Monday, November 14, 2011

the influence of television (on me)

I am, and have been for about a week, quite ill. While laying in misery on the couch I have been drawing some basic shadow, pen and ink drawings of various fictional characters. Honestly, this was all I could think of for my long overdue update. These are posted in various places around my apartment now. Abed is on the fridge, Troy on the liquor cabinet, and Ron Swanson where I can always see him, always beckoning me with that glorious 'stache.

Friday, July 15, 2011

how to storm a bastille without really trying

So, it was Bastille Day a few days ago and I completely forgot about it. I drew a comic last minute. In before midnight so it still counts. I posted it on my tumblr and soon realized almost no one knows what Bastille Day is, let alone what a huguenot is. 
Gather 'round children, and you shall receive a brief lesson in the meaning of Bastille Day. 
For starters, every year on the 14th of July Bastille Day or French National Day is celebrated across France. Think of it as their 4th of July. It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération which was celebrated on the one year anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. 
The storming of the Bastille was important for several reasons, but first we must explain the Bastille itself. It was a medieval fortress and prison in Paris. When it was stormed it only housed 7 inmates, (Marquis de Sade had been there only 10 days before, but was transferred. so close)  but the people were not after the inmates, they were after the gunpowder and weapons housed there. (here in modern times we know not to house our deadly, deadly weapons with our deadly, deadly criminals) The reason for this was because there had been a serious of rumors that put the public on edge due to their major economic crisis, since France had intervened in the American Revolution and put on quite a fiscal strain. 8,800 people gathered and subsequently stormed the Bastille successfully. This event marked a very important point of the French Revolution. This lead to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, a veeeerrrry important document. 
Maybe these events do not matter to the american people, we tend to be a self-centered bunch. While this isn't a very broad lesson on why Bastille Day is important, it gives a little insight. 
btw: the huguenots were Calvinists, or the Protestant Reformed Church of France. They were harsh ciritics of the catholic church and broke away from it. If you look up the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre you will get an idea of how tense these relations were. The Edict of Nantes made protestants legal, but it was revoked by Louis XIV. Many of them were put in prison during the time of the French Revolution, some in the Bastille. 

Also, here is my comic:

Monday, July 11, 2011

updating with helpful information? now you're just spoiling us.

It has been far too long since I have blogged. I ended up getting a Tumblr that I tend to update more since it's always a quick phrase or photograph. I reserve this for more lengthy posts. Though, this one won't be much of anything.
Earlier today I was perusing the internet and I found this site; giant germs, you say?
I, honestly, cannot help myself. I want to have a bunch of little stuffed germs. I have determined that whenever I have children they will have stuffed germs, and germ paraphernalia. Just look at that adorable, common cold hand soap dispenser.
I would, most assuredly, cuddle with the flu knowing I would not become ill the following morning.
I have determined my future parenting tactics might result in unusual children, but that doesn't bother me if it doesn't bother them. Silly, little ovums; they have no idea what's coming.
Anyway, that is not the only thing I found. I also stumbled upon this site on how to be green without being an annoying hippie about it.  I have resolved that with our next apartment we will be more organized and less wasteful. Also going to get Joshua to eat a little healthier, don't want him to leave me a widow. He promised to come back as ghost, but if I can't annoyingly tussle his hair then what's the point?
But I digress, this site has a lot of interesting items and things that will definitely result in us saving money over time. Plus the added bonus of not punching the earth in the face with all my plastic bags and other non-biodegradable globe-killing implements.
I mean, this reusable replacement for a sandwich bag is genius and cute. Can you really ask for more?

Saturday, May 21, 2011


josh bought me this for our anniversary, it was very unexpected. this is the first piece of “adult” or romantic jewelry i have ever received aside from my wedding set. 
i feel so girly right now. josh is wonderful. i just bought him a 3 volume set on the history of the crusades. the first anniversary is the paper anniversary after all. 
The tradition wherein certain gifts were given certain years originated in medieval germany. if a couple lived to be married 25 years they would receive a wreath of silver as a congratulations for their good fortune. then gold on their 50th. over time more gifts have been assigned to years.
1st year: Paper
2nd year: Cotton
3rd year: leather or glass
4th year: linen or silk
5th year: wood
6th year: iron
7th year: wool or copper
8th year: bronze
9th year: pottery
10th year: tin or aluminum
20th year: china
25th year: silver
30th year: pearl
35th year: coral or jade
40th year: ruby
45th year: sapphire
50th year: gold
55th year: emerald
there were more years, but far too many to list. there is a gift for every year. i guess next year i will get joshua some sort of clothing item. 

