Saturday, November 24, 2012

Boston Can Be Scenic

Park Street Church in the moonlight

Pete, Marc and I had dinner last night with our friend, Paul, at Marliave in downtown Boston last night. Wouldn't it be cool if I had a photo of Paul so you could know who I was talking about? I didn't take a photo of him though. I'm sure I have one somewhere but I don't have time to look right now.

Marliave is on one of those old, beat to hell Boston streets in Beacon Hill, one of the older neighborhoods. The sidewalks are paved with seriously irregular brickwork (impossible to clear completely of ice in bad weather) and lined with dumpsters and gaslights (or else, gasesque-lights - I didn't look that closely, I just let it wash over me in a romanticized haze) There is some decorative ironwork outside the restaurant and a neato little convoluted stone stair that leads down to the next street over. I told Pete it was kind of like New Orleans only it smelled better and the food was not going to be anywhere as good. I LOVE New Orleans.

At Marliave they have a dollar oysters every night before 6 PM. We each got a dozen. New England oysters are very different than the oysters you get in the southern U.S.. They are far brinier and more delicately flavored. These were extremely briny. I'm a salt fan but I found these oysters a bit of a process to get through. They were delicious but they didn't go down quite as fast as the usual, say, Island Creek oyster. Even the familiar Wellfleets were saltier than usual. Not a complaint, just an observation. We also had sliders and garlic truffle fries. The food was fine but nowhere near as good as what you get in New Orleans. I love you Boston but you have to admit, the food in New Orleans is really hard to top.

As you can see, the moon was shining bright when we left the restaurant and headed for the Park Street T station. It looked so beautiful with the Park Street Church steeple I had to take a picture. Okay, the food here is pretty good if you know where to go and they have the moon and scenic church steeples in other places but I like living in New England. It's my speed.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Lovely November Day

I went out seeking adventure today. Not shopping, just adventure. It was a beautiful, warm autumn day. Some things I saw/did:

A frightening number of porta-potties in Davis Square. What does this mean? They reeked of cherry lollipop. You could smell them down the block. Whatever they're there for clearly hasn't happened yet. A horde impends.

I tried on cool shoes at Fluevog's on Newbury Street. The "Fluevologist," Peter, who was helping/enabling me thought these would go well with my tights. As you can see, he was right. I didn't buy them though. Yet.

You don't see abandoned sake bottles on the street every day around here. Exotic!


So, finally, I will tell you what I'm thankful for: my beloved friends. They're the ones who got me through my hardest times. When I was achy and sad they made me food and made me feel like I belonged with them. They made me smile and made me feel like I was important to them and that I could make them smile too.

Many thanks to all of my friends - whether you made me food or not (not everyone had the opportunity and it's not a prerequisite for thanks)

I am thankful for other things as well, like my excellent health and the fact that I can go running if I want to. For the thirteen years, nine months I got to spend with Fay. For the all of the people who helped me take care of her. For this brain of mine that keeps me guessing and entertained. For my family. For my comforts and my trials, for my ability to read, for chocolate, flush toilets, the people who make the amazing things that I love to see...

I could go on. I'm sure you could too.

Oh look - it's after midnight again. Clocks are so persnickety. Well, I'm going to bed. I hope you all had a wonderful Thursday/Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Plans

Oh yeah! Big doings today. I put my laundry away. Kewl!

I also went to Whole Foods today, like a maniac, because I realized that I will, after all, need to make some food for our Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow despite the fact that we are not celebrating at our house. Pete's brother, Marc, has invited us to celebrate at his house. You may remember Marc from other Thanksgivings such as this one, or this one, or this Halloween.

I will be making a side dish of farro, mushrooms, roasted sunchokes, pecans, dried cranberries, parsley and a bunch of other stuff that I figure will taste good (you know, like shallots, salt 'n' pepper, whatevs) While at the Evil Emporium, I mean, Whole Foods (it really is convenient - sorry) I whim-grabbed a frozen brie en croute. I'm pretty psyched about that.

