Sunday, September 06, 2020


 "Frost Bush", Nikon D100, 85mm 1.8. 

Grey matte with black line, digitally made. Of course it can also be made with a white line, or none. But I find that a grey matte is usually preferable to a white or a black one, it gives most rest to the eye. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Paige Pooler art

 18 years ago, Paige Pooler made this wonderful drawing based on a photo of Zanna from my old web site. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

About Looking

I first wrote about this in the nineties. (This issue was actually the origin of Domai, Dirty Old Men's Association International.) But it hasn't changed yet (haha), so here goes again...

A certain kind of young woman gets offended if you look at her and admire her beauty. 

I say, "what?" You put all this money and time into looking your best, and we are not supposed to look at you? How does that make sense? How does all your work pay off if nobody sees it? 

I would hate to think that it is a status thing, or a power game of some sort. That you hold the power by being so desirable, but if we look a bit too much and enjoy it, then we get enjoyment for free without giving you anything in return, and you hate that. Surely that is not true? 

I've been reading around on answers this question, and the upshot seems to be: 
1: a glance is OK, staring is not. So in other words, we need to be intimidated enough to not look longer than a split-second, literally? And: 
2: if it's a young and good looking guy, it's great. If not, then it's creepy and wrong. What blatant discrimination. We can't all be hot, and none of us stay young. So we need to stop living once past forty?
Obviously, if he is young and hot, you have a good catch on your hands. If he is not, don't give him anything.  

So it seems to me that yes, it really is just a power game. If they can intimidate all men into only glancing and being terrified of looking and giving offense, then they hold all the cards. 

If there is no power game, then there can't also be makeup, hair styling, silk stockings, and all that jazz. All that is a girl's way of saying, "I'm a better sex object than those other sluts you see. I'm the one you want". You can't play the sex object game and then demand to not be seen as a sex object. That's like saying that the other team has a moral obligation to stand down their goalie and their defence players. It is saying, "You can bite the hook but you can't eat the bait". And if we obey, we have been hypnotised into fully submitting to their power. Which admittedly is a great power, but there are limits to concessions. 

I should add that physical touching is a totally different matter, because men are stronger physically, and can easily abuse that power. So in civilisation we don't touch without permission. But to give up the freedom to look at anything we want is not civilisation, that's Stockholm Syndrome. 

Some say "look but don't feel lust". That's a bit absurd. For one thing, how do you control that? For another thing, that's what goes on in my private head, that's none of anybody else's business. 


RunSilentRunDeep has written a lengthy, but excellent note to this. Fear is an essential point to this that I almost addressed, but it did not fit in right with the post, I felt. But I do believe it's at the heart of the issue. 

Now then. I think I remember this note, back in the 1990s. It certainly felt true to me, then.

Since then, though, I have come to see more clearly a specific difference between men and women.

When I walk around outside, in my suburban/urban setting, usually I am not particularly alarmed by the presence or behavior of the people around me. 

I might be alarmed, if I have a specific reason to be: for example, if I'm in "a bad neighborhood," or if I see particularly hostile people heading my way.  But overall I know I'm probably going to be pretty safe.

For women, this is not always the case. Here's a specific example. After dark, if all other things are equal, most men won't think twice about walking out into that large parking lot over there to get into their car. 

If they were attacked there, no one would question their decision to go out. If we want these attacks to stop, then we need to go after the attackers, don't we? We shouldn't have to change our own behavior, should we?

Replace "men" with "women," in that scenario, and a lot of things change very suddenly. Most women, I think, will think twice about walking into the parking lot in that setting.

If they know they will be out after dark, they might look for a lot that is particularly well-lighted, in a place that has a lot of walking traffic.

Nonetheless, if a woman is attacked, in that setting, people all over will be saying that she used poor judgment. That "anyone would expect" such a thing to happen to her, in a dark parking lot all on her own. 

If we want these attacks to stop, they would say, women need to use some "common sense" and don't go outside in the dark, alone.

The men don't need to change their behavior, but the women do need to change their behavior. 

Why? Because the men don't face all that much danger. And because we men leave the women, who face quite a lot of danger, to fend for themselves.

Do you see how much this scenario changes, how the person's feelings and expectations change, when we replace a man in the scenario with a woman?

And do you see how much confidence a woman might sometimes (not) have, when it comes to being kept safe by the men around her?

Now, let's go back to that original scenario: going outside, during the day, by yourself. As I said, I'm probably not going to feel much stress about that.

But women? 

I have heard women tell me this: when they're walking alone and a man-they-don't-know is walking toward them, their senses go on alert immediately.

