We Continue painfully

July 15th, 2019 by harold

Elijah and Sadie in the past ten days. Murdered. Philando Castile was killed three years ago live on Facebook. It was Sandra four years ago. All the Ferguson activists in the past five years. Murdered.

Just plain innocent black folks minding their own business and/or trying to make things better, one day at a time.

Murdered.

NBA Teams

July 12th, 2019 by harold

The NBA off-season has been nuts this year. In a bad way.

I don’t know what is worse: the amount of money players get or the contracts that mean nothing.

Sure, the league is powerful and teams have been ruthless with players too. Now that it’s the opposite, are we happier?

No. The core thing is that basketball is a team sport won with a bunch of individuals who stick together to win against all of the others, fastest, strongest and smartest teams. Teams win, not players. If you watch games, you know this. What does it even mean to follow a team now? One year you have a bunch of dudes and the next one you have an entirely different bunch of dudes. No legacy, no history, no meaning.

Watching NBA players acting like bitches because wE gETtinG pAiD when they’re all millionaires by default, while we’re all sweating to barely get a season pass or just a ticket, while the WNBA is traveling in coach, is absurd and disrespectful.

I hope the league does something or better, that players come back to the fucking ground.

New Otomo

July 9th, 2019 by harold

I am of course, beyond excited for Katsuhiro Otomo’s new projects.

I was definitely disappointed with Steamboy. A new Akira project from Akira’s father can only be amazing. I don’t think cyberpunk gets any better than this masterpiece of a universe.

Now what strikes me is again Japan’s ability to set things up. Here’s the official plot of his new movie called Orbital Era:

The plot takes place in the near-future on a space colony under construction. It is an action-adventure story following the lives of some young boys surviving in this peculiar environment and society as they are tossed around by fate. “The reality found in mankind’s future” will be depicted through their perspective.

Japanese sci-fi loves near-future because it makes it so much more relatable. Without pictures or sound, we can immediately start up our imagination engines.

Space colony is simple, yet genius because it’s not only relatable –we have the ISS- but it makes sense that we create space colonies before going to Mars or further away. It’s just de facto much more coherent than sci-fi that starts somewhere with humans already doing whatever they want on a hostile planet or the very hostile empty space. A space colony setting creates a strong continuation of what we have in the world right now and makes it immediately, again, relatable. Or very interesting.

Under-construction. That is also kind of genius. That theme “modifier” is obviously relatable because everything is under-construction, all the time, everywhere on earth. We constantly build or fix things. But also in the space colony context, it creates beautiful freedom in terms of plot, universe etc.

Are humans happy in those fake metal worlds that are never done? What do you see when you go to the edge of such a colony? What kind of society, what kind of values are driving people in a finite world with probably a lot of restrictions? There’s a sense of care, fragility and nostalgia underlying this setting described in a few sentences. I fucking love this.

Most games and action movies plots are so phony compared to this, it’s embarrassing. They all have the “some bad aliens/relics/resource” trope and think they’re really cool.

This one can go in any direction –drama, comedy, romantic, pure action- and be awesome.

It probably will. Can’t wait. Hopefully not for ten years though, take your time, Katsuhiro Otomo.

Radiant Heating Floor

July 9th, 2019 by harold

I was lucky to partially grow up with those.

When I arrived into my family from my foster family, the house I entered was a ruin. My parents were young but the house was raggedy. Nothing was completed at all. I bathed in a bin for quite a while.

One day, looking at my dad laying down electric cables on the ground where he was supposed to pour concrete for the future house’s floor, I wondered, “the fuck is this?” or something like that.

He explained to me that those cables would heat the floor and be controlled by a “computer” (technically yes, but more like a calculator) that would know what the temperature is outside and warm our feet accordingly. It was 1985-86. That was kind of science-fiction-y and I thought my dad was doing too much.

I’ve pretty much never met anyone who had/has radiant heating floors at home. That shit is brilliant. I just have this memory of myself going down the stairs –wood- to go to the bathroom, dreading the moment I would have to put my feet on the cold tiles because I had forgotten my slippers…Not. The tiles were warm. Meanwhile, it was snowing outside, sometimes around Christmas. I remember thinking, “oh now I totally get it; this is great”.

