May 30, 2009

The Torture Continues!

Dear hypercubist,

We want to send a big, fat thank-you to all you crazy cubers out there. This experience went beyond our expectations – and we set the bar pretty high to begin with. And now the big decisions have been made. That’s right, judging is complete! High fives all round!

Here’s the catch: We can’t tell you who the winners are just yet. Sorry, but an email isn’t nearly awesome enough to drop that kind of bomb. Which is why we’re throwing THREE MASSIVE EVENTS. ACROSS THE COUNTRY. AT THE SAME TIME!

We’re announcing the winners and giving away the 50 cubes at simultaneous events in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. It’s a chance for all our cubers to meet each other, see live music, art and lots more. The date is set for June 23rd, so mark that down in your calendars and start figuring out how you’re getting there – we suggest car pooling with other cubies. Road trip!

Now, that’s not to say you HAVE to be there to win, you’re just not gonna want to miss this. And neither will your friends, so by all means, bring ‘em. And if you really, truly, honestly can’t make it, don’t sweat it, if you won you still get your cube®. That’s it for now. See you at the party.

-the hypercube

Sooooooo I guess Blake & I will be attending the Toronto event on June 23rd to see if either of us won or not! Either way, thank god the judging’s over, now I can’t stop worrying so much about what or what not to post and just have life go (more or less) back to normal. This thing has been dragging on since the end of FEBRUARY, that’s 4 months! I’m more than ready to be put out of my misery.

Luckily, The Sims 3 comes out on Tuesday and that’s going to distract me from even thinking about it until the 23rd. I hope.

PS. Here’s a New York Times write up on the Cube that I particularly liked. Thanks to Phil for the heads up!

Posted at 6:55 am in: Advertising , Nissan Cube , Video Games
May 26, 2009

Executions Two of Four

I always get really giddy after finishing a painting. Last night I finished the two I’ve been working on over the last several weeks and it was killing me waiting for the sun to come up so I could take them outside and take pictures of them to post for you all to see. Because I was so hasty in my picture taking and because, as we all know, I’m no art photographer, the colours are a little off and what’s actually pink may show up as more of a red on some people’s screens. This always happens when I use the metallic pink paint I use all the time (that I only have ONE bottle left of and they’re not making it anymore! DAMN YOU, AMERICANA!), usually it shows up as more of a red or magenta, especially on Mac screens (even my own), but I figure it’ll be especially reddish on some people’s screens today because I took these pictures at dawn when the sun’s a little bit red-toned to begin with.

Also, I re-sized the pictures a little bigger than I usually do so the detail shows up better, so click on any of the images to embiggen. (Both paintings are 12 x 16 inches, mixed media on gallery stretched canvas.)

The first painting I call “Binary Ballerina” and this is the one that may appear more red than pink, but I assure you, it’s very very pink and very very sparkly.

“Binary Ballerina”‘s background is white, metallic pink, metallic silver and washed over with a LOT of silver sparkles that shimmer and shine like jewels beneath the triple thick gloss varnish. Her hair is a shiny metallic brown and the bodice of her dress is made from light metallic pink cardstock. The bottom of her dress is made of course tulle, like a true tutu and is finished at the waist with matching pink ribbon. Around her neck is a pearl necklace.

As for what she’s thinking…well, there are two kinds of people in the world: those who can read binary and those who can’t. Obviously this ballerina fits into the former category making her something of a…oh, what’s the word I’m thinking of? ;o)

The next painting is simply titled “Flower Girl” and obviously I painted her in the same vein as “Binary Ballerina” (with two more similar executions to come!).

“Flower Girl”‘s background is crackled white, metallic (pearlized) white and metallic silver with a healthy wash of irridescent sparkles, which again, shine like diamonds beneath the triple thick gloss varnish. Her hair is painted with metallic “champagne gold” and her makeup is a custom mixed light pink metallic to compliment her metallic blue eyes. The bodice of her dress is made of white, finely glittered cardstock and the bottom is made of layers of fine white and silver tulle with silver ribbon at her waist. In her right hand she holds a basket of pink rose petals, which she scatters before the unseen bride. At her neck is a pink jeweled necklace.

As the unseen bride marries her prince charming, our young flower girl has other things on her mind. In my imagination she’s not Canadian, but American and it is my hope that when she becomes an adult, her world will be a more equal place. The triangle is again, not as red as it appears, it’s actually made of metallic magenta cardstock.

And finally, because I was paranoid that the sparkles wouldn’t show up in still images (as they tend not to, traditionally), I made a little video illustrating that detail. Please ignore my HORRIBLE voice and heavy breathing, I’d just literally run across the road and across a field to the park to utilize the bench and I was a little out of breath.