Marc is providing fish he caught himself for dinner. I really appreciate guilt free fish because anxiety about overfishing has been known to keep me up at night. Fish are tasty but I fret about them. He's also making brussels sprouts.

And he mentioned something about football. So I should remember to bring my knitting. In truth, I like watching football from time to time. I love those exciting running plays and interceptions 'n' stuff. As with most sports I don't care much who wins. I just like to see people do things they're really, really good at. I suppose there will be entertaining ads too but if I hear the terms "Black Friday" or "doorbusters" one more time (and we all know I will) I may just have to scream really loud. Or drink. I could make it a drinking game.

And now for the moment of shame: I bought a pumpkin pie. I admit it. I did. And - ugh - whipped cream in a spray can. I didn't want to have to bring my mixer to Marc's house for the whipped cream. We're having a laid back, bacheloresque Thanksgiving. So I bought a pie instead of making one. I may still make a tarte tatin though. I haven't decided how I feel yet about only having one kind of pie on Thanksgiving. We shall see if my inner Martha Stewart kicks in or if I can lull her into passivity with brie en croute.

So! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! If you don't celebrate Thanksgiving then Happy Thursday to you! If I am wise I will remember to post what I am thankful for tomorrow. Best of luck to us all! MWAH! MWAH!

I Blew It Off

I'm not in California anymore and it's 12:27 AM eastern time. I blew off Tuesday's post until now. Yes I did. I guess I was in a cranky mood and felt like shooting myself in the foot. Tonight I'll be sleeping under (or next to) a large pile of clean laundry. I did the laundry, I just haven't put it away yet. More foot shooting. Just one of those days. Tomorrow (or do I mean today?) when I wake up it will be a different day.

While I was not posting I was knitting. I mostly finished this cowl thing.

I think I'm going to take it apart though. It's a bit snug and longer than it needs to be. It was an experiment that I think needs a redesign. This is the cowl made with Madeline Tosh merino that I mentioned back in my Halloween post. At least now I know one skein is enough for a cowl and that the yarn's not itchy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Let It Go

People are driving me completely insane today.

It's my fault. I shouldn't have opinions about how other people want to do things. Guh.


Hey NaBloPoMo people! I'm in CALIFORNIA where it is not 12:35 AM on 11/19/12  but 9:35 PM 11/18/12! I posted today! C'mon! Count me!!!! In fact I posted this for the first time at 9:00 PM pacific time but spent the last half hour trying to correct my time zone. Seriously! Help a gal out!

Okay, whatever. I know what I did.

Cake Toupée

My Brother and Jaguars

This is just obscene

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Know-it-all Bossypottamus

You know that post I wrote the other day about how to paint a portrait? How I think it's a good idea to work over the whole surface as you go and how at times your painting will look great and sometimes it will look crappy and then it'll look great again and be done? Well the process of painting a portrait is an example of the creative process in microcosm.

A painting, a drawing, a story, a film, an artistic concept, the development of your body of work as you make more and more pieces, your artistic career, the events that make up your whole life, all follow the same mysterious ATV ride of a path.

Like I said in the earlier post, you don't start with nothing then get progressively better when you're making a piece. You start with a goal to shoot for. Sometimes you progress smoothly, sometimes you screw up. Sometimes you make a mistake but you step back and notice that your mistake had a pretty cool effect: it suggests a better direction to take your piece in or it adds another layer of meaning to your initial idea. Sometimes part of the piece looks great but it doesn't work at all with the rest of the piece and so you have to get rid of the part you like.

Sometimes you're convinced that everything you're doing is a complete disaster and you'll never get this piece to where you want it to go. You're a crappy excuse for an artist and you'll never do anything right. You put something in and it sucks so you take it out. You do it again, twice. You work on a different area then go back to the tough one and it still won't work.