Sometimes it created mayhem because the electric load would be too heavy and we had to choose between warming up the floor or having clean clothes but hey, shit happens.

If there’s one device I miss from France it’s that one, which I can’t ship to Cali. The floors are cold here too and instead of getting blown hot air in the face, I’d rather have some mild heat coming from the bottom. Much more comfortable and efficient.

So simple yet, so wonderful and underrated. Tragic.

Halftogon Floor Design

July 8th, 2019 by harold

Halftogon House Concept so that you understand.

Are y’all ready for the layout of my beautiful, custom house? Here you go:

First, the Eames elliptical table. It’s two-meter long and should give you a sense of scale. I’m probably off a bit here and there for the rest, but it gives you an idea of what’s going on.

So, you enter from the bottom (lol yeah well). To the left, long corridor with built-in storage and or built-in shelves. To the right, you enter the Big Open Space. That shit has everything: a fireplace, a kitchen with a table for 4 to 8, built-in couch, TIERED SEATING and, looking towards the dashes, unobstructed view to the  outside with floor to ceiling sliding doors (I think six to eight of those to cover the 20 meters).

Why tiered seating? Because it’s super fun to use to work, chill, do things with your partner, watch sports with friends or daydream, laying down. And of course, under the seating: GIANT STORAGE. On the left side of the fireplace, built-in couch with built-in shelves above ala FLW. But instead of having some stupidly small “work space” like he called the kitchen, the kitchen is kind of central here.

Regardless of culture, kitchen and food preparation and hanging out around the fridge is quite universal.

And yes, instead of making it like a shitty bar like every single kitchen island I see, I integrated dining and hanging out. No useless back and forth between the island and the dining table. All in one, bam. I see you picking your nose, I frown and serve you a glass of water, wine, a cocktail or some pasta carbonara, it doesn’t matter. It just works.

On the left side of the house, one bedroom with a tiny shower/sink combo in the closet. This allows independence for the person there (teenager, roommate, ex) while the main bedroom is on the other side because PRIVACY BRUH. This way you can loudly fart or make weird noise in bed without making your guest or kid uncomfortable.

I’m nice af.

The left bedroom can be something else too, like an office space and what not. It is on the east side of the house, I don’t know what it would do (cooler room usually) but I want to be on the other side with the sunrise through the curtains, caressing my sleepy face on the west wing of the house.

Pretty simple concept and layout. Optimized for small family (if family at all), roommate and guest situation and a world that needs to be less stupid about home sizes. Total area: around 147 m². Not super small but not huge either. No stairs means it’s usable for 7 to 177 years old people.You can roll up in this bitch on a skateboard or a wheelchair. Same with the TV: on a custom-made wheeled cart to move from stadium to couch to dining (and can be hidden under the tiered seating). I thought about everything.

Amenities: no AC, green roof with rain harvesting system, some skylights, washer-dryer, cross-ventilation and the top of the top, radiant heating floor. Now I call that living.

And now I need to make an Unreal Engine level…

Light bulb moment

July 6th, 2019 by harold

Okay so now that I have finished those books on spy planes and read this fantastic article on the mother of all demos, I know what happened:

Post WWII innovators had been born at the start of the 19th century and endured all kinds of awful things: Great Depression, wars, deportation, you name it.

After 1945, all had in mind to make a better world or at the very least, minimize the incredible losses of those times.

Everything was open, so they went on and created the tools we’re using today: computers, stealth planes, surveillance, internet, automation etc. Architects were doing the same, using new material and trying to sell the idea of prefab houses, knowing that it’s far more efficient, but in this case, it didn’t work.

From there, Boomers were born. They lived in a world where they enjoyed immense freedom and new tools. They, on purpose or not, locked down everything with thick ass layers of bureaucracy and inertia, making more money than ever.

Sharing, spreading, empowering *as many people as possible* were 60s values dissipating in a sea of dollars.

This is why starting with the 80s, nothing was moving as fast as before. Everything was incremental from then on. Sure, Moore’s law on the computer side made everything go faster. But nothing else was.

