Friday, December 21, 2007

A spark

To act as a muse, a source of inspiration, a point of departure, a spark, to stir the conscious, to unsettle, to promote curiosity here lies the goal: to be a question catalyst.

"onceonlyhuman", evanfetty, 2007


During the past week, I've managed to have the same conversation with Evan, Kelly, Will and Billy - well, similar but different at least :). I've noticed that even though each of them is very creative, they all have their own process for seeing the world around them, being inspired to do something and then representing that in a final product - a painting, sculpture, tilework, jewelery or a photo. It seems like such a "duh" statement that creative people are going to forge their own path to get from point A to point B, but for someone who had immersed themselves in business for so long, with all it's more formal structures and rules, it really was one of those moments that it hit me that I should have realized it before.

The other big revelation for me was that exploring a more artistic side of me isn't a new journey, it's a continuation of one that I seem to have buried from my past. I'd constantly been telling myself that I wasn't artistic; always amazed and awed at those who could express themselves in that manner. But it simply wasn't true. And I'm not sure why I thought I had to bury it over all these years - was there some definition of success or maturity that I was adopting where being artistic didn't fit? The easy answer would be that I simply didn't have time to pursue that type of activity because I was busy with other goals - but that doesn't really explain why I was totally forgetting things in my past.

I'm not sure exactly when it started to come back to me, but a doorway in my mind cracked enough for me to explore and remember - I used to love sketching - usually it was buildings or details of them. Crayons or pencil didn't matter, when I doodled it was always the structures around me. I can remember sitting bored in classes and drawing the room or the windows (all the little details of the hardware and seams but not normally what was outside the window) My continued interest in architecture, building and remodeling all this time has kept this one alive, but I failed to identify it as "artistic".

But even more striking was remembering other interests - my mom teaching me to crochet and do things with yarn, beadwork - both as jewelery and dressing up clothing, leatherwork - with all the special tools to carve intricate designs. Calligraphy - including a 7' long scroll of "Stairway to Heaven" in Old English script complete with twisted vines and flowers, color and gold leaf. I can remember studying how hieroglyphics had morphed into cuneiforms into letters (if only I had had access to Wiki back then, who knows what tangents I might have taken) as I worked on that project.

Wood working in shop class, which included metal work - I recall making a sand mold to pour molten metal (in 7th grade!! can you imagine a school doing that today?) and forming some sort of wall sculpture of medieval knight heads or bending and hammering and welding flat metal to make candlestick holders that I mounted on wood that I'd cut with a bandsaw and stained.

I remember a stained glass project and working in the school's graphic arts department to learn typesetting and kerning, offset printing and burning a negative into a metal plate with acid to produce a newspaper. String art and colored sand paintings - things everyone did in art class at school or camp that I enjoyed enough to go home and keep doing for my own pleasure.

There were a couple of years of macramé' - hanging flower baskets and even a pair of kitchen curtains (now I'm really wondering where all this stuff would up - probably in the dump as we moved from place to place and it was deemed "junk - the roots of my current pack rat behavior perhaps?)

How sad to think I put most of it away during those puberty years when I started trying to reform myself into a straight guy - enjoying these things wasn't masculine enough and someone might have figured me out. How wonderful to be re-discovering them, like old cherished friends. How interesting that it's been almost a decade since I came out and I'm still finding ways that my own self-hatred kept me from enjoying and living my own life. How fascinating to picture a world without closets and to wonder what great ideas have never come to fruition because of that bigotry.

When some of that hits and you find yourself bawling your eyes out over the loss of what might have been or the anger that surges over allowing some fear of what others would have thought rob you of joy from your life, you can't help but sit there rocked to your core. And then you remember the friends who helped you get it back and your heart swells large enough to push all that negative out and it's a better day than it started.

So a big thanks to you who keep questioning me until I examine and change. And to those lending your support in so many ways. May your lives always be filled with sparks as well.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What color is your day?

People are always sending along things that other's email them, sometimes goofy, sometimes fun - occasionally thought provoking.

Developed by a Color Behavioralist (how do people come up with these titles?), this little quiz is all about the order that you pick colors in to tell what's on your mind. Not 100% accurate, but closer than most I'd have to say. More specific than a tea leave reader, and certainly enough to make you wonder how they can tell that much.

