Sunday, December 3, 2017

Turn A Deaf Ear To The Cellular Phone

I turned my phone off for the first time in far too long tonight.

Not a lot has changed for me, mentally, in a long time. If I were to go into my feelings at this moment, it'd really be nothing more than a broken record. The dilemma of the introvert-minded doomed to have the personality of an extrovert.

I've decided that the most obvious recurring issue is my continual faith in people - thinking that they, somehow, can and will solve my problems. Hoping to depend on and confide in them - when, in blunt reality, most could likely care less.

MF DOOM's track "Deep Fried Frenz" - though a bit more sharp edged than any of my experiences - illustrates this lyrically. DOOM rants angrily as he reads a seemingly never ending flow of charges against his past acquaintances; most of whom decided to use his association for an ulterior, egocentric or somehow likewise self-centered reason. He warns the listener to toughen up before they, too, face the dilemma of a trusting hand held by a manipulative claw.

The concept of motivated friendship resonates with me personally - a sort of icon at my current school, people want to know me. There seems to be a certain unspoken credit in associating with me; having the ability to say I have given them the time of day, perhaps. Yet, beyond this badge, few look further.

In becoming someone who is fairly universally known, I've also lost - further - connection. An issue I've had for the longest of time. I search for a reason within myself pretty often; maybe I'm imposing. Maybe my personality doesn't exactly shine through as I'd like to hope. Maybe my impressions are as dislike what I perceive as possible - who's to say? Maybe there's not much else to see. Maybe whatever else there is has become to personally self-centered, on my own end, to amount to much else.

But, then, I realize; there's two doors. The door of conformity, and the door of singularity. One involves heavily treacherous surgery, ludicrous pandering, and a few botched brain operations. The other - well, it's a simple turn of the knob. Sometimes the challenge isn't the right choice.

DOOM suggests a state of strong, cold, yet intelligent and happy separateness. He doesn't want or need "frenz" - he's the villain on his own dime.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Magnetic Resonance Image

My personality isn't one to be tied specifically to one long-term association - I grow tired of the same old faster than I can truly appreciate it. At least, when we're talking about people.

Sometimes I wish I had a greater capacity for enjoying the present; when I do find the ability, I never forget it. Summer sunsets through half-open blinds; starry lights guiding the way through a midnight stroll; chilly air making the morning crisp. Snapshots of life I can phase into with nary an issue - recalling every thought and feeling as if I were there again.

Other times, though I see just how tough that can be; you don't appreciate what you have 'till it's gone. On the same coin, you only remember the great, and awful times - nothing in-between. All that important contextual infrastructure falls to dust, to the point of terrible oversimplification. You'll miss what you liked, not what you had.

My cynicism has saved me countless times, yet it's also limiting. Ignorance is bliss, so awareness must be - likewise - the complete opposite. At least you end up better - but, as the saying goes, at what cost?

A very reasonable one, if you ask me. But, hell, maybe you shouldn't ask me.

I prefer to live by the idea that "You don't know what you have until you acknowledge it". Until you recognize the inner peace you feel at a given moment, you are forever beneath the smog of monotony. You'll come to realize this inner peace asks for nothing but that very recognition - simply being remembered is all it needs to sputter back to life.

Peace is not perfect - not ideal - hardly a diamond in the rough. It's a state of mind; a choice to be happy, even when you aren't. A march forward, spirit in tow, and heart in the breeze.

Live in the now - even if the now is then, or when.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Let's use layman's terms - after all, it's much more accessible. I tend to be the "flirty" type; whether that means I'm a conversationalist, or I simply can't shut up, isn't quite for me to say. Still, I seem to have a good effect on bringing out a life in others - connecting to people, somehow past even the most significant social barriers.

At the dead of night - that is, midnight, an unusually early time for me to feel drowsy enough to begin introspectively bantering to my creepy little blog - I realize just how easy carrying a positive social presence has become for me. It may be narcissistic to state this so plainly, but hell - it is what it is. There's no use in dancing around it, especially when reflecting upon it's benefits.

Too often, people are far more willing to boast of their sadness - it's humble, it's "real", it's more face-to-face. I've been sad before; I've separated myself from everything, in a search for something. There's nothing more real than knowing you've created happiness.

There's such a beauty in the enthralled light that fills someone's eyes as you encourage them through agreement, or support them in back-and-forth dialogue; their glimmering expression, their joy in carrying you alongside them in conversation. The feeling of recognition as you, yourself, become seen as more than a face - you are a friend. The definition of 'love' falls on deaf ears to most of the modern populace; no doubt thanks to endless exaggeration. Love is simply the small light illuminating the room, whether it be from fire, or a spark - the connection between anyone, anywhere, who find a desire to exist around another. Love demands - love hurts - and in that, love is something we can have for anyone.

As much as it feels hypocritical to say, knowing my own personal past, I'm a people person. I love people. At the end of the day, I'm most glad about the good times I've given others - though it may leave me feeling a bit personally drained, I can find warmth and solace in that, somehow, I've impacted a time in somebody's life. I've cemented a snapshot into another's photobook. I've became a memory - perhaps one they're recalling in just the same satisfaction.