Monday, May 2, 2011


So I saw a bunch of swallows on my way home from work today and decided to draw some using various mediums. One with oil pastels, I literally haven't used them in years and I have re-realized they are not my thing. The other is with prismacolor markers, I have never used them before but am getting into illustration so I need to practice. So here they are, my sad attempts of the day.
I am way too tired.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

owlbert evolves

Here is more of Owlbert. Next I will work on Beauregard the tortoise and Sho and Tomoko the koi. Children's books are the most fun to illustrate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This is Owlbert. He is a character from a children's story I wrote for the children I used to nanny. I decided to write it all out and illustrate it. I am starting with the animal characters. The backstory for Owlbert is this:
          The main character, Henry, finds Owlbert when he is four-years-old. He has a broken wing after getting caught in a storm. Owlbert is a talking owl, by the way. Henry nurses him back to help and insists on calling him "Owlbert" because it is like Albert, but he is an owl. But Owlbert dislikes this name. Nearly each time he is called that or introduces himself to someone he explains that he is "Sir Archibald Kingsley of the Royal Defense League for the Fighting Owl Brigade as protection for the Queen." After his wing was fixed he had planned to return home, but he had grown attached to Henry and decided to stay. Plus his comrades never came looking for him so he assumed he would be more loved with Henry. He is sort of a big softy.
          If he was a human he would be a grumpy, old British man.  

Should I give him spectacles or a monocle? I am leaning more towards spectacles. 

This is just a basic idea or concept so far. I want my illustrations to be similar to those of older books, like Alice in Wonderland or Winnie the Pooh. You know what I mean. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

this is not an exageration

This is pretty accurate. I may have cleaned up the dialog a bit. He gets a potty mouth when he is dieing. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

I drew a bird!

So there is actually a funny story about how this drawing came to be.
I "awoke" around 3 am, barely awake. In my sleepy state I started a drawing for seemingly no reason, probably fueled by something in my dream. I got the torso and the wings drawn in pencil and finished the head in ink then promptly fell back asleep on it. This morning I woke up, feeling as if I had a screwdriver 20 minutes before with the paper pressed to my cheek. I was confused. My cat was not quite 6 inches from my face with my pen in her mouth. I finished the drawing after I woke up a little and here it is.
Not that great, but not that bad.
Yay, sleep bird.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

in all seriousness

Putting aside my silly comics and frivolous posts on eating disorders, art, and other such distractions there are things I am fearful of and tend distract me in other ways.
Sign this:
This is an official petition supporting the removal or nuclear weapons across the globe.
Nuclear attack is something not to be taken lightly and it seems like something that is more than likely to happen in our lifetime. We have come close many times over and we can sleep easy not knowing what goes on behind closed doors away from the prying eyes of the public. But here we stand with the chance for action before us.
I don't care how preachy I sound.

There is a documentary called Countdown to Zero that gives an unbiased look on nuclear power and the global impact. It has left Joshua unnerved in ways I had never seen before. This is There Will Come Soft Rains by Sara Teasdale: (not the be confused with the short story by the same name by Ray Bradbury, which is equally haunting)

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And the swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And the frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of war, not one,
Will care at last when it is done;

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone. 

My Friends' Species Identification Cards (to be continued...)

There are more to come.
I intend to collect them like pokemon cards. Gotta have 'em all.

I got the idea from this blog: racheldraws. I have provided the link in my crucial links area. Check her and her sister out. Quite hilarious.

Joshua and the things he loves: part 1

It didn't bother me, I just found it amusing. We are married, they are like half his now. Why ya gotta be so sneaky? Is it the catholic guilt creeping up on you again? 
I am curious, however, as to why he thought this wouldn't wake me up. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Irony? Ironic...irony?

On any given day I hear one or more people misuse the word "irony." Even I might do it from time to time, but the point is that people do not take the time to educate themselves on the phrases they use regularly. It's sad in a big way. I'm not one of those people who likes to debate it either. I don't stand nearby ready to interject; "Ehem, actually that's not irony...."
There are actually 3 common uses of Irony:
1. Verbal Irony (the most common)
          This is when a speaker says one thing but means another. Most would call this sarcasm, though many scholars argue that sarcasm is not irony (despite it being the original definition). Example: "Yes, I would LOVE to get a root canal sans the anesthetic."
2. Dramatic Irony
          It is used in narratives when an event occurs that the audience may be aware of while the characters are still in the dark.This is a little harder to explain and understand, my literature teacher in high school it explained it as so: In the play Romeo and Juliet she fakes her death. The entire audience knows she is simply asleep, but Romeo believes her to be dead. People often confuse this with situational irony.
Sorry for that spoiler for those of you who still live under that rock.
3. Situational Irony
          This is when something happens and the opposite of what you would expect occurs. This is like buying a gun to protect yourself to only be shot by said gun or taking diet pills to lose weight that end up making you fat.

By now I am sure most of us have heard the song "Ironic" by Alanis Morrisette. Most of those situations mentioned are purely just unfortunate coincidences or events. Rain on a wedding day is not ironic unless you were using a weather machine to make it sunny and the opposite occurred. Good advice that you didn't take it just stupidity, not irony. One could argue that her phrase "It's like 10 thousand spoons when all you need is a knife," is a little bit of situational irony as you would expect a knife somewhere in the mix. Having no bowl would be more ironic. But I am not going to break down all the situations she presents us with. But it's a little ironic that her song isn't actually ironic, perhaps Alanis is more clever than we thought.
What is ironic is the American Board of the Preservation of the English Language attacking Alanis Morrisette claiming she was an example of Americans dumbing down the English language. She is Canadian.

O'Henry is the master of Irony. Perhaps you should give him a read for some good examples.
And just understanding irony doesn't give you the right to say whether something is a good example of irony. If it is ironic than it is ironic. Don't be that guy.