Free personality analysis from
Generated on Mon Dec 17 07:11:05 2007.

Your Existing Situation
Imaginative and sensitive; seeking an outlet for these qualities--especially in the company of someone equally sensitive. Interest and enthusiasm are readily aroused by the unusual or the adventurous.

Your Stress Sources
Has an unsatisfied need to ally himself with others whose standards are as high as his own, and to stand out from the herd. This desire for preeminence isolates him and inhibits his readiness to give himself freely. While he wants to surrender and let himself go, he regards this as a weakness which must be resisted. This self-restraint, he feels, will lift him above the rank and file and ensure recognition as a unique and distinctive personality.

Your Restrained Characteristics
Feels listless, hemmed in, and anxious; considers that circumstances and forcing him to restrain his desires. Wants to avoid open conflict with others and to have peace and quiet.

Remains emotionally unattached even when involved in a close relationship.

Feels that things stand in his way, that circumstances are forcing him to compromise and forgo some pleasures for the time being.

Your Desired Objective
Seeks the determination and elasticity of will necessary to establish himself and to make himself independent despite the difficulties of his situation. Wants to overcome opposition and achieve recognition.

Your Actual Problem
Needs to be valued and respected as an exceptional individual, in order to increase his self-esteem and his feeling of personal worth. Resists mediocrity and sets himself high standards.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

These are the people we need to preserve the country for?

Holy fucking shit - where (besides their collective asses) have these folks had their heads?

OMFG, this is the future of our country? No Child Left Behind? No Stupid Idiot Left Out either. No wonder all these other countries are kicking our asses in almost every category you can name, from health care to manufacturing jobs.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

w00t is the new word of the year ?!?

It's that time of the year - when everyone out there is trying to make themselves seem more important by publishing lists of "the best of", "greatest".... blah, blah, blah. Now 108% of this is just silly junk, it's not like any of it makes a difference in our lives - just a further reflection of the mind-numbing dribble that has become our 24 hour a day news cycle. It used to be that content formed a stable foundation for the advertising platform, but once they realized they could spoon feed happy-news pablum and we'd still buy as much shit as before, all bets were off.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Expect cheers among hardcore online game enthusiasts when they learn Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year. Or, more accurately, expect them to "w00t."

"W00t," a hybrid of letters and numbers used by gamers as an exclamation of happiness, topped all other terms in the Springfield dictionary publisher's online poll for the word that best sums up 2007.

Merriam-Webster's president, John Morse, said "w00t" was an ideal choice because it blends whimsy and new technology.

Monday, December 10, 2007

And then they came for the artists: Haven for artists burned in Dunedin, FL

And then they came for the artists: Haven for artists burned in Dunedin, FL
Haven for artists burned

The Imago Art Gallery building at 464 Douglas Ave., in Dunedin burns early Sunday. Authorities found evidence of accelerants. By JOSE CARDENAS & DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD December 10, 2007

 DUNEDIN - The Imago Art Gallery in this town known for its embrace of the arts was home to 15 working artists. But early Sunday an arsonist set fire to artists' studios and hundreds of their paintings, sculptures, jewelry and other works, investigators say.

As news of the 3 a.m. fire spread, some of the artists gathered at the charred and gutted building on Douglas Avenue south of Main Street.

"What is there to gain from burning our work and a building like that?" said Denis Gaston, a contemporary mixed media artist who lost 80 paintings and drawings. "These people lost everything."

Harry Williams, a glass blower who turned the building into studios for fellow artists seven years ago, said that fire officials put the loss around $1-million.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office estimated the loss to the structure at $500,000.

....."I'm numb. I'm confused," said Williams, 56, who now lives in Odessa with wife Louies, an acrylic painter. "It was our retirement. It's my life savings." The 5,200-square-foot, bright yellow building was a fixture in the local art scene. Painters, sculptors, stone carvers and other artists included John Lowe, Sultana Volaitis and Dorothy Briccetti.

 ..... Investigators used a dog during the investigation. They determined the fire was arson based on witness statements, burn patterns and "the presence of accelerants," said state Fire Marshal Detective Curt Clendenney. .....

From the "Jesus loves US way more than He loves You" files...