Being the life of the crowd - even if I only find myself pertaining to one, two peoples - is my constant goal. I've known what it's like to be vehemently upset by the world around me; So why not savor even the smallest spotlight? Why not reflect upon those who need a bit of sunshine, as well?

Perhaps it's the writer in me, looking at life as an episodic world constantly influencing itself. Perhaps I'm reading too deeply into my own social skills - it's not too hard to be a colorful person. Either way, I don't care; and my reasoning is simple. I've yet to find a poison more addictive than the smiles you can bring to the world.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Held Against Your Will

It's interesting to consider how important fate is within our lives; how intertwined every minute aspect of our daily being will inevitably become.

Had you asked me a number of months ago, I'd have assured you I would have rather been anywhere than where I was - both on a literal level, as well as a mental and existential one. I felt tattered, and all-around baseless; to the point where social interaction grew painfully unappealing, filled with nothing but disdain.  I wanted a solid escape from the singular, droning hell that was my own mind.

Ask me now; I've found it. Perhaps it's the tinge of my presently delirious mind, but I've finally found a solid state of self that neither toes the line between awkwardly antisocial, callously airheaded, nor ethereally unintelligible. I've found a state that feels, above all, happy. Through baggy eyes, cloudy thoughts, and aching bones, I'm in a greyish world of peace. It's as imperfect as I've always wanted.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Happy Birthday to MidLife - Art Discussion #1 and #53

As of yesterday, October Thirteenth, my multifaceted project MidLife officially became one year old - at least, concerning it's production as an actual long-term project. Fitting day, isn't it?

The concept has existed, in various forms, for roughly five years; morphing through tons of art styles, plot lines, contributors, inspirations, and everything in between, culminating into this final 'version'. Of course, that's not counting individual characters, or vague themes - some of which can be traced back to illustrations lining early grade school assignments, or train-of-thought stories hatched in fresh Crayola. Someday I hope to detail the complete evolution of the concept, but much preparation still needs to be done before this is possible; particularly when it comes to rounding up old hard drives and long-forgotten sketchbooks.

I unwittingly began the final project with the following image - a simple group photo that effectively communicated MidLife's four main characters; Dev, Spence, Vienna and Popobawa. An artist's greatest critic is always themselves; looking back on this initial sketch, I can see quite a few traces of a 'bubbly' art style I tried for a short period of time, which I grew to strongly dislike shortly after abandoning it for a more comfortable angular flow - too many oddly sloped faces, overly expressive eyes, so on and so forth. Still, a sketch is a sketch - and, if only for my own sake, I enjoy documenting MidLife's 'art history'.

In the final image, I naturally made some adjustments; fixing Dev's mid-speech expression to a sort of grin, rounding out his initially flat torso, redrawing Vienna to bear a more subtle expression, giving Spence a less segmented neck, so on. The finished product has stood my own personal test of time; uncommon, as - once again - I'm quite self-critical. I suppose I've made a conscious effort to make MidLife's art somewhat homogeneous - following hypothetical 'models' to carry a fairly consistent look through the entire series, bar experimental images which intend to bend the rules.

To commemorate MidLife's first year, I created a new photo; combining unmodified sketches (hence the lack of any pre-production comparison picture) with photography, thus taking ongoing trends from the series (combining cartoon visuals with surreal backgrounds, building from rough pencils, a focus on street art, so forth) to a literal level.

Bare-bones MidLife - a single individual's dreamy project, made for himself, by himself. Simple drawings vandalizing the barren walls of reality; painting a convoluted, yet ongoing life with their oddly invigorating spirit. Easily removed by a coat of fresh paint - unprofessional in it's creation. Yet, to the fitting eye, it is perhaps something more.

At least, that's how I see it. Somebody's gotta stare at this spooky junk.

Within this picture are some references to MidLife's own history; for example, Spence's "Soak" shirt comes from a very old image of an early Vienna, seen sporting an almost totally different design. Dev's baseball uniform is something of a callback to the eighth image in the series - where we can only see his white eye. In this image, likewise, we can only see it's black opposite. Spence showing only his damaged eye obviously parallels the aforementioned first image; here, he's aiming a baseball, while there, he's callously laughing - always the ruffian.

MidLife has currently shifted toward a focus on literature; the past year has centered almost entirely on visual art, so I feel it's time to dive in and begin carving some writing into the ether. As of this time, I'm working on the second part of the story's introduction, "Born into Death".

As I develop this unique side of the project, I more and more realize that I truly do create MidLife out of nothing more than a personal need - the need to share a sense of creativity, whether or not it is seen or even appreciated. To express myself as desired, regardless of drawbacks such as relevance or demand, is all I find myself asking for - and, hey, that's exactly what I'm doing, isn't it?

Here's to another year of digging my own grave - right alongside Dev, Spence, Vienna, Popobawa, and all those other sick freaks of unholy creation.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Review - TerrorVision

TerrorVision is one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen.