My complete and utter DISDAIN for Marquis de Sade

Oh, Marquis de Sade, you both nauseate and infuriate me. He is, somehow, considered one of the best writers of France's history. His erotic writings helped coin the term "sadism." This can give you a nice hint as to the overall theme of his writings. I find him to be a vile and deplorable individual. His exaltation in the literary world is baffling. He was not enlightened, he was not an existentialist; he was simply a dirty man who wrote about dirty things. If you think James Joyce's love letters were dirty then you have no idea what you are in for. His work was viewed almost as an exploration of sexuality, but it is just pure smut.
He was born in 1740 in Paris and only child to an aristocratic family. They were wealthy and powerful, he lived an ideal childhood, given all the opportunities available to him. When he got older he served in the military, even fighting in the Seven Years War. Later, 1763, he married a young lady of another high-ranking family; Renee -Pelagie de Montreuil. Then things got...weird.
In 1768 he captured an tortured a prostitute. Word got out and the police warned all the brothels as he was considered a threat to all prostitutes (he was feared more than Jack the Ripper). As years passed he was found guilty of all sorts of sexual crimes ranging from public indecency to brutal acts of rape. Later he would seduce and get his sister-in-law to participate in an orgy, enraging both his wife and mother-in-law. Things actually get worse from this point on.
In 1772 he is given the death penalty for his crimes but escapes to Italy. He was then sort of banished from Paris and sent to his wife's family home in Normandy (why she was still with him I haven't the foggiest idea). From 1773 - 1777 he had a harem of young girls he used as sexual slaves. He arranged orgies and had several more scandals before being sentenced to 27 years in prison, that death sentence seemed to go away. It began in a dungeon in Vincennes. During his imprisonment he decided to curve his boredom by writing sexually graphic novels and plays.
After an escape attempt he was transferred to Bastille in Paris in 1784. During this time he wrote Les 120 Journess de Sodome. This became an underground "classic" for over a hundred years. A movie of the piece was made sometime in the 1970s. He was released from an insane asylum in 1790, after which his wife finally obtained a divorce. I am still curious as to why she waited so long.
He then wrote and published Justine (1791) and Juliette (1797) the sequel. These are two of his most famous works. These were about two sisters who, upon being orphaned, begin leading separate but equally depraves lifestyles. He sent a copy to Napoleon in 1803 and this only upset him. He then refused to say de Sade free, since he gone back into prison during this time.
de Sade's explanation for his work goes a little something like this: God is evil and denying this fact only gets you punished, hence Justine's awful treatment in the story (I read one excerpt from it and could hardly stomach that one paragraph). He believed it was our nature to be wicked and act accordingly. He thinks you should act on your instincts...nope. The people who's instincts are to rape and other such things wind up in prison for good reason. We punish these things not because we are trying to make people unhappy but because we want to protect individuals and uphold a good and moral society.
What bothers me the most is how he managed to survive the French Revolution. The only way he avoided being beheaded was to write a eulogy for Marat, the subject of controversy during the Revolution as well as the subject of my favorite painting by David. He played his cards effectively.
It is interesting that in the century following de Sade there was a very definite split between sexual perversions and a complete turn away from anything even remotely sexual. The Victorian era showed us angel-like women with heroic men juxtaposed to a seedy underbelly. The release of de Sade's work created a disturbing awakening. Things people previously thought were wrong became something to try.
"Maybe my depraved thoughts are normal. I shouldn't be worried about my soul."
No. No they are not. You should be concerned that these thoughts enter into your mind.Orgies and brutal rape are not and never will be okay. You feel ashamed of these acts for a reason, some are less sensitive to it than others but the shame is there all the same. People often cite the love letters of James Joyce, but I have read those, and while a little weird, they are pretty tame. These sexual perversions we so readily accept as eccentricities are leading a swift downfall of any honor. dignity, or pride our society had left. de Sade is why snuff films are made.
People will argue with me that de Sade was just writing what we think and want to do. But that can't possibly be true. There are people, upon reading his work, said that those thoughts had never occurred to them and the idea was revolting. de Sade and his followers represent the minority. de Sade believed in decadence and violent, sexual acts. He was everything any decent individual would vilify. They were called perversions for a reason, this isn't a miss-labeling, it is an accurate depiction of how truly far a society can crumble. See that abyss over there?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Normally, i would never really be bothered anyone's choice to partake in or avoid the consumption of meat or other by-products of animals. But recently I was at work where I was scoffed at for ordering a chicken sandwich. If you don't eat meat, that is just fine, I don't care. Judging me for the consumption of meat is a waste of both of our times. I am not going to get into some argument with you (and I know you are just waiting for me to argue with you so you can fight about your stance - and I know this is not true for all of them) But the fact is, your refusal of meat products is in and of it self a judgement on me for eating meat. Every time you eat the veggie burger while I eat my regular burger -with cheese- it's like a snide comment or eye roll. I'm not gonna make a big deal about it so why are you? And besides, it is nearly impossible to be entirely vegan, and here is why:
So, unless you plan to live in the woods and live off the land without any modern are not a true vegan.
This isn't meant to offend, more to inform and sort of vent. If you don't eat meat because it's a health issue or just a diet you are trying (like my friend Trey) that is fine and acceptable, if you think eating animals is wrong that is a whole other issue. I don't think you're awesome because you don't eat meant, I love animals too (I have the cutest cats ever), but I am also logical. I have seen animals killed and it does make me sad, but so do lots of thing. God didn't make chickens just so they could be adorable, he also made them yummy and full of protein and other vitamins our bodies need.
 Just taking ethics out of the equation we are left with whether or not it is entirely healthy to be vegan. When you first start eliminating things from your diet your body goes through a detox that is very good for it, I do it myself from time to time. But eventually your body will need to go back to eating meat and getting dairy. I mean a vegan diet is high in fiber, low fat, and full of all sorts of nutrients, it has it's benefits. The better idea would be to have a well-balanced diet.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hybrid Animals: Our Favorite, Morally Questionable Science Experiment

