The End of Free Money

With all eyes turned to the state of the U.S. economy and the unprecedented drop in stocks on the DJIA I would like to offer two thoughts.

First, we have to realize that most American's were complicit in this unraveling of our economy. We all wanted something for free. It doesn't matter if you were a Democrat or a Republican, the bulk of the worst policy decision's were made back when Clinton was still in office. Sure a lot of the deregulation was spurred on by House Republican's in general and Phill Graham in particular but we have to get past the blame game.

The simple fact is that true fiscal convservativeism bit the dust in 2000. With it went the last shreds of controls of our Capital markets. We were able to maintain the appearance of prosperity for a large portion of the last eight years but know we are seeing just how hollow those gains were.

Now that we have had any economy addicted to free money and fake progress we are just now crashing back to our inevitable economic reality. The fact is that free market systems are winner take all with out regulation. That left an awful lot of Americans faced with ever dimmer prospects for real wealth acquisition. Meanwhile for the 20 years we have allowed a very narrow sliver of people to reap ALL of the benefit's of our economy. I think we are all going to have to take a good hard look at the post-depression policies of Roosevelt and realize that we are going to see a lot of people waking up socialists.

Sorry Sean Hannity. We shouldn't give huge tax breaks to the rich while people who have busted their ass for our nation, fought our wars, taught our children, built our roads have woken up to find they can't actually buy homes, afford health care, or send their children to school.

And that brings me to my second point. This may look like a catastrophe, and we are definitely going to feel the hurt in every level of our society. But there are two things that are going to change in the next 10 years. At first this is going to rip us apart, but a day will come when we wake up and realize what really matters to us. From the C.E.O. of the Exxon to the bum on the street, we are all in this together, and the selfishness, greed and stupidity have to stop. Second we are going to learn that you have to make real progress, it is not enough to have people living from paycheck to paycheck, digging an ever deep ditch. It's time to go back to the way things worked in the 40's, 50's, and 60's and abandon the idea of the Milton Friedman's, the Neo-Consertative Deficit Spending, and even Wall Street now. This is the end of something for nothing and money for free.


Indian Pulp Fiction

                         – Okay now, tell me about the hash? 

                         What so you want to know?

                         Well, hash is legal there, right?

                         Yeah, it's legal, but is ain't a 
                         hundred percent legal. I mean you 
                         can't walk into a restaurant, roll a 
                         joint, and start puffin' away. You're 
                         only supposed to smoke in your home 
                         or during certain religious festivals.

                         Those are the Puja's?

                         Yeah, it breaks down like this: it's 
                         legal to buy it, it's legal to own 
                         it and, if you're the proprietor of 
                         large Ganesha statue, it's legal to sell
                         it. It's legal to carry it, which doesn't 
                         really matter 'cause – get a load of 
                         this – if the cops stop you, you just
                         give them a few hundred rupees and they
                         will act like they have never seen you.

                         That did it, man – I'm fuckin' goin', 
                         that's all there is to it.

                         You'll dig it the most. But you know 
                         what the funniest thing about India 


                         It's the little differences. A lotta 
                         the same shit we got here, they got 
                         there, but there they're a little 


                         Well, in Hyderabad, you can smoke in 
                         the restaurants. And I don't mean 
                         in a little cigarette either. They give you 
                         a giant hookah, like in an Opium Den. In 
                         Bangalore, you can smoke a Hookah at 
                         MacDonald's. Also, you know what 
                         they call a Quarter Pounder with 
                         Cheese in India?

                         They don't call it a Quarter Pounder 
                         with Cheese?

                         No, they don't serve beef
                         in McDonald's there and, AND,
                         they got the metric system there.
                         They wouldn't know what the fuck a 
                         Quarter Pounder is. 

                         What'd they call it?

                         Super Chicken with Cheese.

                         Super Chicken with Cheese. What'd they call 
                         a Big Mac?

                         Big Mac's a Chicken Maharaja Mac. A 
                         Maharaja Mac...

                         The Maharaja Mac. What do they call a 

                         I dunno, I didn't go into a Burger 
                         King.  But you know what they put on 
                         french fries in India instead of 


                         Capsicum Spice!


                         I seen 'em do it. And I don't mean a 
                         little bit on the side of the plate, 
                         they fuckin' drown 'em in it.


Also everyone Stateside is saying 'Burn After Reading' is great. I can't see it for at least a month.


A Letter To My Family

The Vaughan/Blanchard/Barton/Christensen clan is represents a large spectrum of Political and Religious thought. But sometimes you just have to drop a bomb on them and let them try and argue their way back out. So with no small amount of love or sincerity I sent this email their way. I hope that I can do what to can for my own lot. Right now in America it's looking like the Third Act of Titanic.

Here is an email I sent there way. If you feel like I do retool to your needs and pass it on to your loved ones. Here it goes:

Hey All,

Mom and I were talking about this a few days ago and I though I should send this out to you all. I know I will be preaching to the choir to some of you, but many of the people I care about lean a lot more to right. Nobodies perfect! Rather than just post this up on my blog which only a few people read I thought I would be much better off posting this up here. I really sincerely hope I can change your minds about some things. I know you have a lot of fears and doubts about people especially that closet Muslim Manchurian Candidate, Barrack Obama. I also know it takes a lot of courage to go against the prevailing wisdom of friends, and your religious and business institutions. But we are staring down an economic crisis of unprecedented proportion. The kind that can so fundamentally alter our economic and political landscape we might not have a recognizable America left, if it indeed it can survive. So you tell me if me you think it's a good idea to leave our fate in the hands of the ideologues who have pushed us to the brink. Do you think the Opposition could be any worse than the Cannibals at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue now?

I've been watching our present economic meltdown happen in slow motion since about 2005. I started paying attention those "No Down Payment" infomercials talking about how to buy a home with no money and only finance them on interest only loans. They would advertise how you could own 10 homes paying a fraction of what you do for your current home, rent out the others and as soon as the house appreciate enough you just flip em! Easy Money, make thousands each month. Then I started reading up on interest only loans, a very popular financial tool that had previously reached it's zenith in the bustling years of the Mid 20's. I seem to remember something of a reality check hitting by the 30's.

The sad news is nothing is free or easy. All that ease of purchasing power and lack of fundamentals in the housing sector did was overheat the market , raise the cost of home ownership to prices radically disproportionate to the actual wages of the people living in them and make those that did jump into the market a prime target for bad loans. Wage growth has been negative for almost every year of the Bush administration, horrific when compared with inflation, which means the cost of housing should have decreased. So when markets come back to reality who can pay, no one has savings, no one has a safety net, not even the financial institutions.

So all of that money in housing during the Bush that was made was just a bunch of funny money, paper without real equity. Unreal estate. On top of that we a lot of investors, most of them managing money from Sovereign Wealth funds in other countries and public trusts in America with bills to pay, equity to protect and no real interest in propping up ailing markets. If the government leveraged buyouts don't hold we are looking unparalleled pan-global economic devastation. Even now our abilities to cope with this economically are stressed to the limits. If our bond rating slips the rest of the world may just cut us loose and let us slip into an economic free fall that will be worse than the Great Depression. We can wake up living in a world where China looks like America in the 60's and America looks like China in 1900's.

So who thinks we should be paying a half a trillion dollars a year to fight a war in God forsaken Middle Eastern hell hole now? Who thinks we should let the small fraction of people who laughed all the way to their Swiss bank accounts as they rode the Deregulation Train off the cliff, taking most of the American middle class with it, ride off into the sunset with a 200 billion dollar a year tax cut? Who thinks we should provide further tax incentives to companies to move or cut jobs out the America? Who thinks this is just history taking its course and not the ramifications of years of systematically undoing the progress made by during the Clinton Era, hell the Roosevelt Era? Who thinks we can stand idle and just say that all Politicians are the same, and we can't change any of this?

