This is the “Deviant, in a good way” Edition :: Rusty’s Electric Dreams, Issue #170

“Without deviance from normality, there can be no progress.” — Frank Zappa

Rusty's Electric Dreams

Rusty’s Electric Dreams, an inbox zine for positive deviants and the people who love them
Issue #170 :: The “Deviant, in a good way” Edition :: 3:14:2018

Deviant, in a good way…

I know, I know. I told you I wasn’t going to publish the zine this week but I changed my mind. Surprise… now you can just take a ride on my spontaneity.

SO… I just learned about something called “positive deviance” and, well, it tickled me, so I came back to tell you about it.

This is what I learned…

In 2000, “positive deviants” (PD) were described in Fast Company as “individuals whose exceptional behaviors or practices enable them to get better results than their neighbors with the exact same resources.”

That didn’t precisely strike a nerve but this definition in a 2010 Independent article starts to get warmer:

“…look for outliers who succeed against all odds. Such individuals are outliers in the statistical sense – exceptions, people whose outcomes deviate in a positive way from the norm… such people do not know he or she is doing anything unusual.”

Getting warmer…

It was this definition in a 2017 Forbes article on “black sheep” that really caught my eye though; PD are described as “people who make positive changes in their lives and the world but are still ostracized by members of their family.”

Whoa, now they’re speaking my language. 🙂

While the term “black sheep” is generally seen as negative, I try to wear my “black sheep” status as a well-earned badge of honor. It’s gotten easier over the years to do so. The more I’ve let go of my past and the hurt it brought me, the easier it has been to see it as a gift. I became the “black sheep” through no choice of my own but what I did with the gift (of being my family’s scapegoat) has made me the “positive deviant” that I am today. [To be clear: It wasn’t always this way, it took me some time to truly embrace the “positive” over “negative.” And still, it’s a process. Deviance is easy, positive deviance is harder.]

Yet another description states, “A positive deviant is someone who departs from the norm in a way that adds value versus creates pain.”

This explains how I think of pranks. Some would disagree, but I believe a prank shouldn’t hurt anyone. I believe that pranks should instead invoke “surprise and delight.” It gives value not pain.

If I’m understanding it all correctly, this philosophy of PD is more than putting a positive spin on something, it’s carefully crafting a positive and rewarding outcome. It’s thinking many steps ahead and creating something wonderful. [Those of you who experienced the Jejune Institute — or any one of the many, many other awesome things in our greater community — know what I’m talking about.]

Ok, I have a favor. Can you send me names of any individual, group, art piece or project that you think might be PD? I want to start a list. I mainly want to know about PD that I am not already aware of but all suggestions are welcomed. And, while it resonates with me personally, let’s remove the “ostracized by family” part of the equation. I want your opinion on who is PD. [If you also send me your snail address, I’ll mail you a small token of my appreciation.]

One last thought… I had to laugh. “Positive deviants” reminds me a lot of Boing Boing‘s “happy mutants,” which they describe as “the cyberspawn of the behavioral shenanigans of the Dadaists, Surrealists, or the lesser-known but more interesting Situationists.”

Yes! It’s all connected, isn’t it? I hope this resonates with you all as much as it did with me. Either way, enjoy your week!

–Rusty Blazenhoff
P.S. LA, are ye ready for me?

This space intentionally left deviant, in a good way

As seen on the Internets


Ruth Bader Ginsburg

May 4: There’s going to be a documentary about badass (dissenter extraordinaire) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s titled RBG. Stoked. [Talk about a PD!]

:: Steamed Hams Inc. via

:: This French playground is super cool!

:: Meta: High + Ideas = Highdeas

:: Using AI to make knitting patterns

:: What words were first used in print the year you were born?  “Granola” was 1970

:: Remember I told you about 49 Boxes? Well, apparently, Neil Patrick Harris LOVED it too!

:: At a conference I just went to, I learned about ANXY. It’s a magazine that sees “mental health through a creative lens.”… I picked up a copy. It’s both GORGEOUS and has great stories.

:: Remember when I told you about my artist friends who lost everything in the Sonoma fire? Just five months later Erick Dunn, the husband of the couple, has made and announced his first piece. I was up at their new place in Kenwood recently and saw it for myself. It’s really quite spectacular

Here’s a photo I shot of it:


Real things you can actually buy: yay!


Flat Plants

Need This is a DIY “paint by numbers” style kit to make FLAT PLANTS. I love them and not just because I have a black thumb. Though, they’re kind of pricey (kits start at $40 and go up from there). I feel like I could make my own with a laser cutter.

Real chocolates you can actually buy: YAY!


St. Louis: Crown Candy Shop misfit chocolates

I love these SO much A St. Louis chocolatier, “Andy Candy” of Crown Candy Kitchen, takes the chocolate parts that are accidentally broken (from when he opens hand-poured Easter candy molds), melds them into new “misfit chocolates” and then sells those.  Brilliantly subversive and a money maker.

Featured events


Goldhive Salon: Feast of Fools

I’ve heard good things: [3/31] GOLDHIVE SALON: Feast of Fools: “FIRST in a series of Exploratory, Evolutionary, Dazzling, Delightful Cross-pollinating events where we bring together the very best SOCIAL, ART, TECH, PERFORMANCE, LIVE MUSIC and Innovation the kaleidoscope of Bay Area communities has to offer!”

[5/4] Island City Waterways History Talk: The People of Neptune Beach at Rhythmix Cultural Works, 7 PM to 8:30 PM

Remember a couple issues ago I told you about Neptune Beach? Well know there’s going to be a talk about the “Daredevil aerialists, entrepreneurs, entertainers and athletes” of this island attraction of yore. Tickets are $10

San Francisco
[3/16] The Pathogens at Thee Parkside, 9 PM, Tickets are $10

[4/5] Parents Must Be Dead (Christine’s McHugh’s one-night, one-woman show!) at Noh Space Theater, 7:30 PM

[4/20-4/22] Neon Speaks, a three-day neon festival and symposium


Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a weekly inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff for positive deviants and the people who love them.

Described as, “One of the most inspiring, weird and off-kilter collections of curated kitschy ephemera for the big-brained.”

People like it.

:: Read the archives :: Send a tip :: SUBSCRIBE ::