So today Joshua and I were "stumbling" on the internet. We can across a web page all about various animal hybrids, while I know things like the liger existed before, some of the others things listed bothered me. I'm all for an adorable, but ridiculously impractical zebra-pony hybrid, but this only opens up the flood gates, or can of worms if you will, to other increasingly terrifying animals. I'm willing to accept the cama and the pumapard, but explain to me the need for the spider-goat. While this little guy is utterly adorable, I can only imagine the unavoidable chaos that will ensue when they become more spider than goat. Scientists claim their goal was to create this deceiving chimera was to harvest the silk from their milk for it's various applications, like random medical uses with ligaments and tendons. While that reason is all well and good...why are we involving goats, or any mammal for that matter? (sort of sounds like a weird pokemon...but what type could it possibly be?)
We should probably start with some basic explanations about hybrids and how they are possible:
1. single cross hybrids - results from the cross between two true breeding organisms and produces and F1 generation (F1 meaning filial, all meaning first offspring). That's like breeding a black cat with a white cat, to put it simply. Does anyone remember those mendel boxes in science glass sometime in junior high? Kinda like that.
2. double cross hybrids - results between the cross of two different F1 hybrids.
3. three-way cross hybrids (not in the dirty way, just the equally morally questionable way) - resulting from the cross between and F1 hybrid and one from a different inbred line. No banjos here.
4. triple cross hybrids - resulting from crossing two different three-way cross hybrids.
5. population hybrids - resulting from crossing plants or animals in a population with another population. These include crosses between organisms such as inter-specific hybrids (these are from the same genus, like horses and donkeys, hence the mule).
These population hybrids are the increasingly disturbing ones, and I still don't know where the spider-goat fits in. Though I fully support the creation of real life pokemon. Make me a Squirtle and a Piplup, I will evolve them myself! But that isn't even the most disturbing of the hybrids I have read about. And this brings us to the parahuman hybrids. Yes, human. We are this close (holding my fingers very closely together) to having a real life The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells. Scientists have successfully put human DNA into mouse embryos as well as produced mice that produce human eggs and sperm. And in 2003 the Chinese successfully fussed human DNA with rabbit eggs. Then they made a mouse with a brain that was 1% human. Why? WHY?
Scientists argue that doing this can give us better knowledge as to how the body works, and help us produce better drugs or antibiotics, better immune-systems to study AIDS and create more viable organs, and blah blah blah. Say what you will scientists, we all know you are just doing this for fun, to push the limits as far as you can. Eventually we are going to create a hybrid that is more human than we could imagine. Then we are going to go all king Minos on it, a reference to my Minotaur post. What will we do with him/her? Study them in a lab the duration of their life? Remember the movie Splice or The Fly? Nothing worked out for anyone, pretty sure God was just pissed. Making a human and nonhuman chimera is unethical, let's be honest. The only reason we are doing this is to elongate human life. Our fear of death and the afterlife is so crippling that we will do anything to stave it off. Sounds like something Mr. Burns would fund.
Make your Zonys(ies?) and Ligers, but stop trying to make mice that can create human DNA or goats that create spider silk for whatever reason. There are plenty of hybrids that exist naturally of course, but we are just pushing the envelope now. I'm also against designer babies, by the way. Eliminating the chances of getting genetic disorders is acceptable, but aiming for the perfect blue-eyed girl seems a little 1930s Germany to me.

But seriously, make me one of these:
I will name him Edwin.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Allegory of the Cave