An hour later or the next day or six months later (after you've gone and done something else for a while) you find that it wasn't all a disaster after all and you can work with some of it and now you know exactly what to do. Or you decide to take the whole canvas (or construction or story etc.) apart and piece it back together in a different order, or make the thing into a different object entirely.

In short, you set off to find your goal, you skip along, you wander blindly for a bit, you skip some more, you fall off a cliff, you get discouraged, you find a different route to take, you see a neighborhood you didn't know existed, get lost again, leap over a fence and find an awesome party, wake up with a hangover and can't do anything right, you wander wander wander wander, find the on-ramp to the freeway and all of a sudden you're there and your piece is done. Usually your goal looks different than you'd expected it to when you get there.

If you took the crazy path where you tried new things, took risks, made mistakes, pulled off amazing feats, failed miserably, worked hard and had fun, your end product encompasses your goal but also includes more content. It's richer with elements you hadn't imagined it would have. Or else you ended up someplace entirely different but better suited to your true needs. That is the artistic process.

It's exciting, it's fun, it's educational, it hurts like hell, you want to beat your head in with a rock, you feel like you're flying, it's amazing and you NEED TO DO IT AGAIN.

So on a bad day I might complain about what a loser I think I am. In the long run, big picture- wise, I know I'm really fine. Life and art are wild rides with some doldrums thrown in. Disasters are good, successes can be deceiving. As long as you're learning you're winning. As long as you keep going you're winning. You only lose if you stop and let the bastards get you down.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Different Things

So I am, as usual, disgruntled with myself. As usual, I feel like I've been "doing it wrong." I am dissatisfied with the results of my past efforts. I need to get over that.

It helps to have noticed how unrealistic my expectations of myself were. I don't feel like I've absolutely wasted the last ten years. I don't think I'm beating the crap out of myself about anything.

Still I want to move on and do things differently. I'm trying to become more comfortable with discomfort. I've begun to do things I usually hesitate to do for lame reasons. For example I'm going by myself to parties where I won't know many people or going out when it would be easier to stay in. I'm trying to do things that are hard for me.

It helps to have moved to another part of town. I probably wrote about this before three years ago when we moved from Brookline to Cambridge. Changing neighborhoods is like getting a whole new city. It's easy to avoid old habits. It's easy and fun to go to new neighborhoods and take different routes around town. Of course you can do those things even if you don't move to a different neighborhood - it just takes more effort.

Consciously doing things differently feels great. It's way more fun that staying in a rut. It's exciting to have new perspective and to try new things. One new, fun thing that Pete and I have been doing lately (thanks to our friend, Liz) is going for shabu shabu in Chinatown:

Shabu shabu is SO FUN! Also tasty. Chinatown is really easy to get to from Cambridge as well. 

The other day I took a walk into Harvard Square. I've lived in the Boston area for twenty-four years and there was a stretch of Mass. Ave. in Harvard Square that I'd never set foot on. I've driven by it many times, I've even walked across the street from it. It blew my mind that someplace so accessible had never been trod on by me until that day. It was a small thing but I relished it. 

Doing things differently makes me feel like I'm improving the odds that more interesting things and new people will come into my life. Life has been all about change lately and while many of the changes have been painful and profound, I'm liking the fresh winds that are blowing. Progress feels good even if it stings sometimes. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Got Nothing For You

It's a race against time!

Will I be able to think of a post topic before Pete gets home in an hour and a half?

Me: Come on brain, think!
Brain: Nothing. Nothing. Nothing...

Me: Maybe if I eat this bag of potato chips?
Brain: Burp! More!

Me: Chocolate?
Brain: More potato chips!

Me: What? But you love chocolate!
Brain: Try meditating.

Me: You know, brain, I have a lot of stuff I need to figure out and you just don't seem to be getting with the program. I need you to pull yourself together and help me out! Come on! What do I have to do? I've been providing you excellent oxygenated blood flow, reasonable, balanced amounts of the hormones you need, I've been sleeping alright. What am I missing?
Brain: Duhhh...

