The “Biting the Apple” Edition :: Issue #336, Rusty’s Electric Dreams

“New Year’s resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.”

—  James Agate

An inbox zine for positive deviants and the people who love them
Issue #336 :: The “Biting the apple” Edition :: 1:11:2023

Biting the apple…

Man alive, the holiday season really chewed me up this year. So glad to be on the other side of whatever-the-heck-that-was. I’m happy to report that the first few weeks of the new year are infinitely better than the last few weeks of 2022. Ok, yes, there were some glimmers of good in December (mainly binge-loafing, that’s a thing, right?).  I’m just saying overall it was unnecessarily lonely, hard, and depressing.

So, I did what I had to: loaf quietly in discomfort, wait out the slow passage of time, and, most importantly, keep the faith. 

Sure sure, I could have been working on my favorite annual art project, my holiday card. I take pride in coming up with something fun and unique. But this year I started down a path that didn’t pan out the way I envisioned it (which I’ll share in a second) and by the time I realized it wasn’t going to work, it was too late. I had lost my creative drive to seasonal depression. 

[Let’s call this next section: How AI ruined Christmas.]

When ChatGPT was announced in mid-December, I immediately started playing with it and, this won’t be surprising if you know me, began wondering how I could subvert it. I eventually thought to feed it some general info about what I did in 2022 and have it generate one of those “holiday letters” that people send out. The concept being that I’m “too busy” to write my own, so I had employed artificial intelligence (AI) to do it. The whole idea tickled me and I couldn’t wait to see how AI would twist the highlights of my year into non-human gibberish.

But, it didn’t. It spit something out that wasn’t half bad. A little formal and dry, but sincere and accurate nonetheless. I tried to “break” it but I never could get it to a place where it was obviously written by AI, and by that I mean absurd. Then, in a moment of desperation, I thought to offer a disclaimer. Maybe by explaining the joke, that it could still be funny. It wasn’t and that’s why no one got a card from me this year. Eh.

Well hello there, 2023

So, in a traditional sense, the turn of a new year is a time of new beginnings and hope. It’s a great group manifesting exercise, isn’t it? Keep focused on letting the light in when it’s dark and cold. I have more hope than ever that I’ll keep moving forward in the right direction careerwise in 2023. If for no other reason that I’ve been gathering a team to support me to get where I want to go. As a hyper-independent person, this is a big deal! My success is dependent on me asking for help—yuk! 

— Rusty Blazenhoff
P.S. To my great shame, I dropped the ball on responding to emails and texts from many of you lovely people in December. Apologies, it’s me not you! I’m thawed out from my frozen state if you’d like to pick up the conversation.

As seen on the Internets

Burning Man interviewed Rob Schmitt aka “Santa Zero,” the positive deviant who started Santacon. 
I took this photo at Portland Santacon in 1996. Can you find the Santa Rusty’s-Brother?
:: What was learned by meditating “15 hours a day for 6 months straight with one of the toughest Buddhist monks on the planet

:: Woman fed an AI chatbot her diary entries so she could talk to, and heal, her inner child

:: She shares how most anyone can do the same thing

:: Use these 5 rules of improv to improve your everyday life

:: “When you get invited to something in the future, ask yourself, Would I do this tomorrow?” and other helpful life tips

:: I love me a good age-progression video

:: The heartwarming story of the guy behind the Times Square confetti drop

:: This came up in conversation recently and it’s so true!

:: Diplo’s just showing off now

:: A device to prove you really LOL’d

:: A candle 40 years in the making

Real things that actually exist: AI-yay!

Stocking full of vices: AI tried to ruin the holidays but I fought back and figured out a way to make it work with me on another project. For the past 20-something years or so I’ve been going to a Christmas Eve party at a friends’ gorgeous Victorian flat in San Francisco. There’s always beautiful holiday décor, familiar faces, and great food but, if I’m being honest, the real draw for me is the Yankee Swap. In the pre-pandemic days, over 100 people would play and it gets crazy

Now, I don’t really care about what I get (though one year I hilariously got a bottle of poppers) but I care a lot about what I give. I want it to resonate. I am trying to find that sweet spot of “surprise and delight.” So I did a take on those mesh stockings for little kids but instead of toys I put in guilty pleasures—scratchers, booze nips, joints, and more!

My friend Jenny perfectly named the stocking: Santa’s Little Helper. And the poem on the back was a collab with AI. I was thrilled with the results and the person who opened it gave it a quick lookover and then hid it quietly in his jacket so no one could steal it. Win-win

Real things that actually exist: NAY!

The bar is so low: Whenever I start to doubt myself and question if my work is good enough, I keep this kind of stuff in mind. This ‘fashion’ sells at Bergdorf Goodman for nearly $1600, AND it’s made by a disgraced brand. Why does this exist?! [HULK SMASH]

Featured Events

[NYC:: now] How can we get “gourd helmet” to trend? Not only has Louis Vuitton’s flagship store in NYC put an audio-animatronic Yayoi Kusama in its window, but they’ve also decorated their store in polka dots! The intersection of art and commerce is a tricky one but I can’t help but love this collaboration.  #YayoiSuperfan

[Point San Pablo, Richmond :: ongoing] Go get hot at good hot

[Oakland :: 1/12] Instant Band Night: musical improv “event where bands are formed on the spot, with names pulled from a hat. They have 5 minutes to prepare a song. (Not even everyone is a musician, but they try anyway!)” —Danielle B.

[Oakland :: dates in January through March] Reservations to get into Oakland Museum’s White Elephant Sale are available now. Some dates cost money, some don’t. If you go, you will find a magical trinket of some kind. That is my fortune for you.

[San Francisco :: ongoing] Artists Television Access’ calendar

[San Francisco :: Until 3/2/23] Go see Charlie Gadeken’s illuminated forest installation, Entwined Meadow, at Golden Gate Park’s Peacock Meadow unless it’s flooded. You should stay home then and be safe. Yeah, stay safe out there, ok?

[San Francisco :: 1/20 to 2/5] SF Sketchfest

[Santa Rosa :: 3/2-3/5] Baby Doe and Otto present a new “Mid-Century design, style and history” conference, Resort-O-Rama: “Look at this line up!

[Los Angeles :: now] Scott Hove’s Cakeland Gallery Presents “The Beauty War,” a “light-meets-dark immersive art experience.” Follow:

[San Luis Obispo :: 4/7-4/8] John Waters Easter & Pink Flamingos 50th Anniversary at Madonna Inn

[NYC :: 1/28] Shadow Traffic’s Idiotarod is back: “New York’s longest-running fake sporting event returns for its 20th run” 12 to 6 p.m. (Facebook event page)

[Scottsdale :: 4/27-4/30] Arizona Tiki Oasis

[2023] Attaboy’s Up Cycled Garden installation is going on tour 

[2023Fran Lebowitz is starting her international tour in San Francisco on February 1.

After a long career, this retired LEGO mold is ready to sit back, relax, and brick-around.

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is an inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff for positive deviants and the people who love them. If this was forwarded to you, please consider subscribing yourself.

Described as, “One of the most inspiring, weird and off-kilter collections of curated kitschy ephemera for the big-brained.” People like it. Well, most people do.

My inbox zine is my gift to you. That being said, it’s not cheap to produce. If you have the means, please consider supporting me. Also, mail art is my love language, so feel free to send me some: 3104 Fernside Blvd, Alameda, CA 94501.

:: Read the archives :: Send a tip ::

Publisher & Baddie-in-Chief: Rusty Blazenhoff

Email Email

Facebook Facebook

Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe    update subscription preferences