Paint meeting

April 24th, 2014 by harold

It was a weird meeting. Dad, the Paint guy and me. Figuring out what to do and how. It’s tight, the Paint guy is super busy and looking at my room, he told us he would need a week of work. Fair enough.

My dad doesn’t really make any sense in his decisions, says something to me, says the opposite to the Paint guy, I don’t know to which one he lies to, that’s how connected we are. I mean his train of thoughts is not straight when the meeting is simple: how long, how much, when. It doesn’t seem like an insane equation. He freaks the shit out for everything, for no reason. What a drama bitch sometimes.

Anyway. Meanwhile we’re chatting and the Paint guy –that we have known for twenty years- is telling us that he has way too much work, up to next year. And that in the beautiful French way, he only hires when he loses contracts! Why? Because hiring is such a pain in France, it is such a crazy amount of admin shit and heavy taxes that he prefers not to grow his business, he just hires for a couple of months when it’s really needed. He’s lucky to be on a local market because if he had to compete internationally like I have to with the computer game market his business wouldn’t be thriving, trust me.

Then I look at the story of AirBnB, Facebook making so much money, CA friends being in startups and it’s just crazy how much things in France are not exciting you know? It feels like you’ll never go nowhere, don’t dream because that will not happen here. Just enjoy your vacation ten weeks a year, not knowing what to do because wages suck. My design mind kicks in and I’m mad at that terrible design and its opposite cousin in the US (one vacation week a year, buy too much shit). Whatevs.

Sigh. Almost there. All the trees outside are green which is usually a sign that I’ll take off soon, which is quite the case, which is quite fucking crazy. I’m drained and alive.

Springhouse

April 23rd, 2014 by harold

A little acoustic-ish four on the floor, composed and recorded in Paris. Just a sweet, bluesy background to start you moving, dusting your apartment, pondering on life, stuff like that. I have three mostly done tracks coming out before I remove my home studio and become a full on laptopsician for the next months. Love,

Designing for us

April 23rd, 2014 by harold

I remember reading on Steve Jobs, adopted child who having seen his father neatly fix things around became who he was, a psychopath of solving problems forever, in a way that they don’t come back, almost.

It totally made sense to me because adoption means that something crucial is broken –family- from the start so you grow up wishing it wasn’t broken and seeing your dad fixing and building things helps getting that need out. Also, I’m in the same situation. Adopted with dads fixing and building things, lefty. I look at the world and I’m like, “folks, this needs some tweaking”.

Like I would always be more interested in a country challenges than its culture or food. In a very Steve Jobs style I’d say I don’t care about that, I care about finding elegant and efficient solutions. I feel this drive for a better world. I feel this need to build (and by extension, destroy; you learn to minimize) for good 24/7.

It makes me sick when we could but we don’t, you know? It’s the worst feeling to me. It’s going to make me search for a solution until I reach for one that makes sense for as many people as possible, would it be for personal issues or public housing problems. I just love designing for us. I don’t get the “design for yourself, first”. That’s so short-sighted and obvious.

To me it’s better if everyone around is happy too, maybe that makes too much sense I don’t know but I don’t feel like it’s a shared value around and it’s freaking me out a bit sometimes.

I’ll find teams, hopefully. I’ll find people so that maybe I can scale up my projects and build more, following my design from the sound level to the business model.

Sometimes I wish I was a tall, white asshole.

That housing madness

April 19th, 2014 by harold

Housing, like health care, is a basic need that is too important to be left completely at the whims of the free market. But an enormous new government housing bureaucracy does not seem like a desirable solution.

Yep. First, “free market” lol. There is no such thing with real estate and housing. But I agree, housing is a basic need. It’s a basic need that we can easily solve. We have all the technology to do a great job and provide sustainable, maintenance-free, zero net housing and buildings.


I was searching for modern small prefab houses and Minecraft was like, “there you go”

We can prefab and raise houses in a couple of days. The biggest obstacle on better and cheaper housing are policies that a lot of people are living out of. Otherwise, we have everything to provide affordable housing, right now. It’s crazy.