Me: Okay, I'll try meditating.
Brain: Socks, cars, the number 3, it smells like apples in here. 3. 3. Sleeping. Wake up! One, one, two, two, pink, aqua, platform-heeled shoes, threeee, sleeping, three, you're an idiot, three...

Thirty minutes later:
Brain: I got nothing for you.

Sorry folks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Some Autumn Highlights

I love when it's persimmon season!


Way to go, Boston Public Garden designers! You did great!

Monday, November 12, 2012


My horoscope for today:

"Try to set out on a new path today. Your initiative is essential for your success and happiness, so do anything you can to avoid inertia. Activity keeps you sane, so run in place if you have to."

I don't believe in horoscopes but I think this is good advice any time. 

So I'm outta here! See ya!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This Is What I Thought I Could Do

Hold on to your hats! "Creative" punctuation ahead - and a lot of gobbledygook. But then this is a blog.

One big thing that happened this year is that Pete and I entertained the idea of selling our place in Vermont and moving to Durham, North Carolina.

This was traumatic for me. It forced me to face the fact that I'd been undervaluing the things that weren't working in the way we'd been living our lives. It showed me that my dreams had turned out to be just that: unrealistic and impractical. I wanted to do too much with too little time and no help. Nuts!

In Vermont I have an artist's dream studio: plenty of square footage, a sink, a deck (! What artist even dreams of having a deck off their studio? For many artists even a sink is a dream) near but not in my house, safely accessible at all hours, very few distractions, surrounded by wildlife and incredible views. It's probably the best studio I'll ever have. How could I think of giving that up?

Because it's frigging lonely up there! We're too far from our friends and family. We keep having to travel so we can fulfill our family duties and charge our social batteries.

Every time I leave it upsets my creative rhythm which takes days to re-establish - a problem I couldn't figure out how to get around. Thanks to list-making I have been able to keep producing work I'm proud of. My dreams were rosier though. I thought that if I had a great studio and dedicated my time to my work that my productivity would take off. Maybe it would have but in all the years we've been there I have rarely been able to devote the unbroken stretches of time to my work that I thought I would.

Ultimately that's life. Nobody can just be an artist. Everybody has family and needs to eat lunch and gets interrupted by the details of life. Everybody knows that life is where art comes from.

But it wasn't just my art-making that got interrupted. I wasn't around enough for my garden either. I had dreams of turning our property into a verdant paradise of multiple garden rooms, fruit trees and a potager.

I also thought I was going to decorate the house beautifully and cook gourmet meals made with vegetables we'd grown ourselves.

What an insane fantasy! Look out - here we go... I'll whip up some pear and ginger scones to have with home made yogurt first thing in the morning for breakfast! After an hour's walk in the woods with Fay, it's off to my studio to paint and sew and sculpt and create installations that are in demand the world over! With Pete's help I'll spend a couple of hours tending to the weeding, pruning dead-heading and other garden maintenance. Then it's back to the sparklingly clean and tidy house with the flowers I've picked for an arrangement to decorate the entry room table (we don't have an entry room table) I'll make us a lovely cucumber and green bean salad with fresh dill from the garden and poached fish for lunch! Then back to the studio for more brilliant creations! Then I'll work out for an hour (gotta keep in shape!) then go to the mailbox to pick up the multi-thousand-dollar checks that arrive there daily and then play with Fay in the yard for another hour. Then it's back to the house to create a delicious gourmet dinner with fresh baked pie for dessert! Satisfied, Pete and I will share a nightcap on the patio by the fire pit, under the stars and I'll knit while we discuss the arts, culture and the latest issue of the "New Yorker." Then we'll retire and spend an hour or so before sleep catching up on reading those "New Yorker"s and about physics, philosophy, history, movements in art and technology etc. Then off  to a peaceful night's sleep full of fascinating, revelatory dreams (G-rated version)

Uhhhh... Smoke much?

