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In a large, rectangular ship’s container open at both end we stood watching as the plane, huge and heavy, flew lower and lower. It seemed to take forever but in seconds it was there, one of the huge jet engines, spinning and sucking, tipped and fell downwards while the rest of the plane flew over us.
“Run!” I yelled, grabbing you by the arm, and we ran into the maze of brightly coloured, painted boxes passing for houses. We ducked behind something vaguely grey and brick like while the world exploded in brilliant white light. I looked over at you but there was no one there.
I wake up to find myself bathed in the remnants of a moon, waning and setting into the woods beyond the lake but its light, so bright I think I’ve left a light on, startles me. I get up because now that I’m awake I have to pee, the dregs of adrenaline from trying to escape the downed plane’s engine still leave me shaken.
It’s 4am and now what?
I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. It happens this time of year. Always around the first 3 months of a new year we lose people and as I get older I see more and more that my friends as well as myself are clobbered by loss. It’s hard to lose people we love but I can’t help thinking about what death does to the living especially the not related to, acquaintances of, or the folks that knew the name but never really knew the person who have died.
As the world becomes more connected and with more options to connect it gets harder to draw the lines sometimes between what is private and what isn’t and death is rarely private these days. It often gets leaked or announced before the actual family is ready to have this done and then once it’s out it seems to take on a life all of its own whether the family wish it or not, death is very public and everyone wants to somehow feel connected, be a part of it somehow.
One of the things I find most interesting and often a little sad is how death turns people into total hypocrites. I remember from way back a kid I knew died of sudden and unexpected causes, he wasn’t well liked but once he was dead he was the most popular kid on the block. I was puzzled by this behaviour because it seemed so odd. Everyone knew who his friends were and who hated him yet after he was dead they were ALL suddenly his friends. I wanted to know why this wasn’t the case in life. He was a peripheral acquaintance of mine, his real friends were my friends but his life and my life rarely intersected. I was sad to hear he had died and I attended the funeral which was open to all, it was a packed church, but only family were allowed at the grave site. After the funeral a bunch of us hung out and shared stories, well mostly I listened because I didn’t have any stories to share.
I see this often, this need to suddenly be a part of the dead person’s life after the fact. The need to memorialize, make larger than life, and somehow connect to the one who has gone is a puzzle for me. Why do we do it? Especially if the person in question wasn’t well liked or well known? And if the latter why did the people who are suddenly mourning the terrible loss not do more for the person when they were alive?
I have known death my whole life, mostly as a peripheral thing, people died in car accidents, parents of friends, grandparents overseas, uncles and aunts never met but occasionally it touched home as well. School mates I liked and played with. there one day, gone the next, brain cancer, bone cancer, accidental drowning, you name it I’ve heard it. Pets also died, beloved dogs, grumpy bad tempered cats. Things die. This is how it goes so why the fuss after the person is dead?
I often wonder what the immediate family must think of all the extra notice and fuss, all the memorials and sudden need to be a part of it. Did they want this all made public as well? Do they want all the tributes and the fuss, the constant reminders that their loved one is gone. I remember when my father died, he was 54 and I was in my late 20’s. It was a bad time for us because I wanted to be free of parental bonds and he wanted to protect, we hadn’t talked a lot and when we did it was tense. He died before we could resolve this, before we moved out of this phase onto the next so it was hard. And weird. He wasn’t there anymore. I was lucky in some respects because I had to return to school very shortly after he died and only came home for the memorial service, the church was packed. My dad had a lot of friends and knew a lot of people who really liked and respected him.
I remember one young man coming up to me at the reception afterwards, he was a member of the CLB band and told me my dad would be missed and it was a terrible loss. I think I shrugged. I told him he was dead but as long as we remembered and told stories of him he was not gone, not really. It was in that moment I understood, when it comes to death, I’m pretty pragmatic. This doesn’t mean I don’t grieve or mourn or miss him like crazy I did and still do but this is life and the world never stops turning. I am however grateful that facebook and web blogs and twitter didn’t exist at the time because I think it would have driven me crazy. It’s a personal thing, the loss of a loved one and now a days it seems to be more about what the masses think and feel in a very public sometimes very ugly way. Someone once told me that death makes great liars out of people. This truth is oddly ironic since death is about as true as it gets. I understand the Irish and their wakes. Get plastered, tell stories and remember.
It seems to me that we would far better serve people by being kind to them while they are alive rather than waxing poetic after the fact. The dead don’t care and as for the living, well I’d be inclined to ask the immediate family and closest friends how best to serve the memory of the departed before anything else.
