The “Certainty is a lie” edition :: Issue #084


The thing is, certainty is a lie. There is only uncertainty disguised as certainty. 

Rusty's Electric Dreams

Rusty’s Electric Dreams, an inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff
Issue #084 :: The “Certainty is a lie” Edition :: 05:11:2016

Certainty is a lie…

So, I’ve been thinking about uncertainty, and my relationship with it, lately.

If I have learned one thing about self employment is that working for yourself is a big fat lesson in uncertainty. Just when you think you’ve got something nailed down, something else shifts, and you’ve got another problem to solve.

I like solving problems, believe me I do. Sometimes though, I wish I knew that everything was going to be “alright” for sure.

The thing is, certainty is a lie. There is only uncertainty disguised as certainty.

So, I’ve begun marrying my fears with my intuition. By doing so, I recently felt the concept of “faith” for the first time. Not in a religious sense, but in myself. I have true faith in myself as a leader now. Acknowledging the fear while still listening to my gut has created a shift in my life.

I am strong. I am enough. I am going to be “alright.” (“and doggone it, people like me.”)

Starving artists must learn to accept uncertainty, to acknowledge the fear, in order to thrive. And, believe me when I say this, there is zero shame in thriving for your art.

I am so sorry that I believed that I needed to be starving to live as an artist. What a fool I was!

Have a great week, everyone. Keep the faith!

Rusty Blazenhoff

p.s. In last week’s issue, I accidentally linked to totally the wrong thing. You all wanted to know “Why is Winnie the Pooh Called a Pooh?” and I showed you THIS instead. Ha! Sorry about that, folks. It was an honest mistake.

“Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

This space intentionally left unsure

As seen on the Internets


Clowns with Guns: Stoned Mode

:: “Clowns with Guns: Stoned ModeThanks, Krob!
:: (Dixie, this nsfw one is for you)

:: Remix shoes, factory seconds

:: Fried chicken-flavored nail polish

:: “Never mind the bus pass: punks look back at their wildest days”

:: This is my (brave) friend from elementary school! Congrats, Kristen!

:: Say it ain’t so: Jason Mecier might stop doing his art!

:: “It’s not really about the site making money, it’s about what it’s led to” 
:: Thanks, Catherine!

:: Unlimited Bowling FTW: Seth Godin on 30 Days of Genius

:: #AmishLife: Horse and buggy parking at Costco

:: “The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever”

Artist-in-Residence: Tex Allen

Why the Nose? Barista

The sun was out, time to make ART on a pre-Holiday shopping weekend in Napa, California!

About halfway through the three hour visit, I stopped at a shop for a warm drink.

Once inside, a group of 30-somethings asked, “Why the Nose?” and that’s when the shenanigans began. The whole conversation started because one of them called me “Rudolph” In 30 seconds, the entire place was laughing, being led by a dude wearing a clown Nose, handing them to everyone and having them repeat a “Junior Rudolph Pledge of Allegiance.”

One of the new converts was a teen girl, part of the original group who quizzed me and gotten the ball rolling. When she popped her Nose on it was pretty dang adorable and I immediately quipped how awesome a photo of that might be.


My camera was in a bag and my phone was in my pocket.

Not a millisecond after the words left my mouth and understand, I had NO intention on taking a photo because it was a happy chaos anyway, an older gentleman standing on my immediate right says very calmly but with force:

If you take a photo I’ll take the camera out of your hands and shove it straight up your ass…”

He even said it with a smile.

Seriously. It must have been her Grandpa and he must have been ex-military and god knows what other forces shaped him…but there it was.
Everyone heard it and no one reacted in the silence after his vitriol.
Except me.

That’s why I always ask,” was my reply, with an equally cheery smile, looking him dead in the eye.

I honestly surprised myself.

He must have embarrassed the girl, because she walked out quickly, with her Nose on though. The group thanked me, took their Noses, shook my hand and told me what a great and refreshing Holiday encounter they’d had and left smiling.

The photo above is of my barista, who told me, “I loved that Nose when you walked in” before she handed my “gratis” mocha over the counter 🙂

Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to leave a little love behind!