In fact, no, that ridiculousness was the product of my own, unaltered mind. I did that all by myself! That's like a month-and-a-half's worth of activity I imagined I could pack into every day, not to mention my plans for Pete's assistance that I didn't consult him about. Not to mention expecting Fay to remain young and healthy. I mean, it took about a week to just read that paragraph, didn't it?

So yeah, that wasn't working out at all and I was FRUSTRATED about it. I was a FAILURE for FAILING to accomplish the IMPOSSIBLE. But I kept trying! It was like I was trying to live in a Thomas Kinkade painting or something - a literal, two-dimensional painting. I clawed into that dream for everything I was worth. It took me traumatic months to begin to release my grip on that baroque tableau.

You know, when I look at it that way I see that I actually accomplished a lot, all things considered. I just was never able to complete even one aspect of that fantasy. We're so backed up on the "New Yorker." I mean I could chip away at things. I did bake and grow things and make art and learn (A LOT) I just don't live in my own wet-dream of aesthetic/intellectual/domestic productivity. I don't have Hermione's time turner. If I did I'd probably use it to nap anyway.

So we may still move down to Durham somewhere down the line. I've been trying to spend more time in one place. I've been in Cambridge for the last couple of weeks trying to catch up with friends and figure out a rational plan for moving forward. That's hard for me. I still don't want to give up any of my activities and I want to get a full time job. Clearly something still has to give. I do think my expectations have changed though.

The number one thing I've come to terms with is that I can't provide myself with enough mental stimulation all on my own. I'll need to be around more people which means I should be based in the city. I'll have to trade the company of the critters for my sanity. I love the critters. And the beauty and the solitude. Something has to give.

So please wish me luck!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Working The Nose

You can learn a lot of useful things in art school if you pay attention. You can learn the same things elsewhere but I learned them in art school.

One thing you learn if you take painting is that it's generally best to work the whole surface of the painting at once rather than concentrate on one area then move to another area.

You're painting a portrait and you really like the model's nose. You want to get that nose just right. DON'T START WITH THE NOSE. If you start with the nose you won't leave room for the chin or the top of the head or something. You're supposed to sketch in the whole composition first so you know from the beginning that everything you want to include will fit in the picture.

Then you put in the large areas of color, work with the large masses of the form. Don't forget the background - that counts too. Now you can work on the nose. BUT DON'T JUST WORK ON THE NOSE. Because while you're working on the nose it will become disconnected from the cheeks and the chin will float off to Hawaii. What are those two small blobs up there? Those are supposed to be eyes? Nuh-uh.

But the nose is really good. But I'm out of nose color so I have to mix more for the forehead. Wait, that color isn't working at all. And I just noticed that the eyes are in slightly the wrong place and I should move them both over a little to the left and shift the angle of their axis a little down. But then the nose will be where the lips are supposed to go! Maybe if I can use the nose as a pivot point I can move the chin a tiny bit over here... But now the temples are all messed up. Fuck! Now what do I do? I'll have to start over!

Yes, you'll have to start over. And that, my friend, is painting.

But the nose was perfect! Are you painting a nose or a face? Do you want a painting of a beautiful nose floating in a sea of mushy chaos? Because if you want that that's fine.

In the olden days popular painters had ateliers full of apprentices who specialized in noses or lace or backgrounds or helmets or whatever. They probably got some kind of room and board for their labors. Maybe. Those days are over. Being the finest painter of noses in the world is a wonderful personal accomplishment but you probably won't be able to eat because of it.

If you want to paint a portrait that looks like a whole human head (or dog head or fish head or whatever your subject is) you're more likely to be successful if you do a dab on the nose, then the cheekbones, then the forehead, then the hair, then the chin, then maybe back to the cheeks for a stroke or two then the light in the background then the chin again... See what I mean? Bring the whole thing along little by little so you know where everything is and they're all developing in relation to each other and you don't get lost.