These paintings aren’t for sale yet and won’t be, I don’t think, until the other two in the series are finished, but let me warn you all now that I plan on selling these ones for a small fortune – unlike all the others – and I’ll tell you why:

  • These paintings took me almost a month to make, not counting procrastination time. (With these kinds of paintings it’s all done in layers and it takes time for those layers to dry, bond, sew, whatever.)
  • Certain materials, such as the pink metallic paint, are no longer available, making them somewhat precious.
  • These are larger than previous works.
  • These are ONE OF A KIND. There will never be prints of these paintings because the materials used make it impossible to get an accurate digital copy and thus, making prints is impossible. I’ve tried two different cameras and a scanner and the glitter and metallics just don’t translate so these ORIGINALS are all there will ever be. I reserve the right to repaint the same picture by hand, but truthfully, I hate repeating myself and even if I did, there would be differences and imperfections making another painting an original too.

I keep going back & forth on pricing so I don’t even want to give a ballpark figure, so I’ll just say that these are going to be more than previous ones.

Anyway, it’s 8:15am and I have other things to do, so I better get to it and I hope you like my paintings!

Posted at 8:18 am in: Art , Creativity , Feminism , Women
May 24, 2009

Excitement!!!! Exclamation Points!!!!

Could I make any more posts today? This is the last one, I swear.

This morning at about 5am, I realized I hadn’t checked the mail since Thursday so I decided since I was up, I’d drive to the post office, which – if you’ve been reading along – has been the bulk of my immersion therapy this month, both to get me going somewhere by myself and to get me more comfortable behind the wheel.

Well last night I decided to step it up a level and bring someone with me, so Lucky came with me. I wasn’t sure how he’d be in the car, especially without Hoover there and especially because during his last ride in the car with me (to Hunstville, so a 2 hour drive) he threw up everywhere, but Blake and I had discussed it a few days ago and he said that if Lucky puked in the car I could wake him up in the middle of the night to go clean it up. So with that in mind, we were good to go.

It wasn’t until Lucky and I were coming back from the post office, after deeming our trip a success and this dog for the first time fulfilling his purpose as an “emotional support animal” which is why I got him, I picked him out for this purpose, I finally allowed myself to get excited about the possibility of actually winning one of the 50 Nissan Cubes up for grabs in the Hypercube contest. Suddenly my new life with Lucky and the Cube and the adventures we would have were all laid out in front of me and it felt good.

Obviously it’s more than possible that I’m not going to win, but there’s a decent chance that I will win too and that’s what Lucky and I are going to think about as we drive to the post office and back next week.

Posted at 8:44 pm in: Driving , Lucky , Nissan Cube

CRAP.

Okay so yesterday afternoon/last night I tried doing my first gel transfer as one of the paintings I’m working on right now required text. I first read about gel transfers in one of the mixed media books I have (don’t ask me which one, I have…a few…I think it was Altered Art though) and then when I joined Suzi Blu’s Ning community last summer, some of the ladies there mentioned it after I gave someone instructions for doing packing tape transfers and then again, in one of Suzi Blu’s videos she showed the same gel transfer technique I’d read and been told about so I figured it was a fairly basic thing.

So as I said, yesterday I tried it for the first time except it ended up going horribly wrong and I was wondering if any of my artist friends had some insight into why.

I was using Golden Gel Medium in matte finish. I applied it to the area in a thin layer and placed my reversed-text piece of paper face down over top and burnished the back. My printer is a B&W laser printer, so it uses toner, which from what I’ve read is essential to the gel transfer process as the toner binds to the gel medium which is why the whole thing works and why it doesn’t work so well with ink-jets.

Then I let it dry for about 8 hours until it was “bone dry”, there wasn’t a pinprick’s worth of moisture left. Then I took a clean paintbrush that had never been used and painted the paper with water liberally until it was soaked through and began to lightly rub the paper off with my fingers in a circular motion.

Much to my horror, the toner started coming off with it. Not completely but just bits here and there, except if I’d have kept rubbing to get ALL of the paper off, all of the toner would have come off with it so I left it a little bit “fuzzy”.

I ended up hand-painting the lettering using what was left of the toner as a guide, sort of on top of the thin layer of paper that was left.

This made me a very sad panda. What went wrong? Did I not use enough gel medium? Did I use too much water? There’s no way I rubbed too hard, I was going super light. I know I was using the right product.

In the end it turned out fine because the font I was using wasn’t very complicated, but what do I do for my next painting where I know I’m going to be using a more flowery font that I wouldn’t be able to hand-paint if my life depended on it? Because of the backgrounds I use in my painting, just printing and pasting text isn’t an option, I need the transparency of a gel transfer. I could do a packing tape transfer if I absolutely had to but because I use glitter in my paintings, which makes for a grainy surface, packing tape transfers don’t take so well.

So any advice on this would be greatly appreciated. And yes yes I know I belong to at least one Ning community where I could ask this question but I was afraid it had already been covered (even though I couldn’t find it) and I’m still a n00b in that community so I was reluctant to ask. If no one replies to this post, I will ask there, I just don’t know where to put my question or how to ask…

Anyway, thanks in advance.

Posted at 6:25 am in: Art

The Busy-Minded Agoraphobe

Oh, thoughts. Thoughts thoughts thoughts thoughts thoughts. So many of them.

