Thursday, July 17, 2008


today i met an old south african who moved here about 40 years ago but still has an accent. he owns a shop called calabash gifts on monroe st, close to our store. we got into a discussion about south africa and the direction it's going. he basically said that johannesburg, which he lived in nd which used to be a beautiful, urban, delightful city, has turned into a huge slum. after apartheid ended everyone was free to do as they please and move where they want. which in theory is a good thing. however, white people , hostile and still wanting seperation, fled the country. people with less money moved into the aneighbordhoods, and more and more rural people migrate to the city for work, move in, the cycle continues, poverty stretches throughout downtown. it is dangerous to even stop your car on a highway that i was driving on with benno. there were signs that said 'warning, don't stop. highjack zone'. crazy shit.
the man was saying apartheid still remains, and i said yes, it is not a race apartheid, but a class apartheid now. some blacks have done well while most have remained below the line of poverty. the government is doing the best they can, but as south africa reaches into being a ;global; trader and recognizedcountry in the manufacturing world, there are other things on the government's mind. which is unfortunate, seeing all the country has gone through.
do citizens not see that? do they not see whwat is happening to the country, through their crime and violence? there should be a revolution against the government , not killings against eachother. make the government think about these people that nelson mandela struggled for.
it feels really good to talk about these kinds of things again. i miss it. i miss it. maybe design isnt the best track. but what would i do with this? i just like to think about this stuff. why the world is the way it is. what people think about it.
ialso saw a senegalese film today, was about a black girl from dakar that moved to france with her mistress.she was respected in senegal, but when she moved to france, the mistress and her husband treated her like complete shit. she then killed herself, she would rather be dead than live as someone's maid. her dream of living in france and leading a normal life was shattered.
really makes you think about the lines dividing cultures and how blacks were seen in the sixties...i have a feeling not much has changed now...i guess i KNOW it hasnt...but really, what kind of people would basically bring a black girl from senegal to be your maid in france? its like a slave.
going to bed ant keep my eyes open

Thursday, July 10, 2008


why do i get so annoyed with people? i just get upset when people don't listen to me and honor my feelings. my feelings are fucking important, ok? i have a right to be heard, and i have a right for people to consider me.
ately my friends here in madison are just pissing me off. and i know it runs deeper, i know theres something going on inside that makes me want more than this town. is moving to a new apartment really going to make a difference?

Monday, July 7, 2008


i'm getting reeeeal sentimental today. i'm reading my journal from cape town. here is an entry about surfing:

Went surfing today, the waves were weird, they were coming from the shore also so they would crash together and hit you. One time the waves were bigger coming off the shore than going towards the shore so I felt like I was being pulled out to sea. It’s a panicky feeling, helpless!! What would happen?
Also I got caught under a huge wave, was flailing around and felt like I couldn’t find air for a few seconds, also a scary feeling.
As I was surfing I began to make it like a metaphor for finding your way through life. When a big wave is coming, you either take it, paddle as fast as you can, and enjoy the ride…you might fall off along the way but at least you tried. Otherwise, you try to go through the breaking wave with your board, away from shore, to not lose the distance out to sea that you had gotten already, all while looking ahead to see if any other good ones are coming that you might take. A second’s hesitation or not paying attention and you can be thrown under the breaker, swept around and caught up for breath. But if this happens, you most likely will be able to find your way to air again, attached by the ankle to the huge buoy bobbing around and friends around to help you out.
Also, the current is pulling you in one direction, while you may want to head down the shore in the other direction, and when the breaker hits you hard, you inevitable lose your footing in the sand and move down the other direction, away from your intended goal.
You can also just lay on your board in the direction of the shore and wait for the waves to come to you. This sometimes works but you feel like you’re not doing much…and the ride is never as good as when you paddle hard.
Today, the waves were crashing against each other from both angles, and there were currents from every direction it felt like, from all sides.
Could this be exactly what life is like? Some people struggle to find their footing while others have mastered the challenge and treat the wave as their playground?


the rain is really coming down now. i like the feeling of being encapsulated in my apartment, dry and warm while a shield of rain shimmers outside. it's like my own little nest, just me and all of my things, safe.

three years ago today i left for south africa. i loaded a suitcase and a couple backpacks on the plane and said goodbye to my parents and cried in the ohare bathroom, and then picked myself up and left. how did i do that? it seems terrifying now. i like the secure feeling of my job and city that i know so well, where my biggest uncertainty is where to eat for lunch. i don't know if this is healthy. what happened to the woman who decided to leave it all behind for a new experience, six months in a new land where i knew no one and was on my own? it was exhilirating. i remember just taking it one step at a time. i continue to think about those months every day, miss the extraordinary people i met there, miss the challenges i faced. personal challenges. that i felt deep in my heart.

how to get that feeling back? i need to get outside of this comfort i built for myself. my nest with all my things. when it gets too easy maybe that's the time you need to make it harder. does harder=more worthwhile? yes. to me it does.

the girl effect.

this is the kind of thing i want to design. powerful with a message. of peace. of love. of real change that matters.

fresh air

There is a thunderstorm outside. Actually, the sky has just gotten incredibly dark and the wind has picked up and is blowing the trees and sending a cool breeze of air through my window. I hear distant thunder. It's not even raining yet.

I'm on an island with my computer screen, surrounded by people who I give shorts laugh to their jokes and try to come up with an answer their questions and marking my little postit with their telephone messages. I am making things, making documents that serve a strict purpose. That will be viewed by people wanting to make purchases. I make the things you never really think about someone making them. But we're there. We're making them. We're laying them out and proofing their prices and checking their margins. Someday I want to be making things that people look at and say, 'i wonder who made that'. i wonder what the person behind that design is like, how they came up with that idea, what went through their mind when they used those colors and that brushstroke. i want to make something that affects people, that makes them want to send it to their friends or hang it up on their wall. or become interested in the concept i'm advertising. something that makes you say, huh, i want to be a part of that. like those little astericks above people's heads on the truth tobacco commercials. they've suddenly gained knowledge.

Lightning now.

I am working for a guy about my own age who started his own web design business. he gives me design concepts for websites which i lay out in a week and then give back to him. i do all of the html and css work, all of the designing in photoshop and dreamweaver. he gives me no concept from the client, no direction. he says that's the way he believes design should be done - you put something in front of the client and they will like it. they will like anything. but what if i have no idea who the audience is and what kind of business they are providing and i have to make guesses based on their name? that's not good business. in order to do a real website, you have to be in tune to eactly what the business is going after. otherwise there's no point in cluttering the internet with design that doesn't serve a purpose.

i want to be inspired. i want to do something that i can engage in, that i can learn from. this is just too one-sided. i don't feel anything from it. so what's the point?

Lightning bug outside my window. Loud claps of thunder now. Still no rain.

Jack and I talked to a girl the other night at a bar about a portfolio school, right in town. Maybe this is what I should focus on, building my portfolio so that I don't have to work for design firms like that. so I can find my own clients and not need the middleman. So that I can do things on my own time at my own house. or with a design form that I agree with their principles, in a different city.

i'm going to order a pizza.