2009 October

October 2009


I don’t drink. When you have a family with a history of alcohol and substance abuse, the whole scene loses its appeal. Sure, I have a few bottles of mead lying around, and a bottle of absinthe that my sister gave me a few years back which is waiting for the right occasion, and I’ve even made blog posts about microbrewed beers – but generally, I don’t drink.

I guess that this was never more apparent than at this year’s Halloween party. The thing is that I don’t go out to parties much, either – usually due to the fact that there’s nothing around me, I have eyes that won’t allow me to drive long distances after dark without killing myself and everything around me, and the fact that I’ve had a few too many negative experiences being around people who are drunk. The few positive experiences I’ve had were quickly negated by the dreaded ‘next morning’ and the realization that I probably wasn’t nearly as charming as someone’s beer goggles had led them to believe, and I was too gentlemanly to take advantage of the situation.

In addition to wanting to avoid the substance abuse issues that certain parts of my family are prone to, I’ve always been put off by people asking what kind of drugs I use to come up with my imagery – as if nothing creative can be done without somehow altering your mind. As if the human mind isn’t capable of taking apart and reassembling things without assistance. Maybe yours isn’t. I’ve never had a problem.

I used to be adamantly anti-drug, because of the really disastrous ways that the drugs around me messed up my life, even though I wasn’t ever using them. Now, I’m more of the opinion that ‘you can do whatever you want, just keep it away from me’. I’ve seen and lived enough examples of substances influencing behaviors to know that it’s just not something I can trust. In high school, hanging out with the potheads in the woods while they fashioned pipes out of aluminum foil and never, ever became anything worthwhile. Being cheated on by girlfriends. I never really fathomed how this was fun. They never seemed to be having a good time, and they still went back to it. Maybe it was a real physiological need. All I need is raw fish – though the costs of both habits are probably comparable.

In a perfect world, my every waking moment would be dedicated to making things. Nothing pretentious as ‘art’. I’m not a fan of the word ‘art’. I guess that I firmly believe that as a person on this planet, there’s a certain moral obligation to dedicate yourself to a greater cause after you’ve met the basic need to suvive – which is not to say that what I think I do is great, but I’m working towards it – and alcohol cannot possibly be something that helps that cause. There’s a certain amount of infidelity we display towards our ego, towards ourselves, towards our ideals when we’re drinking in excess. Tom Waits notwithstanding.

I just can’t bring myself to believe in this. I can’t bring myself to justify the escapism. If you feel the need to alter your mind to feel creative or to feel better about yourself, you don’t have enough control over your mind. If you need alcohol to have fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Most of the time, when I hear people talk about how art is their body and their soul and blah blah blah rainbow moon crystals, I take a look at their MySpace and get treated to a gallery of amateurish horrors. There’s the obligatory disproportionate nude, or something with anime eyes, and maybe something that looks like a Silver Raven Moonfoxwolfbear book threw up. Not to be an elitist, but if this if your soul, your soul is fucking ugly. Try harder. If this if your life, you’d better make it beautiful. There’s such a rampant, disappointing acceptance of art mediocrity, or artists blatantly copying the hard-fought styles of other artists. Why this is accepted I’ll never know. I have some ideas.

But no matter what your purpose is – spirituality, athleticism, art – it requires dedication. If you don’t have it, don’t get in my way. I don’t have enough time to be in a stupor, or step over you while you’re in yours.

Everything changed in June. And when I say everything, I kinda really mean everything. Like, internal apocalypse everything. I’m surprised that I have any guts left or that the laws of gravity still govern me. Maybe they hold me even more powerfully than before. Everything.

It never really affected me before, but Tom Waits’ ‘Nirvana’ hit me deeper than I thought possible.

“Not much chance, completely cut loose from purpose,
he was a young man riding a bus through North Carolina on the way to somewhere.
And it began to snow.

And the bus stopped at a little cafe in the hills and the passengers entered.
And he sat at the counter with the others, and he ordered, the food arrived.
And the meal was particularly good.
And the coffee.

The waitress was unlike the women he had known.
She was unaffected, and there was a natural humor which came from her.
And the fry cook said crazy things.
And the dishwasher in back laughed a good clean pleasant laugh.

And the young man watched the snow through the window.
And he wanted to stay in that cafe forever.
The curious feeling swam through him that everything was beautiful there.
And it would always stay beautiful there.

And then the bus driver told the passengers that it was time to board.
And the young man thought: “I’ll just stay here, I’ll just stay here.”
And then he rose and he followed the others into the bus.
He found his seat and looked at the cafe through the window.
And then the bus moved off, down a curve, downward, out of the hills.