First things first, I’ve been absolutely anxiety-ridden for the past two weeks and have popped more than 3 times the Ativan I normally do. What’s stressing me out? Here’s the list (because I like making lists):

DRAMA. Mind you it’s drama I’m barely involved in but drama in general puts my stomach in knots.

– Getting these paintings done and done perfectly. The fact is, I need money almost as badly as I need to get these ideas onto canvas because without money a lot of my immersion therapy/”Plan: Sunny needs a Life” goals and ideas are impossible. I’m not saying that art isn’t a venue for stress relief, it is, I’m just extra worried about this series of paintings because I’m SO proud of the ideas behind them that I’m totally stressed out about them being perfect, especially because in a couple of cases I’m using techniques I’ve never used before. Right now I’m working on two paintings, which are about 2/3 finished but have been slow going. They’re almost ready to be varnished though, or at least they should be by Monday if I keep up this pace. Most of the time I do “in progress” shots when I’m working on stuff, but these ones are just too special.

– This Hypercube contest will be the death of me. Over the weekend the French winners were selected (but we don’t know who they are yet) and apparently next week the English contestants are going to be judged and I’m paranoid about my site/blog being interesting enough. I don’t know if they’re just going to click on the links I had in my canvas or if they’re going to be going a little more in-depth and actually read my site, but in case they do, I want some decent content up…but at the same time, I’ve never edited my content to be anything other than what it is. This is just my life, I write about it as it unfolds and if it’s an interesting week, it’s an interesting week, if it’s not, it’s just not. And often what I think is interesting is completely boring to other people and vice-versa so I don’t even know what to do next week with the idea of these people who could radically change my life and the life of my family potentially perusing my blog.

Madison turned 11.

– I’ve been a busy girl during the past couple of weeks and I’ve been going far beyond my comfort zone with this immersion therapy thing. Take a look:

See the 29th there? I have to have lunch in a public place with my caseworker. yes Blake’s going to be there with me and it’s a familiar restaurant, but still, it’s not something I’m comfortable with and I’m not exactly looking forward to.

June 4th I have my appointment with the endometriosis specialist in Toronto and I’m terrified of what he’s going to say. As I’ve written before, I’m cool with laser surgery, I’m cool with being on the birth control pill for a year straight WITH THE UNDERSTANDING that if it turns me into a psychotic, suicidal bitch as birth control pills have been known to make me, I can switch pills under the care of my family doctor. I’m also cool with the whole full hysterectomy deal, but again, as I’ve said before, only if I can take that shit home with me in a jar. People laugh when I say or type this, but I am absolutely serious and I’m worried this doctor will suggest hysterectomy but say no to letting me keep my bits externally. I’m just tired of fighting doctors over my wishes and this goddamn disease. This guy’s apparently good though, so I guess we’ll see what happens.

Mystery project that I’m half working on and I’m far from ready to talk about because I’m not even sure it’s going to happen. As of this blog post, I’m leaning towards no, but I could wake up inspired tomorrow so who knows? Trying to MAKE it happen, though, is stressing me out.

Cammity Jane. For those just tuning in, Cammity Jane is a fictional blog project I started in 2006 and never finished, that a few months ago I had planned to bring back (which I did) and work on. Well, then the Hypercube contest happened and Cammity Jane got pushed back until after that was over and now that Hypercube is almost over, it’s time to start thinking about Cammity Jane again but the thing is, my enthusiasm for the project has waned since I first thought of bringing it back. I don’t want to bring it back only to abandon it again and I fear that I may end up doing that. So I’ve been thinking about that a lot over the last few days and I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Chances are I’m going to re-blog everything I had up the first time around, but without the promise of finishing it at this point in time. Cammity Jane is so hard for me because it’s like an iceberg. What you guys see or have seen is only the very smallest percentage of what Cammity Jane is to me. It’s not just a story of this girl with HIV to me – I mean yes, that’s what Cammity Jane is right now – but she’s only one in a series of stories, she’s the first, she sets the stage for everything else I’ve got scribbled in notebooks. Did you know that the town she goes to called Utopia is a real town in Ontario? And that I’ve mapped out and drawn my fictionalized version of it meticulously several times in notebooks similar to Tolkein’s maps of Middle Earth? (Although not quite as map-like.) Cammity Jane is a big deal to me and I worry constantly about fucking it up, or rather, fucking up the experience for the reader.

So that’s why I’ve been a little “on edge” the past couple of weeks. It’s so easy for people to think that I just sit in my house all day and screw around on the internet and live this boring life, but there’s an awful lot going on in my world at any given time. Just because I don’t have a 9-5 or do the groceries or have art shows or whatever the hell it is people with “lives” do, it doesn’t mean I don’t have stress and pressures. In fact because most of my stress and pressures are self-imposed, I’d say they’re probably worse because they’re inescapable.

Anyway, for the last two weeks, I’ve pretty much been in a constant state of wanting to throw up.