You know, when they said that almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population it made me realize that we could afford free housing easily. States, countries could provide, mandate that. It is a basic need –I’d say more than health care- and seeing how much people bleed to afford a place that they mostly will use to sleep after hard work, it’s so inefficient, dumb and ridiculous that it makes my skin crawl. I’m looking deep into rent/rentals issues these days and oh boy, it’s depressing as hell.

Imagine growing up knowing that you always will have a roof because your income isn’t indexed to it. You’ll have a roof.
Imagine how different it would have made you and how less anxious you would be.

Good design has to create conflict

April 18th, 2014 by harold

Ever since Windows Phone was first introduced, I’ve enjoyed being able to glance at Live Tiles and quickly get the information I need. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a full solution to what was actually a much greater problem: How do you look at notifications without having to exit an app or unlock the screen? It’s hard to believe it took Microsoft almost four years to figure it out, but Windows Phone 8.1 finally addresses that oversight with a notification menu, dubbed the Action Center.

Notification centers should die. It’s better not to be harassed and overwhelmed by notifications. the little number in a circle? Way more stressful than a tile turning to show up an update. The design principle is that if you see an important notification you will take action, unlock your phone, reply, whatever. Therefore you don’t need to read all notifications automatically on your lock screen. I don’t want my phone to distract me. it’s opt in design instead of opt out (clearing notifications, forever) and it’s smarter, more elegant. Respectful. Exactly like not giving % for battery life, it’s better for your stress level my friend. It’s by design, you dumb gadget bloggers. Microsoft first aimed at 99% of people who don’t care about that kind of super nerdy detail and now address your whining.

New design, new paradigm invites conflict with what the current trend/opinion is. Look at FLW houses, the famous architect didn’t include attics and basements in his plans because he thought it was useless to keep old stuff. 100 years later, he’s still right. His design principle is still absolutely valid, when you see the amount of shit people have and don’t know where to put, lamenting that they have too much junk/not enough space.

His design principle is saying “whatever room I’ll make, you’ll never have enough” and this is exactly the case. It’s saying “I went to the future for you and I’m telling you right now, just use the things you use everyday and throw away old stuff”. That’s good design and you either trust it or you think that you are smarter. Let it go. Embrace fully first, and then compare.

Good design doesn’t try to exploit your weaknesses. Good design respects you. Good design thinks you are smart because you are. You might have bad habits, though.

Bros first

April 17th, 2014 by harold

The closest people from my personal story are Barack Obama, Mario Balotelli and Frantz Fanon. Black dudes who grew up in a white world without black people around which for some reason, made us anxious as hell and confused.

Barack found peace marrying the blackest, smartest woman he could find. She mentored him, the rest is history. Nicely done, B.

Mario is still searching for peace, got a baby girl without wanting her, still fighting an incredibly crazy world of irrational love when he scores, spits and banana peels when he doesn’t. Hang tight son I’m ten years older and I’m telling you, the rollercoaster has just started.

Frantz is dead. He wrote all his life about how fucked up things are, race wise. It’s incredibly disheartening to witness that a book published sixty motherfucking five years ago still describes accurately what is going on socially: black people, white people and language. Black women and white men. White women and black men. All that stuff is still happening. It’s about survival. It’s still about survival.

Me? Well I have a plan but sure, I’m still searching for inner peace I guess. I read too much. White kids and babies are still really fascinated by my face. They look at me with this intensity, I feel like a Nubian King (“now bow down, little fucker!”). And I still haven’t hold a black baby in my arms. Ever. I will cry and not hear anything around me, no doubt. If that happens.

My relationship with my parents is so surreal now. It’s like they have a son, stripped down from all identity from their point of view. And it doesn’t matter to them because as long as I’m around helping them out they’re happy. I’m not and they don’t really get it. More like they don’t want to, a bit. Sometimes I explain stuff to them, my point of view, throw some numbers and stats and they are crushed, looking down. And I’m like, “exactly!” that’s what I feel too but I can’t stop won’t stop so don’t be sad, just show some support from time to time.