Today, we have linked everything up. We have all the knowledge in the world and yet, we’re struggling to apply solutions because of that thick layer of bullshit. People protect their power, bonuses, land, by principle, not because they need them.

We rationalize that a billionaire can’t possibly spend his money in his lifetime yet, everyone wants to be one.

We fucked ourselves with indulgence and we’re too stupid or stubborn to back away. Let’s reassess that.

Them others

July 2nd, 2019 by harold

I saw a sign on an overpass above the freeway that says “the Russians” and lol I don’t really get it.

I’m reading a book on secret 60s US stealth planes and they use Russian tech without batting an eye, despite the fact that it is during the Cold War.

Today we talk about Trade War with China but most if not everything that isn’t food in this country is made oversea.

Growing up before globalization, I thought it made sense people were afraid of each other. After two world wars, dozens (hundreds?) of millions of death, now that our economies are so tightly inter-dependent and that we travel all over the world for $88 round-trip tickets, what does it even mean to “take over” or “influence” one’s country? To feel threatened? To develop new weapons?

There’s land. There’s us. We should be like, chilling.

120 and numbers

June 30th, 2019 by harold

I hate to think about it, but I bike about 120 miles a week since my eviction. Almost 200 kms. What. The.

I had to do the math because of how I use my car, which is not often.

Numbers are not necessarily interesting. All I think of is that I’m on my bicycle a hour per day to commute, which is not awful. But once I do the math it ends up with a lot of kilometers. Just the idea makes me tired and yet I do that every week without too much pain.

It’s only annoying the first five minutes, when the lungs are opening and my legs are cold I guess. And when I’m on the last hill of the day, when I’m like “fuck sweating”. But overall if I don’t bike I feel antsy and uncomfortable.

The amount of gas I save though. No, I didn’t do the math.

HR40

June 24th, 2019 by harold

House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Slavery Reparations (3+ hours)

Very eye opening. JULIANNE MALVEAUX IS IN THE HOUSE, LOVE YOU GIRL. She’s an economist and I just appreciate how she steers the conversation away from emotional pitfalls and shenanigans. Facts. Period.

Keep in mind that those hearings are to decide to create a commission to see how reparations could be done. Checks are not being cut yet. Chill, you whiny taxpayer.

Reparations are due. The detail of what happened to freed slaves and black Americans bootstrapping over and over is there, in history books. The compounding effects are still shaping this country.

Many black Americans know and traced their ancestry down to slavery. It’s not that hard, it’s been going on until quite recently, sadly. There are receipts everywhere.

But what is interesting to me is that the discussion brings the wealth gap problem. Which brings the jobs and wages problem.

The gap is huge and widening while jobs and wages that could help to stop it, disappear and don’t grow.

That means Universal Income and there’s no other possibility. None.

In a few years, white people will have on *average* almost a hundred times more money than black people.

“but what can I do, I never had slaves leave me alone!” First of all, stop being coy about this, it’s not cute. Second, you and your friends could stop gentrifying black and brown neighborhoods, displacing people who, with one or two orders of magnitude less money, are in deep trouble. You are actively fucking them over. Don’t do that.

Third, create that Universal Income right now because the poorest white folks –maybe some are your friends- will need it sooner than later. Like, today actually.

There’s so much money in the hands of not enough people.

Dream Team

June 24th, 2019 by harold

I was watching a documentary on the Dream Team and it sent. Me. Back.

The most poignant thing is remembering a 1992 world without internet and social media.

The rumors were coming once a month. People used common sense. “well, those NBA players are probably going to play for the USA in Barcelona”. And what players. 11 Hall of Fame players.

So I was on my way to my cousin’s cousin’s grandmother house in Brittany. My cousin was blasting Nirvana in the car. I was intensely obsessed with arcade games, especially Capcom’s.

And then we would watch that team destroy everyone and we knew then that it was a one time thing, something special. I remember tearing up at the amount of awesomeness. Don’t forget that no one was black around me. No one.

Watching the ball movement and one of those stars soar to the rim was magnificent. Sad for other teams getting humiliated at the Olympics. Happy for blackness being the coolest shit, again, as usual.

It was a trip. It was a dream.