At the same time, I’m terribly excited. I may have my very own car soon, a COOL car and a FREE one! One I would have won and let’s face it, winning feels good! (Or so I’ve heard.) I’m going to have these paintings finished soon and they’re going to look amazing and I think someone out there is going to want to buy them. Despite the fact that I have to go out to get it, I get to have restaurant lunch on Friday! And as much as I’m stressed out about all things immersion therapy and I’m having too many experiences at once…I’m making progress. I’m ahead of schedule.

Tomorrow Blake’s going to help me weed the garden and then we’re going to plant several POUNDS of beautiful cosmos and bachelor’s button and sunflower seeds that are going to be the envy of everyone on the street come August. Did you know that some people take walks up this far just to see my garden when it’s at its best? I don’t have the means this year and probably not even next year either, but one day I hope to give them more to see. I want a buddha’s head out there. I want my mom’s boyfriend’s teapot birdhouses and suncatchers hanging from the tree. I want hummingbird feeders and hanging baskets. I want our new window to be fixed up properly (we need to paint and buy new shutters.) So many things.

And also? The series of paintings I’m working on right now is of 4 paintings and if I sell all 4 I should have enough money to fix up my studio/office the way I want to with money left over to mail people things, buy my kids some new clothes and do “immersion therapy stuff” like go to the fabric store or go out for lunch with or without the kids and in our town or in the next town, depending on the status of our vehicular situation.

Good stuff is happening all over the place and there’s more good stuff to come, I just have to ride this period of anxiety out. I think once the Hypercube contest is officially over, whether I win or not, a lot of it will dissipate and I should be put out of my misery in that regard by the end of the month.

Soon the kids will be out of school, which is a bittersweet thing for me. Them being out of school limits my immersion therapy options because going places WITH them is on the very high end of the spectrum of things I’m not currently able to do. That’s something I have to work up to and realistically I only have a month to work up to that and I kinda don’t foresee me getting there. So, once the kids are out of school, immersion therapy grinds to a slow crawl as I’ll only be able to do things in the middle of the night and all there is to do in the middle of the night is go to the corner store (where I don’t need anything) or check the mail. There’s a 24-hour Wal*Mart about half an hour away but I don’t think I’ll be at that level of “okayness” until the fall.

So while the kids being home kind of messes up my therapy, summer is also the time when I do most of my reading and since my birthday, books and magazines have been piling up on my dresser, most of which I’m extremely eager to get to. One of my most joyful activities in the summer is making a  large salad of local veggies, crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, spicy radishes, stringy celery and tiny cubes of marble cheese, maybe with a few slivers of apple thrown in the way my mom used to do it and eat while I either catch up online with shows I missed during the fall & winter (I want to watch The Tudors, re-watch V and possibly How I Met Your Mother, which I’ve never seen) or read until the wee hours of the morning.

Spring and summer are my seasons, this is the best part of the year! So maybe I should just suck it up, paint, read, play with my kids and be happy. Right?

May 23, 2009

OMFG

Due to a MAJOR miscommunication, Blake sprayed my garden with weed killer last weekend, which I’m just finding out about now. And yes, that’s a very bad thing.

Posted at 1:00 pm in: Blake , Gardening

Chalk Party

Oh people, this post is gonna have some pictures.

Blake goes to judo on Wednesdays after work so it’s just me and the kids and this Wednesday past, it was really warm out so I told the kids it was okay to get the sidewalk chalk out and draw on the driveway since Blake took the car so the driveway was vacant.

So, they drew on the driveway for a while and I took about a million pictures as I tend to do, and as this was going on, Alyssa and her little brother Cory from up the street stopped by to see what Wes & Madison were doing. Just as they showed up, I was coming back outside with three giant jugs of bubble solution and that’s when the party began.


Wes eating bubbles.


Madison blowing bubbles.


Alyssa and Madison

I am way too lazy to go through all 50 pictures I took and remove our house number from them so you all won’t know where I live, so I’m trusting you all not to be stalker types and show up on my doorstep, mmmkay?

A little while after Alyssa and Cory showed up, my neighbour Judy came home from work and I asked her if Courtney could come out and play. Judy’s significant other, Wayne, works nights and goes to bed shortly before Courtney gets home from school and wakes up again to make dinner and get Courtney showered…so I didn’t knock on their door when the block party began happening in case Wayne was sleeping or Courtney was having dinner. But, as I said, Judy came home from work and sent Courtney out to play with the rest of the kids.

Here’s where I pause from the mayhem to talk about myself a little bit. As anyone reading this knows, I’m agoraphobic and one of the things I normally can’t do is be in the front of my house to even maintain my garden because I’m afraid of my neighbours (Courtney’s parents) talking to me and I have this total complex where I think all of the people in the cars passing by are looking at me and thinking what a fat cow I am or how crappy my house is. Also? I’m not a huge fan of kids, as a rule. My kids don’t have birthday parties or sleepovers at our house, partially because our house is REALLY small and an extra body is significantly noticed, but also because I just don’t want to deal with an extra kid or 5. My kids have birthday parties outside the house, like taking friends to the movies or bowling and stuff like that.

