Fear of Anime Ratgirls as Threshold Drug

I figured it out at last. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to track down every cliche of fantasy art and poke it repeatedly with a pencil. (This probably explains why I revisit the “evil unicorn” theme about once a year. God, I hate unicorns.) I sneakingly suspect this has to do with my inherent rather perverse nature–whenever I see something done badly, I want to see if I can do it better, or failing that, drive a stake through its withered little heart and bury it under a crossroads at midnight with a clove of garlic shoved in its mouth.

As usual, my metaphor got away from me, and now I have no idea what I was saying.

Well, anyway, yesterday’s amusement had to do with “anime catgirls.” If you hang out on furry art boards with any regularity, you find people grumbling about anime catgirls, so being me, I decided to paint an anime ratgirl and see if that got a warmer reception. Judging by the response–and I uploaded that bloody thing at 1 AM, nobody shoulda seen it–either the anime ratgirl is a success, or people hate catgirls so much, they will take any opportunity to express their distaste, take your pick. The style is one that I’d been vaguely aware of, mostly through wallpaper at Deviantart, and which looked to me like Painter. (I still don’t know if it IS Painter, or who started it in the first place, but I can duplicate it in Painter with ease, so it very well could be.)

The scary thing is that it was fun. I mean, I haven’t painted anime in…well, I did something vaguely anime-like four years ago, and then there was some really regrettable concept art two years ago, but so far as my artistic skills are concerned, “painting anime” has always ranked a bit below “reading the future in sheep entrails” as one of my talents. But this came out well, and it was fun. Which makes me want to paint more. Which scares me. Is this a threshold drug? Will I casually paint an anime batgirl, and then an anime dragongirl and then suddenly one day I’ll wake up to discover my bedroom plastered with Dragonball Z posters and Sailor Moon t-shirts forming the better part of my wardrobe? Will I find myself sneaking extra highlights onto my chupacabra’s eyes until her irises appear to be covered in a multitude of shiny cataracts? Will the word “kawai” ooze into my vocabulary like a verbal remora, sapping the strength from more robust words? Is this the end of realism as I know it?!

Naaaah.

Anime Ratgirl. (Be warned. It’s pink.)

Unholy Hours

I got up today at 7:30. AM.

I did this because a friend whom I love like a brother needed a ride at the airport, and as I type, I’m waiting for him to call to say “Come get me.” I have already braved the post-dawn world for coffee (naturally I’m out here at home) and now I wait, as motive force slowly drains from my body, transforming me back into the gelatinous sludge of sleep.

Funny thing is, I used to have a job where I got up at 5 every morning. I used to remember that sort’ve crisp grey dawn feeling, when the air is all brittle and sharp and the grass crunches under your feet and you sit in an icy car while it shudders and mutters and decides whether or not it wants to run, while your breath steams up the inside windows and you silently wonder why the hell you went into anthropology and art, what were you thinking, why didn’t you go into mortuary science which at least always has job security and is about as un-urgent a profession as exists. Then the car grumbles into life, the heater makes that hot, burned-dust smell, and NPR tells you things about politics that would be really alarming if you were awake enough to care, while the sun slowly rises in the rear view mirror.

Yep, those were the days.

It’s a good morning. Got a new comic up, there’s a Samurai Jack marathon on (I love Samurai Jack…it’s so…so…charmingly bushido. And visually nifty, as well–even though it’s really simplified, it’s so well put together that it works very well.) Plus “Justice League” was on this morning, featuring a nifty female samurai villain, so it’s been a good cartoon morning all around. I think I’m just a sucker for samurai. My creative restlessness has settled into something a bit more potentially productive, my reading material is teaching me strange and thought-provoking things about caregiving in hanuman langurs (I would be a very bad langur) which will eventually explode, probably here, into a tirade about how the problem isn’t that teens are having sex, it’s that they’re so damn well fed. (I am not proposing that we starve teenagers, mind you, but–well, anyway, wait for it. The rant is percolating.)