It's really hard not to feel that five atheists feeding people in the soup kitchen have more Christmas spirit (and "Christian love') than these folks. Once more, they really don't get it, do they?

Mega church spends $1 million on Christmas Pagent
Commercialization of Christ? Church Puts On Lavish Production
First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale Spent More Than $1 Million on Its Pageant

A Florida megachurch has garnered national attention with its annual Christmas pageant. The First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale's production is filled with extensive pyrotechnics, live stock and a bevy of actors.

"We're having to compete against many theatrical things around the country, whether it's MTV or the Rockettes or any show you might see on Broadway," said the Rev. Mike Jefferies of the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale. "We have made a conscious decision to pull out all the stops."The play rivals some Las Vegas-style productions, and Broadway producers choreographed the show.In fact, more than 600 actors dance through the aisles during the play.

The church's pageant is a lot more extravagant than the more traditional productions many have become accustomed to, where bed sheets act as shepherd costumes and tinfoil serves as an angel's halo.

According to the church's senior pastor and show's executive producer, Larry Thompson, the production pales in comparison to the actual events."I really believe it is such a great story. I'm sure we couldn't actually compete with what really happened 2,000 years ago," he said on "Good Morning America Weekend Edition" today.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I'm in stitches!

Went down to visit Madelyn yesterday, hadn't seen my sister for over a month. I'd mentioned all the wool we had from the sheep up at Labrador Ridge and how I wanted to do something with it. Bless her soul (isn't that a good Southern expression?) - she volunteered to teach me to knit.

So she started me out with the big fat needles, some soft pinkish and purple yarn and proceeded to teach me the two stitches that make up knitting. After a few hours of practice, we headed for home where I could work on the yarn made from the Jacob wool. It just seems fitting to be there for the beginning, the cut hands as we sheared them and now to actually make something from that product. A labor of love if you will.

Here's what I've learned so far:

  • I can't decide if it's more like macramé with chopsticks or very, very slow weaving.
  • Never stop in the middle of the row, no matter how badly you have to pee.
  • Masturbation would still be my preferred method of making myself blind.
  • When you screw up one stitch, fix it. When you do 3/4 of the row, call it artistic license.
  • Tight is not a good thing.
  • It can take as long to roll the yarn into a ball as it does to make the project.
  • In spite of their diversity, every friend walking in the door gives the same look as they say "You're knitting?"
  • Rustic can describe more than just cabins.
Seriously, I'm enjoying the hell out of it. Maybe by next Christmas, I can make Shayla a sweater.

How do you begin saying goodbye?

I'm at a new place when it comes to someone leaving. Before, I've always been the one to move on - and the excitement of new adventures has always tempered the feeling of loss at leaving someone important in my life.

But now it's different - I'm going to be the one sitting in the same familiar places - remembering things that happened when we were together. Things that made me mad, or bought a smile to my face. Things I could talk about that I never mentioned to anyone else. Things that made me laugh out loud.

Most people probably learned to deal with it when they were 10 or 11, how did I possibly get this far and never had to? I guess that's why I've had this strong need to be around others so much lately.

I feel like there's a huge loss barreling down the tracks at me and I'm powerless to move out of the way.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

When life knocks the fuck out of you

Ever notice how life keeps you on track? Seriously, when you're down and thinking that life just sucks for various reasons in your life, did you ever notice how things happen to put you back together?

Sometime's it's spending the evening talking to someone about their relationship with someone else and you find yourself being honest in spite of your feelings about that same person - sometimes it's finding out that your personal space is filled with people who think that being devious is more important than honesty - but no matter, life is still going to throw you for a loop that says it really doesn't matter so much.

You get an email from a friend who is nursing their partner towards death. You're reading through their comments about how the medical people who are major players in their day to day lives - including the comments about not making it until Christmas, or the family members that they still have to deal with who are selfishly more concerned with themselves.

Big changes are on the horizon. When, how and where are still unknown, but this much I know. I'm not dying. There are people who genuinely care about me without any strings or requirements. They have no agenda, no requirement to be devious for whatever satisfaction some people get from that. So I'll survive. And maybe find out that I made a difference for someone, in spite of

Unlike my friend - who has done all that, but probably won't be here to celebrate Christmas. At least he won't die lonely, surrounded by people. Surprising how much that matters.

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