So, for me to be in the front of my house for like, 2 hours, with all these kids and even talking to my neighbours (my other neighbour was getting in his car and he said hi & that our new window looked nice) is kind of a huge deal. This means that the immersion therapy is beginning to work. The whole time I was outside I was IN MY PAJAMAS and just didn’t care what anyone thought. Kids don’t care what you look like or how much I weigh or if I’m wearing makeup and if they don’t care, I’m betting no one else does either. Unless they’re judgemental assholes and why should I care what judgemental assholes think of me?

Anyway, back to the party…


Wes and Madison


Madison and Courtney


Wes and Cory

At this point Alyssa had to go home because she got in trouble for not being where she said she’d be but that was how her big sister Emily was alerted to the festivities, so she came over to play too.


Courtney, Emily and Cory


Courtney, Cory and Wes

Then the kids sort of gave up on bubbles for a while and as you can see, Madison brought out the hula hoops and a skipping rope.


Emily hula hooping.

When the girls started jumping rope, they were singing the songs that go with jumping rope (that I don’t know) and at the end of one of them they started singing “Madison and uh…sitting in a tree….uh….” so I yelled out “Ashton!” because that’s who was Madison’s boyfriend two weeks ago and who she still likes (for reasons completely unknown to me, the kid’s a shit, she was “going out” with him during his birthday and bought him a Star Wars figure with her own money and then he dumped her right before her birthday, we figure, so he wouldn’t be obligated to buy her a present. Schmuck.) Anyway, Madison’s reaction to me yelling out his name is forever immortalized here:

While Wes did try to jump rope, the boys pretty much deemed the activity boring and decided to play on the porch, where I snapped this pic:


BEE EFF EFFS

After this, I was wanting to wrap things up and send the kids home, but I decided to go inside and get a drink first because I had a plan for breaking up the party and calling Wes & Madison in, but while I was inside, Madison dragged out the wagon and more mayhem ensued.

By the time they were done with the wagon rides, it was definitely time to call it quits, so how do you call your kids home and deem the party over? Why you play the Chicken Dance out the window, of course!

And then all the kiddies went home to have baths, unwind and go to sleep. And that’s the end of the story.

During the entire course of this “happening”, I took 885 pictures and it’s taken me almost three days to choose the best ones and edit them down to 50. If you’d like to see the rest of the pictures, and there are some good ones, the gallery can be found here.

May 21, 2009

My Garden Has Dandelions

For those just tuning in, my garden is my entire front “lawn” which was removed during a drunken May 24 party in 2006 and was replaced with wildflowers, most of which are annuals so I have to replant them every year, but I have 100 bulbs in there as well just stuck in wherever Wes and I felt like sticking them in a few falls back.

My garden grows fabulous dandelions. I don’t pick ’em, I don’t pluck ’em, I don’t prune ’em, I don’t dig ’em up, they just EXIST because I realized years ago what a losing battle it was to fret over every single dandelion in what’s supposed to be a miniature field of wildflowers. Fields of wildflowers have dandelions in them, I just have to deal with it and enjoy the furry splashes of yellow.

With that said, here are some pictures of my fabulous dandelions…and tulips and muscari too, but mostly dandelions.

All of the above flowers, except for the dandelions, have expired in the four days it took me to edit and post these pictures, but there they are all the same.

On the long weekend I’d intended to start planting my seeds but my mom warned me not to because we were still going to have frost (which we did) but my dad and his buddy ended up coming down and putting in our new window and subsequently trampled a good portion of my garden doing so.

Oooooh fancy.

When I was taking pictures of the window (yesterday) I realized that my bleeding hearts survived the winter…or at least the white one did. The pink one is nowhere to be found.

This coming weekend is supposed to be nice and it’s going to be followed up by a couple of days of rain, so it’s the perfect time to dig up a few weeds (namely prickle plants) and plant my seeds. Behold this year’s Keep Off the Lawn supplies:

That is 2lbs EACH of cosmos and bachelor’s buttons, 3 different kinds of sunflowers, “double click” cosmos and an ornamental grass that I’m going to hopefully grow between everything called “angel hair”. Oh and pretty pink gardening gloves that I picked up at Wal*Mart for $2 because my old pair mysteriously disappeared and pulling out prickle plants with your bare hands doesn’t work so well.

So that’s this year’s Keep Off the Lawn project so far. Sometime soon we’re going to need to get some more nematodes and some grass seed for the side of the front lawn that still has lawn because last year and the year before June bug larvae decimated that whole area so nothing grows there anymore but weeds. Nematodes are these microscopic worms that are parasitic to the June bug larva and eventually kills them. We spread them twice last year and new grass seems to be coming up, but I think we should do it a 3rd time just to be on the safe side before we invest money and water on grass seed.

