2010 June

June 2010

If I’ve ever wanted to live inside of a song, this is it. I was walking home from the bus stop during some summer month of high school, on a very quiet road in the middle of the forest. Everything was dead silent and yellowed, and I had my headphones on, black cord slipping out from a discman in my backpack, and this song came on. It was the most meaningful thing in the world, completely incongruous with my surroundings, and I’ve been in abject, unrequited love ever since.

After returning from the organic farm and the weekend with the hot French girl, things haven’t been the same. I came home to a weird little life full of excess junk – stuff I’d purchased, never used, never could use, was taking over my life. Life hasn’t felt right, and I feel like I’m in this desperate struggle against an invisible clock to get things together. I cut off a ponytail that I’ve had since junior high school, I’ve ripped down posters and filled garbage bags with my life. I’ve spent entire days unable to really eat or get out of bed. I’ve read really bad comic books, and I’ve had a hard time balancing everything, or functioning like a normal person.

I’m just putting the finishing touches on a mobile of robots that I designed for my friends and their baby, laser-cut from MDF for about $100, hand-painted, and miraculously, fitting together perfectly on my first attempt. I’m getting the hang of this laser plotting stuff. I’ve also working on conceptualizing and storyboarding a children’s book about a superhero, and a pinball machine design for a friend’s project. It’s been a rough week to make anything, because I can’t see the light at the end of it all, but I guess I might as well keep busy.

I honestly don’t know what it all means anymore, but I’m working towards finding a stable rental situation with my friend, searching out home listings that are cheaper than the insane Westchester & Putnam Country rates – even going so far as to spend a Thursday hunting down Humane Society locations and picking out dogs to take care of. We eventually had to leave when they failed to take us seriously due to our giggling. Around this time last year, I had signed a lease and put down a deposit on a place in Philly which didn’t work out. There’s a place in a little town called Ancram or something similar which we’re looking into.

Back to art things. Wish me luck.

Last night, I was awoken by a spider. Generally spiders don’t make noise when they walk around, but this one didn’t really choose to follow those social & biological norms. It sounded like a squirrel trapped behind the wall, and it got me out of bed.

I lifted the rattling blinds and saw a giant leg creep out, a giant spider with an egg sac twice the size of its body, trying to make its way somewhere noisily.

This past weekend, I took a 3.5 hour road trip to Orange, MA with my good friend Chase-Lyn – a beautiful French girl who has a Master’s degree in things I could never hope to understand, throws Pixies references into conversations and has a hilariously vulgar sense of humor. If that’s not a combination for an amazing weekend, I don’t know what could be.

We set off at around 6 AM from my town, and after an incredibly uneventful drive accompanied by an array of unfalteringly awesome music, we arrived in Orange, MA by 9:30 AM. I live in a really small town, but as you drive into Orange, and you’re 30 minutes from the nearest highway, and ‘Main Street’ becomes a dirt road with sharp drops on either side of it, you begin to wonder about your safety. It’s everything that my town was 20 years ago, so it weirdly felt like coming home. I’ll always be more comfortable in the woods.

The purpose of the journey was to learn about a more holistic approach to farming and growing food. While I’ve never been that deep into the ‘holistic’ thing, I’ve always had an interest in it. Something about really loving robots, plastic toys and red meat would just make holism feel forced, but I’ve also always wanted to start my own garden. I’ve made an effort to lose weight over the past few weeks, and it’s actually shown some genuine results, although small, and all of this has possibly been aided by a stomach virus, but having completely cut out processed foods, I feel much better than usual. I say this without trying to be preachy at all, because processed foods are scientifically engineered to be fucking delicious and satisfying on a weirdly emotional level. I’m just saying that this little blue line is saving my life. The orange dot represents going away for the weekend and eating Dunkin Donuts & Chinese food.

Actual proof of weight loss over the last 10 days! Thanks, Wii Fit.