Joshua came home and told me about an argument he entered into about Plato. Someone mentioned he had started reading Plato's The Republic and was enjoying it so far. Someone else invited themselves into the conversation, calling this reader a "pretentious fucking, entry-level hipster try-hard, shitty bastard." I won't even start with the fact that his choice of wording was not only sophomoric but also extremely uninspired (if you are going to insult, do it with flare).
First, I shall address the idea that it is pretentious. I think many people lack an understanding of what this word really means. Pretentious simply means creating an appearance of great worth, or ostentatious (the most ostentatious of words, ha. I made a funny). It means to put on a facade. The book itself is not doing this. Someone needs a dictionary. Next point; entry-leve is actually fairly accurate, but that is by no means a bad thing. You need to start somewhere, you can't dive in to Soren Kierkegaard without some basic understanding of some philosophical views.
Try-hard? I don't even understand this one. Hipster? I should certainly hope not. It is my understanding that hipsters do things only for the sake of image without any true enlightenment or understanding of anything. THAT'S PRETENTIOUS. I am done trying to determine where he has any sort of validity to his slew of crass insults.
I never read Plato myself until my freshmen year of college. I took a Philosophy 101 course as an introduction into the world of great philosophers and history. I had one of the best professors, Dr. James Pearce. He was bald, oddly muscular, and wore a lot of turtlenecks or underarmor shirts with sports jackets, but he was brilliant all the same. Even after my class with him we spoke often and had lunch on several occasions, then his wife left him. One day, mid-semester, he just left. Tony and I went to his office and everything was gone. It was sad, but he instilled a love of philosophy in me. I wish I could track him down, but I did find his book on amazon; Learning to Think. Buy it.
We read The Allegory of the Cave by Plato and I became enamored. It represented my awakening and discovery. I identified with the individuals within the story on the most basic level, though the comparisons stop after awhile. If you want to read the entire text click this link as my summary might leave a bit to be desired.
Here is a basic synopsis; there are several "prisoners" living in an underground cave. They have been chained and positioned in a way that they can only see the wall in front of them. They have lived their whole lives liked this (you have to have an open mind here as the situation is unbelievable). Elevated behind them are other men standing around a fire, some are making noise while others a silent. They have a screen where they have puppets that cast shadows on the wall for the prisoners to see. They also see the shadows of the men and things they carry. This leaves the prisoners to come up with words and names for all these things on their own.  
One day a prisoner got out and stumbled into the outside world. He begins to understand everything, even the sun and it's importance to our existence. Plato's metaphor for the sun is near the end of his The Republic, book VI. He then returns back to the cave to tell the prisoners of what he has learned. They refuse to believe him.
This is my favorite writing by him. It is the perfect example to explain how we perceive reality. It represents a complex model for which we go through our lives and understanding. It is our path to complete awareness. The way in which it was approached gives us a unique look at how reality plays such an important part in our existence. The Matrix comes to mind, eh? The pill is his emergence from the metaphorical cave.

Random observance:
I have worked at various restaurants over the years, including now as I finish college. Why is it that baked potatoes are always more expensive than mashed potatoes or french fries? They clearly take the least amount of work.

On these two things I leave you with my final thoughts of 2010 and prepare for 2011. Tonight I drink wine and read with Joshua on my mind as he has to work this evening. You only have more to look forward to.

...and the Danes strike again

Thanks to my new book; The Best Art You've Never Seen by Julian Spalding, I have learned about all sorts of interesting art pieces that have been stashed away for centuries for a plethora of reasons. One that caught my eye today was the Trundholm Sun Chariot. Like the Dancing Satyr of Mazara and Bronze Zeus (or maybe Poseidon), it was found hidden by nature. It was discovered in 1902 in a peat bog somewhere in Denmark. Them and their bogs...littered with all sort of artifacts, and lots of bodies apparently. The piece is made of bronze and gilded with gold.
This piece is theorized to teach initiates how the sun was pulled across the sky since they seem to believe it wasn't made purely for ornament or decoration (I think it easily could have been). According to Norse mythology Sol is the goddess of the sun. She would ride through the sky on her chariot pulled by her horses Arvak and Alsvid. Quite similar to the Greek Helios.
Interesting thing, only one side of the sun if gilded with the gold, the other side is plain. Which seems to indicate the darkness that would descend upon the world with the absence on the sun.
This entire concept is quite poetic and beautiful, as most of the mythological explanation for things. This probably was some sort of educational piece or even part of an altar piece, but you have to wonder how it ended u in that bog in the first place. According to this book it was intentionally broken into pieces and place carefully within the bog. Was this meant for preservation or destruction? Many anthropologists believe these bogs were often used as sacrificial sites. The nordic people seemed to believe these bogs had preserving properties (which is sort of correct) and this was probably an offering to Sol.

So many more interesting pieces in this book to discuss, be prepared for some education.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

disorders-shmismorders: part 4

I am sick of wanting
It's evil and it's daunting
How I let everything I cherish lay to waste
I am lost in greed this time, it's definitely me
I point fingers but there's no one there to blame

I need for something
No, let me break it down again  
I need for something
But not more medicine

I am sick with wanting
I's evil how it's got me
And everyday is worse than the one before
The more I have, the more I think
I'm almost where I need to be
If only I could get a little more

Something has me (something has me)
Oh, something has me
Acting like someone I don't wanna be
Something has me (something has me)