Tex Allen

Tex Allen is a multidisciplinary, experiential #loveartist.
His medium is a combination of a fast 50mm lens to capture magic, 20 years as a graphic designer, and a worldwide history of inspirational leadership within the cosplay and Burning Man communities.
WhyTheNose? as a movement has gifted over 400,00 Noses globally under a single mantra,
“Spreading love around the world, person to person, one Nose at a time”

Blazentech: My tween’s first VR experience

SJ playing with HTC Vive VR System
“I like that I can throw things at people and that they get mad at me.”
SJ reflecting on playing VR games

On Mother’s Day, my 11-year-old SJ played all kinds of games on the HTC Vive virtual reality (VR) system. Ok, it wasn’t technically her first time being in VR, as she’s tried the Oculus Rift before, but it was the first time she controlled her own experience in the space. Kind of a big deal!

She began by “working” as a short order cook in Job Simulator, then moved on up to an office job. It was very cool for me to watch her explore the new world, to find its edges. In both “jobs,” she threw a lot of stuff around instead of focusing on completing the game’s “‘tasks.” In fact, she was having the most fun just trying to break everything.

For example, at one point in the virtual office, she got on her hands and knees to crawl *inside* the shredder and then shoved her hands in the blades. She then ate moldy donuts out of her cubicle’s waste basket (I’m so proud!) and so on.

It reminded me of when I would play The Sims years ago and would build homes with no windows or bathrooms to see how that would play out. Rules schmules, let’s push some boundaries. Let’s see what this thing can really do.

She also got to doodle in a super-cool art program by Google called Tilt Brush (which is my favorite VR space I’ve played in so far) .

It’s really badass. Take a look at this video to see what it does.

Pretty awesome, right? SJ enjoyed making art in there, though I think she was more tickled by her “Job” experience. I won’t say much about the gun-shooting game she tried, other than it creeped me out that she could point the barrel of the gun at her face. Egads!

Yes, VR technology has a long way to go. It still feels “clunky,” but wow, it’s really cool. The future possibilities for it seem infinite. Truly, we all have a lot to look forward to in the next few years.

My friend Rebecca Evans wrote to tell me about an unusual use her team came up with for Vive, “Last weekend our team made a next-level Karaoke game for the Vive. Imagine being able to flip the lyrics sideways and backwards so the person singing has to literally chase them around.”

I can imagine that and I _can’t wait_ to get one of these systems in our home, so we can really give it a whirl.

Special thanks to Pete Hottelet for inviting us over to play!

:: permalink for sharing: ::

photos by Rusty Blazenhoff 

Events of note


Swoon's Pearly's Beauty Shop

[5/21] Swoon’s Pearly’s Beauty Shop, part exhibition, part live auction, part dance party, and part pop-up artist-run beauty salon at Superchief Gallery L.A., Los Angeles [Tickets]
United States
[Now until 8/19] Tiny Book Show, a touring bookmobile of little books handcrafted by artists and writers
[Various dates] 420 Games


Alameda, California
[5/21-5/22] Island City Waterway celebrates the birth of Alameda, California, with a free public art event open to all ages [RSVP]

[Until 6/29] Island City Waterways: Waves of Inspiration, new landscapes with borax and shoe polish by Ginny Parsons at Rhythmix, 6 PM to 9 PM

[5/12] Creative Clarity workshop at Inspiration Studio, 6 PM to 9 PM

[3/2017] Spannabis

[5/19] Bawdy Storytelling: “It Seemed like a Good Idea at the Time…” 8 PM to 10:30 PM [Tickets]

[6/4-6/5] Chicago Redhead Days, 11 AM to 5 PM, City Hall Park

Cold Spring, New York
[6/10-6/13] Camp Grounded, summer camp for adults

East Park Reservoir in Colusa County, California
[6/20-6/26] Camp Tipsy, an “annual rotten boat building contest and camp-out”

Lake Iseo, Italy
[6/18 to 7/3] Christo’s Floating Piers

Las Vegas
[Ongoing] Akhob, an immersive “Ganzfeld effect” experience by artist James Turrell at Louis Vuitton [by appt only: 702-730-3150]  HIGHLY recommended!