And the young man looked straight forward.
And he heard the other passengers speaking of other things,
or they were reading or trying to sleep.
And they hadn’t noticed the magic.
And the young man put his head to one side,
closed his eyes, and pretended to sleep.

There was nothing else to do,
just to listen to the sound of the engine,
and the sound of the tires
in the snow.”

I have a hard time making sense of things lately. This makes sense.

Here’s the deal.

My life is an unholy fucking mess of fuck. It’s true. This manifests itself in almost 30 years of collected crap that has been weighing me down like a weighty weight. I need to fix the hell out of this, and fast. I’m getting old and fat and self-loathing, and there’s so much I could do with this space and freedom.

Something happened to me, and I feel like I’ve been freed from a desire to HAVE. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make things go away, and I feel lousy about throwing things into the garbage and adding to landfills.

I’m here to offer a trade. I collect drawings of Batman. This gives me peace, and they can all be kept flat in a nice, convenient box until I have a suitable place to hang them. My collection spans professional artists and amateurs, conventions and trades in the post. There’s very little that comforts me anymore, but this is something. You know what? You don’t even have to send me Batmen, but if you want to, that would be nice.

I don’t care if you can draw or not. Comment below and include your e-mail address where the form requests it. If you’re willing to trade me for a drawing / painting / whatever of Batman, I will happily send you a large mystery box of crap. This will include action figures, cards, books, DVDs, and general madness. Maybe art, too. I have this messed-up need to maintain some kind of balance in even the most superficial ways.

Honestly, it’ll be saving me, and I hope you enjoy the little bits of my weird, insular life that I’ll be sending out into the world.

david_mack_batman

I saw a link to this on Digg :

squeezebox
They asked for a comment that would sum up this image in the fewest possible words. Being a person who never backs down from a verbal brevity challenge (as evidenced herein) (note the irony) I commented :

‘Squeezebox²’

And apparently, I totally won some DVD/CD combo pack for being one of the best comments out of 300+. Because I’m fuckin’ invincible.

- A top hat will get you kisses from beautiful women.

- Tom Waits on the stereo is a lot of fun until he becomes excruciatingly relevant to the situation at hand.

- Walking in the rain doesn’t have to be cold and annoying. It can pretty much be the only thing that makes sense all year.

And I guess that’s as much as you can learn as the sober person amid 7 others who can finish 100 beers between them in an evening.

IMG_0596

I’ve been doing some internet researchifying for my Halloween Steampunk costume, limiting myself to those things which existed at the turn of the century (but stretching the definitions to extend into the 1940s, because nixie tubes pretty much give me pleasures that only ex-girlfriends have been able to match). And because I’ve been blessed with a voluminous forest of facial hair (which decided to sprout after a relationship went sour), I’ve begun to research era-appropriate mustaches.

I think I’m going with this one :

mustacheCredit where credit is due, this is borrowed from an amazing mustache blog that specializes in rare and antique mustaches, which I will heretofore link permanently in the sidebar – because it’s just that keen. If I do say so myself, restructuring my own face-canvas for a costume I’ll be wearing for an evening is fucking dedication. That, and I haven’t been to a party in a very long time. And I spent three days building a raygun with a tiny, color-changing rave light in it. So yeah, gonna hit this thing running.

Here’s a video of the raygun after I dropped the mechanics into it, but before I finished painting it :

And here’s some other crap :

steampunk
In researching ‘the Steampunk costume’, I came across a debate which posited an interesting perspective : is Steampunk a costume, or is it a way of life? While the ‘authentic’ staunch defenders of Steampunk seemed adamant that this is simply a mode of everyday dress, I’m inclined to say ‘get a fucking life’ as well. The clothes look great, but we’re talking about a fictional universe that doesn’t exist. We’re not talking about a sexual orientation or having superpowers.

“As someone who dresses like this daily, I don’t know whether to be insulted or flattered. Many “Steampunks” don’t consider what they wear a costume or something you just wear one day out of the year. I know a fireman who can’t understand why anyone would dress up as a fireman on Halloween.” – BSTI (whose profile link leads to some website about socks. How un-Steampunk.

Unless you’ve retrofitted your car to run on coal or have a computer that runs on gears and turbines, I’m disinclined to believe that you’re really adhering to this as a ‘lifestyle’. It’s not like you were born into a dirigible and cannot adjust to modern forms of travel. When you call it a ‘lifestyle’, I can’t help but make immediate comparisons to furries. Is that what you want, Steampunks?