And with that, I’m off to edit more pictures for tomorrow’s post! (If I get them all edited in time.)  Let’s just say there was a party in my driveway yesterday. ;o)

Posted at 6:08 pm in: Gardening
May 20, 2009

TV Junquie

I went to bed at around 3:30am and had dreams all night – until now (7-ish) – about TV. I dreamt about Growing Pains and Kirk Cameron and in my dream I Twittered via my great grandma’s piano “Kirk Cameron was such an awesome kid, too bad he grew up into an evangelical fuck.”

I woke up in a blind panic that I could remember the name of the 4th Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Raphael, ______________? Upon getting out of bed I Twittered my dilemma and my friend Alex, almost immediately, tweeted back that the 4th was Donatello. *whew* I almost had to Google.

Also in my dream were bits and pieces of Mr. Belvedere which was such a bad show, but I was totally into it when I was a kid. WUTV Fox, which was one of the only channels I got on the little TV in my room because cable hadn’t (and still hasn’t) reached our town yet, used to have reruns of Mr. Belvedere on at like, 3am, two episodes back-to-back and I’d watch them with the volume turned really low while I drew pictures long past my bedtime.

Throughout the entire dream, the theme song of Family Ties was playing low and I woke up thinking  – after my Ninja Turtles dilemma – that I’d really like to rent all of the seasons of that because that was a show my parents watched more than I did and I wonder how it stands up now. I bet it’s awesome. I think I remember one episode in particular where Alex obtains a computer to do something and maybe talks about how it’s the future and I just think that episode would be hilarious now.

So that was my dream, but I think about old TV shows all the time. For example, few people know this but my daughter, Madison Gabrielle Crittenden, was named after a character in Xena: Warrior Princess which I would love to not only see again on DVD but own. (Her first name was an homage to Madison Avenue in NYC, which at the time I thought I was destined to work on in either the advertising or magazine industry.)

I’m also interested in renting ALF on DVD because when I was a kid that was my favourite show and of course I’d like to watch all of the mini-series and the TV show of V on DVD before the remake comes out, but I don’t even know if those are on DVD. I’ll check later.

And speaking of old shit from my childhood, I am absolutely obsessed with watching the movie What About Bob. I saw that movie in the theatre with my grandma when it came out and was too young to really get the jokes I think because I never liked it. My boyfriend in high school used to tell me that that was his favourite movie of all time and I remember thinking “what an idiot!” because when I saw it, I thought it was stupid. However, since I’m going through immersion therapy and doing the “baby steps” thing, I bet I’d probably find it hysterical now. Unfortunately it’s not available OnDemand from my cable company and we haven’t been able to find any torrents, so I think I’m probably going to have to buy it on Amazon. (It’s like, less than $10. Renting it would be almost $7. Might as well just own a copy, I figure.)

Oh hell so I went from TV to movies so I might as well make this a multimedia post.

For Mother’s Day “the kids” got me the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album It’s Blitz! and I’m completely in love with it. It starts off with the first single “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll” which both make me feel like I’m standing on the dance floor of Studio 54 after doing 10 lines of coke (which I’ve never done btw, nor am I endorsing) and Karen O reminds me so much of like…hmmm, Deborah Harry? So the album starts off all dancey and strong and then it flows into a soundtrack for the perfect party night out all the way until the end where there are accoustic versions of some of the songs that give the feeling of walking out of a club at dawn, rubbing your eyes and going to the nearest greasy spoon for breakfast with your mascara smeared and your stockings torn. The whole album is a work of art and I highly recommend it.

I tried to make a playlist of the entire album but some songs were missing from Playlist.com so I decided to scrap the idea because not hearing the album in its entirety would probably ruin it for ya. Unfortunately the video for “Zero” isn’t embeddable and doesn’t appear to be on YouTube, so click here if you’re interested.

Anyway it’s a solid album, definitely my favourite of the year so far. Not that I’ve actually heard anything else haha The last CDs we bought before this were Nirvana’s Bleach, Radiohead’s Pablo Honey and the complete works of The Pixies (except for Bossanova, which the store didn’t have – curses!).

And now my household is waking up so I guess I’m just gonna hit “post” and get on with my day.

Posted at 8:01 am in: Movies , Music , TV
May 18, 2009

V

In some ways I had a very good childhood. In most it was bad, very bad, but as time passes I find myself able to appreciate certain aspects of it more than I used to or see things in ways I’d never considered before.

This post is very hard for me to write, there’s an Ativan under my tongue as I type these words, I kind of feel like barfing and I already cried a little, but I think it’s got to come out anyway.

If you’ve followed my blog for any great length of time then you will know that I was the result of a teenage pregnancy which set the stage for one of the most fucked up lives imaginable. I think this was just fate. I used to blame people and get angry and sad but now I just accept and do my best to “live in the now” on the advice of my brother who’s a total prick, who I haven’t seen in 3 years and who I often wonder if I’ll ever see again. And I’m not sad when I think that the answer to that question is most likely “no”.

My life, up until this point, has been both tragic and charmed and now, at the age of 30, I appreciate the richness of both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. When I try to visualize my life, when I think about painting my life, I think of a pencil drawing of a girl in the corner of a cell with a barred window, sitting in a sunbeam, hugging her tucked up legs. Her hair covers her face, which is mostly buried in her knees. Perched on the window sill is a black and yellow wild canary. That’s been my life.

But enough with the dramatics. This post is about my dad, of which I have, or rather had, two. And one of them is going to be here in about 3 hours to replace my broken bay window so I’ve got to hurry this along.

When I was a baby something happened – I don’t really know what and at this point I don’t care – and my biological father, then 17ish and known as “Phip” disappeared. He reappeared once when I was about 2 or 3, the only childhood memory I have of him, but that was it until I found him on my own when I was 12 – but that’s a whole other story.

When I was 5, my mother met a man named Ken Cox whose father was a friend of the family (I think?) and who worked with our neighbour Mike in his father’s industrial waste management business, I guess you’d call it. From what I understand, they picked up scrap from de Havilland in Toronto, which is where they made airplanes, most notably the Dash 8. I wasn’t really all that involved with their courtship. I remember Ken coming over to my grandma’s, where my mom and I lived, for dinner once but that’s pretty much the extent of my memories until the wedding.

In the beginning things were pretty okay. I had a dad and I thought that was great. Then my brother was born and I was pushed away a bit, but no more than any other first-born when the second one comes along. At the time we were living in a small one bedroom apartment above my grandpa’s carpet store, across the street from the town clock that gonged every hour, on the hour.

But then my mom opened her paint & wallpaper store and not too long after that we moved into our first house, which is when the trouble began and my parents started to not get along (which is putting it mildly). The truth is, we could barely afford the house and because we didn’t have a washer and dryer, every Saturday my dad, my brother and I  would have to go to the laundromat. For whatever reason we stopped going to the laundromat closest to our house, we went to the one in the town we used to live in and in the town we used to live in was an infamous flea market and while our laundry was either washing or drying, my dad would take us to the flea market and he would buy all kinds of toys for my brother but none for me. And when I asked why, he would say it was because I got spoiled enough by my grandparents and my brother didn’t. This is why I have a massive complex about everything my kids get being equal.

Anyway…despite the fact that my dad would be a walking, talking, sandy vagina most of the time because my parents were on the verge of divorce, he was who I was closest to and the one thing we had in common was our love for TV and movies which started in the very beginning when we lived in the apartment and he would watch Saturday morning cartoons with me and then in the afternoon while folding laundry, we would watch old Conan and kung-fu movies, which I guess at the time weren’t really that old. He was the one who lobbied for me to stay up past my bedtime to watch Alf, which I loved.

Well, over the years a lot of shit happened. After the separation (my parents weren’t legally divorce until my daughter was 3 months old) my dad and I stayed close but he was so bitter about my mom that it was hard to be his daughter as he was pretty much the president of the He Man Woman Haters Club and while it was becoming quite evident that he favoured my brother, being his biological child who lived with him, he still invited me over every Friday night to eat subs from Mr. Sub, which back then had THE BEST finely shredded lettuce, and to watch The X-Files. (By this time I was 15 and living on my own, I’m totally glossing over timelines here.)

As I grew older though, so did he, but where I grew wiser he grew more and more bitter about my mother. He was like a rabid dog who, even 10 years after the fact, simply could not let it go. It didn’t matter that they’d been separated longer than they’d been married, my mother was the biggest whorebag slut who ever walked the face of the Earth and he wished her every plague and gory death you could ever think of, which he thought of a lot and explained in glorious detail. That one life event consumed his entire being and the older I got, the more I reminded him of her and the crueler to me he became.

The final straw was when my son was born and I was in the hospital. It was about 3 minutes after I’d given birth when the phone in my room rang and my mother answered it. It was my dad. She informed him that it was a healthy baby boy, gave him the length & weight and told him his name and was completely civil about it. My dad apparently asked to speak to me but at the time I was birthing the placenta so I was kind of busy and my mom said I’d call him back.

Well, that was the beginning of the end. For whatever reason, he held it against me that my mother answered the phone and made me pay for it at every opportunity. It was tradition, due to the separation, that every year at Christmas we had Christmas morning and afternoon with my dad where we had dinner, then Christmas evening at my grandma’s for dessert and presents (mom’s mom) and then we’d sleep over at my mom’s to have Boxing Day brunch and presents with her the next day.

On my son’s first Christmas he was crawling age and we (me, my kids, my husband) went to my dad’s on Christmas morning like tradition dictated and we opened presents. But something was amiss. There was not a single present under the tree for my son. And when presents were finished and we were all hanging out i the kitchen while my dad worked on Christmas dinner, when my son crawled over to him, my dad stepped over him like he was an old dog, while at the same time lavishing praises and having conversations with my daughter. Basically, he refused to even acknowledge my son’s presence and purposely left a BABY, his GRANDSON out of his holiday gift giving.

To make a long story short it wasn’t too long after that that my dad and I parted ways and we haven’t spoken since. It’s been 6 years and with the way he is, I doubt I’ll ever see or speak to him again, although I do live in fear of a death bed reunion and I wonder all the time if, when that happens, I’ll go to him or not. Most days I think not.