I think our deep cynicism has taken us to brink. I think we have seen time and time again that if you let a bunch of glad handing war profiteering crooks high jack the American Government over a bunch of non-issues you can't expect a responsible, rational, present governance. What we have had in the White House for eight years is, in all fairness, our Founding Fathers worst nightmare made flesh and handed the highest office in the land. He is an indolent, dull-minded, pandering, simpleton wearing the masks of Power with an absolutely certainty that his Providence is mightier than the rule of Law and the well-being of those he Governs. He keeps about him only the sycophantic worshipers of his own cult of personality and those savvy enough to pull his puppet strings. The political machinery that made this monster only wants unleash more of the same.If you want to vote for another deeply disturbing, cynical Political operative and his gang of Lobbyist Adviser's, running a campaign that would have even made him cringe only four years ago you can vote for that guy. It rhymes with McSame.

Our only hope is to elect people that understand the economy, still have an ounce of integrity, and still understand that all of the progress and prosperity begins with helping the Middle Class in America, if it means a few less Yachts in the Harbor for the boys from Skull and Bones. Politics IS institutionalized class warfare and I strongly suggest you look at what team you are on your tax return and start playing your part.* If you need a hint John McCain says you aren't rich unless you are making $5,000,000 a year. Hopefully this is getting a bit clearer everyday.

Disregard this email at your own peril,

-Joshua Scott Vaughan

*If you make enough money not to care about the Middle Class, help us out anyways, you will never want for friends.



I have been living and working in Hyderabad for close to 3 months total this year. Thought I might long overdue to share some of the views and maybe make some art. This blog isn't just about taking the piss out of my friends after all.

I have most of the day off from work so I thought I would make some crappy second rate art. Well here is my speed paint of the view from my balcony here in Hyderabad. From here almost can't see the U.S. Economy collapsing...


When Bad Photoshops Happen To Good People

For only the second time this year I have missed a wedding of a dear friend. This time it was a whopper, my best friend for over 15 years and a man that the audacity, the tenacity, and sheer strength of will to be my roommate for over 6 of them. That is either insantity or a profile in courage.
So instead of heaping even more massive laudatory praise for a guy is both one the best artist's and programmers I know. Instead of glad handing a guy whose moral turpetude is so potent that if politicians had the power to extract his essencne his cloned progengy would fill all the clone vats in Area 51. Instead of saying that this strange ecclectic, who tears could end our countries addiction to foreign only save for the fact that he nevers cries (until now), ought to have just enjoyed his wedding day. I say that things got missed. The asthetic angels weep on my shoulders for the fashion that was lost. Fret not overlong, I have fixed it in Photoshop

On your fifth wedding anniversary you shall have what's coming to you. And it's only the finest in Beaver Pelt.

Congratulations and all of the best my dear Cholesky!


Why Obama IS Great.

Now that virtually every single segment of the American Financial sector is bordering on insolvency most the largest corporations are turning to Uncle Sam to bail them out. Honestly what other choice do we have? But here is the issue, once these institutions are bailed out, once yet again prove with disastrous results that while people can be free economies never can be, will this Generation of Americans, long past paying the pensions of most of the Greatest Generation and long since Sold Out by the Me Generation have what it takes to turn this around? 

America: A wholly owned Division of China: A Dubai Corporation. 

Can we turn this around? Can turn around a process that had it roots in the mind of Amnesiac President's and Corporate Raiders in the Seventies? Can turn back the clock to a basic decency that can allow us to look after one another again? Can we find the strength to challenge those people in our Corporations who feel they have no fundamental responsibility to the people they employ? Can we challenge those in Government who feel no basic need to protect and serve their constituents and the greater constituency of the American People, regardless of race, creed and gender? Can we a make America a benevolent power, not just an imposing Super-Power poised to take the world to brink for the smallest of perceived threats? Can we rise above the din and confusion to be a little bit then we have been, and honor what we ARE about?

There is a guy out there who thinks so, and he gives a lot more back to this country than a great speech, although this is one of them:

..Make no mistake: my opponent is running for four more years of policies that will throw the economy further out of balance. His outrage at Wall Street would be more convincing if he wasn’t offering them more tax cuts. His call for fiscal responsibility would be believable if he wasn’t for more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and more of a trillion dollar war in Iraq paid for with deficit spending and borrowing from foreign creditors like China. His newfound support for regulation bears no resemblance to his scornful attitude towards oversight and enforcement. John McCain cannot be trusted to reestablish proper oversight of our financial markets for one simple reason: he has shown time and again that he does not believe in it.

What has happened these last eight years is not some historical anomaly, so we know what to expect if we try these policies for another four. When lobbyists run your campaign, the special interests end up gaming the system. When the White House is hostile to any kind of oversight, corporations cut corners and consumers pay the price. When regulators are chosen for their disdain for regulation and we gut their ability to enforce the law, then the interests of the American people are not protected. It’s an ideology that intentionally breeds incompetence in Washington and irresponsibility on Wall Street, and it’s time to turn the page.

Just today, Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem. But here’s the thing … we know how we got into this mess. What we need now is leadership that gets us out. I’ll provide it, John McCain won’t, and that’s the choice for the American people in this election.

Can we overcome the stupidity and foolishness of our hard right bend in the States?

Yes we can...


Great Balls of Balls!

Perhaps the single greatest problem with the 3-4 month development cycle of a true casual game is the fact that you don't really get too many shots at do overs. Right now I am getting ready to send my game at Gameshastra into a Beta. That means if you really want to make sure that everything goes in a works right, looks good and really is put together nicely you better nail that on the first shot. Barring that the second. God forbid you need a third.

About three weeks ago I started working on the UI for the game I am working on. Now mind you I couldn't give it my full attention. But things just kind of went along and got implemented and they weren't exactly knocking anyone out. Hell, they were awful, the whole thing was getting to be brazenly inconsistent and I hadn't given it the attention it needed. That is until about six days go. That's when my life went to hell and crunch time began in earnest.

Since then I have been at the office 12 to 14 hours a day for 4 of the last 5 days. This is not because I thought this was a great idea. I know what crunch time does to me (makes me a loopy basket case) but I am really backed into a wall. Nothing to do know scrape together every last drop of gumption and just do the work.

The good news is I hit a style I can live with. I am drawing all of the Layer Style and Page Design mastery skills that Matt Petersen and Ben Savage could osmose into me during my years at EA. What I wouldn't give to have those guys around right now! It'd be done up in about 2 days!

Somehow I just hope I don't look at this work in two month's and hate it. There is nothing worse than grinding yourself down to the fallow nothingness of spent being only to find your labors for naught. It's not even that I worry if other people think it's O.K. It matters to me.

Well I am going to eat some food, read the internets and soon dream a quiet dream and imagine myself as comfy as any of my lazy dogs. I return home in a month and hopefully I can point to this post when I am knocking back a cold one and not working myself into an early on some storied Friday in October in Utah. The cold wind will chill my beer and I can sleep in the warmth of my bed surrounded by the things that love me back, it will be a refreshing change of pace.

Also, Holy Shit, I have a ton of people commenting on my stuff. Shout outs to Cholesky, Jason and Xavi. If anyone happens to stumble upon this hit up Cholesky's Lab, the bastard has sealed his fate in the eyes of God and Government and the Family. He is wed. I promise to update with like some honest to god art next time. In about a month I will have some mmm... mmm... good drops!


The Running Man

Just feeling like posting some art:


RNC Politics

I read all of Sarah Palin's speech. It was easier than listening to her speak it. I read all of John McCain's. The Daily Show beat me to the punch. It's George Bush's 2000 acceptence polished up for the Reformed Maverick. In eight years they haven't managed to do any of things they talked about, even when they had a stranglehold on national politics. I don't think that they will do any of it with another four years, which is probably for the best.

In short the Bard would say it was,"Full of Sound and Fury, in the End, signifying Nothing." No new ideas, no new path, no new mission, no new vision. A perverse rendition of democratic politics from the seventies without any real vision of how to accomplish it.

For the Ron Paul republican's I really hope you can find a way to get your voice heard above the din. At least you have something meaningful to say in all of this. It's seems that for a lot of Republicans who really do have somehthing valueable to offer to the public it will take a while for you guys to pick up steam. Even William F. Buckly, one the smartest voices on the right and leading propents of a small effecient Government said "the GOP needs to forget about trying to govern for a while, and should go out into the desert and find itself." I couldn't agree more.


A Signature, With Apologies

The usual rules in commercial art generally dictate that 1) All things be equal you will probably steal 2) Just because you lifted it doesn't mean you shouldn't at least synthesize it! 3) There is nothing more tasteless than obvious brazen theft.

And with that all sincere apologies to Saul Bass. If you must steal at least pick someone good. In this case I think I am choosing someone who you make a case for as being the best. 

At least it's not just Helvetica...

Larry the Arab

Since the film was restored in the late 90's, Lawrence of Arabia has been my "It" film on the AFI top 10. Sure Citizen Cane is great film with a tremendous vision and narrative, but I almost think that what it really shows is that movie critics were actually comic book geeks first. Casablanca is a gem of a film, but it's just not BIG enough, it feels like a great play. The Godfather is a masterwork, but as someone who grew in a largely disjointed family in Utah, there is only so much about this I that film I can get. I still haven't seen Gone With The Wind! It's kind of sad but it's on my to do list! But down there at number #5 is David Lean's masterpiece. The story and the photography are the best ever. Any serious film student should memorize every shot. I just don't think a film of this caliber will be made again for quite some time. It's just perfect.

Because of my opinion of this film I just haven't even attempted fan art*. What was the use? For now I am abondoning the cult of the genious and throwing this out there any ways. Here is T.E. Lawrence:

With links to flickr for those that want to see a larger version!

*Hell I don't even know if you could call it that... Uh, historical fan fiction illustration perhaps?.


In Response

Over at Cholesky's Lab Ev has pictures of invisible horses for his Fiancee Robyn. I just thought I would carry it over to the logical conclusion. I think there is much more fun to be had with this.

Frederick would proud.



Crypto Psychology my old blog that was read by, oh, no one, is now dead. I think I just need to put a better art/life focused blog together. I do lead a life that is at least of passing interest in synopsis form. Besides, this blog has a better name.

For those keeping score I am a seven year veteran of the games industry, having worked as an artist on several projects over the years. I have my third party employee merit badge, my failed start-up merit badge, my successful sell-out merit badge, and my years in the corporate grind merit badge. Now I am going for my Successful International Start-Up with Benefit's! merit badge.

At the present I am working for an 18 month old company based in Hyderabad, India and El Segundo California called Gameshastra. I was hired on in May of 2008 to be the art director for a group of about 35 artists (and growing) who work here in Banjarra hills. While can't be overly specific about all of the details I can say that this is a very interesting company to work for and it's been a really big eye opener to work at this level. I am still at the point where I am a bridge between the world of the boardroom and the working floor. It's an interesting dance but at least I like the beat.

But that's all kinds of secondary. I am on here to post up some art, wax inflammatory on the state of religion and politics, and generally do what I can to stir the pot without getting too overheated! Hopefully those in my circle of family and friends will care to read it. I will try not to bore everyone too much, and I will try to post frequently. But for now a story!

Today is Ganesha Chaturthi in India. I attended the puja(ritual) for it this morning. Good times as the elephant god walks the earth! For the ceremony everyone gathers near a little tent made to house a Figure of Ganesha. In the "auspicious" time for your ceremony (which coincides nicely with when a Brahman priest can fit you in) you have people gather and make offerings of food, spices and flowers to the Lord Ganesha. You get a fat bindu and get to shout if you love Elephant Dieties. The priest has a really long, loud chant to recite and should his wife call and need him to remember to pick up stuff at the market he will pick up his cell phone mid chant with a loud, "HALLO!" Oh, modern India, the phones are always on!

Here's pictures:

Ganesh prior to being anointed

Me after the Puja

And Ganesha afterwards

And the last thing of minor significance, Google Chrome is out. It's new, it's speedy and it has a really nice comic by Scott McCloud.

UPDATION! And Wired and everyone else under the Sun and there dog is all over it. Also if you don't want Google knowing all of your stuff, as if you can stop that, you can do this:

For those that have learned to stop worrying about Skynet and love the Bomb: use Google Reader. I share a ton of crap on there and soon as there is a widget for it I would love for it to end up on this here blog too...