Also had a dream last night where there was an alien in the house–one of those annoying take-over-your-body-and-make-slimy-tentacles-explode-from-your-mouth kind. That wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was that we’d also gotten this dreadfully eighties hero–sort’ve a scruffy Mad Max type, only with a guitar, who kept telling me that the key to defeating the alien was rock ‘n roll. Even in my dream I wasn’t buying this, and kept suggesting we try napalm. Sometimes I think my subconscious mind just likes toying with me.

Oh, and almost forgot–found this while wandering idily through the VCL recents. Go check out her work! Very cool stuff. (Just get used to random plugs of people’s art–I generally don’t know any of these people, but I feel it’s my public duty to point people in the direction of really nifty stuff I find.)

Vague and restless today. I have the urge to be painting but not to actually start a painting. I know this mood pretty well–anything I start will suck wombats, because I have no idea what I want to do, I have no vision, the Muse is on vacation, I’m just sort’ve creatively restless. Likewise, I’ve no desire to work on anything currently in progress, because I’ll wind up getting disatisfied and wrecking the thing by attempting to overhaul a mostly-done piece and redo it all in neon pink or something. It’s not quite artist’s block–it generally only lasts an evening, or at most, two or three days–but it’s annoying. Things that I work on in this mood are inevitably frustrating and consigned to the circular file.

Postcards from the circular file

Early morning episode of creative vision…

I have this thing for flavor-blasted goldfish crackers. I’m a junkie. They’re sooooo good. Anyway, they come in this carton that says, among other slogans in hyperactive fonts, “Blows other snacks away!”

While staggering around looking for coffee, I saw this slogan out of the corner of my eye, except that I thought it said simply “Blows other snacks.”

The mental image was brief and searing. That’s all I’ll say.

Books, Bladders, Biology, and the Flammability of the Undead

So today I finished “Watchmen” by Alan Moore, a graphic novel that has been previously mentioned to me as a paragon of good layout. All I can say is that it might well be good layout–I didn’t notice. I was too busy being captivated by the story. (Well, okay, the placement of captions and word balloons was really slick, I did notice that.) Superbly well done, I recommend it highly, particularly to those, like me, who have a passing interest in comics but did not break into the genre at a young age, and so have only a mild acquaintence with most of the titles out there. Being rooted very strongly in the Cold War fear of nuclear war with Russia, it doesn’t have quite the same relevance today–it’s set in 1985, and I am just barely old enough to remember the peculiarly resigned terror that most of us had of nuclear war then. However, it weathers well, and conjures up the atmosphere so well that even if you were fortunate enough to become a sentient being after the days of mutual assured destruction, I think it’d ring true.

Undead are considered flammable, and other musings from the day.

More Random Factoids

Everyone is probably glutted on holiday stuff, so I won’t mention it, except to say that I got a copy of “Watchmen” and of “Mother Nature” (an anthropological study on maternal instincts or the lack thereof) and seeing them both on the table together made me realize that I’m a weirdo. (My husband also got me a snazzy optical mouse. It’s only a matter of time before I blind myself with the little laser.)

The random factoid comes from this book on maternal behaviors, and has to do with infanticide in mice. Researchers couldn’t figure out why some male mice would commit infanticide sometimes, but not others. And then some brilliant soul, in 1994, discovered that some species of mice have a–brace yourself–“ejaculation clock.” Once the earth moved for the male mouse, a timer started up in the ‘ol hind brain that lasts twenty-three days, the length of gestation/nursing. At the end of that time, the male mouse becomes infanticidal, because there is absolutely no chance he could have fathered any of the babies he’s killing. If the mouse ejaculates at any point during that, then wham! Timer resets, because a male mouse doesn’t want to kill his own offspring. A bizarrely elegant solution to the question of how to let your own young live, while turning the young of rival males into handy protein.

