February 2007

The acrylic aisle at work is dangerous. The jars of various weird mediums haunt me. They whisper in gloopy voices, rattling their little plastic cages, Liquitex labels gleaming under the flourescent lights.

I try to fight it. I have no use for media with mica beads, or string gel! I don’t need these things! I use my palette knife to open jars! I am…beyond…all…ah…ceramic stucco, you say?

Eventually I succumbed. This is a fairly straightforward portrait, mostly as an excuse to fool around with various textures mediums in her clothes. I kinda like the result, I just have to figure out how to do something useful with it.


Every now and then I have these dreams that ought to be wonderful, joyous, bouyant dreams of swimming with wild animals–and then the damn things bite me.

I wouldn’t so much call it a recurring dream as a sort of repeated theme. I know I’ve had it with polar bears and–for some odd reason–hippopotami. Each time I’ll be swimming alongside these wild animals and thinking something like “Oh my god, I’m swimming with a polar bear, this is wonderful, this is amazing, this is a practically shamanic experience–” and then, owing to some cynicism on the part of my subconscious, it’ll turn around and take a chunk out of me. The polar bears clawed me all to hell, and the hippo bit me.*

This afternoon I took a nap, and dreamed of swimming with otters, which was terrific, right up until they turned around and scored a lengthy hopscotch-grid of claw-marks down my left thigh. Irked, I got out of the water, watching blood trickle down my foot and into the water, and then was distracted by the arrival of an army, marching in lockstep, whose upper bodies were encased in carved black cubes, somewhere between Darth Vader and an old fashioned pay phone.

There was further unpleasantness where I seemed to be having a dream about dreaming, in which I was a young Hindi woman trying to escape the army with a load of books so that they wouldn’t be burned–except then I woke up, in the dream, and it was actually a traumatic nightmare I was having, and it was really six months later–but mostly what I remember is those damn otters.

*Arguably, genuine shamanic experience, rather than the froofy New Age kind, often does involve being eviscerated by wild animals in dreams, but since I’m never notably more enlightened after these, and rather than being reassembled and reborn, I just get out of the water and bleed sulkily, it’s mostly just annoying.

So a few weeks ago, I’m ordering checks with the new addresses, and the guy asks if I want address labels too.

“Sure,” sez I, “sounds like a good idea.”

“Anything special you’d like?”

“Nah, just the basic cheap ones.”

And then we exchanged a few more pleasantries, and I went about my business.

Today I opened up the pack of address labels to pay some bills, and discovered a hundred and twenty address labels, all with my name on them…

…and every damn one is Precious Moments themed.

I can live with the universe kicking me while I’m down, but must it rub saccharine in my wounds as well?!

It was an exciting weekend at the art supply store. My co-workers in the framing department and I were huddled around one of the computers, trying to figure out some horror or other, when there was a sudden creak, and we all looked up into the Retail Apocalypse.

Like many stores, this one is arranged in aisles, with rows of tall shelving units covered in art supplies. Someone had overloaded and unbalanced one. After a few hours, it succumbed to gravity and fell over, whereupon the domino effect came into play.

It started two aisles over, and ended when a wall of picture hanging equipment fell on the framing department.

“Oh shit!” said coworker #1.

“Oh, FUCK!” said coworker #2.

“Whoa,” said Ursula, who hadn’t had enough caffiene yet to get excited.

Fortunately we were huddled around the computer at the OTHER end of the counter, so none of us died, but it took out a chunk of the counter. Had anyone been standing in any of the aisles in question, they would have been killed, probably impaled on dozens of little wire hangers, but definitely smacked lethally upside the head by metal sheets powered by hundreds of pounds of paint tubes. Perhaps a good way for an artist to go, but we would have been awfully traumatized.

Once we determined that nobody had been killed, we had to clean up a zillion tubes of acrylic and a whole lot of picture hangers, which meant that I spent Sunday laying out a display wall. (“You want me to what? Well, okay…”) I was engaged in this mindless but not-entirely-unsatisfying activity when the manager came around the corner.

“We can rebuild it,” he said, and looked at me with desperate hope.

“We have the technology,” I replied obediently, baffled.

“Oh, thank god!” he said. “Someone old enough to know that!”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’d only seen it in re-runs after school.

The Dervishes were cool.