When they were little girls, their mothers and older sisters were teaching them that this is a potentially dangerous situation. That she's vulnerable here. Vulnerable to strange men.

They've told me that if they can, without attracting attention, they might cross the street -- just so that he will not get within arm's reach of them. To feel less endangered.

How many men have had this reaction to men who are walking their way? To women who are walking their way? (This is a rhetorical question, of course)

These different reactions come from the different dangers that men feel, and women feel, when out in public alone. 

Women (at least, American women, outside small towns) have spent most of their lives absorbing the lesson that they are vulnerable to physical attack, when they are outside the safety of their friends or their home. 

That they need to be careful, very careful, when a strange man approaches them. 

Now let's replay your scenario, and watch it through these eyes. A woman is walking along, her mind going over the coming day. A man, a stranger, approaches her.

And he looks at her. And looks at her. And looks at her. 

For her, the old question "what does he mean by that?" is more than the punchline of a joke about psychiatrists. 

It's Threat Evaluation, like a gazelle who finds she has crossed paths with an animal that may be a leopard. Her reaction is so familiar that she doesn't need to think it through with words. She thinks it through with her gut, with the pit of her stomach.

She and her girlfriends have probably rehearsed the process many times, when they have walked around together. But now -- she's alone.

"He's looking at me," she is thinking. "What is he going to do? Is he going to do something to me? Will he do it now, or will he follow me (or find me) and do it later?"

Because there are men who have done each of those things to women. 

And because, when you are vulnerable (and everyone agrees that a pretty young woman outside on her own is vulnerable), which is the safe move, the smart move: to behave as if he's harmless, or to behave as if he might be a threat to your personal safety?

Yes, he probably is harmless. On the whole, most men are. But you can't tell the dangerous ones from the harmless ones.* 

And if he is dangerous, your experience with him will be a lot more "bad" than your experience with a "harmless" male stranger would be "good."

Now then, a couple of closing remarks. First, one way that a harmless man can reassure the pretty, young, and vulnerable woman that he is harmless is by not going "ga-ga" when he sees her. By keeping eye contact brief, by being cordial and impersonal. This will reassure her that he doesn't suddenly have an obsession about her. 

She's going to find that behavior from a stranger a lot less alarming than a long, intense stare -- which might be "obsessive."

Second, women know that even talking with men about these matters can be dangerous, in itself. Many men, perhaps most, hardly ever try to re-examine the world through someone else's eyes. 

They are even less likely to re-examine it through the defensive and vulnerable eyes of women. Instead, some men react with anger -- because, after all, they're harmless!  

Some will deny that women are in danger from men at all -- while, in their next breath, offering to escort women to their cars in that dark parking lot. 

Because every sane person -- even men -- does know that women are at greater personal risk in that setting.

Given all this, when a woman is asking men to behave differently because they have frightened or alarmed her, it may be safer for her to use a "more polite" word.

"Oh, no, I'm not saying that I am frightened when you do these things! I don't want to kick off an argument about whether I 'should' be frightened. 

(I do get frightened; in some circumstances I might be terrified. But I have learned through bitter experience that men often stop listening to me when I tell them this.)

I don't want to get into an argument, I simply want you to stop doing them! So I'm saying, instead, that I am 'offended' when you do these things. 

Even men who will blithely tell me that I should not be frightened when they do something that alarms me, will probably not launch into an argument about what I 'should' feel, when I say that I am 'offended' by them."

And -- thank you for the occasional photos. I enjoyed DOMAI for many years. I'm continuing to enjoy these emails. 

Best wishes, 

RunSilent RunDeep


Good points. I'm sad to say that at least half a dozen of men I've known, who seemed like great guys, have committed sexual assault. And those are just the ones I happen to know of, it's not something you like to reveal.
And if asked, very few men will admit to have done rape, but many, like 20%, will admit to "non-consensual sex"... which is more or less what rape is, except for petting. And that’s only those who admit to it. 

Anyway, last year I was out for a night stroll at like 3am, and on a dark and quiet side street, up ahead I saw a woman who was just coming out of a night shift (at the bus service centre), and stood alone waiting for a ride. We were the only two people in the whole street (in an industrial neighborhood), and likely to remain so. So what I did was that I went out in the street to walk so I would not have to brush closely by her. If I'd been a woman with a big tall man coming towards me in the dark of night, I'd have been nervous. 

As it turned out she was both cute and lively, she said "good night", and I replied "good evening". She laughed at me saying that at 3am, etc. 


Bill Brandt

Photos by Bill Brandt

Bill Brandt was an intuitive genius, probably the only one I consider to be in the same class as André Kertész and Lee Friedlander.

