March 30, 2010

Spread it wide & far!

March 29, 2010

What a Let Down

So I was all excited that DeSerres sold these Poster Paint Markers by Sharpie because they were recommended by Julie Pritchard in a post about markers and pens I read of hers a while back and since Curry’s didn’t sell them, I didn’t think they were available in Canada. When I saw them on DeSerres’ website, I squealed with glee and proceeded to order black ones in every size, plus white, silver and gold.

When they came, I tested them out in my sketchbook and was happy with the results. I mean, it’s PAINT that comes out of a Sharpie, they’re totally cool and I figured they’d work for what I needed them for. (I think I’ve said this before, but finding pens and markers that are archival and lightfast that write over acrylic paint are hard to come by.)

Yesterday I was bored and decided to paint the cover of my current journal since it was just plain black and boring. So I painted it and it looked pretty and I decided to find a good word to write on the cover with my new Sharpie Poster Paint Markers and I chose “transcend” because that’s something I think I need to learn how to do.

I let the Poster Paint dry for a good hour and then it was time to varnish. At first I was just going to do a light coat of varnish, so I used Delta’s interior gloss varnish with the intent of doing 2 or 3 coats and when I went to brush the varnish on over the word, the Poster Paint totally streaked:

Dismayed and thinking it was maybe just THAT kind of varnish, I wrote on the cover of a notebook, let the Poster Paint dry for another hour and then I tried a different varnish on it (Triple Thick Gloss Glaze by DecoArt, which is the varnish I mostly use) and the Poster Paint actually streaked WORSE:

Soooooooooo Sharpie Poster Paint Markers, while fine to use in an art journal or something like that, are not gonna work for me as far as my paintings or pretty much anything else I do because I varnish just about everything I do. This bums me out greatly because I really thought they’d be the answer to my problems. At least I tested them, by fluke, on things that don’t really matter before trying them on a finished painting though!

Anyway, I thought I’d write this post and show the examples to save everyone else the headache of finding out the hard way if you’re like me and use varnish a lot.

As I said though, they’d be fantastic for art journaling or use on paper, just don’t use them on anything you plan on varnishing.

Posted at 11:39 am in: Art , Tutorials
March 26, 2010

For those who missed the announcement on Sunday…

There are new ACEOs up in my Etsy shop!
One green, two reds and the final two purples!

I’m going to be taking a small break from making these while I work on a painting,
but it’ll be back to the grind soon enough!

Posted at 11:36 am in: Art , Etsy

I can’t art journal.

So one of the big things in the online mixed media world is art journaling and what art journaling is, is sort of like scrapbooking, minus all the premade elements. You make your backgrounds from scratch, you make your embellishments from scratch, you write something on the page, like a feeling or sentiment and build the page around that. It can be one word or it can be whole paragraphs, but it has to be presented artfully and with purpose.

And I can’t do it. Believe me, I’ve tried.

There are probably half a billion tutorials on how to make an art journal on YouTube by various people within the online mixed media community and I’ve watched a great deal of them. But that still doesn’t help me. I simply cannot art journal.

You see, what happens is that I come up with my sentiment and I started making my background on the page and blah blah blah and once I get the page looking all spiffy, I don’t feel the same as I did when I began. For example, the last art journal page I tried to do was based on “I feel successful” because that day I’d sold 2 paintings, but it took me 3 days to get the page ready for words and by then, I wasn’t feeling successful anymore so I closed my moleskine and haven’t picked it up since.

But I journal. Boy, I’m a journaling champ. I write in my journal every single day, usually for an hour, sometimes longer and I’ve been known to go through a journal per month. They just aren’t painted on and pretty, they’re simply words on a page. And I like them that way. I like getting my thoughts out and on paper as soon as those thoughts hit me and I like the feeling of a pen in my hand. Making backgrounds and embellishments and everything else that goes along with art journaling just doesn’t work with my process and thus, I have about 50 different filled journals that are all just text, sitting in a locked cedar box.

Most of the time I don’t care that I can’t art journal, but then someone will link a tutorial video on Twitter and I’ll watch it and I’ll think “I wish I could do that” because what I’m leaving behind for people to read after I’m dead is pretty boring stuff. Well, the content isn’t boring, for the most part, but the presentation is. I would love to leave behind beautiful books full of my visual thoughts and feelings but it just never works out when I try. I mean, I can write 10 pages in one sitting easily, if I had to make backgrounds for those 10 pages and wait for them to dry and then embellish them, I’d never get the words out because I’d forget what I wanted to write about and the words, to me, are the most important part.

