2010 September

September 2010

Can’t sleep because I feel itchy. Not rash-itchy, or bug-itchy – skin-doesn’t-fit-itchy. I’m sure it’ll pass, and it had to do with the cold air seeping in through the windows now that it’s officially autumn.

I’m spending the time doing vector sketches of my current art project : creating achievement badges for a website, shifting from figurative to literal, making things polished. It’s stuff I’ve done on a personal level and enjoyed, but it’s great to do it on a professional level as well, and it’ll be excellent for my portfolio.

I landed the most interesting, rewarding, nerdy freelance art job ever. And they even paid a deposit.

I’m very excited.

Updates to follow.

My body feels weirdly weak today. I’m going to chalk it up to the stress of returning to work after a three-week, self-imposed exile from the building. It was necessary, but the impact of returning to the madness and the unfinished never changes, no matter how large a parachute you prepare.

I’m also in debt. I’d like to pay it off so I’m working extra hardcore on assignments. Also, if you want to buy some art, please please go to my Big Cartel shop. I’d love to make you some fancy trading cards. Seriously.

My birthday is in less than 3 weeks. The best gift would be to just ignore it. I deny all birthdays until the moment I’m happy with my life. Then they’ll start to count.

Just back from a 6-day excursion to the family’s rented house in Sea Isle City, NJ – a charming little vacation town that exists on a series of islands bordered by the ocean on one side, and marshes & bays on the other. Where once stood one-story bungalows are now three-story vacation complexes – but the soft hiss of the ocean manages to keep the charm in place.

It’s a town of minigolf and arcades, seafood restaurants and tourist baubles. Thankfully, it remains mostly devoid of chain restaurants, since there’s at least 7 months of off-season. We just happened to visit on the very first week of the off-season, which meant that 90% of the island and adjoining attractions were closed already. We scrambled around to play pinball at as many arcades as possible during the final weekend of life, but by Monday, it was a frustrating trawl through a ghost town and a few 50% off tourist junk shops.

Still, it was a good trip. Ten years ago, I stumbled on a decaying town in an enormous march, took some photos with an oldschool film camera, and subsequently lost the roll of film. I’ve regretted this for a decade, but through the wonder of Google Maps, I was able to retrace my steps this year and find the town again, and I took the photo that had been lost – as well as a bunch of others. The street continued along a massive overpass and eventually plunged into the grassy marsh, but not before branching off into a series of docks which was a town unto itself. There was no way of telling how large the town was, but it seemed significant, just hovering in the fields of green and black. The existence of such a thing was maddeningly romantic.

Over the course of the few days, I played a number of pinball machines – Iron Man, Spider-Man (which is forgettable), Indiana Jones (which is great), Batman, Sopranos (also surprisingly good and a staple of most NJ arcades), Family Guy, Simpsons, and an especially incomprehensible Rollercoaster Tycoon machine (which has a Norfin Troll stuck in it), as well as a perplexing Wheel of Fortune pinball. One arcade had a machine that dispensed one of six random ball-headed Marvel figures for 75 cents each. I was after the Iron Man, but after two rounds of every character but Iron Man and a third Spider-Man (which I placed atop the machine for the next kid to get), I finally scored an Iron Man. I consider this a victory.

Lots of time watching TV on a set which fell apart in my hands on the first day, and would not accept the PS3 despite every indication that it would, and drawing Coptopus. The people at Mike’s Seafood on the dock began to recognize us (not to be confused with Dock Mike’s Pancake House) with every other eatery in town closed, and Uncle Oogie’s being populated by rude, coughing waitresses.

A walk on the beach yielded a stingray barb and countless tiny mollusks in tide pools doing gooey mollusk things.

Home now – will post pictures of the seaside marsh town. My fingers spent so much time away from the computer that they’re relearning how to type again.

I took a three week vacation from work, in the interest of mental survival and figuring out what to do with my life.

In the course of this week, I’ve had many awesome adventures. I went to two parties, one of which was ‘The Office’ themed, and I got to be Toby (and for a few minutes, Dwight). I picked up a ton of cheap NES games at the Stormville Flea Market, which is surprisingly close to my house. I bought a second pinball machine which was delivered by this awesome ex-Marine guy. I made lots of good food and some not-so-good food. I went to the local bowling alley to play pinball. Picked lots of vegetables from the garden. I didn’t get a whole lot of art done as I’d hoped, but I’ve written a lot and added a few things to my résumé.

Learning a lot about pinball repair. Every few days, I get enough confidence to open up a new part of the machine and fix it, or figure it out. Bulbs are replaced, things are poked, I am slightly electrocuted and the process begins anew. It’s really exciting. Once I repair Time Warp, I think I’m going to sell it – it’s not nearly as fun as the images made it look. This opinion may change once I get the sound working, of course. Waiting for the right connector in the mail right now. Space Shuttle is still crazy fun.

Two weeks of vacation left, and I hope to dedicate this week to art.