But it’s easier to do like none of that stuff exists. France is world champion hands down on that behavior so I know it’s cultural, not that my parents are mean, though they could be cooler. I mean, even my sister says it. God, it’s so weird. Yet so rich.

I dream of sleeping and waking up in LA everyday. It’s getting closer.

Frankie Knuckles

April 10th, 2014 by harold

The godfather of house passed away last week. I didn’t talk about Don Blackman and George Duke who passed last year and who are such huge giants and influences over music and myself.

But Frankie is different. I started to listen to house music early 2000s, kind of part of me discovering any type of music and electronic music was still quite obscure. I didn’t even know it was noted as gay music. I had listened to some early house, far in the night on the radio station (1991’s Crystal Waters’ Gypsy Woman had been huge here in Europe)  but I thought it was kind of repetitive.

Ha! That’s the thing. You repeat. You forget. You vibrate. And then you dance.

I hadn’t been into dancing before that I just knew mosh pits, the opposite of synchronizing your body. House music made me learn to take my time and not care, just groove until the morning or until my pasta is ready. It’s an important message, still.

Later on mid 2000s I learned about the disco demolition night, the refuge that house music provided to minorities, especially homosexuals who needed some love in a world that just couldn’t stand one of them. In that, to me house music was democratic, bringing together my straight ass, girls booty and gay dudes and lesbians on the dance floor, how many music genre can do that that well? Only one.

RIP Frankie, and thank you for pioneering an entire world. Also please fellow black people, lay off the damn sugars y’all dying from this shit.

Dustcore

April 9th, 2014 by harold

Well I still have two fireplaces to dismantle but, the big dirty cleaning of the attic is mostly done.

Dust, man. Dust is tiring. At first you really don’t care but after five hours you just need to lie down uncomfortably with water running down your nose. Good thing it’s over.

All the trash has to go somewhere though and I have almost 40 bags of that. It’s complicated to get rid of that stuff, you either have to show 3 IDs at the same name –I get screwed on the car one- to drop it off in a waste bin, where thrash is filtered out and you pay if it’s not done before and I didn’t do it because it’s fucking trash.

It’s crazy how complex things became in 30 years sometimes. Before, you could just drive to any dumpster and drop your stuff in, the end. Now I have to get my bags one by one from the attic, three times a week and make my neighbors hate me for filling up the main trash bin. All of that to get rid of stuff from someone who lived here back in the 50s, THANKS BUT NO THANKS MAN.

I’m going to be so in shape back in LA, I might become an action movie star/governor/Austrian wait no but uh, I’m hungry.

Patterns and communities

April 8th, 2014 by harold

I realize that the most efficient, stable, future-proof, private and fair protocol is peer to peer. Bitcoin, Bittorrent, Tor but also B2C or eCommerce. The more direct the connection is, the better. The more atomic, the more flexible, the stronger. The less spectacular too.

I always wonder why that P2P pattern doesn’t  stick well despite all its qualities and I think it’s because of communities’ attractiveness. Communities create interest, hierarchy, friction and ultimately war against other communities. It doesn’t matter how the community has been created, would it be to genuinely make things better. At some point, that community will annoy people out of it, people in another community or people inside that community who are a bit different. It’s just a matter of time. Meanwhile, individuals, us, are suddenly made invisible and irrelevant.

It’s everywhere, we see it all the time from Crimea to Mozilla. It’s a really weird problem. If history tells us that communities are poisonous, why people still bother building them then? Habits. I think it’s a thing of the past, even though we are passing debt from countries to countries today we still socialize at a tribe level. Also, greed: communities become that really efficient machine that takes control over individuals and sucks everything –time, energy, money- out of you and makes a giggling minority abusing its power in some way, at some point, always. Power is exciting and then you get drunk on it.

