot of money.

Back in the spring of 2010 while I was recovering from a broken back (compression fracture of L1) I was cheated out of some credit I was owed. I was allegedly working under a “Director Of Media” at this charitable organization, but I never worked with him at all. I did everything myself while he joked “now you know why I quit.” After a function I saw a handful of people getting envelopes with pay checks inside. I joked and asked, “Where’s mine?”

“Oh, you don’t get one since you’re not officially on the team or on the books.”

After talking to the accountant of this organization I found out that “The Director of Media” was literally getting paid and was being given the credit for the work I was doing. On one of the promotional materials he was literally listed as the “producer” of the podcasts I created for this organization; on a stack of bibles I swear that I never heard from him once while getting this work done. I literally did the work, 6 hours of work each week, alone. The setup, the editing, the uploading on the website, I did everything on my own. When they ran out of space on their server, I even hosted some of their work on my own server. I also paid to burn some CD’s of some of the special events they held. Not only was I not getting paid, doing this work was costing my family money. Insult to injury was not even getting credit for it. As you can imagine, I quit the day after the accountant (who also quit around the same time) showed me in the actual books how this character was getting paid for the work I did.

They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you; that’s not true. Ignorance of the tools of the trade is expensive and can cost you something in the long run. You have to know the lexicon, the language graphic designers and artists speak to each other.

After talking to someone who experienced something similar, she suggested that I go get a degree at MWCC for Graphic Design; which was the best advice I heard in a long time. The best advice I ever took…

Graphic Designers need to know these principals and how the relate to one another so that when a piece of work doesn’t look right you can discuss the people you’re working with and for how to fix the project. There’s nothing worse than talking to someone about contrast and typography and getting a blank stare back… unless you’re the one giving the blank stare since you don’t know what you’re talking about.

For anyone who wants to get into Graphic Design I can only offer this advice; learn from my mistakes. You can read all the books you want on the subject, you can watch all the free tutorials on the internet, and you can work for hours or weeks at a time for free just to get something on your resume; but you will never go far enough without a degree from some legitimate institution. Nobody will take you seriously without some serious time at a legitimate institution.

Don’t just learn the tricks of the trade, learn the trade. In Graphic Design there is no room for such short-cuts.

Most Embarrassing Moment

It’s hard to pick an embarrassing moment since I’ve had so many incredible ones.

One that sticks out in my mind was when a girlfriend and I were right in the middle of getting it on in one of the empty rooms her uncle had in one of the rental units he owned. Her grandfather was going to do some work in the unit and he was inside before we could even get dressed and hide.

It was weird standing there wearing nothing but a condom getting lectured by an elderly hillbilly about how all I was after was what I could get out of her. What was worse, it wasn’t even my idea since she dragged me into that apartment when I wanted to go to the library to get some work done.

There was also the sense of embarrassment when I received a letter in the mail that I was only one credit shy of graduating from school; I had to retake an English class, ironically. I attended summer school and aced every test and assignment and often times there was this feeling that I was the only one who was having conversations with the teacher during class discussion.

After I passed that class I was told “Congratulations, you’re now a High School Graduate! Please pay us the $90 fee to get your diploma.” Because money was so tight I simply didn’t have the $90. I went from the age of 19 to 21 having graduated high school but I didn’t have the piece of paper to prove it.

That embarrassment was revisited when I applied to college in Upstate New York. I had the $90 to get from that school in Vermont, but because my transcript was in such horrible shape I needed to take some remedial classes. I was actually retaking classes at the age of 21 with High School students from ages 14 to 18.

Somewhere out there in the world there are actually TWO High School Diploma’s with my name on them… one in my box of mementos in my basement and the other in a filing cabinet in central Vermont.

Years later in Topeka, Kansas I was in bed with this incredibly beautiful woman who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Unfortunately her husband had other ideas.

Finally, one of the most embarrassing moments of my life came when I was having a beer with my father-in-law and asked me “Is cunnilingus something you do to her, or is it something she does to you.”

Childhood Memory

Despite my difficult childhood there were a couple of really wonderful moments. Most of them occurred when it was just the four of us; my mother, sister, brother and I. There are actually two memories that stick out the most as being genuinely positive.

The first was in the summer of 1980 when “The Empire Strikes Back” finally came to a theater near us. We piled into the Chevy “Shove-ette” and went to the First Cinema on Putney Road in Brattleboro, Vermont. My heart was beating out of my chest because I simply couldn’t believe we were going. Because of my mother’s hatred for the smell of popcorn, we didn’t go to the movies that often. This was a huge event.

Once inside the theater I was complete transported to that world that George Lucas created, that “Galaxy Far, Far Away.” Because of the quality of the special effects, the music and acting it felt like a genuine place to me at the age of 11. Once the movie was finished I was obsessed with the idea of movie making.

There’s this incredible notion, especially for a kid with some artistic talent, that people could actually make a good living creating things just off the top of my head.

Another positive childhood memory was when my Aunt Callie came to spend the summer with my other aunt, Gina. Since Gina, my Uncle Bob and two cousins Lisa and Jenny were just a couple of miles away we spent a lot of time with them one summer. It was an incredible privilege to talk with my aunt who was already a talented artist and a huge inspiration to me. My aunt taught me a little about fantasy drawing and how to create texture from holding and rubbing a pencil in directions. She introduced me to the idea of crosshatching and stipple.