You're still going to have to start all over again a few times because that's just how it goes. Something will inevitably stand out and look great but it will be too soon so you'll have to get rid of it. If you find an area you want to preserve that's a danger zone. Mess it up - unless you're almost done and the other areas are almost there too.

Paintings go through a lot of stages before they're finished. You don't just start with nothing and then it gets better and better. Sometimes you start and it looks very promising. Then you realize it's not going to get where you need it to go that way and you have to mess it up to make it better. It looks great then it looks like unsalvageable crap then it looks kinda better then it looks pathetic then you figure out what it needs and it's done. Except for that one little part over there...

Screw that part. It's done. If you work on it any more you'll be working on it forever and you'll never finish it. Sometimes you just have to call it done. Let it go. That's a very freeing feeling.

Of course when someone says "you're supposed to..." that means that someone else's opinion of what you're doing matters. The truth is you can do whatever you want. Particularly in art. If you get the result you wanted then you went about it the right way. The ends justify the means in art as long as you're happy.

You don't really have to sketch out the whole composition in the beginning if you don't want to. Messed-up, out of whack portraits can be kind of cool. Sounds like a profitable exhibition if you ask me. Messed-up is very popular in the art world these days. It "reflects the chaotic nature of the times and the artist's disassociation from society" or some shit or other. If you can explain it to somebody you can make it work.

I suppose knowing how to do it "right" is a tool to have in your kit to be used if you need it. You never have to use your tools if you don't want to.

I'm calling this done. Later!

Friday, November 9, 2012


Nine days of blogging and I don't know what to say. Sorry, but this is going to be a filler post. I'll keep it brief.

Pete and I did karaoke tonight with our friends, Spencer and Lisa. Thankfully we had a private room. I think karaoke is a very good thing. Especially when there are lasers.

Every year Pete's band, The Weisstronauts, does a Christmas show and I get up and sing a number. I usually stress about it somewhat. Not enough to practice for the whole week before the gig though. I usually just sing along to my iPod for a couple of hours that day. The words are no problem because I've chosen a song that was on the "Holiday" tape when I worked at The Gap back in the early 90's. I worked three "Holiday"s so I could sing this song in my sleep.

Anyhoo, I'd consider doing some karaoke in the days before the show just to warm up and try and smooth out my performance moves. I usually don't have any performance moves and I feel stilted and awkward.

Oh Practice, will I ever learn to fully appreciate you?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

More Normalcy

Speaking of normal, we have officially entered the time of year in New England that I like to call "normal," as illustrated below.

Good of the camera to focus on the window screen, huh? I'm too lazy to take another photo. Sorry. You can still see the light coating of snow on the hood of the white pickup near the pink door in the upper right corner of the photo. You can kinda see the slush in the empty parking space to the pickup's left. Also the tiny dusting of snow on the porch roofs and dormers of the houses in the back. The darkness and puddles are pretty clear. This photo was taken today at around 1:00 PM. Windy, 37 degrees Fahrenheit*, drizzly and slushy. Normal conditions.

Some might be inclined to say "How disgusting! How can you endure the dreariness?" I find it comforting because it's normal.

Now is the time of year that most people have to wear clothes if they're going to spend time outdoors. Due to my dearth of melanin and deliciousness to insects I always have to wear clothes when I spend time outdoors, particularly in nice weather. This is the time of year when it's actually comfortable to do so! I love that!

Okay, so as Normal season progresses it will get darker and colder and there will be snow and ice. I'm not in love with the ice. It hurts my be-hind when I wipe out on it. The snow's kind of fun though. As for the cold, whatever. Add another layer. All of this makes indoors cozier and hanging with friends more necessary and fun. Not bad for "normal."