These are some lyrics from a song called "Ill with Want" by The Avett Brothers - I feel endorse them. Good music, good lyrics, great singer. But that is beside the point. This song is one of the few that summarizes how I would feel during episodes of my own eating disorder. Jut last night I worked out for a great deal of time using ballet in order to lengthen and slim down my body. I have becoming obsessed again; desiring being ethereal and waif-like, thin and elegant.
I go through periods of not being concerned with my eating or activity to lengthly periods wherein I am incessantly concerned. The winter is the worst as I tend to desire more carbs and get more lethargic and want to bundle up. I am less apt to drive out to the gym to run for an hour. Then I feel guilty. I am slowly developing more of an activity disorder; moving as much as possible and doing ballet at home for many hours.
But there is more to this than me just worrying, there are some triggers. I will be entirely honest that the film Black Swan and some paintings of adult ballerinas nearly devastated me. I know this is irrational, but that doesn't make the feeling go away. I will admit, part of this has to do with my unfulfilled desire to be a dancer, but more now is that they have my ideal body type.
But let's be honest, there is a lot to being a ballerina that would be appealing to someone with an eating disorder;
1. a rigorous work ethic
2. a strict diet
3. a strong sense of balance and self-control
4. perpetuating endless grace.
This sounds like being a ballerina is being ultimately feminine. What woman does not want to be eternally graceful? These women (and men) are strong and controlled and something to revere.
Most of my life I have had a dancer's physique, but as I have gotten more lax in my activity it has become more... curvaceous than I would like.
It is more that I, and many other eating disorder sufferers, would like more control. We need to balance between the food we eat and the amount of activity we put out, and we certainly shouldn't purge. But this is the same for anyone, there needs to be balance. Last night, after a shower and my work out, I watched a documentary called "Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America's Greatest Threat". Through the duration of the film I was overcome with disgust and shame and fear. Yes, fear. I was petrified of becoming even the slightest bit pudgy.
It is true that america has food available in mass and it tends to be more fattening than before. But what is the most interesting is that out society perfectly represents both ends of the spectrum; morbidly obese and extreme (intentional)malnutrition. But how exactly do we have such a dynamic? Recent statistics show that Europe, Japan, and America have the same number of fast food restaurants so it isn't their presence alone doing this. The truth is that america is one of the most gluttonous cultures in the world. Perhaps I should also define gluttony precisely: it is the act of eating in excess or withholding from yourself in excess. Pretty much just too much of anything is bad. This fostering of overindulgence has lead to a fat cultural identity. The world sees america as fat and when there are vulnerable individuals with CNC or other issues they will identify with this they see themselves as fat. I see these reports nearly everyday, you know the kind. They show huddled masses of obese americans with their faces cropped out of the picture. If that is american then is that me? This can lead to an identity crisis.
Don't even get me started on the whole body dismorphic disorder that this can result in. It seems america would rather focus on our obese, while this is an important issue, we can't forget the individuals on the other end. This situations just feeds them - no pun intended.
I recently read a report where an obese 12-year-old girl weighed in at nearly 230 lbs. and got liposuction. 12! Our society likes it's quick fix but that seems a little ridiculous. We need to change our way of eating, portion sizes, etc. Did you know that an average adult sized value meal at McDonalds is nearly 1180 calories? The suggested caloric intake for the day is 2000. Their children meals are just as bad, they have enough calories for an adult male.
The public reaction seems to be indifference. We are obese and we are starving. But this doesn't stop us from putting pressure on those already thin. Our models are the "face of america" and this obesity epidemic puts more pressure on them to stay thin and even get thinner. We have women and men striving to be as thin as they can and others who are overindulging for all sorts of reasons. We are killing ourselves with and without food. We are a food obsesses society.

I feel that there are some other issues our youth are facing, not only does american have a fat identity we also have all these other cultures battling it out. We are the melting pot and I have started developing a theory I call  "the melting pot effect". In my next eating disorder post I will try to summarize my ideas as best I can.

I bought a new book today entitled Hunger: A Mother and Daughter Fight Anorexia by Sheila and Lisa Himmel. The basic synopsis is about a mother who was a food journalist and a daughter who developed an eating disorder. The irony is not lost on meI intend to use any information I gather there to help develop my thesis. I also bought an art history book about censorship and such called The Best Art You've Never Seen by Julian Spalding.  Also, I have added a new link to my friend Mikey's blog. He gets displeased and blogs about it, always a good read.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

pokemon comic

Why do the pokemon lay eggs? Can someone answer me that? If the bird types do that it's fine...but pikachu? It's a mouse, a thunder mouse. And I can mate the small thunder mouse with a giant whale, successfully. I suppose I don't really need to be analyzing my video games this much.   

The Fall: One of the greatest movies ever made

The Fall.
I easily one of the greatest films and stories I have ever seen.I was at blockbuster with my father after getting back from the doctor's office, this was 2 years ago. We were walking down the aisles and the cover of this film caught my eye. To be honest, I tend to live by that sometimes. If the cover is intriguing I will pick it up. With books, on occasion, I will sometimes buy them without reading the synopsis. So far it has always worked out in my favor.
It was directed by Tarsem Singh and starred Lee Pace, Catinca Untaru, and Justine Waddell. It is based on the 1981 screenplay by Valeri Petrov. It was filmed in several different countries over a few years.
It takes place in the happening 1920s, Los Angeles is the setting. Roy (Lee Pace) plays a stuntman who has been injured and is lying in a hospital, waiting for news and also going over the loss of his love to another man. He is paralyzed from the waist down from a fall. Then, one day, a note blows through the window and lands on his bed. Alexandria (Catinca Untaru) wanders in to get it back. She has a broken elbow or shoulder that she got when she had a fall as well. He identifies with her through this.
Roy then asks her to touch his toes, but not to tell him which one. He guesses wrong, but she lie to make him feel better. He must know she is lieing though.
He then decides to tell her a story, stopping at clever moments in order to ask for favors. And the story he tells is beautiful. I can't even begin to explain all the lovely imagery. There are several characters like an ex-slave, masked bandit, explosives expert, and indian swordsman and Charles Darwin (the only one with a name) and smaller stories that create this incredibly impressive and moving world we can't help but awe at and become so entranced. I will simply post images to entice you, the story is far too involved and pretty much just a conglomeration of several stories within other stories. Summarizing it would confuse both you and me. The film is lush and audacious, it leaves nothing to be desired.