In a P2P system that can’t really happen it’s all about fairness, trust and peace. It’s boring, but it’s stable as fuck.

Why stability would be important? Well that’s how the universe gave us the Earth, through stability. This is how humans made insane progress in the last 60 years, through stability. This is how you raise a family at best, through a stable life. It’s a beautiful constant in this world.

We humans should stabilize our shit more. It’s boring, but someone has to do it. We’ll have fun after that. Loads.

The classic sex talk blog post that ends up with Bonobos

April 7th, 2014 by harold

My biggest problem with all the discussion around sex work and porn is not how it makes some people survive, some people live, some people happy. It’s like, “cool story, hoe.” (I HAD to do it, only five years that I’m writing English)

My biggest problem is that sex work and porn are so ridiculously aimed toward men’s really dumb sex culture that it inherently cannot be something good for women, as we can witness: look out for sex discussions online today and you will see young women finding masturbation –touching your own body- disgusting while they think they should have anal sex to have “real sex without problems”.

I mean that’s fucking twisted, people. That needs to stop. It’s damn confusing for them too.

See, women even the horniest ones are not avidly collecting DVDs full of big dicks and if they do, they don’t brag about it. Women don’t argue to have the ability, the right to pay for sex. They mostly don’t do that, only men. Not all men, just some of us.

So why the fuck would we shape ALL laws and ALL markets for those guys? That’s ridiculous.

It’s the same pattern with porn business: fine, porn, fetish, hardcore sex, no biggie. These are performers, nothing good or bad. But why is that always so awful with a focus on what I guess old white dudes in control of that industry think is turning people on? Why the nails, why the heels, why the gross dudes (“they come across as unappealingly gymmish and overdone: shiny, smooth bodies annelid with veins, and usually something slightly Lou Ferrigno about their faces.”, says Julieanne, very accurately) why the socks, why the you-are-so-not-on-target-sir cunnilingus and the so sad because mandatory money shot. Why virtually all of my dude friends got a finger in their butt and liked it but SHHHH it virtually doesn’t exist in porn? Why the kid-like pussies? I want some real, prominent vulvas in my face because they scream womanhood and make me uncomfortable that is, hot. Anyway today’s porn standards are very, very, disappointing. Still. It’s a damn shame.

We focus so much the sex work/porn star talk on rights, it’s not about rights of doing whatever you want with your body, I think you guys are totally doing it. It’s about the actual impact of decades of a pretty vile culture out there, which is far from good. It’s not the lauded acts: it’s the terrible, doesn’t-want-to-die porn design. I believe that men have most of the heavy, sex culture lifting to do and rearrange that mess, which is why we don’t do shit (hey, we’re men!). Of course none of the people making money out of sex will care about the culture they are fostering, nothing personal it’s business and if you young motherfuckers think it’s real life well you’re dumb! People are more capitalist than capitalism itself.

The thing is, there are a lot of not so bright people and I don’t think they deserve to be manipulated, from young folks growing up today confused by our own taboos, lies and double standards toward sex to women who “choose” to do something pretty hardcore out of necessity or lack of choice. Saying “but this is how it works” is usually something said by someone out of the problem or profiting the issue.

I don’t think people should get paid to get on their knees and suck genitals, but I don’t think we should pay people to clean up our toilet bowls either. I know it happens, I applaud people’s courage to do those jobs (no, for real) but I ultimately think that people should fuck a lot more (endorphins), for free (FREE ENDORPHINS), and that toilet bowls should have built-in robots.

But this way I just killed very lucrative businesses and if I could do that in a heartbeat in real life, a hit man would be standing in front of me right now, ready to complete the mission.

If only we could live like Bonobos “Hi, is there a problem?” *goes down on you* we wouldn’t need none of that trade shit. That would be swell, wouldn’t it?

Disclaimer: working sporadically on an erotic game prototype for the past four years, I still do extensive reading and research on sex.