*If you need a mnemonic device to remember how to spell "Fahrenheit," just think, "Oh no! I Fahted!" in your best Boston accent.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not 100% Yawn

So I've been thinking about yesterday's post. I still believe it's true that I'm not a good trouble maker. But I can be good at quietly undermining normal. Sometimes the unsettling element is all it takes to set off a surprise and encourage the unexpected, right?  I don't need to be the tornado of terror, upsetting everyone's plans and turning everything upside-down.

Okay, so I'm not a full-on source of anarchy. I can at least be a gentle reminder that normal isn't everything.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not Making Trouble

I understand that life is chaotic and that that's a good thing. I just can't bring myself to purposely help the chaos along. I might have mischief in mind but I can never seem to pull the trigger.

Maybe I'll think about this some more later...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Adios, Literally

One of the really hard things that happened recently (a little over a month ago) was that we had to say goodbye to Fay. My girl. I miss her so much.

The week after her fourteenth birthday she developed a problem with her lungs that wouldn't respond to treatment. She felt fine if she was in an oxygen crate at the hospital but she could only breathe for about a minute and a half if she was removed from the crate. She wasn't going to get better.

She gave me thirteen years and nine months of joy. She lifted my heart every time I interacted with her. Every difficult thing I ever did for her was so worth it.

Of course having a pet counts as saying yes to love. Some people say that your pet doesn't really love you, that they're ingratiating themselves to you so you'll give them food and shelter. I don't know if that's true. It doesn't matter if it is. The opportunity to feel and give love is so important, whether or not your love is returned. The love you give is the love you get to keep. 

Love is more than worth its cost in pain.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crap Drawing

A not 100% shitty drawing

One of the things I need to do for this vast project I'm working on is think up a good name for it. Okay, also I have to do a lot of the kind of drawing that I suck at.

I am a shit cartoonist. I'm pretty good at drawing the things I see. Particularly portraits. I love faces. That's neither here nor there. We're talking about what I suck at.

I suck at trying to draw faces and bodies from my head. But I want to put out a comic.

At first I thought I could take photos of myself in costumes and sets doing the things I want my characters to do and then make drawing from those. That might be cool. I could still do that. I've been thinking about doing that for over a year and still haven't taken one photograph.

I have also been completely unsuccessful at getting myself to buckle the hell down and just do sheaves and sheaves of shitty drawings until I get better at it. Is practice the easy way? I mean, wouldn't it be easier to just draw until I came up with something I could live with?

But is making art about easy? No. Duh. It's about learning, exploring, trying something new. It's about being willing to fail and keep going until you get something you can use.

Failure is so much easier to stomach when you're in good company and maybe over a couple of beers. So I'm thinking I should get a few friends together and have a shitty drawing party. Or maybe meet at a pub and have an informal shitty drawing event.

Brilliant! Problem solved! I wonder if I could get anyone to go?

Painfully horrid and embarrassing
Stiff and awkward but I don't completely hate it 

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I hate inspirational posters that boss me the hell around. Do this, do that... "Enjoy life to the fullest!" "Believe in your dreams!" "Breathe!" "Say yes to love!" (oh, wait...) So annoying.

But this one is good:

It's the Holstee manifesto and you can get a copy for yourself here.

Okay, at times it's a little much for me. I get overwhelmed by all that advice. I'm never going to just walk up to someone and demand to know their passion. Also, the "All emotions are beautiful" lettering should be bigger for more impact. Most people don't understand that all emotions are beautiful - or why. 

Whatever my quibbles may be, this poster makes a lot of good points. But I'm on a love jag right now so I'm just going to focus on that part.

It took me forever to realize that "do what you love" really means do everything you love as much as you can. It's a good idea to fill as many moments as possible with as much of the stuff you love as possible.

Eat the food you love, wear the shoes you love, be with the people you love, surround yourself with the colors you love, listen to the music you love, go to the places you love, do the things you love to do no matter what their value seems to be. Don't be ashamed if the things you love seem stupid. You love them. If they bring you joy then that's enough and screw what anybody else thinks. 