It is actually amazingly rare for a photographer to make pictorial *art*, rather than documentation. Brandt, even when he was hired to document things, still made fine art out of it.

... One thing I had not thought about: Brandt worked almost exclusively in vertical format, that is also really unusual. 

Monday, August 03, 2020

Thoughts about hypnotism

I'm currently studying up on HYPNOSIS. (It was surprisingly hard to find a good book about it, it is a thing which people are either strongly for or against, or they don't believe it's real.) (I've still not found a really good source of info, if you know one, do tell.) Because a lot of what I saw of it seemed so fake (and some is). But *if* some is not fake, then then it's a very powerful thing, both for better and for worse. The subconscious is far stronger than commonly believed.

Some practitioners like to tell you that their subjects are totally free to opt out at any time and are fully aware at all times. That's untrue, seems to me. In deep trance the conscious mind is totally out to lunch as has nothing to say, orders go directly to the subconscious.

And some claim that you can't be put into a trance without you yourself doing it. I don't think that's true either. It's very clear that with a skilled practitioner and a good subject, cooperation is not needed very much.

And worse, once you are deep in a trance, conscious cooperation is nil. The subconscious mind rules totally, and it does whatever the hypnotist says, no questions. And this level (deep trance, the third level) can be reached in less than eight hours of work, even down to one or two hours. And get this: in this level of trance, hypnotic suggestions are not "accepted", no they are TAKEN TO BE REALITY by the mind. The second the hypnotist tells you that you are falling from an airplane, that fall will be your reality. If you are told that you are violently ill with food poisoning, you'll be throwing up painfully.

And the orders that are given have effect later, they usually can't be overruled at all by the subject, and if he/she has been told they will not be aware of it happening, they won't be. This has been demonstrated ad infinitum.

They can also very easily be told to forget anything which happened in the session. This further nullifies the idea of their self-determinism.

Of course registered and ethical practitioners are not very likely to do anything unethical. But there are many unregistered hypnotists, and many unethical humans.

In the video below, I was fascinated by the woman having been told that every time she is asked how she feels, she will say "I am deeply hypnotised". And she does say it, quite relaxedly. (7.30 and twice later.) And even when she is asked how she feels about that answer she gave, she does not question it. "It feels normal", she says. She is totally unaware of herself obeying a post-hypnotic command! That is mind control. (I've not yet found out if people typically stay unaware forever after, or if it wears off.) (Update: seems it needs reinforcing occasionally, depending on depth.) 

And this is in her first session. Imagine what you can do with people if you work with them for a long time, and perhaps include drugs or whatever, for nefarious purposes, such as political warfare. 

There are many clips from the same channel of women acting like puppies or robots or cats, and instantly forgetting that they did so when they "wake up". Perhaps the "I'm deeply hypnotised" thing is more startling to me because it clearly is and it feels more real, even if I have become convinced that the puppies are real also.

Another thing they like to say is that you can't be hypnotised to do anything you don't want to do. This is so much bullshit. For one thing you can be made to believe that an action is for the best. For another thing, you can't usually predict all consequences of any action. 

And much worse, even direct work against self-interest is possible: a friend of mine saw people getting hypnotised, they were told to hold their hand under a stream of cold water, and that they were not able to pull the hand back. And then they were told that the water became scalding. And they screamed in pain, but did not withdraw their hand! So much for self-determinism... 

And get this: their hand *actually* became badly scalded by the cold water because they believed it would! That is incredible power of the mind and of suggestion.

The World Slavery Organisation estimates that 40 million people today are held in modern slavery! (30M of them women.) So clearly there is no want of people who have no trouble enslaving others. So I can't help wonder how many people among us seem like normal people but vote in governments for interests they did not know they supported? And how many are unknowing sex slaves even though physically they are seemingly free people? And so on, the mind boggles when you start looking into it. It really is startlingly easy to hypnotise many people, and with a bit of reinforcement, I really don't think "slave" is too strong a word for what you could make.

Update; one thing I was sure was fake, was the method used to start a trance by talking to somebody for a minute while shaking their hand slowly and rhythmically, then pulling it sharply, saying "Sleep!", and they droop. But it's real and works with many subjects, and described as one of the methods by seriously practitioners. 

To me it seems to indicate how suggestible many people really are.

Update: Support for my unease, from The Human Givens Project, here are some common lies they dismantle:

• “You will be aware of everything that is said to you”

Sometimes that is the case when someone is in a light trance but very often it is not, and that again parallels with dreaming since we don’t remember most of our dreams. When people go into a deep trance, they often have no memory of what the therapist said. That is not to say that they didn’t register it, but they cannot consciously recall it.

