A bundle of contradictions wrapped in a paradox

So what the fuck does THAT mean?

This is actually what someone called me about 15 years ago: a bundle of contradictions wrapped in a paradox. My wife later agreed (hadn’t met her yet when this person made his statement).

Oh, I didn’t answer your question…

Well, I’m not exactly sure. I’m smart but down-to-earth. I’m an atheist with a deep interest in religion. I will defend what’s right when most people would quit. I don’t care about style but I’m stylish. I don’t care about “cool” but that makes me so. I’m wise beyond my years but bursting with youthful naivete. I’m generous but stingy.

I’m not your average bear, Boo Boo. I shove pic-a-nic baskets up Yogi’s homoerotic arse. I march to the beat of my own drummer without proclaiming it to be true. I dream in technicolor but live as a wallflower. I’m the life of the party but only when ignited by passion. I can be your everything but don’t fucking cross me.

I guess that’s what it means. Still interesting to ponder the sentiment from time to time.

I’m a Libertarian and I vote

I had a strong push for Obama because Billary is just a bad person. But I’m not a Democrat because I’m not a Socialist. I’m a Constitutional Republican, otherwise known as a “capital L” Libertarian.

So I’m voting for Bob Barr for POTUS this Fall. Obama will win, but I hope to get past the 5% milestone for a Libertarian candidate, which would be cool in 2012.

Yes, I’m a voter, I’m a Libertarian, I’m an atheist, I’m an artist, I’m a musician, I’m a geek, and I’m a Gen Xer. Fuck your ass if you don’t like it.

(edit July 2010: I dug into Bob Barr and I didn’t like what I smelled so I voted for Obama. I also rescind my Socialist statement because I’ve since become much more educated about Liberalism – I’m just sick of entitlement programs and crying for the “poor people” – barf)

People hate me

People are afraid of me.

I’m coming around to realize that this has always been so. I’m not complaining, just stating. I think it’s actually all very interesting.

The first time I realized anyone was afraid of me was back in the Navy. I was in Nuclear Power School and, of course, I liked to mess with people. Being particularly anti-religion and pro -“piss off people indiscriminately,” especially so in my younger days, I used to do things that bugged people. A lot.

So let’s back up a wee bit here. In after-hours study, we had to “sign out” to go to “silent study,” where you had a private little desk with walls and sound-proofing material. To go to silent study, you had to sign out on the board (you had a certain number of mandatory after-hours study time, so you were treated like a child, of course). It was a chalk board (does anyone still use chalk?).

I used to sign “husted” with the “t” as an upside-down cross.

I thought it was benign, and I thought it was pretty damned funny. There were, apparently, people that didn’t think it was a joke. Or perhaps they were still waiting for the surgery to remove the well-lodged corn cob. I dunno. But I used to come back from silent study and the “t” was corrected to a normal T. And nobody had the balls to fess up.

They were afraid of me.

This group of 30 sailors, probably 29 of them could kick my 135lb ass (at the time), and they were fucking all afraid of me. WTF?

I figured it was this tall, dorky ass pirate that made it a point to shove his religion down your throat. And to talk about Jebus, as if I cared about that. I never did find out, but I would stare at him sometimes in class, making sure he knew I was staring at him. Sometimes I’d even blow him kisses, because the way I figured, as a Christian, he was SURE to be a homophobe. I’m not, so I think it’s fun to freak people the fuck out. Sure enough, he would avert his gaze.

But I KNEW he knew, and that was enough. I’m laughing as I write this. I’m evil, yes, but only to small-minded dipshits that thought it was super-important to change my T. Fuck his god.

I’m a putz

Okay, so there was this girl in high school. No, I wasn’t hot for her. She wasn’t very attractive. And now that there are a lot of people I know from high school on Facebook, this’ll probably make it back to her in some way. But it’s more a story about me (aren’t they all?); that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

She was into the Art Thing. Yes, capitalizations come standard with her. She painted pictures of dark representations of people as telephone poles stringing across bland landscapes. She painted pictures that were categorized as “abstract” without, apparently, realizing that abstract art is an *abstraction* of something, not just what you get to call your latest Kindergarten regression. Or that painting idea that didn’t work out.

The goth movement started back around the time I was in high school. Yes, I’m old. She was probably sort of goth, sort of hippie, sort of Punky Brewster.

She annoyed the fuck out of me.

I mean, I was a total dick. Mostly because I get impassioned about so few things. Art being one of them. And I hated her art.

Yes, that’s not an exaggeration. I really thought her works should be fodder for my amusement, stuff that I could tear apart freely. And I did. I didn’t hide what I thought. (“oh, gee, Steve, some things never change.” Shuuut iiiit!)