The Sufi music was a little tough–not that it wasn’t lovely, which it was–I could live on reed flute some days–but it flows together seamlessly and it keeps going without any apparent breaks, and it’s very…very…soothing…and in a stiflingly warm auditorium, you’re in serious danger of being soothed right into unconsciousness.

But the Dervishes were cool. How they can spin for well over half an hour without any apparent ill-effects is incredible–I’d be projectile vomiting in the orchestra pit after two minutes. But they keep going, in these gorgeous white outfits, spinning endlessly, until you’re half-mesmerized and waiting for the hypnotist to snap his fingers and go “You…are now…enlightened!”

I did notice that they all spun counter-clockwise, pivoting on the left foot and stepping around with the right. Bein’ me, I immediately began pondering if somewhere, there’s an evil sect–the Black Dervishes–who spin clockwise and wear dark robes and presumably kill people or something equally dire, because the Sufi seem pretty mellow as religions go.

If Digger wasn’t already a brutally long epic, I’d love for her to meet the Black Dervishes sometime, but since we’re already closing in on 400 pages, I better save it for my next attack of creative lunacy. And really, I’d hate to offend the Sufi, who are on my (rather short) list of Religions I Gots No Beef With.*

*Quakers, Bahai, Unitarians, Santeria**, and a couple others.
**Partly because it’s really cool looking, but mostly because I want Santeria to have no beef with me.

Foolin’ around with the color scheme from Boneclaw Mother some more, so I did a little study of a oddly masked priest.


Ah have always depended upon tha kahndness of strangahs…

So I went into the service station, with every intent of learning to fill my own tires with air. I mean, this is a survival skill! I should know this stuff!

However, the nice mechanic saw me wandering around aimlessly, looking for the air hose, and said “Do you need help?” and when I confessed that I hadn’t ever done this before, he told me to pull around, and was refilling it before I got out of the car. I couldn’t exactly kick him away from the tire, so I settled for thanking him profusely, particularly since I know full well it would have taken me twenty minutes to figure out how to read the tire gauge, by which point the tire would have exploded.

My grandmother, who never changed a tire in her entire life,* would have been proud. Ah, well. I suppose it doesn’t matter whether your skill points are in Craft (Automotive) or Diplomacy, so long as the car gets fixed…

In happier news I’m going to go see a performance of the Whirling Dervishes of Rumi tomorrow. I’m kinda stoked! Spinning! Mysticism! More spinning!

*but did leave a trail of broken-hearted mechanics across the highways of America

At a certain hour this morning, the voice mail of friends rang with the plaintive cry of “Okay…how do I tell if the tire is flat, or if it just needs air?”

Yes, yes, I know, independant living makes me a better person, a stronger person, a more capable person, I will be proud of myself for overcoming adversity, etc, etc…but bugger this for a lark, anyway. *sigh*

It was the first really warm day for awhile here–following twenty degrees last weekend, suddenly it jumped to the high sixties. I opened the windows and let the air come in.

The first warm day of the season always brings an odd feeling with it. I’ve written about it before. It’s even more pronounced in Minnesota where it signals a thaw, and the sound of rushing water fills the gutters and an odd, heavy, earthy smell comes up to meet it. Even here, though, you get a ghost of it, while the yellow-rumped warblers careen through the bushes, yammering–a strong, nameless emotion, a kind of melancholy exuberance, as if you’re not sure if you want to dance or cry.

It makes you want to get up, walk around, do something. It makes your bones itch inside your skin. If I were a dog, I’d howl.

I enjoy it–I think–but it’s a little painful too.

So I went in to the gallery today, prints and the Watermelon Heels original tucked ‘neath my arm, and talked to the gallery owner.

She liked St. Egg, and the fruit shoes, and the collaged magnolia warbler. (The weird fruit were a little too silly, and digital art was of no interest to her whatsoever–and I don’t think she read a single image description, which is sort of a shame, but ah, well. Galleries are notoriously peculiar and subjective in taste, so that she liked anything was a coup. I ain’t gonna complain.) 

She wants to see a proposal for a themed show–we discussed one of weird saint icons, like St. Egg–and she checked the availability of dates, and said something to the effect of “Let’s shoot for April/May 2008, I’ve got an opening then.” It’s not quite a promise of a show, but I’m told by my folks that when they mention specific dates/number of pieces/etc, it’s a good sign.

So now I gotta whip up a proposal for a show of weird saint icons–but this is promising!

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