Lisbon, Portugal
[11/7-11/10] Web Summit 2016

[5/22] Yelp London’s Food Festival of the Future, an event that a combines London food, technology and food trends, Cargo, 1 PM to 10 PM Thanks, Alex!

[July] EVA London 2016

Los Angeles

Cool Places to Buy Weird Shit in Los Angeles

[Until 5/12] Hooray for L.A.A full Marionette Musical Variety Hour at Bob Baker Marionette Theater [Tickets]

[5/21] Swoon’s Pearly’s Beauty Shop, part exhibition, part live auction, part dance party, and part pop-up artist-run beauty salon at Superchief Gallery L.A., 7 PM to 1 AM [Tickets]

[5/29] E.T., the Extra Terrestrial screening at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

[6/4] The Legend of Krampus – Group Art Show and Exhibition at Hive Gallery, 8 PM to 11 PM

[6/11-10/2] Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life at The Broad [pdf]

[8/14] BrunchCon LA at The Reef, 9 AM to 3 PM Thanks, Josh!

[Begins 9/13] 8-week long Neon workshop at Lili Lakich Studio, 6 pm to 9 PM

[10/1] Dolly Parton at Hollywood Bowl [Tickets]

[12/5-12/8] Henry Rollins at Largo

Marble Falls, Texas
[10/7-10/10] Camp Grounded, summer camp for adults

Melbourne, Australia
beinArt Gallery opens in early 2016

[6/12] Dr Sketchy Anti-Art School Melbourne: THE REBIRTH, 4:45 PM [Tickets]

Mountain View
[9/24] Dolly Parton at Shoreline, 8 PM [Tickets]

New Orleans
[2/28/2017] Mardi Gras
[2/13/2018] Mardi Gras
[3/5/2019] Mardi Gras
[2/25/20] Mardi Gras

New York City
Quirky NYC by Oriana Leckert:
“From Bumper Cars to Torah Taxidermy: A Guide to 25 of Brooklyn’s Most Unusual Museums”
“From Elevators to Outsider Art: A Guide to 16 Under-the-Radar Museums in Queens”

[5/16] Psychic Dogs Lecture and Slideshow, NYC! With Dr. Paul Koudounaris! in Brooklyn

[5/22] Be in a Logan Hicks mural [Info]

[Until 5/26] Then She Fell, a “fully immersive, multi-sensory experience in which only 15 audience members per performance explore a dreamscape where every alcove, corner, and corridor has been transformed into a lushly designed world”

[Ongoing] Sleep No More at The McKittrick Hotel
[Ongoing] Jungle-Ized by Sound Collective, Free
[Ongoing] The Ferry Play on the Staten Island Ferry, $1.99
[Ongoing] More NYC events

Northern California
[5/20-5/23] and [5/27-5/30] Camp Grounded, summer camp for adults


[Until 9/25] Altered State: Marijuana in California at OMCA

[5/14-5/15] Hudson’s Estate Liquidation Warehouse Sale, contents from 20 different estates

[5/29] Sweet Leaf Yoga, yoga enhanced with high-grade medicine at 3215 Lakeshore Drive, medical cannabis patients with ID only, $25 [Read about my experience trying it!]

[6/2] Beauties & Beasts Gala Costume Party at Children’s Fairyland, 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM

[6/21] Garden of Memory at Chapel of the Chimes, 5 PM to 9 PM [Tickets]

[6/25-6/26] Burger Boogaloo, Mosswood Park [Tickets]

Palm Springs, California
[7/8-7/11] Yes and Yes Yes (YxYY) at the Ace Hotel, a “summer retreat for anyone who considers themselves a thinker, maker, creator, nerd, or weirdo.” [Tickets]

Paris, France
Editor’s note:
I had the good fortune to spend the night in an artist’s yurt. My photos from that visit are included in this show…in PARIS!
[Until 8/29] Habiter le Campement, Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine au Palais de Chaillot