So I don’t art journal. I write hypergraphically instead. And that’s a-okay.

Posted at 11:21 am in: Art , Spring , Writing
March 25, 2010

This site is fascinating.

My uncle was a taxidermist. Truefax.

Posted at 5:08 pm in: Animals , Art , blogging , Internet , Pets , Spring
March 22, 2010


So during the Olympics, you probably saw that I posted the video for “Oh…Canada” by a rapper named Classified and I meant to explain why it was so funny (beyond the song itself) and totally forgot, so I’m gonna do it now.

Our beloved government has this rule that all Canadian TV stations broadcast X amount of Canadian content in an effort to preserve our heritage and to get Canadian TV shows (which are often sub-par) airtime. I forget now what the percentage is and couldn’t even guess, but that’s the law of the land and as such, the Canadian government created these “Canadian Heritage Minutes” (or “Moments”, I’m not sure which because people say both) spots that have been played over and over and over for the past 15-20 years, although I haven’t seen one lately and I don’t think they’re making any new ones. Canadian TV stations would play these little commercial length videos because they would count toward their Canadian content percentage.

Classified’s “Oh…Canada” video is a spoof of one of these.¬† Here’s the “Oh…Canada” video again:

…..and of course the Heritage Moment it’s mainly spoofing (the national anthem one) is the ONLY one that doesn’t appear to be on YouTube. At the end of the video though, he’s spoofing this one, about how we apparently¬† invented basketball:

There are literally about 40 of these Heritage moments, so I’m only going to post my favourites here and link you to a YouTube channel that has almost all of them (except for that goddamn national anthem one!).

Probably the most famous of them all is the one about Dr. Wilder Penfield, a famous neurosurgeon who cured a woman of epilepsy and was one of the first scientists to map the human brain. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me reference “burnt toast” and this is why:

That one was made fun of mercilessly by kids in schools everywhere because of the “burnt toast” thing. Mention “burnt toast” to most Canadians over the age of 25 and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about.

This one is about WWII and the poem “In Flanders Fields“, which is recited every November 11th on Remembrance Day by kids in schools all across the country:

This is the poem:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– John McCrae

This is also why Canadians wear poppy pins on Remembrance Day. They look like this and this is what Wikipedia has to say about them. They are sold practically everywhere and they’re in boxes with a donation slot so you can take one for free or give a donation and take one. Literally every Canadian wears one on their coat from mid-October until November 11th, even agoraphobes like me who don’t even leave the house.

This Heritage Minute is about Sam Steele, a mountie who patrolled the northwest during the gold rush and this one shows that even back then, the Canadian way of thinking of guns and the American way were vastly different:

This one’s about how our flag came to be:

This is one of my favourites and the person who uploaded it gave a better description of it than I would, so I’ll just paste what s/he said: “The names of women are conspicuously absent from the lists of famous Canadian medical pioneers. During the 19th Century, while male physicians and surgeons were exploring new treatments and innovative medical procedures, Canadian women were struggling for the mere right to practice medicine. For them, acceptance into a medical school was a major achievement. The two women most responsible for breaking down the barriers and advancing medical training for women in Canada were Emily Stowe and Jennie Kidd Trout.

This one is about the Underground Railroad:

This one is about Winnie the Pooh, who was actually a Canadian bear named for Winnipeg. :o)

And of course there’s one on maple syrup…

This one’s…kinda hard to explain. It’s called “The Peacemaker” and it’s about an Iroquois demon. It’s also one of my favourites because of the last two lines.

This one is my absolute favourite, it’s about Marshal McLuhan. The medium is the message, kids. (Unfortunately this one cuts off a bit of the end. Boooooo.)

This one’s about free health care (congrats to my American friends for making progress in this area last night!).

Anyway, as I said, there’s a bunch, one even starring Dan Akroyd (the Avro Arrow one) and the YouTube playlist of almost all of them is here in case anyone’s interested. I’m so bummed the anthem one doesn’t appear to be on YouTube because that’s the one that prompted this post to begin with, to explain why Classified’s video for “Oh…Canada” is so funny to me. Oh well.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this slice of Canadiana and remember, if you suddenly smell burnt toast, get thee to a hospital!

Posted at 11:34 am in: Canada , Childhood , the 80's , the 90's
March 21, 2010

Six New ACEOs Up in the Shop!

Two greens, two reds and the last two purples available now!
Get ’em while they’re hot!

Posted at 11:27 am in: Art , Etsy
March 20, 2010

Happy First Day of Spring!