That being said, food from your own garden is always the best. I was going to have a garden once, but now I’m just waiting for the next opportunity. Visiting Seeds of Solidarity’s free workshop day was inspiring. A lot of people are feeling the same way that I do about how quickly the whole human race is damning themselves every day with their neediness and arrogance. Don’t get me wrong – I know I’m part of the problem. Even filling up the car with gas to drive well over 300 miles round trip has a certain irony to it, but it is all done with the best of intentions. I still buy plastic toys and take long showers, but there’s an evolution going on, at least. It’s a strange line between hopefulness and hopelessness.

It rained all day, but it wasn’t unpleasant at all. Rain used to be unpleasant. Between workshops, there was a potluck lunch, with lots of homemade stuff which people brought from the local areas, which was very good. I ended up talking with a tall guy named Christian who was exploring the meaning of peace and community, and had just returned from a peacewalk along the east coast, which I presume is like the North American version of a walkabout and involves more highways.

We checked into a hotel nearby which seemed to be frequented by pairs of men, and a group of rowdy beer pong players who enjoyed yelling all night. All night.

The Athol of Mathachuthetts

Before turning in, we wandered over to Athol in search of food, because by 3 PM on Saturday in Orange, everything is closed. Everything, and we joked that we ended up in the Athol of Mathachuthetts. We weren’t that far off. We found a nice little Chinese food place, and then used her fancy GPS to get up to a billiards hall, about 15 miles away on narrow routes and weird roundabouts.

The billiards hall looked like it was shut down for good, except for the few glowing neon things inside. The decrepit pool trophies that decorated the enormous showcase windows didn’t do it any favors, either.

A loser of a winner's trophy.

We walked across town to find a restroom, still in the rain, and came across an elaborately ridiculous shop window talking about “Lakin’s Kids”, which sounded like it was a horrible disease. Like, one stop away from being a proud Thalidomide Baby. Chase-Lyn posed for this photo, as the heavily made-up shop owner stepped outside with a cellphone and a cigarette and seemed to want to shoo us away, so we skittered away quickly.

We are all Lakin's Kids.

Chase-Lyn played some crazy version of French pool that involved pushing the balls into the pockets with her hands when I wasn’t looking, and slapping the sides of the cue ball (and anything near it) with the side of the cue itself. At this point, I was cripplingly exhausted from driving and eating rich foods and being awake since 6 AM, so I was a grump. By the time we were done, it was raining harder, and it was dark. I can’t drive in the dark.

We started back to the hotel using the GPS, but it began to take us in some very strange directions. Back onto dirt roads with about 5 feet of visibility, or highways that were under construction, and just when we hit the absolute middle of nowhere, the GPS nightmarishly decided to completely cut out and refuse to reconnect. Fortunately, we’d just passed the farm again, so we followed some directions that had been printed out previously, dodging potholes that were made deeper by the rain, and white, hopping dots of frogs which were crossing the road in front of us.

I was asleep by 10 PM, just after narrowly avoiding death or injury, and a brain full of worms having sex and making soil to grow stuff in.

I’ve been in kind of a lull since I’ve done trading cards for Topps, simply because I don’t know how to do anything cooler. And then I got an idea.

I started bugging other trading card companies to see if I could do sketch cards for them. I currently have a small portfolio of Marvel characters which are in at the great Rittenhouse. I’ve exhaustively browsed around, looking for other examples of cards by Rittenhouse artists. Many are comic-styled, and many are graffiti styled, and there are a few ultra-cute ones in between. I opted to approach this in an animated-detailed style. They’re currently being reviewed by the trading card company and Marvel. Getting real, honest-to-god work with Marvel would probably be another highlight I’d never be able to surpass.

Here’s what I submitted.

PS : If I get this Marvel job, I’m shaving my head. I’m shooting for a 50/50 chance, but I know I can do better than some of these folks.

Other current projects include a baby mobile comprised of robots, and a design for the case of a small pinball machine mechanism. I’m squeezing all of this in between jobs, jobs, and more jobs – including applying for roughly 25-30 jobs on eLance this month. No bites yet, but that’s because I’m asking for a realistic wage.

I’ve been especially ornery and impatient at work. I want that to not happen anymore.