I wasn’t just a crass shit-for-brains about it, though. Gimme some credit, fucknut. I got class, see? I actually critiqued her work. I analyzed her composition, I hung her pictures upside-down to point out obvious flaws, I looked at movement, use of line and shape and form. We had good conversations about what she did and why.

Hey, I expect the same of my pieces.

To her credit, though, she really listened to what I had to say. She didn’t go all teary eyed and crying for her momma (she did, however, submit a work to the high school literary magazine, Pentimento, called ‘my mother is singing my elegy,’ which I thought was way over the top even for high school goth art chicks. Didn’t stop me from stealing that line when it suits me. No, I don’t know how I remember this shit. It’s a curse. Let’s move on.). I’m still impressed by that today.

But what REALLY got my goat was all the drooling ass monkeys that couldn’t stop tonguing her sphincter over her artwork. “Oh, it’s so… um… good!” “Wow, that’s so… expressive!” “You’re such a… a… good artist!”

Ad infinitum, ad nauseum. In fact, I think I just puked in my mouth a little. You know, when you think it’s a burp but it ends up being all caustic acid stuff and you have to swallow a few times and maybe drink something to wash it back down.

Even the art teacher, Mrs. Hammerman, kissed her ass ALL THE TIME.

So, let’s fast-forward to senior year. Everyone’s happy they’re outta there, moving on, looking forward to making money, going to college, smoking weed all day long, whatever. We’re all signing yearbooks.

My relationship with her had matured, and I felt that, while I still was no fan of her art, I didn’t hate HER, and she HAD improved over the years. See, I’m not such a dick once I’ve abused you for 3 years!

Anyway, here’s what she wrote in my yearbook (edited for length):

“Steve, you are my other self, the realistic, cynical self. The only problem is the large egos we both possess get in the way. I expect to see my other self at my first gallery opening to give me the criticism I deserve – and EVERY ONE ELSE BUT YOU is afraid to give. Good thing they don’t hear us laugh and scowl.”

As soon as I read that, emotions swam through me (yes, I DO have emotions, so shut it): is she serious? Did she wait until the end of senior year to play this trump card to make me feel like a total ass? Was I really that dense (probably)? What should I write in HER yearbook (hmmm… what DID I write in her yearbook?)?

Damn, now I feel like a giant, corn-riddled turd. The big sort that hurts as it first comes out, but then must have tapered off because the rest didn’t feel so bad.

Yes, we did laugh and scowl. But I hadn’t realized that it was as fun for her as it was for me. I really missed an opportunity to laugh and scowl even MORE. But, mostly, and yes, I’m gonna get cheesy and say it, I missed an opportunity to get to know someone that I probably would have liked if I wasn’t too busy stroking myself. Not that we would have dated, but could have hung out and gotten more into the art. Art buddies are so hard to find. Correction: GOOD art buddies are so hard to find.

I’m a putz.

I’m still here

I’m still here, but I went back to work after a 2 month sabbatical! I’ve been busy, there’ve been holidays (and there’ll be more), my birthday was in there somewhere (and the acquisition of Guitar Hero III, which is a good excuse not to post to your blog), and my *other* side biz is picking up steam. I’m hoping for funding by the end of the year but it may be mid-January (sigh).

My weekly drawing thread over at Wet Canvas has been slim pickings for several weeks now. I’m waiting for something fun to crop up and the pictures just haven’t been at all interesting 🙁

I’ll get back into the swing and get posting again. Until then, you keep practicing because, as an old art teacher once told me, “It’s not like turning on and off a light switch, you know.”


Atheism and art

Unrelated to this blog topic but important: a lot of artists say they find inspiration in God or they Thank God for their successes or whatever. Yeah, whatever. You can still make good art and you can still be inspired if you are an atheist. Just because you’re smart and don’t give in to a magical “old white dude” with a beard in the sky watching over you doesn’t mean that you’re devoid of inspiration. The world is beautiful. Go see it and capture it in your art. No, it didn’t need a creator to be beautiful. Put down the pencil, stop typing, and go take a midnight stroll around your neighborhood. See all that stuff? It’s there because MAN created it (the architecture, the landscape design, the park design, etc.), not some magical Zulu dude in the sky (which is really silly – why don’t planes and/or astronauts fly into heaven?). The flora and fauna survived because they adapted over millions of years.

Have you drawn today? Have you painted today? If you have, thank yourself, not the magical Jeebus in the sky. (kudos if you got the Homer Simpson reference)

flash fiction. thoughts on writing.