Posted at 8:55 am in: Music , Spring

A Fucked Up Post

I know. I make a lot of posts that stem from watching Oprah. The thing is, I’ve been watching Oprah every day since I was about 5 years old and it’s what’s on at 4 o’clock, which is usually when I do most of my painting. Anyway, this post is no different and has been brewing in my brain since last month when Oprah interviewed 4 different child molesters. The interview is here if you care to watch it yourself. I thought it was pretty eye-opening stuff.

What caught me off guard about the interview was the one guy who was only a few years older than his victim and how he groomed her to finally consent to having sex with him. That’s right, consent.¬† Because that’s what happens, child molesters groom their victims slowly, over time, taking things a step further each time until ideally, the victim consents to what they ultimately want and what struck me about this particular story is that it mimicked that of my own.

I’ve written about this before in my Live Journal but I can’t remember if it was friends only or not. When I was about 5 years old, my cousin, who was about 6 years older than me, slept over with me at my great grandma’s house and we slept in the same bed. I was in love with this cousin and I see now that a large part of that was because he groomed me to love him and it wasn’t love in a platonic way. I thought I was going to grow up and marry him. Well this one night, after many days and nights of things getting slowly to this point, we were in the same bed and he pulled down his pants and asked me to stroke his penis and I did and I was surprised when it got hard because I was 5 and didn’t really know penises could do that. As I stroked his penis, and he instructed me on how to do it properly, he stroked my vagina through my underwear (I was wearing a nightie). Then he stopped but told me to continue and he kind of held me in an embrace with my arm between myself and his chest. That’s when my grandma peeked in on us and thought it was so cute that we were hugging that she actually said “awwwww” out loud. Little did she know what was going on under the covers. She closed the door and went back to the living room where she was sleeping on the couch.

I felt uncomfortable touching my cousin’s penis. No one had ever told me that things like this were wrong, I barely knew were babies came from at that point, but somehow I instinctively knew it was wrong so I said to him, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” and he said okay, let go of me and pulled his pants back up. Then I rolled over and pretended to sleep and he rolled over too and jerked himself off, although I didn’t realize what he was doing until a long time after.

Other things with this cousin happened too, but I’ve repressed those memories. In fact what I just said above was repressed until I was about 22 and it came out in therapy. I’m glad I don’t remember everything that happened except for that night because if I did, I’d probably track him down and kill him because what he did to me set the stage for a lot of other things that have happened in my life.

Shortly after that night, my step-dad started suspecting that something wasn’t right with our relationship and suddenly there was a new rule in place that I was never to be alone with that cousin anymore. He told me years later that he walked in on something at a family gathering, but he would never tell me what it was.

And that’s why the interview Oprah did with these pedophiles kind of shocked me because the one who was only a few years older than his victim was telling my story, only from the other side and if my step-dad hadn’t instituted the rule that I was never to be alone with this cousin, it’s hard to say how far things may have gone.

Later in my life, when I was older, after my parents split up, I was left alone with this cousin again and while he never touched me again, nor me him, he would tell me about explicit sex he either fantasized about or had had himself. I remember one of these conversations quite clearly when I was 11 and again when I was 15. Both times I was extremely uncomfortable with the things he was saying because both times the way he said them were open and suggestive, where if I showed any interest whatsoever in these stories, I’m almost positive he would have molested me again.

People wonder why I abandoned that side of my family and that’s the reason why. If my Aunt, who I love dearly and who I think is the sweetest woman in the world, ever knew what really happened, I don’t know what she’d do. Going to family events after that one repressed memory came to light became impossible because he was there and looking at him, being in the same room as him, made me feel sick to my stomach. So I stopped going to family functions and I took a lot of shit for that from all sides of the family. Finally one day, after being berated for not going to an Xmas event my grandma was hosting, I told her the gist of what he had done to me and she told me I was a liar. Later on she decided to believe me, but it was her opinion that I confront him and she thought I should do so AT THE FUCKING XMAS TABLE IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. The shrink I was seeing at the time (okay, he was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist) thought that was a horrible idea and that my original thoughts of avoidance were probably best. I told my grandma this and she finally shut up, but about 6 months later she had a yard sale where my Aunt (my cousin’s mother, obviously) and my other cousin had things in it and were working it and when I came out to say hi, my Aunt didn’t really talk to me and my cousin was flat out mean to me. This tells me that my grandma probably told my cousin (the cousin who molested me’s older brother) some or all of what I remembered and he didn’t believe me either and that there was a very good chance that he told his mother and that’s why she could barely look at me.