It’s been a busy month for art for me. I have a quite a list of things to do so I started by doing stuff I don’t do all that often and that is the acrylics in the Re-Cycled series. The Re-Cycled series is straight forward. How do we reuse old computer bits in a productive way? It began before recycling the junk for its hoard of precious metals was a thing, when the US was sending it’s electronic garbage to any country that would accept it. I thought this was wrong and sort of stupid way back when and lucky for me because of that way of thinking I was able to stock up on a ton of computery bits and bobs…to make art from.
The Re-Cycled project is fun because I don’t much care what other people think of it really it’s for me. I get to play with colour and computer bits and experiment and have fun which is why nine time out of ten the painting titles are puns.
This leads me to the “I have a singular sense of humour” portion of the blog… nine times out of ten no one gets the puns so I guess that’s a big fat fail on my side but I don’t much care about that either.
You’re reading the words of a woman who thinks the funniest joke in the universe is “Where does napoleon keep his armies?”
“Where?” you ask already knowing the answer will make you wish you hadn’t.
“Why, up his sleevies of course!”
So you see …I tell a lot of visual puns through the Re-Cycled series.
Well mainly because it’s fun.
This piece was inspired by a kid’s joke I read on facebook a while back.
The title is “Where do astronauts go to drink?” I’ll let you guys figure it out.
I’m a big fan of colour and combining colour with the right computer piece. I like to use gold leaf as accents because there is a significant amount of gold in computer components and before someone got smart, we threw that shit away…seriously.
This particular piece is a statement about the ever changing universe of tech and computers. It’s called “Windows Obsolete” everything I used ( except for the canvas and paint) is a part that is now scrap, considered obsolete and useless, as is the programme the image was based on. (Win 95)
Computer tech and geeks like the art because they identify the bits and they sometimes identify with the bits too, “I remember when I had to fix so and so’s computer because that blasted chip broke…” There are stories within the stories and every time someone tells me a story that my art made them remember it’s a gift.
I personally think computer innards are gorgeous and someone somewhere sat down and designed each and every piece which is also a form of art. I like to think that, all puns aside, I place their art on a pretty platform and make it my art too. making something that was once expensive and used that became obsolete and scrap to something unique and maybe even beautiful. Of all the art I create this series is the one most people like the least and I get that. It’s abstract and sometimes a bit childish but for me it’s an important statement that just because one set of users discard the materials as junk someone else somewhere will find it to be magnificent. That someone in this case is me. And if I am the only person who gets my silly puns then that’s okay too.
the week off was productive.
– trees felled and shrubbery pulled up
-log-holder made and space for the logs to stack cleared
-sandbox / dumping area for garden refuse GONE!!!!
-porch cleaned, old coat rack mirror thing removed, bookshelf removed, and the walls repainted ( the new show cupboard now must wait for a replacement door)
– Hall closet gutted and repainted , new hook rack mounted and unused coats removed to be sorted out.
many many trips to the Baumarket were made, many viewings at furniture shops were also done. I’m all shopped out.
but January so far has been productive which is a good thing since we have a LOT to do.
It’s been busy. Last year we bought this house which meant we inherited a jungle of a garden that no one has really taken care of for the 10 years before we moved in and our attempts have been mainly scratching the surface.
We missed going to coronation because work is insane this time of year for M. Heard there were a few interesting things that happened and it looked fun. We almost never get to go to 12th night because of work unless it’s near by. Am looking forward to this year. Some changes coming up and ThorvaldR and his GF Tofa are a lot of fun. Crown tourney will be big since the couple coming in will be crowned at 20 years, though it’s this king and queen who will get all the organizational stuff to deal with. So am happy we have an experienced king in place.
the goal will be to make some new garb and overhaul the Signet office big time. It’s in dire need of some serious changes to streamline the process better.
501st events will be insane this year. We already have lego land DK and CEII booked, we’re thinking about Legland DE as well as Bayern park( tho that remains to be seen) Plus what ever small events come up. We definitely need new costumes.
CEII is going to be fraking huge but then again so is Fedcon and we’re booked for that as well which means no double wars again this year since now both events happen at the same time. I don’t miss medieval camping much and given that the Sheraton is very nice and just over the walkway from the con hotel I guess I can safely say I’m getting old(er) because I like my bathrooms private and my showers hot and my bed without insects and cold.
Dirk has added a new con this year Galaxy con which we are thinking about seriously…James Edward Olmos is the star guest and I’d really like to hear him speak but we’ll have to see.
The house ( better known as The Money Pit) needs new windows upstairs and the bathroom renovations need to GET STARTED ALREADY. We also as mentioned above have begun work on the le jungle. Saturday saw a mass action of tree felling and wood chopping and underbrush and shrubbery clearing. Good that we ordered a dumpster to get rid of it all. Of course I’m not as fit as I once was and a day of physically hard labour does me in so today I spent much of it on the couch dozing.