But what I find more interesting is the title paired with the dispositions of our two main characters here. She represents something innocent and ready to mold, he has experienced life a lot up to this point (don't even get me started on his romantic entanglements). Both are in this hospital after having suffered a terrible fall, him from a horse on a very high bridge, and her from a tree in an orchard. But within the film the fall that counts the most is the one that Alexandria takes later, after having been manipulated by Roy's character into procuring more pain killers for him. This fall results in a terrible head wound and further injury. This could mark her fall from grace, so to speak. While she may maintain her good nature internally, she is unaware of how not having a better sense of self or solid groundings in her values can result in her demise. Sure, we have all done questionable things for our close friends, but at what cost? There are the immediate physical wounds that will heal, but how do we deal with the later realizations that all of our hardships could have been prevented had we had the courage to say no despite what the "consequences" may have been, in her case the consequences would be not hearing the end of the story. Then of course there are our fresh views of our "friends" after that point.
While Roy wasn't evil in nature, he was temporarily acting in a very selfish manner. All he wanted was to permanently end his suffering and he was so blinded by this he failed to see he had turned Alexandria into a pawn. But, as always, he is redeemed. He holds her hand and fixes everything for her. He builds her back up, though only after shattering her ideas and beautiful views of the world.
For Roy this fall marks the chance for change and rebirth, much like the season to precede winter. This fall is followed by transcendence and a new sense of self for both Roy and Alexandria, though with her young age it only makes sense this will happen many times over before she reaches his age.
I could go on and one about all the messages and ideas floating around in this film, but there are too many and so little time. But it is worth several viewings, I am quite certain even I am missing a few things.
But here I am, analyzing a story that should really just be appreciated for what it is, a beautiful story. Why aren't you out renting this now or finding it on netflix? Do it now!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Minotaur

In all of the myths I have read, all of them sad in their own right, none has quite bothered me more than that of the minotaur. I think what strikes me so is that the minotaur...well, he isn't a monster, by any means. It's true, like the common misconceptions about Frankenstein's monster, that the minotaur was misunderstood by the majority of the literary and artistic community. George Fredrick Watts got it right, however (right).
He was, in fact, a hybrid between a human and animal. This human was Pasiphae, wife of King Minos of Crete. The animal was a bull sent by Neptune. The exact details of their union creepy and wrong as you would expect. She didn't have some fetish for these creatures, it was a "spell", for the lack of a better term. When Minos did not follow through with his promise of sacrificing a fine beast to Neptune he cursed Pasiphae in retaliation.
Pasiphae, now stricken with a lust for the bull Neptune sent, had Daedalus (father of Icarus, who's disobedience cost him his life) build her a wooden cow in which she could place herself. This little trick was successful as it mated with her and she soon became pregnant with an abomination of nature. She gave birth to a half-bull and half-human hybrid they named Minotaur, which means "Minos bull". They then shut him away in a labyrinth which was also constructed and designed by Daedalus.
Every year he was fed seven young men and young women as a tribute to the king. One year a prince named Theseus was selected and he killed the bull, with the help of Aridane, Minos's daughter.
What is so disheartening about this is his imprisonment and treatment. He was simply a hybrid, and as awful and monstrous as he seemed, he had to have more going on. In the painting done by Watts we get the sense of sadness and longing. He wants freedom and acceptance. This image and idea of a wanting and misunderstood creature has resonated with artists world over. His figure has been remastered and represented by artists well into the modern era, even Picasso took a swing at it. It has even been adapted into an opera by Harrison Britwistle and David Harsent, it opened in the fall of 2008 in London.
Maybe he did become evil in his own way, but perhaps his environment made him that way. Like Frankenstein's monster he was a product of his unusual entrance into the world and upbringing. There is an Etruscian view that offers us an alternative perspective, we see his mother balancing the infant minotaur on her knee, lovingly holding him in her arms. We make him the antagonist but we forget he had a mother and was part human himself. It isn't up to us to decided which part that was.
Maybe I'm too sensitive about it, but I think alternate views are important and I tend to have a bleeding heart for these misunderstood figures that dawn the pages of our art and history books.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Echo and Narcissus

