Wednesday, March 28, 2012

At long last, I ramble once more.

Hello, theoretical audience! It's been ages. And by ages, I mean most of a month. Thank you for those of you who whined that I haven't blogged. I now love you more than the other people who read this.

I'm gonna blame the month of march, though. Because it's been kind of stupid. Not in a bad way. I've just been somewhat busy, and my internet is clearly on some form of mind-altering drug.

Which is why I am, at this moment, using my sister's computer with its demonic keyboard.

I hate it -.-

Feel loved, for I struggle on your behalf...Kind of.

Anyways! I actually had a topic for rambling in this post (which is another part of the reason I've been away so long).


As most of you know (and by "most" I mean all my followers, and probably you possible secret readers that aren't following), art is more or less my life. Not that I'm obviously, wildly passionate about it, or that I intend to make a career out of (though that could definitely be nice. I haven't ruled it out.), but I'm pretty much constantly creating. I have been forever and ever. I draw to keep myself focused or to keep my hands busy; I make a large portion of my clothing and jewelry; I paint whenever possible. It's second nature for me.

So one of the things I was thinking about this past week is how art inspires me. I love looking at it, and I can spend hours in galleries and museums. The Fine Arts Center downtown has been one of my favorite places since I discovered I can get in free with my PPCC student ID. The thing about looking at art, for me, is that I can appreciate as a viewer and as an artist, and it gives me something to aspire to and something to love about humanity. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm kind of short on those. I'm not like the Doctor, going "Yay, humans!" every five minutes. Kind of the opposite, actually. So when I see the spectrum of human emotion, experience, and genius, I have to take a moment to appreciate what it is that I'm seeing.

Which is part of why I kind of want to stab people when they look over my shoulder at something I'm drawing and coo over my creativity and wistfully say that they can't make art.

Don't be an idiot. Everyone can draw. You think it's some magical gift of the gods to be "artistic"? No. Wrong, boys and girls. It's a skill, like almost anything else. It takes practice and training. As much as I wish I were one of those awesomely talented individuals (*cough cough Tim* >.>), I'm not. All of the growth I've seen in my art has been the result of a lot of effort. And being taught. Figure Drawing last semester was phenomenal.

But that's how everything is. Most of "the arts" are a matter of learning and desire. It's about how much you want to learn to be an artist, or a dancer, or a musician, or an actor. Yeah, there's some predisposition that goes into it, but that's true of anything, isn't it?

Anyways. These were things that were running through my head while working on a digital painting.

Also, digital art is so much easier than real art! It's fabulous. You can undo your mistakes and change things so painlessly. So many effects and possibilities just a click away. It's beautiful. Less personal, of course. I like the smears of paint all over my hands and jeans, but to each his own. "Different strokes for different folks," and all that.

And I put a hole in my face ^.^ Yay for Tim and I having random adventures when we hang out. I'm still being kind of excited about that one. Nose, for those of you bothering to be curious.

And now I'm going to go read more Sophie's World, since I've taken far too long with that one, and I think I'm done writing. No pretty pictures for you this time. Just the monotony of blocks of intimidating text.

And on a totally unrelated note that just popped into my head, Go is one of the best games ever, and everyone should try it. I need to play it again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Musing: "We're grown-ups now, and it's our turn to decide what that means."

Thank you, friends who read XKCD. I was partway through writing this before I remembered this comic and how utterly perfect it was for my line of thinking.

I was sitting on my back steps today, blowing bubbles and crunching through candy in the sunshine, and thinking about childhood again.

One of the major themes in one of the books I read my senior year of high school (Brideshead Revisted by Evelyn Waugh, in case you're interested) was a second childhood in the midst of adulthood.

(I shall briefly Google and see if I can find the quote for you)
(This might be it. I know it's one of the ones I was thinking of.)

"In the event, that Easter vacation formed a short stretch of level road in the precipitous descent of which Jasper warned me. Descent or ascent? It seems to me that I grew younger daily with each adult habit that I acquired. I had lived a lonely childhood […]. Now, that summer term with Sebastian, it seemed as though I was being given a brief spell of what I had never known, a happy childhood, and though its toys were silk shirts and liqueurs and cigars and its naughtiness high in the catalogue of grave sins, there was something of nursery freshness about us that fell little short of the joy of innocence." (1.2.18)

This isn't exactly what I mean, but some of it is there.

I may be utterly mistaken, my darling audience, but I feel like I've aged a lot in the last couple of years. The shining indolence of adolescence is behind me, and now I have to find my place in the adult world. Which is, by the way, an utter myth and a joke.

That's not my point, though.

My point here, as much as I have one, is that life ages you according to experience, and eventually, I think you have to make a choice: to live as a grownup, aged and serious and jaded, or to stay a child.

And by child, I hope you realize I don't mean being childish.

I spend a lot of time around children, and I've noticed repeatedly while laughing at their antics that I could learn a lot from them. Somehow, when people grow up, they forget that it's alright to be joyful and exuberant and ebullient. They lose the wonder and openness of childhood.

I find that the harder and more complicated my life gets as I enter adulthood, the more I survive by remaining child-like.

Yes, this is possibly psychological regression, but that's fine. I didn't want your help building my blanket fort anyway!

Yes o.o

The moments I can think of that I've been the happiest or most peaceful are those that I'm probably behaving very much like a six year old. Playing on the playground in the snow, blowing bubbles, twirling in my ginormous skirt, singing my delight over an unexpected brownie, etc.

I've been told by multiple people that I have this mysterious way of finding pleasure in stupid little things (give me a mountain dew and a bag of sour gummy worms, and all is well in the world), and it's not that I do it intentionally, it's simply that stupid things make me happy the same way that they did when I was little. It might just be that I've grown much more Epicurean (that sounds better than hedonistic, right?) in recent years, but I think if you wait to be happy for the huge things, you'll be waiting a long time, and there'll be a lot of missed opportunities.

Bubbles pop, yes, but they're shiny and pretty and awesome, and they feel insane when I pop them every single time, regardless of how old I am. Things don't have to be permanent to be valuable.

I'm talking about retaining the freshness of youth without the ignorance and pettiness children constantly exhibit. I think the only way to make growing older tolerable is to hold on the purer joys of being alive. Without caring about looking ridiculous.

Have you ever watched a small child run? They look absolutely absurd, but they also usually have a look of utter rapture. When was the last time you saw someone over about twelve with a look like that over something simple?

The world doesn't get less amazing, guys. We just get acclimated and take it for granted, and by the time you really notice that, it's often to late to change.

(5/9/12) UPDATE:
I wanted to add this excerpt from The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer. I'm rereading it, and I love this quote from the main character, Harold Winslow.

"When I was a child, I used to look at adults half with confusion, half with envy, trying and failing to imagine the nature of the mysteries to which they'd been initiated, the pleasures they were keeping to themselves. Have you ever watched the swings of moods that toddlers go though, the way they act as if they're attending their own funeral of the axle falls off a favored toy car, or the rapturous expressions that show up on their faces when they suck on sweet things? Though the memory's fading, I can still remember feeling like that, and I thought being an adult would be even more like that--that the emotions that make us human got more intense the older you grew. Even at the age of ten, simple surprise gifts could be enough to make me feel like my heart and my brain were both about to burst. I couldn't imagine how people even survived to the age of twenty when such pleasures were lying in wait, out in the world.

But that hasn't turned out to be what happened--instead, my own father tells me that he thinks I'm turning into tin. Something inside of me is dying, and I don't know what to do to save it; something inside me is slipping away, and somehow me memories of what you were as a child have come to stand in for all the things I want to keep alive inside myself and don't know how."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Fridge, a Thing of Beauty and Evil

So I was fridge diving the other day, and it occurred to me that there's a tragic curse on me and my siblings that resides in our refrigerator. I had to divide it into separate parts, though, in order to explain this adequately.

First, let me define "fridge diving" for you. It's a term I coined a few years ago because there was no other phrase to describe what it was that I was doing. Fridge diving is a last resort starvation technique, like eating cheese with salad dressing on it (Caesar and chedder, guys. I promise.). It's when you open the refrigerator, stare, close, repeat, and then after three or four times throw random things together and then consume it. Not always delicious, but usually edible, and it shuts that annoying hunger thing up effectively.

And as an added bonus, it usually looks a little like vomit after I melt cheese and put ranch on it, so no one wants to steal any! :D

The thing that makes fridge diving possible is what I like to call the "over forty fridge." It's a phenomenon common among grownups raised with a semi-Depression-era mindset, which is presumably because their parents were raised during the Depression and following years. The fridge is always packed, and there's usually a layer of things that you don't question or move, because they've been there long enough to become simply part of the refrigerator's landscape. There's also frequently nothing to eat in the clutter. Which is how I end up snacking on things like cheese and mustard or eggs and ranch. It's all condiments and compliments for food, but no actual noms.

So in addition to the regular, mysterious, nonfood occupants to the fridge, I come from a ginormous family, which is all well and good, but the problem here is that we all still cook for between six and ten people. There's only five people living in this house (myself, my sister, my brother, and my parents), so there's constantly leftovers. In some houses, this isn't a problem, but my family isn't especially fond of eating leftovers, particularly when that's what we've eaten the day before. Add to that the fact that we're all a little leery of eating anything of dubious goodness, having at one point or another taken a swig of milk or bite of something only to discover it's flown right past the point when it ought to have been thrown out.

The reason that we end up with old things in the fridge is usually that we're all procrastinators. Cleaning out the fridge is no one's favorite job, so we all wait until it gets really atrocious and Becca's culinary OCD takes over.

This is one of the many reasons I take comfort in knowing that my house will never be that way. Because I obviously have nothing to do with the cyclical problem here...

Anyways. This took far too long, and I shall now go finish cleaning in my evil room. (Both in the fact that it is a thing of evil, and in that it's a room for being evil...Or something. Now I need to have the Evil Room right next to the Angry Dome. Maybe it'll be my studio in my future awesome house.)