• “Hypnosis has nothing to do with sleep – it is just an extremely relaxed state”

Clearly this is wrong because hypnosis is very directly related to sleep: the REM (dreaming) stage of sleep is the deepest trance state of all.

• “A hypnotist cannot influence anyone to do anything against their will”

We know simply by delving into the history of hypnosis of many examples of unwanted influence. There are many modern day incidents, some of which are recorded on CCTV cameras, such as cashiers being hypnotised and handing over the money in their tills because they were put into a trance state, or people being shocked into trance and robbed in the street. Indeed, we have only to think of advertisers and politicians and rabble-rousers and gurus – all artificially induce the REM state in the people they wish to influence.

• “A person’s own ‘moral code’ will protect them from doing anything against their own best interests”

There is no evidence that people can be relied upon not to do things against their own best interests and masses of evidence that they do so all the time. People’s moral codes are as flexible and changeable as the climate.

See article

Friday, July 03, 2020

Hummingbird In Flight

Sunlight passing through the wings of a Black Jacobin Hummingbird forms a prism of rainbows

(Photo: Christian Spencer)

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Cute nude women

If you are an old fan of my teasteful-nudes web site from the old days (others run it now and it's not the same), then I have a blog for you.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

All The Other Kids Are Playing Spaceman

October 17, 2000 Eolake Stobblehouse, MyMac Magazine
“When I was young the only way to get a buzz from the web was if your
PC had a lose wire”

You kids think you have it hard when you don’t have a gigahertz PC?
Ha. When *I* was young, I worked in a company with only two computers built from cardboard by Bozo CyberElectric. We had to hold the monitors by hand in front of our faces because there was no money for stands. The keyboards were painted on a slab of wood, and we had to imagine what the text would look like if they had worked. We had only one mouse to share, and we lived in horror of the day the cleaning lady might find it and kill it.

Our portables were bigger than the desktop machines, and our CEO, who had a bad back, used to sneak off to meetings in town with a desktop machine when nobody was looking. One day one of the portables caught fire, and we found out that an internal cable, bitten in two by a family of mice living in the machine, caused it. 79 mice died in that fire.

This was in the early days of Macrosnuff, and Gil Bates came over himself to deliver system software updates, called “service packs”, like those necessary to make the software be able to create text on the screen. I remember the $700 service pack we had to buy because it turned out that the software was using our customer database to mail out promotional material for Macrosnuff. Mr. Bates said that the blame was on faulty memory modules in our PCs.

Web technology was primitive. The coding language for the Web did not handle vowels all that well, so we tended to try to keep our language mainly to consonants.

We ran our corporate web site on a PC powered by flashlight batteries. If the web site had more than five visitors in a day, we had to send them the pages manually, by e-mail, and describe to them how the colors were supposed to look because our designer only had a grayscale monitor.

The web at that time was run not on the telephone net, but on nylon strings strung from house to house, the modem was plugged via a microphone to a soup can at the end of the string. Text files downloaded so slowly that fast readers had to wait for them. Online pornography was not a threat to the young yet, because even a photo of a very short model would take two days to download, and that was not even including the file name. I once started downloading an online trailer for the then-new film Jaws. The shark has yet to appear.

Today of course PCs are so powerful that many web sites are doing fine without any discernible content at all, and Macrosnuff is making money by shipping empty boxes with license agreements. Online porn is such a problem that 4-year-old surfers are giving their parents lectures on the birds and bees. It is estimated that by 2010 the web will represent 203% of the global economy, and the connections will be so fast and the computers so smart that surfers can leave their machines to their own devices, and go catch a few rays.

It’s a brand new world:)

“All The Other Kids Are Playing Spaceman” is about… our culture, and stuff like that.
The first person to spot from where the title comes wins a prize.

Eolake Stobblehouse

Sunday, March 22, 2020

A note on CIVID-19

This virus situation is the most serious thing which has happened in my lifetime (the current one). So how to deal with it? 
I think, on the human level: 
1: Don't panic. 
2: Listen to the experts. Not random online sources, but experts. 
3: Ride it out. This too shall pass. 
On the spiritual level:
We should learn from all thing. This can teach us about how survive difficult times, and how all humans are our brothers, and we should help each other to prosper, and not just in hard times. 

Friday, November 08, 2019

Sine Wave

Sine Wave, 1978. 
Won gold in a national exhibition. 
Click For Big Pic. 

By the way, I don't post much here anymore, but do join me on Facebook.

Monday, June 17, 2019

What is Quality

Quality and the Art of Purpose Maintenance
By Eolake Stobblehouse

In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig wrote a bestselling philosophical volume concerned in its basics with the nature of "what is quality?"