So I succumbed to peer pressure and now have a facebook page for my art. I post pictures and talk about it. Feel free to look / join.
I must admit, extremist statements like “Ban all modern things” really bother me. The SCA started as a backyard BBQ for friends to celebrate a graduation and people enjoyed it so much it continued and spread. It was fun based not accurazi based.
The not so accurate issue the SCA had has changed quite a bit because in order to survive and grow it had to. The level of “periodness” we have in this kingdom is very high when compared to others and there are a whole lot less modern things than there could be but let’s examine that statement for a bit. “Ban all modern things”
This would mean I could not wear my glasses because they are in their current form very modern. There would also be no hearing aides. Or pretty well anything made with an industrial machine ( so most of the cloth many of us use because that too is modern. Most people don’t have hand made period style foot wear so we’d be running around barefoot.
Our current bathrooms and facilities are also VERY modern so we’d have to do away with those, as are the kitchen equipment. And let’s not forget about electricity – very modern.
No clocks or watches ( and heaven forbid anyone have anything digital near by)
No coffee. No chocolate on site either. No toothpaste, no nice smelling shampoo out of a convenient plastic bottle or deo, and no telephones in case of emergencies. Not hot running water for showers and dishes….
The list goes on.
The statement “Ban all modern things” is extreme and not very helpful. The SCA is a mixture as Annika has said and quite frankly Drachenwald is probably the most period kingdom out there but the SCA is not a die hard re-enactment group. There are plenty around, the Company of Saynt George comes to mind. http://www.companie-of-st-george.ch/cms/?q=en/The_Company
These folks are incredible at “getting it right” and if this is the sort of no modern things a person is looking for then I would suggest that groups such as this are perhaps more suitable.
One of the great things about the SCA was the nice mix of accuracy mingled with the modern, Anachronism. That which doesn’t belong in the place and the time. The middle Ages as they SHOULD have been.
Making vast sweeping and extreme statements like ban all modern things needs to be carefully examined because really that encompasses A LOT of things.
It’s nice when an event strives to get it right but I think it is also important to remember that one person’s version of fun is not the same for another. That for some people the SCA is a hobby and a social thing not a museum exersize in living in the middle ages. Most people do their best to not be too glaringly modern but since we don’t actually live in the middle ages but rather the 21st century the modern will intrude anyway.
As for “living the Dream”. I certainly do not Dream the SCA, I go to get away from my modern life, to relax, to see my friends, have a nice time and if I’m really lucky learn some cool stuff. I would ask that people remember this and it’s not a Dream for everyone it’s a hobby with many people doing many things one of which is taking pictures to remember the good times by and given the number of times I get asked to share my photos of events I’m thinking many other people are also happy with this too.
on going on facebook concerning art. Time vs value. The underlying statement being that the more time spent on a work of art the more value placed on said piece. I find this a rather odd way of thinking I guess because my own styles mean I work very fast, this includes the medieval stuff too. So does the fact that I spent less time on a work of art than someone else lessen the value of my art vs theirs simply because I A: work faster or B. have a style that doesn’t take as much time?
I find that while adding time into the art value equation is valid and necessary for determining monetary value )( ie. for sale) in the end it should not be the only factor and simply because one person spends less time on a work of art than another does not lessen the actual value of the art in any way shape of form especially as art is subjective anyway. I went to art college and have that piece of paper, I went to college and have a degree in Art history too, I put my time into the school system to work through the academic side of this, I also work at being an artist pretty much on a daily basis with various techniques and materials. In essence I’ve done my time so why is my art less valuable than another person’s simple because of the number of hours spent on it?
I find I get rather ticked off with the whole discussion. I’m lucky in that I don’t have to live off my art but that doesn’t mean I am any less of an artist. I’ve been selling work since I was 15 but I chose to go a different route in terms of actually making a living. Does this choice devalue my art? Is what I produce less than what someone else produces because I don’t live off it or spend as much time making it? I also choose to give a lot of art away ( not including the sca stuff) because in doing so I am giving gifts of my talent, my art and above all else my time. Giving art away doesn’t lessen the value either, it’s a gift from me to said person.
I have to walk away from this particular conversation because I get tired of my art being devalued simply because I didn’t spend a magical number of hours on it. If hours spent is the only factor we will use to place a figure value on art then I will always be on the low end of the list. I rarely sell my art because trying to put a monetary figure on it is impossible, giving it to people as a gift is priceless and it makes people happy which for me is far more important than money.