We moved away that summer and I haven’t spoken to anyone on that side of the family since. That was almost 5 years ago and I don’t plan on ever going back, I will not be attending funerals for that side of the family as they happen.

My mom knows about the bits I remember and she has said on the few occasions where we’ve talked about it, “are you sure it wasn’t just ‘kissing cousins’, are you positive?” and for a while I wasn’t sure. I mean, he was definitely old enough to know better but it was hard to say because at the time, he was a kid himself. But he wasn’t a kid when he was being suggestive with me years and years later, the last sexual interaction I had with him, which was just a lot of very suggestive talk, was when I was 15 and fresh out of the psych ward after my second suicide attempt. He would have been 21. You can’t tell me that isn’t old enough to know better and we were alone in a park. If I had said one word that might have suggested to him that I was game for any kind of sexual play, there is no doubt in my mind he would have gone for it. He was testing the waters, just as he was testing the waters a few years prior with the same kind of talk.

And after watching the Oprah interview and really, finally understanding how the grooming process works and hearing this man’s story of his relationship with his victim, there is no doubt in my mind that what my cousin was doing to me, practically my whole life, was trying to groom me the way the man behind bars groomed his victim. The things he said about how it happened bit by bit were almost identical to my cousin and I.

But then, my cousin wasn’t my only molester and for the longest time I thought that maybe I was just a slutty kid or something to have it happen twice (plus a rape when I was 14) but the Oprah interview made me realize that that wasn’t the case. What was the case, is that I was the kind of kid who molesters targeted. They don’t target kids who won’t scream or say “no”. They don’t target kids who have good relationships with their parents. They target kids who are left alone a lot, which I was, and kids who comes from broken homes, which I did. They target kids with low self-esteem, which I had, and they target kids whose parents wouldn’t believe them if they told and mine wouldn’t. In fact with my second molester, my mother has flat out told me that I was a liar.

My second molester was our next door neighbour, Vince, when we lived in the house in Greenbank and he didn’t just molest me, he molested my friend Heather too and the other neighbourhood girls talked about him and told each other to stay away from him.

But he was nice to me, at a time when my parents weren’t, when they were even around. After school I came home to an empty house and I was lonely and bored, so sometimes I’d go over to the workshop in Vince’s backyard to see what he was working on. He made those wooden whirligigs that people put on their lawns, you know the type, they’re of Snoopy or a flamingo and they have legs that spin when it’s windy.

He would give me pop bottles to take back to the store, which was only one house away from mine and that’s how it all started out. Eventually he would only give me the pop bottles if I sat on his lap. And then it escalated to no pop bottles, but spare change to take to the store, but only if he could put it in my pocket himself, either my pants pocket where he’d grope, or my breast pocket where he’d also grope. And finally I would only get the change or pop bottles if I looked at pornographic magazines with him for a few minutes and that’s when I stopped going over there because in my 10 year old head, for some reason that triggered warning bells.

And with Vince, usually I would go over there and be thinking “okay maybe this time he won’t do it,” because sometimes he didn’t. Usually when he did it, I think he’d been drinking.

After he started showing me the magazines, I would only go over to see him only if my mom or my mom’s boyfriend were going over there. When I told my mom years later that he was a kiddie diddler (and he did much worse things to my friend Heather and possibly to other girls too), my mom told me I was full of shit. I don’t know what she believes now, but I would tell this story with my hand on a stack of bibles if I thought it would make a difference.

My cousin set me up. He set me up to be molested by Vince and he set me up for what’s been a lifetime of sexual dysfunction. And again, watching the Oprah interview with these child molesters, the story of Vince and I was in there too and for the first time in my life, I realized that in both cases I was the victim and that I wasn’t to blame. I’ve always said my whole life that I didn’t feel like I was getting the blame, but that was a lie. My family shunned me when it came out about my cousin and my mom called me a liar when it came out about Vince. That’s victim blaming and when other people are blaming you, it’s hard not to start blaming yourself as well, so I did. Until the Oprah interview. Until I understood the mechanics of both of these relationships, if that’s what they are to be called.

Anyway, my point in writing this is not to have a pity party for my loss of innocence, but to say to all the parents out there, watch the interview, see how it all works and then make sure that you have the kind of relationship with your kids that makes them undesirable victims in the first place because that seems to be the key in keeping them safe.

And I guess that’s all I have to say.

Posted at 8:34 am in: Childhood , Kids , Sex , SRS BSNS , the 80's , the 90's
March 19, 2010

18 Degrees Celsius

Posted at 3:40 pm in: Animals , Hoover Dog , Lucky , Pets

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