But here I go writing about my bummer of a childhood again, which I promised myself a few years ago I was going to stop doing and that’s not what I intended this most to really be about. The fact of the matter is, this man was the only dad I knew for most of my childhood and despite the fact that he’s a rotten cervix and I have no intentions of ever speaking to him again, it’s still sort of automatic to think of him in certain situations. There are triggers.

For example, today I found out that they’re remaking “V”, which for you young’uns was a few mini-series and a TV series about an reptilian alien race that ate rats who were secretly trying to take over the planet to use humans for food and to steal our water. Well, even though I was probably WAY too young to watch it, I watched it with my dad and when I learned of the remake – which I’m hoping will be Battlestar Galactica good, but I’m not holding my breath – I instantly wanted to tell my dad and found myself sort of sad that I couldn’t. I want to know what he thinks of this remake. When the remake comes out I want to know his thoughts on it.

When Blake and Wes and I went to the drive-in last weekend and saw Star Trek, I was an emotional mess both because the movie was a masterpiece but also because I watched the reruns of the original series with my dad and I remember so well him telling me that the most amazing part of that show was the fact that everything in it would one day be a reality. And he was right, sort of. I mean, cell phones were invented because of Star Trek and I wonder all the time what he thinks about that.

And I wonder, since we were both really into the X-Files, what he thinks of the show Fringe, which is basically an X-Files/Sliders rip-off/hybrid, the latter of which we were also into. And does he watch LOST? What does he think of that and if he does watch it, did he enjoy Cloverfield as much as I did? (I saw Cloverfield TWICE in the theatre! The only movie I’ve ever watched twice in a theatre! I’m agoraphobic, I don’t go to theatres!)

Probably an embarrassing fact, but my dad was REALLY into Beverly Hills 90210 when it aired. I remember one day coming home from choir practice (you heard me, shut up! it was CHURCH choir too, so fuck off!) and 90210 just coming on and I went to say something and he was like, “Shut up! 90210‘s on and I’ve been following it since the beginning, tell me later!” and me thinking that was SO funny. So naturally I wonder if he watches the new 90210 and of course, what he thinks about it. I bet he hates it, but at the same time, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that he never misses an episode of Gossip Girl.

But there’s a dark side to all of this as well. My fear is that he doesn’t enjoy anything anymore. The last time I spoke to my brother he told me my dad was working nights at the warehouse and I assumed that as a result of that he was missing the best TV had to offer. I fear that all he does is work, then sleep, then eat, then smoke, then go to work, repeat. I fear that he has no joy in his life. He was already on his way to that fate by the time I left him, he was a bitter shell of a person.

I usually attribute my artistic tendencies to my mother, who’s an artist, but truthfully, it probably had more to do with my dad who was, to put it mildly, naturally gifted. When I was really little, he used to airbrush cars and metal. I remember this old hood of a car that used to be behind my grandparents’ garage that had an airbrushed green scary looking octopus on it that he did. He also painted my grandma’s delivery van for her furniture store.

Most of my early childhood after my parents got married, involved going for drives after work or on weekends, on unpaved backroads in the country to photograph old barns that my dad would then draw in pointillism absolutely perfectly. When my mom opened her wallpaper store, they framed a few of his drawing and they sold right away. My mom bought him a drawing table and these really expensive pens with superfine nibs and he drew for a while, mostly fantasy creatures and aliens inspired by Heavy Metal magazine and Jim Henson, but after my parents separated he didn’t really draw again no matter how much my brother and I begged him because his skill was truly amazing. My mom will probably hate me for saying this, but out of the two of them, I’d say he had the upper hand when it came to art. It just came naturally to him and he had this massive imagination evident in both his art and his storytelling (usually scary stories).

But he stopped doing it. It was one more thing that used to be joy in his life that he didn’t let slip away but he actively pushed it away just as he pushed me away just as he pushed his family away and every other thing that gave him joy besides Wiser’s Deluxe whiskey and Craven A cigarettes.

I often wonder if he’s online. I wonder if he’s reading this right now. I wonder if he thinks about me and wishes he could relive childhood curiosities with me like V or Star Trek. I guess I’ll never know.

It’s funny though. I spent a good portion of my childhood wondering almost the exact same kinda stuff about my biological father, who, as I said, will be here in a couple of hours to fix my bay window, and now it’s flipped, like an hourglass, sand running down the time until…well, the end of Ken I suppose.

Some days I picture a future where he and I laugh about the things I did as a kid and everything’s okay and the sun’s in the sky. But most of the time I picture a frail, cancer-ridden old man in a hospital bed telling me he’s sorry. Or worse, telling me he’s not.

And that’s all I’ve got in me. Happy Monday.

Edited to add the V trailer, it’s beneath the cut.

(more…)

Posted at 6:25 am in: Art , artists , Chad , Childhood , Family , Movies , the 80's , TV

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