There have been times in my life wherein I have been so beside myself with grief I could do nothing more but wander. When I was 18 or so I remember pacing the aisles at a bookstore. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, just...staring. But in my aimless pacing a print caught my eye. In my utter heartbreak I stumbled upon Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse. Perhaps because her pain seemed to mirror mine, I'm not sure. But I picked it up and bought a book about them that day. I took it home and didn't put the book down, for what seemed like, days. The image of Echo and her myth left me mesmerized, entranced, completely enthralled. I sketched her countless times. But her story, is was captured me so completely.
The story of Echo is a sad one, but not unlike the ones we would expect from greek mythology. If you are opening a mythology book expecting anything but despair you will be disappointed, though Penelope from the Odyssey will at least help you regain some hope.
Zeus, well, he is known for his philandering and...other personality attributes and in the story of Echo this certainly becomes a factor. While Zeus was off gallivanting, Echo would prattle on and on to distract Hera. Echo, who really seemed to love the sound of her voice, did this without a second thought. This will result in her demise. Hera finds out about this trickery, as she usually does, and decides to punish Echo by taking away her voice and only allowing her foolishly repeat the words of another. Hence our the name for the echoing phenomenon. Now this punishment, is surprisingly tame compared to some of the others Hera has doled out, and for much less.
So Echo is off, wandering voiceless when she sees Narcissus. Narcissus, as prophesied by Teiresias, was to live into old age as long as he "never knew himself." He was out hunting stags when she spotted him, and she decided to follow him. She was quite stealthy about it until he finally heard her. He called out but all she could do was repeat his words. When she tried to embrace him he turned her away. She continued to watch him, however. One day he saw his reflection in a pool and became so entranced by his form he couldn't look away. Echo just watched on as he wasted away staring at his own reflection. Echo, all the while, was heartbroken and wasted away herself, until only her voice remained. 
Heart wrenching in all sorts of ways. Here I was; in love with a boy so distant from me in so many ways, he's further away now than he ever was (as he should be I imagine) and I find this. It gave me some sort of...validation. The validation I never received  from him.
There is something cathartic about mythology for me, and I think the same could apply to many others.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


That is Berardi. He has a link, ya know...check it.

I did this instead of some homework.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fairy Tales: part 1

When I was little my favorite fairy tale or bedtime story was The Velveteen Rabbit, Beauty and the Beast was a close second. My sister's was Snow White. Everyone has some story from their childhood that they simply adored and couldn't get enough of. But isn't it interesting what our favorite stories mean about the adults we are today or the decisions we made growing up?
If I really think about myself; my insecurities and approach to relationships...the fairy tales I loved so dearly as a child molded the thought process behind my actions as an adult.I will begin with a brief description ad some quotes of The Velveteen Rabbit. The story is simple; a young boy receives a stuffed rabbit for christmas. But unlike most, this is told from the perspective of the rabbit. So the rabbit is given to the young boy, he doesn't know anything outside of the toy room. He knows not of real rabbits. He talks to the skin horse (rocking horse) about what it means to be 'real'.
       "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender,before nana came to tide the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
       "Real isn't how you're made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a really long time, not just plays with you, but REALLY loves you. That's when you become real."
       "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
       "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are real you don't mind being hurt."
       "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
       "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse, "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to the people who don't understand." 
Then, as time wears on, the boy plays with the rabbit. He plays with him everyday and everywhere. He loves him until he looses his shape, until his ears flop down and his nose ceases to be pink. This reminds me of the shapeless stuffed dog a friend of mine still has to this day. But the rabbit loves the boy and  the boy loves him. One day he is left outside and meets two real rabbits who mock him, they claim he is not real while he adamantly fights that he is.
Soon the boy becomes very ill, with scarlet fever. The boy clings to the rabbit through out his illness, that is until the doctor orders all his toys be destroyed for the might carry germs. So the nurse bagged all his toys and put them in a bag outside to be burned. This deeply saddened both the boy and the rabbit. In fact, this made the rabbit cry. And one single, REAL tear tickled down his cheek and onto the ground.Where the tear landed a flower grew. And form that flower came a fairy. She saw the stuffed rabbit and told him that since he was very loved and real to the boy then he should be loved to the rest of the world. So she made him a real rabbit. [Quite pinocchio-esq, ehh?]

Lovely, right? I had always thought so and I can certainly see how I enjoyed it immensely as a child. It still strikes a chord today. It becomes very obvious to me where me ideas for meaningful relationships emerge, and my issues with emotions and love. I would much rather dive into a relationship and risk utter heart break than to be left wondering. This has created a few issues on my part....recklessness with the heart, and not just mine. Then there's my non-romantic pairings. My friends like Christine or Joshua Berardi. Even now I often wonder how they truly feel towards me, but then again the eating disorder and CNC comes to mind when I consider these insecurities. But could this also explain why I identify with these stories? Do I need validation in order to believe in myself? Could this also explain the distance I have to my family? My analysis seems to pose more questions than answers, per usual.
I suppose the more adult Beauty and the Beast may yield better results on this front.   
This only explains me, however. Perhaps Andrea's love of Snow White explains her issues with authority and following instructions. She does tend to act as Snow White did within the tale, minus running away to live with little people who were also coal miners.

Sheldon Cashdan wrote a book entitled The Witch Must Die all about the hidden meanings of fairy tales, in high school it quickly became a book that was read so frequently it has now fallen apart. I need to buy a new copy, but this book helped shape my views on psychology and our childhood development. I have to wonder where eating disorders come into play within these tales writing paths towards the adult versions of ourselves.
More research is on the way.