I’ve been collecting this shit since the early 90s. For this costume, I already had the top hat, three pairs of goggles, tons of brass fittings and clock gears, and I didn’t have to buy a single thing to make my raygun. This doesn’t make me more authentic than anyone else.

It all comes down to whether or not you call your attire ‘clothes’ or ‘costume’, and how seriously you think that you need to take yourself. A hint for anyone who wants to live a remotely fulfilling life : don’t. Don’t take yourself seriously. I have at least three shirts with Darth Vader on them, but I’m not telling people that I’m a Sith Lord. At least I don’t tell girls that.

This weekend on CQ, I explore my summer vacation collecting tokens and the sudden value of some old action figures thank to Spike Jonze.

Enjoy.

WTWTA_douglas_medicom

Dear ToyFare Magazine :

I believe that we have a problem. See, for months now, it seems that you’ve been sending me proof copies of your magazine instead of the final edition. Since I pay for a subscription, I’d really appreciate if you could send me the final, published copies.

That is – unless you’re asking me to edit these issues for you. You are the dominant magazine in the multi-million dollar industry of entertainment collectibles. You have unparalleled press access to events and product samples, and yet, you can’t put together a coherent magazine. If this is your way of asking me for help, I’ll happily give it to you! I don’t even require much compensation – probably far less that whatever your drunk / special needs / blind proofreader already gets.

It’s not as if I set out looking for spelling and grammar errors in your magazine, but as a speaker of English, I can’t help but notice some things. For most magazines, one spelling error per issue would be a source of terrible embarrassment. ToyFare, however, borders on around a dozen per issue. Let me give you some examples from the most current issue – and please note that I’m not a colossal jerk. I just firmly believe that as a professional entity that I have paid to read, you have a certain responsibility. So, here’s some quick examples from issue #148.

toyfare1
PAGE 7 : See? Right here. I guess you couldn’t decide where you wanted to put your nerdy whinings, so you just overlapped ‘em. I can understand a layout error, but this really should have been caught. I’m catching it for you. I’m assuming the use of ‘DEPT.’ twice is supposed to be humorous.

PAGE 10 : It’s a nitpick, but the company is spelled ‘DC Direct’, not ‘Dc Direct’.

toyfare2

PAGE 13 : I’ll be the first to admit that I’m some kind of giga-nerd for noticing mis-spellings of the names of imaginary characters. But here’s the thing : 80% of your magazine is ALL ABOUT imaginary people. They have names, and it’s incumbent upon you to spell them correctly. It’s ‘Bizarro’, not ‘Bizzarro’. We’re only a few pages in, and we already have three noticeable errors.

toyfare3

PAGE 26 : Honestly, guys. This is a disaster. Three severe errors in one box – and higher up on the page, one of the characters in a speech bubble is actually a square that the computer will slap in there if it’s missing a letter within a font. Is anyone awake over there?

PAGE 29 : IN your ‘Halo Odd Pods’ segment, you spell one character’s name ‘HAYBUSA’ in one place, and ‘HAYABUSA’ in another.

PAGE 38 : Another error in the name of a fictional character. It’s ‘Bariss’ not ‘Barhss’. I know, it’s only one letter off.

PAGE 59 : You incorrectly state that the KidRobot Futurama chase figure is Hypnotoad. It is actually Slurms McKenzie, as there is no Hypnotoad in this assortment. /end geekmode

And I’m fairly certain I saw at least one instance of using the word ‘where’ instead of ‘wear’. Oh yeah – page 24. Homophones, guys. Not the same meaning.

ToyFare, if this is your cry for help, I am willing. If this is all just a big mistake, I’d appreciate an actual subscription. Or for you to take some fucking responsibility for your magazine.

Thank you.

I’ve been cleaning out my computer and finding stuff among the collective terabyte of informations that I’m gonna share the bejesus out of.

I was in Albany with some friends back in May of 2006 because I had 2 pieces in the ‘Pretty Girls and Robots‘ show hosted by the UAG. It was a really uptight, snooty show with people more interested in being seen there than actually looking at artwork, and the UAG totally sodomized me with the return shipping costs on my works because they outsourced it to Mailboxes Etc., this ending my relationship with them – but I digress.

While we were there, we learned about an outdoor festival that TMBG would be playing at. We got there just as they were starting, and on my old, crappy Powershot A-somethingotother (crappy because I used the hell out of it, not because it’s a Powershot, because they are awesome cameras), I made a video. Enjoy.

Bonus photo :

tmbg

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