It seems to me that this is how you build a life that has value for you. So that's what I'm going to do. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Say No And Be Doomed (Say Yes And Be Good Doomed)

You should never say no to love.

Reason 1: Love doesn't take no for an answer. Love doesn't go away because you think it would be more convenient for you if it did.

Reason 2: You're an idiot if you allow (or push!) someone you love out of your life just because you're scared.

Reason 3: Love is always good. Even if you can't figure out how to work it, even if it's inconvenient and uncomfortable. Be patient and you'll figure something out.

Reason 4: The more you experience love the bigger you find it to be. More facets and permutations are revealed to you. You recognize it better, sooner, when you encounter it elsewhere in your life. More love is better than less.


Say no to love and you will just suffer the pain of realizing that you made a huge mistake. You've probably done damage to someone you care a great deal about, you've missed out on some amazing opportunities and there's nothing you can do to fix it.

Love is scary. Love is the best thing in our lives. Love is the only thing in this life that we can keep. Love will mess you up and hurt you and heal you and keep you going. It will save you.

You're going to suffer either way. Life isn't about convenience and security. Life is suffering. You can choose beautiful, meaningful, life enhancing suffering or you can choose stupid, useless suffering that helps no one.

I'm talking about love, not attraction. Big tidal wave love. I'm not saying you should hop into bed with whoever appeals.

What I'm saying is don't run away. Let love happen even if you don't know what it's going to do or where it will take you. It will take you somewhere good. The ride will be worth it. Be brave.


You don't really have a choice after all. Love will find you and overcome you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Yeah, There Are Cuss Words In Here

Photo by Pete

Good morning everyone!

Isn't life confusing? So much to do, so much to think about. So much shit raining down on you, so many beautiful experiences to have at the same time. I pity the three pounds of mush that has to try to sort through it all for each one of us. What an experience!

Then there's all the stuff we don't take in because we aren't physically capable of it. Puny human mind boggling.

How am I supposed to pick a topic to blog about with all of these amazing, confusing things going on? The answer is, "Just fucking pick something."

Have I changed at all since June? Can you tell? Eh, whatevs. According to my meditation books (and a whole lot of science books) we're all changing all the time. Any perception of personal consistency we have is an illusion created by our brain. Brains are so cool. They make order for us where there is none. I wonder why we need it (order) so much?

So here's my topic for today: aging, mine specifically. I need to come to terms with it.

Yesterday I read that most cells in your body have short life spans. They die and are replenished regularly. Neurons are different. The neurons in your brain are the same ones you were born with. This is why I can be forty-six years old and still think I'm twenty-three or feel (or act) like an eight-year-old.

When I'm walking around doing stuff I have no idea how old I am and I don't care. That's as it should be. It doesn't matter. So it shouldn't bother me that I don't look like I think I do. Right? It doesn't really matter.

I was not careful to take good photos of my costume last night. Pete took a few though.

This is the best one of my costume but I don't like it because I look wider than I'd like to and because you can clearly see my saggy old lady neck. Gah! I would like to think that my neck doesn't look like that all the time. I can't see it so what do I know? 

But it doesn't fucking matter, does it? Why spend a moment's  energy on it? 

Moving on, that was a pretty good costume. I don't think the hair is quite right for the character but it'll do for Halloween.

This photo is more like what I was going for:

Of course that's blurry so I can believe what I want to about my neck. You can't see the leggings or the shoes though. The woman behind me in the picture had been in front of me earlier. She had the worst posture. Her head was disappearing into her shoulders. It gave me a backache to look at her.

So where was I going? Something like I need to get over any feelings of concern about my aging appearance. There's nothing I can do to change it. There are far more important (and interesting) things I could be spending my time doing. Although coming to terms with and accepting reality is a valuable pursuit. One more miracle of life to encounter and appreciate. A gift of impermanence: another challenge to tackle and subdue. 

By the way, I'm wearing a mini hat: