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Feeling really cavelier

Posted September 9th, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (No Respond)

But you know I was really flipped out you know and she asked me
if I’m angry or something I said of course I’m angry man this
isn’t high school or anything you know so I’m feeling really
cavalier and I say ah…call me if you want to…
huh, yeah…call me if you want to
So she rang me up and she says, “Hey! You wanna go out?”
Huh, Do I wanna go out.

Hands up, how many of you recognize those lyrics?

If you did recognize them, how many of you are ashamed you recognized them?  Have no fear, I won’t judge you.  However, I suppose we should allow the rest of the class to get caught up.

Those lyrics are from the song ”AEIOU, Sometimes Y” by the band Ēbn-Ōzn.  The duo were pretty much one-hit wonders, though Ozn did go on to some small success; first with a dance music group known as Dada Nada, and later in the film industry.  But that’s not important.  All that matters right now is that the song is… well, it’s really not that good.  It’s mostly some really bad techno dance grooves and nonsense lyrics masquerading as art.  Mostly.  But oh, my lovelies, mostly is not all.  And the little bit that’s left over is glorious.  Ozn lays down a stream of consciousness rap about “this incredible looking Swedish girl” who he meets, picks up, and takes home.  Just as things are starting to get interesting (It was love about to happen…I’m serious), she gets up and leaves.  Then there’s some more bad techno-pop and some bullshit philosophical prattle about communications.  I usually tune it out for about 1:40, and then Ozn returns with part 2 of the story, which is what I have so thoughtfully shared with you. 

Is it awesome?  No, not really, and yet… it’s stuck with me all these years.  Why?  The monologue.  The glorious monologue.  You have to hear it to fully appreciate it, Ozn’s delivery sells it.

Huh. Do I wanna go out.”

And yes, there is a part 3 to the story.  It’s a bit of a letdown, but it in no way diminishes the majesty of the first two segments.  Track it down… if you dare.

I wish I had a good story about why this is in my head today, but I don’t.  Honestly, I was having a bad day at work, and I was fully prepared to sit down and vent about all the crap and how much I want a change in my professional life (or perhaps an escape from my professional life), and instead… AEIOU sometimes Y. 

My brain does that, sometimes.  Who am I kidding, my brain does that all the time.  There was a time when I tried to fight it, keeping it myself lest everyone around me think I’m crazy.  Then I realized everyone around me thought I was a bit crazy anyway, and the more I tried to be someone I’m not, the crazier I actually became.  Finally, I decided to go with it.  I’ve gotta be me, and if that means the occasional descent into bad pop music, then so be it.  At least I’m no longer stressing over my day job. 

Besides it could be worse… “I can’t get jumping jack, I wanna hold, get back; moonlight, muzak, knick-knack-paddy-whack, talk about… Pop Muzik

Damn.  There goes my night.

Be good to each other.

I missed you!

Posted September 2nd, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (No Respond)

It’s like this…

I didn’t mean to take a long break.  I meant to take a few short breaks.  I wanted to get out from under the pressure of writing every day.  And then one day off turns into three days off, which turns into 5 days off.  At this point, I feel bad because I haven’t written.  Once the guilt starts, the real avoidance begins.  If I don’t think about it, I won’t feel guilty.

I also won’t write, because I’m avoiding thinking about writing.

Clearly, what we need in this situation is a sense of balance.  Unfortunately, I like balance.  Wait, did I say “like”?  That was supposed to be “lack”.  I lack balance.  I guess you could say I like balance.  Although I guess technically if YOU said “I like balance” then you would actually be saying that you like balance, and frankly that takes us away from the entire point of the story.  Let’s all try that again.

It could be said that I like balance, if  we can all agree that by using the word “like” I’m actually saying that I appreciate balance.  I can see how for some people it would be an attractive thing.  It’s not something I have much experience with.

Consistency would be another nice trait.  A fanatical immersion into a topic, a genre, or an activity in which one becomes an expert, spending years focused on the same thing… that could be nice.  I’m surrounded by friends and acquaintances who have been able to pull that off.    Alas, that isn’t me either.  My life is one near fanatical immersion after another. Life is a banquet, and I want to sample every dish. 

Ultimately, none of that matters, though.  What matters is that I miss writing.  I’ve been beating myself up night after night, thinking I should sit down and write something, and then feeling bad because I don’t.  And of course, what sucks the most is that I’m relatively certain that if I did sit down and write, I’d feel better.  Writing makes me feel good, even when it’s about nothing other than my feelings. 

Does that sound emo?  I AM NOT EMO!  Must stop the whining.  And I am stopping the whining, because I’m actually sitting down and writing.  That’s a good thing.  It’s a step.  Now I simply have to find that oh so elusive “balance”. 

Clearly, writing each and every day kept me focused.  There was no gray – I wrote every day.  Looking back, it was a bit obsessive compulsive, though.  I should be allowed to take a day off here and there.  The problem is, I seem to only understand two speeds.  Full speed ahead, and stopped.  Every day, or never. 

On the plus side of the column, I’m watching more film.  Tara and I recently acquired a 47″ LG flat panel TV, which led to a Blu-Ray player, which finally brought the wonders of streaming Netflix in to the house, all of which got me to stop neglecting my film habit.  I realized that I had Netflix discs on my shelf that had been there for (and it shames me to say this) a few months.  Just sitting there, collecting dust.  Now I’m watching the discs I get at a reasonable clip, but I’m watching even more via the streaming interface.  It seems that instant gratification rubs me the right way. 

And now, we get to the interesting part of the story…  What got me off my ass and on the keyboard this evening? 

My truck is broken.  Again.  Last night, Tara and I were going to Georgetown to have dinner with her brother.  He’s staying at his parent’s house (taking care of my mother-in-law’s two dogs) while they are touring England and Scotland.  He was grilling hamburgers.  I like hamburgers.  Seemed like a no-brainer. 

Tara usually drives when we go anywhere.  As I get older, I’ve discovered that I much prefer riding to driving.  This wasn’t always the case.  In my younger years, I was always the person who drove.  I think it was a control issue.  I’m getting much more comfortable relinquishing control.  Tara likes to drive, and she always knows the best way to get wherever we’re going.  Once again, it’s a no-brainer. 

Last night, I decided to drive.  Tara’s had a rough week at work, and I thought this would be a nice thing to do for her.  So we loaded up the truck and we moved to Beverly headed to Georgetown.  Somewhere around Round Rock, I noticed the funny sound.  A thump thump thump whenever I slowed down. 

That’s never a good sign.

To make a long story short, if it’s not already too late for that, my brother-in-law spent today trying to fix it, and informed me this evening that he can’t.  He’s not sure what’s wrong, although he did isolate several things that it isn’t, so at least some progress was made.  That leaves me with two options: Take it to a garage, or wait for my father-in-law to get home.  On the one hand, I dislike the idea of having my truck waiting in the driveway when he gets back from his vacation.  On the other hand, I know he hates it when we take a vehicle to a garage. 

This is exactlythe type of thing that throws me into a tailspin.  I don’t like making decisions about things I know nothing about.  I know nothing about cars.  My truck is broken, I don’t know what on my truck is broken, I don’t know what to do about my truck being broken… I’m freaking out.  I shouldn’t freak out.  I know this.  If this was anyone else’s problem, I could logically look at the situation and advise them of the proper course of action.  But this is MY problem, so I’m freaking out. 

Welcome to my world. 

So, I write.  It helps.  I feel somewhat better.  I’m still freaking out, but it’s a manageable freak out.  My truck is still broken, but life is still good.  I’ve got a wonderful wife.  We have a second car.  I’ve got a brother-in-law who will continue to work on my truck next week once my father-in-law helps him figure out what’s wrong.  My father-in-law is an electrical and mechanical genius.  Did I mention I have a wonderful wife who tolerates my freak outs?  Between them, my in-laws will likely fix my truck for a fraction of what it would cost me to have it fixed in a garage.  These are all good things. 

And I’m on my blog again.  That’s the best thing.  I missed you all.

Be good to each other.

Tattoo progress!

Posted July 11th, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (No Respond)

I really meant to do more today.

I had grand plans of writing and other adventures.  Instead, I napped, sat on the couch watching Mythbusters, and played my guitar.  I regret nothing.

I did venture out early in the day, to have a brief meeting with my friend Jim, who brought many fine cheeses.  This trip he gifted us with a Queso Blanco, some lemon juice Ricotta, and his first successful mozzarella.  After that, Tara, George, and I went over to the Taco Taxi for some brunch tacos.  This was the first time I was able to get the anticuchos, and I must say they were delicious.  When you order, he throws the raw, marinated meat on the grill right in front of you, cooking the meat with a spoonful of cilantro chimichurri, and then he adds a few roasted baby potatos to the skewer to make it a meal.

Brian told us that in the next few weeks he may be serving food a few days a week in South Austin.  Watch his website for further details.

I’m not sure why I was so tired today, although I suspect it had something to do with this.

Saturday, I spent the day in the tattoo chair, getting the first round of color added to my sleeve.  I got there at 3 in the afternoon, I left at 10 that night.  So much detail work.  The arm was still a little tender from two weeks ago, and this didn’t help any.  It doesn’t really hurt, but it’s sore.  It’s very sore.  In the muscle sore.

I knew going in to this tattoo that the elbow was going to hurt.  I was ready for that.  The outside, with the bone, was bad.  The inside, where there’s very little muscle, was also bad.  But like I said, I was prepared.  You know what I didn’t expect to hurt?  My inner arm, close to the arm pit.  If you look at the picture, I’m talking about Magnificent’s right foot.  That’s his right, not your right.  That little spot there… it feels like the needle was suddenly electrified.

But it looks awesome, doesn’t it?  Two more weeks, one more session in the chair, and it should be finished.

And now, it’s time for some aftercare.  Twice a day, I wash the tattoo with warm water and anti-bacterial soap, and then apply a light coating of Aquaphor.  The tattoo will scab over for a few weeks, and it’s critical that the scabs be kept moist.  If the scabs get dry, they will pull off easier, and that can also pull the ink from the skin.  Pull the ink from the skin, you have to re-do that area. And we don’t even want to think about infection.  After-care is important, and must be followed to the letter.  Love the tattoo, and treat it well.  So it’s off to do some aftercare, and then I have a date with my wife and The Simpsons.

Be good to each other.

My hands wrapped around a student’s throat…

Posted July 8th, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (No Respond)

Good evening!

It’s evening for me.  I’m not sure what it is for you, because I don’t know when you’re reading this.  It’s safe to say you’re reading this now, because whenever you find yourself reading this, it’s now for you.  Your now and my now, however, are two quite different now’s.  My now is your then.

And that’s when things get strange.  Because your now is my then as well.  Check this out:  I’m writing this now, you’ll read it then.  When you read it, you’ll think back to my now and wonder what it was like then. 

Good afternoon.

I’m trying to maintain a good mood, a positive outlook if you will, but the universe keeps throwing obstacles in my way.  And by “the universe”, I of course mean my job.  And by obstacles, I mean students.  The vast majority of my students are cool.  A small percentage of them are the exact opposite of cool.  They are anti-cool. 

I do not work in an academic environment.  This is a commercial enterprise.  Our students come from two primary sources:  We have B2B students, people whose places of employment pay us to train them on the skills they need to do their jobs; we also have Consumer students, who may be self-pay but who are primarily funded through various governmental programs designed to re-train adults who can not find work in their current field.  There’s a crucial difference between the academic world and the commercial world…  if I worked in an academic environment, I could unleash my fury upon the douchebag students, visiting upon them the wrath that is surely their due.  Failing grades would be given, expulsions would happen, I’d even go so far as to institute corporal punishment. 

Alas, this is NOT an academic environment.  This is a for-profit endeavor.  If I upset the students, it costs the company money, and that trickles down to me in the form of a different type of wrath and fury which would ultimately result in my own unemployment, and in the case of corporal punishment might even result in some sort of criminal charges because at least a few of the students would whine about receiving the beatings they so richly deserve.  Thus, I’m forced to hide my contempt behind a smile. 

I’m forcing myself to heavily edit this piece.  Whilst I am still employed by this company, I walk a fine line when I talk about my life, or least that part of my life that revolves around my employment.  I’m personally not that concerned with students seeing this, because the only ones who would bother to read my writings are also the ones who are smart enough to know I’m not talking about them.  My corporate overlords, however, are another matter.  I may not love my job, but I do like it, and I’ve grown quite fond of the paychecks that get deposited in my account on a twice-monthly basis.  Best not to bite the hand that feeds me… although I suppose the occasional nip is unavoidable. 

Hey, they knew I was a wild animal when they hired me.

CORRECTION:  The current corporate overlords didn’t actually hire me, they inherited me.  The company I work for was sold to new owners, I was included as part of a package deal.  The principle still holds, they knew I wasn’t domesticated, minor injuries are to be expected.

I’m a passionate beast.  Twhy I’m so damn good at what I do.  It’s also why I’m just the tiniest bit dangerous.

Now that I’ve vented, my positive outlook has been restored, and I want to share a nice thing that happened today.  One of my “consumer” students needed some one-on-one mentoring.  He’s been coming here for several months, and when he first started, he was as green as they come, and maybe, just maybe, a bit slow.  I’ll admit it, I had my doubts as to his ability to be successful in this field.  He was tenacious, though.  He may have had a hard time getting some of the concepts down, but he didn’t let that stop him.  He struggled, but he never stopped trying, he never stopped working.  As I was helping him resolve some questions tonight, I couldn’t help but notice how far he’s come.  He has turned into a damn fine student, and I believe he’ll become a damn fine admin.  He gets most of the credit, because he worked his ass off, but I like to think I played some small part in his growth. 

That makes me happy.

Be good to each other.

Civil Rights piece

Posted July 5th, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (No Respond)

Just so you know, this is going to be one of those pieces.  A little divisive, a lot rambling.  I apologize in advance for the rambling.

I’m extremely bothered by something, and I desperately want to talk about it.  But I don’t know how… everything I want to say is coming at me from 5 different angles.  I know what I want to say, I just don’t know how to say it.  It’s a touchy subject, one of the touchiest of subjects, really, as it delves into politics AND religion.

This has the potential to alienate people.  But I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t speak out.

I offer into evidence the Republican Party of Texas platform. The document that proclaims the core principles and beliefs of the party.

If someone came up to you at a party and said “So what are you folks all about?”, you’d hand him this.

There are several things in this document that I can get behind.  In spite of what many of you may think, I agree with a significant amount of conservative thought.  I identified myself as a Conservative for many years.

Let’s look at the preamble:  1. Strict adherence to the Declaration of Independence and U.S. and Texas Constitutions. I’m not sure about the insistance on the word strict, but yes, I think we need to follow the Constitution.  2. Preserving American Freedom and Texas Sovereignty. This should really go without saying, I think.  3. Limiting the expanse of Government Power. I think I might actually believe this more than the National Party, what with the whole PATRIOT ACT thing.  I want you to file this one away for possible future reference.  4. The sanctity of human life, created in the image of God, which should be protected from fertilization to natural death. This one makes me a bit uncomfortable.  When the government starts getting into morality, that’s when I want to refer back to Belief #3, Limiting the expanse of Government Power.  5. Personal Accountability and Responsibility. I’m all for it.  6. Self-sufficient families, founded on the traditional marriage of a natural man and a natural woman. And now you’ve lost me.

There are so many places I want to go with this, it’s hard to know where to begin.  But first and foremost, my friends who are conservative, please don’t take this as an attack on you or your beliefs.  I think most of my friends don’t really believe this.  I know that some of my friends do believe this, and I respect your right to believe it.  But it hurts me, and I’d like to tell you why.

Let’s just go straight to the point.  The document clearly states that this is a spiritual matter.  Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God…

Now, I’m not about to go on a rant here about how religion should be kept out of government.  This isn’t an anti-religion rant.  I’m actually a man of faith.  However,  I firmly believe in the separation of church and state.  I believe in it for the same reason our founding fathers believed in it…

The government must be kept out of our religion.

Having the government legislating morality is all well and good, as long as it lines up with YOUR morality.  Having the government base it’s decisions on religious principles is fine and dandy… as long as it’s your religion.  But what happens when that’s no longer the case?  What happens when the government decides to legislate based on faith, and it contradicts your beliefs?    Remember, many of our first immigrants were fleeing religious persecution- they were leaving a government that told them how to believe.  A Christian nation, I believe.  But that’s another story, for another day.  My point is, I think we should be wary of a political party that wants to deny custody of children to someone because they are a sinner.

That’s what it really comes down to, people.  Even if you believe homosexuality is a sin, need I remind you that you’re a sinner, too?  What “sin” will they use to take away YOUR freedoms?

This is a civil rights issue.  Yesterday was July 4th, a day when all “patriotic” Americans celebrate the birth of “the land of the free”, a country founded on certain beliefs:  “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  As late as the 1960’s, this country still practiced formal, legislated discrimination against people because of their race, and while some fought valiantly to change those laws, others fought, and fought hard, to maintain that discrimination, because people who are not like us must therefor be less than us.  Some of the final laws that had to be struck down as unconstitutional were the anti-miscegenation laws.  These were laws that forbid marriage between people of different races, primarily aimed at preventing African-Americans from marrying whites.  Here’s a quote from the 1912 Congressional Record “Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant to the very principles of Saxon government. It is subversive of social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy…“.  Let’s compare that to this quote, pulled from the Republican Party of Texas platform:  “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.

Before you align yourself with this destructive thought pattern, perhaps you should ask yourself… how proud would you be to walk the streets today and tell people you stood against allowing African-Americans to vote, to go to college, or to marry outside their race?  These were popular platforms 100 years ago.  Most of look back on those times with shame.  In 50 years, we will look back on today with the same shame.

Some people are gay.  That’s not going to change.  Some of them are your neighbors.  Some of them are your friends.  Some of them are your family. Yes, some of them are your family.  You, yes YOU, have gay family members.  If you don’t know of any, perhaps it’s because they don’t trust you enough to tell you?  Perhaps they think your love is conditional.  Is it?  You have gay family members.  Denying them the right to marry, and the benefits that marriage entails, is immoral.  It’s un-Christian.  And…

It’s downright un-American.  Some will tell you that the religious right is using this issue in an attempt to gain further control of the American political process.  They’re wrong.  The right is using this issue to gain further control of the religious.  Fear that.  They are corrupting your Christianity.

I’m typically against being a single issue voter.  In this case, I think it’s a moral obligation.  Make a stand.  Tell your Representative, tell your Senator, tell your candidate… this aggression must not stand.  Take a pledge, I will no longer be a party to bigotry, I will no longer be a party to discrimination, I will refuse to vote for any candidate that opposes gay marriage.

Be good to each other.

Where’d you get that tattoo?

Posted June 27th, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (No Respond)

In as much as this blog has become a record… and make no mistake, it has become a record.  Whether or not that was my intent has become irrelevant; the blog has transmogrified into a series of snapshots of my life.  On some days, it’s a chronicle of my adventures.  On other days, it’s more of a transcript of my thoughts, which on any one day is nothing spectacular, but taken as a whole becomes a glimpse into my state of mind, at this unique time in my life.

What’s so unique about this time in my life?  It’s the culmination of everything that ever happened to me.  Everything I have learned, everything I have lived through, every decision I have made… they’ve all led to today.  And if I’ve learned anything from doing this blog, it’s that I like today.  I like who I am.  That’s a new sensation.  I’ve never really been happy with who I am.

Returning to our original story…

In as much as this blog has become a record, I should record the events of January 26, the day I got sleeved.  For some experiences, the telling is as fruitful as the doing.

If you missed the conversation about how I came to get the tattoo, you should read this blog entry.  All caught up?  Then let’s continue.

I arrived at the shop with a can of RockStar, my trusty Camelbak water bottle, and two full e-cigs.  I was a little nervous;  this is a big piece, and it’s a very intricate piece.  We were going to do the entire outline, including shading. in one session. That’s a profusion of punctures into my flesh, and although much of it was to be in the meaty parts of my arm, there would be some bone involved.

And now, let’s meet Jason.

Looking around a person’s work area can be informative, particularly in an area where creativity and personal expression are encouraged (I think a tattoo parlor fits that description easily).  Here are a few things I found in Jason’s work area.

Cthulhu, a sleestak, and a dessicated bat.  My type of cat, indeed.  Side Note:  There were actually two bats, but I only took one picture.  If you want to imagine the other bat in your head right now, you should know that it was smaller than this bat.  Go ahead and imagine, I’ll wait for you.

All done?  Was it everything you hoped it would be?  While you did that, I was playing around on my guitar.  I’m actually working on an intersting little number right now.  It’s an acoustic cover of Jackyl’s She Loves My Cock.  I’m doing a sort of folk-y thing with it.  It seemed like something someone should do, and since no one else seemed to be doing it… but that doesn’t matter right now.

Jason did his thing, resizing the art a few times until he was happy with how it lay on my arm.  Once he found the magic size, he applied the stencil.

The purple area you can see on my upper arm is the result of a slight change Jason made to the original art.  He had to pull Magnificent Bastard’s arm down a bit to help cover a previous tattoo.  If you look closely, you can see the feather there in the arm.  It’s kinda cool at this point, it almost looks as if my tattoo has a tattoo.

I’m a little sad to cover the feather up.  It was meaningful at the time I got it, but to be honest it was impulse ink.  One of my closest friends was getting his first ink, and wanted another friend and I to get ink with him.  I’d like to keep it for sentimental reasons; sadly, it must be sacrificed for the greater glory that is the missmonster sleeve.

The feather isn’t gone, it’s just tucked away.

3, maybe 3 and a half, hours later, the outline was done.  And I was hurting.  Melita’s drawing was very detailed, and Jason is being meticulous.

I expected the elbow and the shoulder to be fun, and they were.  I also discovered a few other special places.  Sensitive places.  I found the inner elbow to be particularly special.  The edge of my armpit came in a close second.

And we were done.  Oh no we weren’t.  There was still… shading!

The shading wasn’t that bad, but the cumulative effect of the entire ordeal was taking it’s toll.  Was it worth it?

I have to say yes.  This piece is epic.

As you look at it right now, bear in mind that I’m swollen, bleeding, and bruised.  In a few days, it will look much better.

Now I heal for two weeks, and then we start the coloring.  That may be one session, it may be two;  I’m not concerned.  It will take as long as it takes, we’re going for quality, not speed.

At this point, some of you may be asking yourself “Why in the world would you do that to yourself?

My first tattoo was done at one of the lower points of my life.  I was unhappy, miserable even, due to a series of bad decisions.  I got that tattoo, a bleeding heart made of twining rose vines, as a memorial of that time.  The process was a ritual, a rite of passage to mark the end of one chapter of my life and the beginning of a new one.

I saw it every morning, and every evening, for nearly a decade, and I remembered.  I remembered how unhappy I had been, and  I remembered to avoid those mistakes.  I made some new ones, of course;  it was a learning process, and I screwed up a few times.  But I grew.  I stopped worrying so much about who I thought I should be, or who I thought everyone else thought I should be.  I learned to be more comfortable being who I am.

And now, today, I’m happy.  I like who I am.  I’m still learning who that guy is, but I’m liking him more every day.  And thus, we start a new chapter.

That’s what this tattoo is.  It’s a memorial of this time, the struggles I took to get here, and the joy of arriving.

When I started thinking about this piece, and what I wanted, I decided that it was crucial that this be a piece of art, something exceptional.  It’s a big deal for me, I’ve never been happy with who I am, and now I am.  Or at least, I’m learning how to be.

Do you have any idea how easy it is, when you’ve made major shifts in your behavior, to fall back into old habits, old patterns, old ways of reacting to the world around you?  I do.  I’ve done it more times than I care to admit, even to myself (and I’m brutally honest with myself).  This is a reminder.  I’m not that guy anymore.

I can’t speak for everyone with tattoos, but I can speak for me.  I didn’t get this to upset you.  I didn’t get this to impress you.  It’s intensely personal.  I needed this.  I did it for me.

It just means I’m happy.

Be good to each other.

Droids, Cthulhu, and Magnificent Bastard

Posted June 26th, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (1 Respond)

What an amazing day.

Have I ever mentioned the blessed life that I lead?  Today was yet another dose of awesome.

My day began as almost every day begins; Tara woke me up by telling me she loves me.  That’s a good way to wake up.

After work, we went down to Mondo Tees for a release party.  Mondo has teamed up with LucasFilm to release a Star Wars themed poster series, and today was the release of the first poster, a fetching little number by Jeff Soto.  Tara wanted one to hang in the living room… have I mentioned that my wife rocks?… so we got one.  It looks an awful lot like this:

Quite awesome.  And since we were one of the first people in line, we got a vintage power droid toy as well.  R2-D2 was there as well.  I have video evidence.

And then we headed down to AMillion Tatoos to meet Jason Masarik.  It was an interview, of sorts.

History Lesson: I’ve been wanting a new tattoo for some time now.  A few months ago, I decided that I wanted a piece of custom art… something influenced by me, but from the mind and style of an artist I really dug.  Of course, I contacted missmonster (Melita Curphy) and asked her to do the honors.  I didn’t give her much to go on except that I wanted it to have her style, maybe a beastie or two, and possibly penguins.  Bad ass penguins.  Penguins that Lemmy would wear.  Go ahead and laugh, I like penguins.  I love penguins.  Penguins are awesome.  I got to pet a penguin once.  I didn’t stop smiling for 3  hours.  But I digress.  Melita tried, but alas was unable to make penguins sufficiently badass.  I sent her a picture of my alter ego, Magnificent Bastard.  That clicked.  She responded with a sketch of Magnificent Bastard in an epic battle with Cthulhu.  I was very happy.  A little ink, a little color, and I had a tattoo that was intensely personal and uniquely missmonster.  Thus began the search for the tattoo artist.

I couldn’t trust this to just anyone.  This piece of art means too much, and it’s going to be too large, to get it wrong.  I needed a sign.

Justin Ishmael, of Mondo Tees, recommended Jason.  He said he was “really good and a total nerd”.  Coming from Justin, I took that as a good sign.  I called him today, and we made an appointment to talk after the release party at Mondo.

I’m always awkward at first meetings.  That has nothing to do with this story, but it adds atmosphere, so I thought I’d throw it in.  I’m also a little intimidated by tattoo shops.  Well, not actually by tattoo shops, but definitely in tattoo shops.  I’m not sure why, but I always feel like I’m being judged.  To be fair, I have that same feeling when I go to the Domain.  To be honest, I have that feeling most everywhere I go.  But that doesn’t matter right now.  All that matters is that I was feeling that way now.  Now being a relative term, relating to the now that was me in the tattoo shop.  Not now as in now while I’m writing this.  I feel fine now.

I meet Jason, hands are shaken, seats are offered and accepted, shirts are removed (well, one shirt, my shirt, for reasons which will be clear soon enough), and the talking begins.  I show him the art.  he takes one look and says “That’s missmonster, isn’t it?  I love her stuff.”  Turns out he’s a fan, of both missmonster AND Cthulhu.  He’s hired.  Tomorrow, we start the outline.

I guess I should show you what I’m talking about…

I’m a little nervous, it’s going to be huge.  We’re doing a half-sleeve.  This is going to be epic.

And with that, I bid you good evening.  Sleep now.  Ink tomorrow afternoon.  Jodoworsky tomorrow night.  My life is awesome.

The interwebs is funny

Posted June 21st, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (No Respond)

I have to change the title of this.

When I blog, I usually write the body, and then pick a title later.  Because what I intend to write is not always what I end up writing.

When I write for CMDS, I write the title first.  I’m usually a bit more focused, so it’s easier.

I’m not so focused when I blog.  This is a good example.  I intended to get on here and write a 10 minute note about a funny thought I had while checking Twitter.  Easy, right.  So I typed out a name.  And I immediately hate it.  Don’t bother looking.  What you’re seeing is not at all what it started as.  I don’t know what it’s going to be yet myself.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, I’ve spent 15 minutes writing about it.

What I meant to say was…

I was checking my twitter…

Wait, I really hate when I talk like that, let me try again.

I was checking the twitter…

That could work, with the right inflection.  Since I can’t adequately convey inflection on this, the blog, I’m going to have to edit that one out as well.

I was checking my twitter feed, and one of the people I follow, a lady person, is venting her frustrations with some of the sexist double standards that she faces in her career, one of which is that female artists have their physical beauty referenced more than male artists.

5 minutes later, in a completely unrelated thread, another person I follow said, and I quote, “Angry women are so sexy”.

Thank you, interwebs.  You make me laugh.

Be good to each other.

Art you can use!

Posted June 18th, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (No Respond)

I’ve been feeling blocked for… about a week now.  There have been a few bright spots, short bits of time when I can manage to squeeze something out of my brain and onto the screen, but they have been few and far between, and with one exception, never about the things I desperately WANT to write about.

I’ve been banging my head against the desk for a good 30 minutes, just trying to get this piece started.  I may have isolated the problem, though.  I don’t know if I can say with any surety that I know what the problem has been, but I’m relatively confident I know what it was this evening… I was trying to be clever.

I should know better.

All I wanted to do was talk about art.  My life is full of art lately.  I’m surrounded by it.

Of course, when I say I’m surrounded by it, the first thing that comes to mind is Tara’s knitting.  She knits like a fiend, and she always has several projects going at once, and this means that she collects yarn.

LET’S EXPLORE:  When I say “she collects yarn”, I don’t mean she “collects” yarn, like a coin collector collects coins.  I mean she “collects yarn”, like a dead body collects flies.

Here’s what I don’t understand.  She uses the yarn she buys.  She does.  I see it.  She knits every day.  She sells items every week.  She gives stuff away.  We have no surplus of items she’s made, those go out the door.  And yet, the yarn supply never diminishes…  It… It grows.  It’s almost has if the yarn has gained some sort of limited sentience and has started to… breed.

I’m afraid to go in the yarn room for fear of being consumed.  Some nights, I think I hear it calling to me… If I turn off my music, I can hear it right now… “Feed me!”

She does make some wonderful stuff.  She has a few sets of Star Trek themed dish clothes that are moving quite well.  They are currently available in Kirk or Picard, and she’s adding a Spock set soon.  I hear tell there’s another series in the works as well.  I can’t tell you what it is, but it rhymes with “Bar Boars”.

You can get art on t-shirts.  You can get art on stickers.  I’ve got art on my drinking glasses.

Melita Curphy, better known on the webs as missmonster, purveyor of all things tentacled, makes these acid etched pint glasses by hand, so each and every one is a unique piece of art.  No two glasses are exactly the same.  That’s badass.  What would you rather drink from?  On one hand, you can buy a glass at WalMart, a glass that came off a factory assembly line, just like every other glass that was made that day, with no love, no passion… just another glass to be used by the soulless masses.  Or you could have a missmonster glass, artisan crafted just for you.  I’ve got 6.  Come by the house, I’ll serve you a beverage one of these:

And then, there’s art you can eat.  Are you familiar with Kayla Kromer?  Kayla makes cookies.  Delicious cookies, topped with icing.  But she doesn’t stop there, that would be too easy.  Kayla makes her cookies to order.  You give her a movie, a TV show, some sort of pop culture reference, and Kayla designs and hand paints your cookie, turning it into a one-of-a-kind piece of art… that you eat.  You may think you’ve seen an awesome cookie before.  You’re wrong.  These are epic.

I decided to get two cookies for my lovely wife, for… well, for no reason, other than the fact that I’m madly in love with her.  I asked for a cookie featuring Bubo from Clash of the Titans, and “something” from Labyrinth.  If you don’t know why I picked those, you don’t know my wife very well.  Check out this duet of awesomeness.

Seriously, click on the pictures for a closer view.  Check out the detail.  The only bad thing?  They’re so amazing that Tara doesn’t want to eat them.

And that’s when you have to realize… this is art you consume.  That’s why it was made.  That’s what makes it special.  It would be a crime not to eat it.

Would you like a cookie?  They’re only $10, and if you’re not in Austin, Kayla will ship it to you.  She’s taking orders through the month of June, so don’t wait.  Visit her Facebook page, leave her a message telling her you’re interested (you have to “Like” the page before you can leave a message), she’ll take it from there.

If you pass up this chance, you will regret it.  Every bite of every cookie you ever eat will be a disappointment, a sad reminder of the glory that could have been yours had you simply placed your order for that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome cookie.  You know you were thinking about it.

No wait, that was me.  You make your own cookie up.  I’m going to go place an order now.

Be good to each other.

Fish Story and I

Posted June 14th, 2010 by Mick under Uncategorized (No Respond)

The story of my solitude
If my solitude were a fish
It’d be so enormous, so militant
A whale would get out of there

I know it would
I’m sure it would

I’ve already written a review of Fish Story.  I have no intention of doing another one.  And yet, I find myself in the mood to talk about it.  That’s quite the dilemma.

Resolution:  I’ll tell you how I got to this place, this place where my mind is overflowing with thoughts of Fish Story.

I suppose we should start at the beginning.  It’s sometime in late August, or early September, of 2009, and I’m working on my schedule for Fantastic Fest.  I opted to go into the Fest looking for surprises last year, my research on many of the films was minimal at best.  I decided to make some gut calls based on the synopsis of the film, or in some cases the programmer’s blurb.  I honestly didn’t even read all of the blurb for Fish Story.  I saw, in pretty much this order, the words JapanesePunk… and song that saved the world… I’m on board.  Beyond this, I wish to know nothing.

There are few finer experiences than walking into a movie completely blind, having little or no idea what you’re in for, and then having a film take you completely by surprise.  When I was a young lad of 14, I went to the theater to see a movie that had opened about a week earlier.  People were talking about it, but I hadn’t paid much attention.  I should probably point out at that at this age, 90% of my free time was spent obsessing about the band KISS.  Their new album, Love Gun, was coming out in a few months.  That was my focus.

The movie I walked in to, totally blind, was Star Wars.  It was a transcendent experience.  That’s what I was going for.

Saturday morning, I drag myself out of bed and drive to the Drafthouse for an 11:00 screening of Fish Story.  I almost changed my mind, Tara was going to see something else at 11:20 and it sounded like fun, but I decided to go with my gut.

Transcendence was attained.  The movie spoke to me.  The movie touched my soul.  I cried.  Big giant tears of joy rolling down my cheek.  When the credits rolled, I was as happy as… well, I’ve been happier, but not often.  I loved what the movie was saying.  I loved how the movie was saying it.

I loved that the movie made me feel good.

I feel the need to pause here and clarify that statement.  When I say it made me feel good, I mean “good”, as in “good versus evil”.  Fish Story made me feel good.

When I walked out of the theater, I was torn.  Part of me wanted to tell everyone I knew that this was the best film of the festival and they had to see it at the second screening.  Part of me didn’t want to mention it; I wasn’t sure I could talk about it without getting choked up.  Choked up is code.  It roughly translates as “blubbering like a little girl”.

And then it was gone.  And I’ve thought about it ever since, wishing I had a copy.  I despaired of ever getting a US release, so I began to troll the Asian DVD sites.  I finally found a release.  In Japan.  With no English subtitles.

No, I don’t speak Japanese.  Damn it.

Finally, success.  A release for the Korean market.  The Korean market releases get English subtitles.  I ordered one.  This is why I have a region free DVD player.  It arrived today.  I told myself I wasn’t going to watch it, I was just going to make sure it played, and check out the transfer.  I lied.  I watched the entire movie.  And I cried.  Big giant tears of joy.

And if you had a gun to my head, I couldn’t tell you if the transfer was any good.  I didn’t care.  I was watching my movie.  I was happy.  I felt good.

Did it hold up on a second viewing?  Indeed.  But that’s another story.  For another day.

Don’t you know you’re a liar!
Don’t you know you’re a deceiver!

Music stacked up like wooden blocks
Is the only salvation

Be good to each other.

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