I realize this is a little weird and disturbing, but god, ain’t nature cool?

Well, I’ve resigned myself to getting nothing done tomorrow, and very little done today, ‘cos it’s traditional and all. Took me forty minutes to buy a case of Coke and some chicken breasts at the grocery store today…urrf. That’s what I get for shopping on Christmas Eve, and I oughta know better.

Not being a Christian, I have no particular affiliation to the religious connotations of the holiday, but that’s okay, because it’s a pagan holiday anyhow–Yule, Solstice, “Natalis Solis Invicti,” whatever you wanna call it–and as we all oughta know by now, nobody knows when Jesus was born, the Romans just slapped the date on December 25th because the peasants were going to party anyway, and it might as well have a religious patina. As a celebration of friends and family and showing your appreciation for the people you love, I approve whole-heartedly. I could do without the music. Back in college, I worked in this grocery store, in the deli, and every christmas, they’d get these musicians in, who would stand right by the deli counter and play carols. The really weird bit was that whenever they did “Rudolph” the lead…whatever he was…would put on little antlers and do this little pawing-the-ground dance in time, severely traumatizing any small children in the vicinity. (Bear in mind this was a middle-aged, six-foot-plus man.) It was like the proverbial trainwreck. You couldn’t look away. When I write my memoirs, I’m putting that in.

Having no bearing on that tidbit whatsoever, and depending on who you ask, Dec. 25th was originally sacred to various deities, one of which may have been Mithras. I like Mithras. I like ‘im despite the fact that his was a patriarchal, fraternal religion of the variety that mostly sees women as spoils of war and breeding material, solely because I once had this professor in college for a class called “Pagans and Christians” which was about the rise of Christianity in ancient Rome. I always suspected he was a closet Mithraic. Whenever he started talking about Mithraism and the associated rituals, he would wax passionate and eloquent, coming up with these lavish, gorgeous descriptions of rituals that, let’s face it, boil down to laying in a hole while somebody slits a bull’s throat on top of you. (This is where we get the phrase “bloodbath” evidentally. Well, so he said.) But this guy could make it sound like a–well, a religious experience. I suppose it’s no weirder than anything else.

So, even if you’re not going to be laying in any trenches slitting bull throats–and I’d look at you strangely if you were–a happy Natalis Solis Invicti to all, and to all a good night.

Another uneventful day…new comic up, at least. Other than that, just general putzing. Did some sketches for the Victoriana steampunk game that I’ve been doing art for–those are always fun. (I mean, hey, who doesn’t like painting musclebound demons and eyeballs in jars?) Fretted over cat. I had vowed that this will be the last time that the emissions of another being’s rear end are of deep concern to me, thereby once again ruling out any possibility of having children. I’ve noticed that I keep getting vehement about my desire not to have children, which is probably indictive of some kind of nagging pressure that I’m feeling. Except that nobody’s putting any pressure on me–even my mother’s given up and started referring to my cats as her grandchildren. Although frankly I’ve always thought it’s a little weird when people do that. One of the women I worked with at the vet used to always say “Oh, so you’re [insert pet name]’s mom!” to the owners. I always had a vague urge to follow this up with “Funny, you don’t look like a spaniel…” but figured it wouldn’t be polite. Worked on Great Unfinished Samurai Novel. G.U.S.N. has blood-drinking hummingbirds. (Hey, everybody loves a blood-drinking hummingbird.) Knowing what I know now about vampire bats, I have a terrible urge to work out the constantly urinating bit, but somehow, I think it would kill the magic. ‘Sides, I know in my heart of hearts that a vampire hummingbird is ridiculous. They’d starve to death. Blood’s not nearly an efficient enough food to power those little wings, and they’d need complicated (and hence heavier) little digestive tracts. But damnit! It’s my Great Unfinished Samurai Novel, and I can have blood-drinking hummingirds if I want to!

Mmmm…Adult Swim….