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
[5/11] Rational Comedy for an Irrational Planet with Brian Malow at 8 PM [Tickets]

Portland, Oregon
[8/11-8/15] World Domination Summit [Tickets]

Riverside, California
[5/20-5/22] Beyond Brookledge at the Galleria at the Mission Inn

San Francisco
“Best storytelling events in the Bay Area”
Upscale vs. Frugal SF
[Ongoing] Elsewhere Philatelic Society
[Ongoing] More SF events

[5/11] Bona Fide, a new storytelling event by Dixie de la Tour at Verdi Club, 8 PM [Tickets]

[5/11] Fireside Storytelling: “Gotta Bail” at Chez Poulet, 7:30 PM Doors, $15

[5/11] Obscura Society SF: Art + Wine + Brains, 7 PM to 9 PM

[5/16] SFMOMA to reopen

[5/20] Sound Meditation For Suicide Prevention Benefit Concert at Grace Cathedral, 7:30 PM to 9 PM [Tickets]

[5/26] Amicus Ex Libris – A party by the books, “a clothing swap, but for books” at Monument, 7 PM to 10 PM

[Until 5/28] Jason Mecier’s “Celebrity Trash” at 111 Minna

[Until 6/5] Catch Our Style: California Regional Airlines 1950s–1980s at SFO Museum: Departures–Level 3 – Pre-Security

[6/5] DIY Taxidermy Squirrel Class at Paxton Gate, 11 AM to 3 PM [Tickets]

[6/5] Space Age slide show with Charles Phoenix at Grand Star Theater, 3 PM [Tickets]

[6/11] Wild Kingdom, an art car and fire art festival, 2 PM to 4 AM [Tickets]

[6/12-6/13] Season finale of Calling All Choir at Mission Dolores Basilica

[6/12] Mac Sabbath at Slim’s, 8 PM, all ages [Tickets]

[Until 6/24] Retrograde: Art by Winston Smith at Mule Gallery, reception 6 PM to 9 PM

[6/24-6/26] New Games with John Law

[7/10] Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge at DNA Lounge [Tickets]

[7/17] Dark Garden Annual Corset Rummage Sale

[7/23] The Murray Invitational. A Bill Murray Art Exhibition and Golf Party at Public Works

[8/5-8/7] Outside Lands, Golden Gate Park

[9/21-9/22] Dent: Space at Innovation Hangar

[10/1] Release party for Chicken John’s The Book of the Un at 111 Minna

[10/13] Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary, 8 PM [Tickets]

[10/2017] 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love

San Jose, California
[7/23] Blacklight Slide

SF Bay Area
[Ongoing] Best swimming holes in the SF Bay Area

San Diego, California
[8/18-8/21] Tiki Oasis: “Monster Island”: Tickets go on sale May 16 at 7 PM PST

San Mateo, California
[5/20-5/22] The 11th Annual Maker Faire Bay Area [Tickets]

Santa Fe, New Mexico
[Ongoing] Meow Wolf [Read this] [Tickets]

The Obscure, the Charming and the Odd: Mark Pahlow’s Guide to Seattle

[5/5] Bawdy Storytelling: “Slippery Slope” 8 PM to 10 PM [Tickets]

[7/4-7/10] Nowhere

Sun Valley, Idaho
[4/19/2017-4/22/2017] Dent 2017, a creative retreat for people who want to “put a dent in the universe,” as Steve Jobs once said. (Highly recommended!)

If YOU would like to co-curate an issue of Rusty’s Electric Dreams, I’d love to hear your idea! Please email me: about a cool event? I can’t be everywhere and know about everything, so share it with me! I’ll do my best to include it in the next issue.

Foma Labs, Immersive Experiences


The Houndstooth Glitch by Doc Pop for Betabrand

We know that you’re working hard. 

The next step is to do it with rigor.

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a weekly inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff. These personally-curated missives are beacons to signal and celebrate the global tribe of weird, wonderful, and unconventional people (“the Others“).

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“The future is uncertain but the end is always near” — Jim Morrison 



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