The book is very good, and has been very influential. However one thing bugged me about it: after following the author the whole way through his metaphorical trek to clear up this issue, what he finally concludes is that he can't define quality, except that he knows it when he sees it. Pretty weak ending to a strong book.

It is easier to criticize than to do though, so I attempted to define quality to my own satisfaction. What I came up with after working it over was:

Quality: how well something works according to its intended purpose.

This is remarkably simple, but I do think it is very workable. There are two tripping stones though:
1) Evaluating quality depends on perception of the purpose of the object.
2) Often, but not always, aesthetics and longevity enter the picture.

Taking the second one first, because it is the simplest: Many things are not meant to endure, like card tricks, birthday cakes, kisses, and so on. But many things are. If you buy a chair, no matter how well it works, if it breaks down after a week, you will probably not consider it good quality.

Also if you buy a chair for your home, it is surely important to you that the chair is pleasing to look at and fits into the style of your home. On the other hand if you buy a chair for a workshop where it will get remarkably dirty, it is not so important how it looks, only how well it works.

And regarding the first point: defining quality is tricky mainly because it depends, according to my definition, on the purpose of the object. You can't judge the quality of carrot cake by the standards you'd judge a protein drink, even though they are both food stuffs. And trying to judge carrot cake by the standards you'd use to judge a camera or a car or a song performance is clearly silly. There is just no relation. So quality can only be considered after you have defined the purpose of a thing.

Further complicating the matter is that different people may assign different purposes to the same object. For an elderly man, a pair of eye glasses are judged on how well they help him see. It does not matter if the glasses are big and ugly. But for some young women, they might wear a pair of glasses as a fashion accessory even though their eyesight is fine. In that case, aesthetics is the yard stick. This is a minor point though, since most things have well defined purposes.

So I think that once you have considered what is the purpose of a thing for you, then determining what makes it "quality" or not is not so hard. In the Zen book, Robert Pirsig is looking at some windows that a man has made, and thinking they were quality, but not knowing why. Well, I think that quality windows are some that keep out the wind and rain in a satisfactory manner. Further, that they will last long. And finally, that the fit and finish is aesthetically pleasing. The last point of course can get into personal taste, colors and so on. But generally people find that something produced with much attention to precision and detail is more pleasing than something sloppily produced.

The really difficult area is of course the Arts. And that is part of Pirsig's problem, because that is where he starts out, in the area of creative writing. In this area "purpose" is so flexible and so hard to nail down that defining quality is very tough. The purpose of a piece of writing can be to entertain. Or to educate. Or to philosophize. Or to make people laugh. Or, or, or.

Some educated people consider that pop music and pop TV shows are Bad Quality, just in one sweeping generality. Because those things don't make you think. But they forget two things: 1) Not everybody wants to be made to Think, all the time at least. 2) Different things make different people think. Somebody watching a soap opera may have a sudden realization that maybe it is not such a great idea to cheat on her husband all the time, for she might get caught. For somebody else, that might be an obvious conclusion, she might prefer to think about how to square the circle or other high philosophical or cerebral ideas.

In other words, not only does quality depend upon purpose, that purpose can also change from object to object and from person to person.

Still if we know these things, I don't think it is all that hard to determine. Which is why we "know it when we see it" after all. We know what we want, and with a bit of perception and enough data we also know how well a thing fulfills that want.

I think another part of Pirsig's problem was that he was really reaching not so much for quality itself, but its metaphysical or spiritual background or source, or its ultimate identity. I don't think the definition can be divorced from purpose and still hold much meaning. But here are my closest attempts:

Alternative definitions:

Quality: a manifestation of the awareness level from which something was created.

Quality: a measure of the care and skill invested in something.

Quality: a measure of purity.


"Knowledge is the food of the spirit, and beauty is the drink." - Eolake Stobblehouse

Saturday, May 11, 2019

What are politics

I’ve realised what people mean when they say stuff like “it’s all politics”. And what politics are about.
Politics are the attempt at managing conflicts between groups. If it’s just one man against a group, then it’s “justice”, and he is crushed. If a group is large enough that another group can’t handle them easily no matter how crazy they think the other group’s views are, then the dynamics are “politics”.
If one man goes around killing jews, he is a murderer and goes to prison. If a small group does it, they are terrorists and are hunted down. If a significant portion of a country does it, then it is “politics”. And of course, if the conflict heats up, it becomes war or civil war.
Politics are just group conflicts. It is not “the art of managing a country”, it is simply various groups fighting for their own interests.
That’s why politics are so interesting on a superficial level, and so enervating on deeper levels. Conflict is bread and butter to the ego, but utterly trivial to the spirit.