After installing a janky new satellite, a family of caricatures accidentally tune in to a rogue interstellar beast; seeping through the TV itself as it lusts for death. After taking down every adult - ranging from a psychotically war-headed Grandfather, to an exaggeratedly suave Greek swinger - the children manage to communicate with it, bringing to life their own version of E.T. However, the monster quickly remembers his lack of temperament, returning to his killing spree; leaving the remaining brother and sister to take him down with a ridiculous artillery of heavy weaponry... including a midnight TV schlock-star.

If that made as much sense as the rambles of your drug-addict neighbor, welcome to the dimly-lit, neon-painted, sexually insane world of TerrorVision; the epitome of 80’s splatter horror.

Films such as Ship of Monsters take their imaginative flair in stride, bringing forth a cartoony world full of goofy surprises. Others, such as Little Monsters, revel in grime, distorting all suburban values. TerrorVision lacks the respect to stay even remotely as grounded as these similar features - what begins as a Burtonesque parody of family ends as a non-sequitur, rendering half the film delightfully pointless. Not only will it offend you, it’ll twist you, turn you, and spit you right back out in a gory pile of slimy guts. If the worst of Elm Street crossed paths with Bad Taste, even it’s terrible lovechild would be disgusted by TerrorVision.

Every single aspect is kicked past 11, beating you over the head like a manic axe-murderer. Not a single character is likeable; let alone realistic. Every death is as gross as possible. Exposition levels out to absolutely hilarious simplicity - in nothing but admiration, it may as well be ad-libbed. Every expectation is tossed out the window and blown up by a barrel full of grenades, spurting greenish blood across the makeup-coated faces of each screaming cast member. It's stupid, it's amazing, it's awful, and you can't look away. Even when you really, really want to - especially when the film's vile star of a monster is onscreen, resembling a burnt Pizza the Hutt mixed with a Critter; grody.

TerrorVision is a clear love-letter to the ditzy monster films of old; even featuring stock footage from Robot Monster and The Giant Claw narrated by Medusa - a clear parody of hosts such as Svengoolie or Elvira. It takes everything an impressionable mind obsessed over from the genre, and blows it up past inflation - exploding in a cacophony of tubular cheese. The entire picture seems to have somehow been written by it's mindlessly dumb characters, specifically punk teens O.D. and Suzy - both of which are beautifully retro.

I want to frame this movie, hang it on my wall, and bow to it each sunrise. It's so insane - so unfathomably reckless - that it deserves all praises.


Review - Ship of Monsters

Venus needs Dads, as two women are sent across the galaxy to collect any & all species of male - desperate to repopulate their decimated species. After collecting an oddball gallery of interstellar rouges (A Martian prince with a gargantuan brain, an insect-like venomous beast, a Cyclops straight out of Homer's Odyssey, a ghastly animated skeleton, and a helpful robot), they find themselves crash landing on an unknown planet - Earth. There, they discover their greatest catch yet - a giddy Spanish man delighted to inform the pair about the foreign concept of love. Through song, of course. As evil intents unveil and lusts build, the monsters reign loose upon a small Mexican village... leaving only the powers of dance & destruction to save the planet.

Ship of Monsters is everything you'd want it to be, and more. It's a musical - a horror - a sci-fi - a western - a romance - an Ultraman episode - a goofy sitcom - a Disney-esque fantasy. With an endearing charm, it manages to tie every aspect together in a neat, colorful package; a slice of cheese that ends up being far better than it deserves to be.

In a childish fashion, Ship refrains from the drab staleness of exposition; far more excited to lead us head-first into a comic book adventure. One minute, we'll watch our male lead (played by famed comedian Eulalio González) joke among a crowd of heckling drunken cowboys, telling goofy tales of quick-draw bandits and amazing gunslinger feats; the next, we'll be face-to-face with a crowd of oddballs, steepling their rubber claws as they formulate a plan to overrun our world and escape their imminent death. In between, we'll have learned what it is to find the one - with a dash of spicy humor, of course.

For many a horror fan, the crew of weird aliens will be a great delight; from the team of tight-suited space women (one of which had won the 1960 Miss Mexico Pageant), to the rubber suit menagerie that serve them. Though the effects on these characters aren't anything to marvel over (although, by comparison to the creature suits' reappearances in unrelated film Santo & Blue Demon Vs. The Monsters, they aren't half bad), the designs are groovy enough to remain at least interesting. I especially love Zok, a skeletal dog-man puppet who seems to constantly be laughing the same deep giggles as your typical grim grinning ghost.

Because it never takes itself too seriously, we, as an audience, never expect it to. We accept the film's whimsical reality because, in it's simplicity, we don't need the nitty-gritty details - just as the film does, we really just want to see more zany antics. The plot is loose and sometimes nowhere near logical, the effects are laughably unimpressive, and the comedy is usually only as good as the occasional one-liner ("You're aliens?! I thought you were just white girls.") - but I'll be damned if the whole isn't a load of fun regardless. The movie never asks for thought, and thus, it's not necessary to analyze; simply to plow down the popcorn and join the wild ride. How can you say no to a film whose climax is a sensual dance between a twisted Vampire and a frightened Gaucho?

As much as I hesitate to simplify, Ship is nothing but pure fun.