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January 31, 2004 | 1:29 a.m.
Well, I'll be! Seeing as how I'm now in the a.m., that means that I've entered a new day; and the new day is the 31st! The final day of the month of January! Which means I need to cook up a February blog image.

Bye-bye, monkey mafia. It's been fun.


January 28, 2004 | 12:40 a.m.

You don't always have to travel far in order to have a vacation. Some days, all you need is a walk in the park.
 

$150,000 is a lot of money. But I know we'll get it. I've no doubt it's going to be some adventure doing so, though.
 

Love you, dear.

January 28, 2004 | 1:25 a.m.
I spent approximately 5 hours doing nothing but downloading reference images for drawing. It doesn't seem like a big deal, right now, but it's one of those long-term things that are good to do. So I accomplished something that's going to help me out a good bit, even if I don't feel that accomplished.

It has been a bittersweet day. Something of a pause in life's troubles, but still serving as a reminder of more to come. But it's going to be okay. I made Quote of the Day, tonight, however:

"Sometimes, all you need is a root beer."

I discovered that, if you're feeling particularly down, a single glass of root beer -- and I insist on it being root beer -- makes one feel so much more at ease. I don't know why, but it's true.
 

P.S. I'm already committed.

January 27, 2004 | 3:21 p.m.
I added to leftover beans in the crock pot and actually made it taste like some first-class concoction. If I can do that to beans, can I really deny I've got the instincts of an excellent improvisational cook?

Hell no.

I'm badass, muthas. That's right.

I'm not going to give away my recipe, but I will say that Cajun seasoning is a godsend.

January 27, 2004 | 2:27 a.m.
Haha. I'm still up. I've spent almost the entire day in my room, drawing with my tablet and posting on christianboard.com. Drinking Sunkist and downing potato chips, all the while. If that isn't sad, I don't know what is.

But you know, it could be worse. It's been essentially a snowed-in day, so driving conditions weren't ideal.

Another drawing.

I'm going to sleep, durn it.


January 26, 2004 | 9:39 p.m.

I don't rembember the last time I dreamt.

I've been doing a lot of research on the topic of dreaming, recently, so I'll be conducting a number of experiments to see if I cannot increase my dream recall. I feel this may be an important part in bringing my once great visualization skill back into practice.

My first experiment, starting tonight, will be to set my alarm two hours after I go to bed. If I recall a dream, I will repeat the two hours.

January 24, 2004 | 1:16 a.m.
It was almost an hour ago, at around 12:30 ante meridiem, that I was just leaving Anna's house. It was chilly, but not enough to be a burden. The wind howled through the tall trees like a banshee, accompanied by the clinks and clangs of a wind chime somewhere close by. The neighborhood chorus of dogs would sporadically improv a composition.

I'd forgotten how familiar such sounds had once been. And so I paused to absorb it, reminiscing past memories. I realized with the deepest magnitude I ever recall having, that I had somehow... sealed off the outside world. I went from a child in harmony with everything nature had to offer, to a teenager increasingly pressured by what society and pop culture keeps telling us is "real life". I had not felt so at peace with myself since I fell into harmony with Anna, and she has been a fine addition to my life. But as happy as I have been with her -- and I'm certain I shall continue to be -- something has still been missing from my life. And that something, I believe, is my past life.

My childhood. So filled with a daily freshness, so packed with things to discover and dissect. I thought pizza, a daily skinned and grass-stained knee, and someone to play with until the sun set was as good as a day could get. Back then, I knew what it meant to be alive. 

I saw everything more deeply than I've come to see them today. Because it was fresh. Because I wasn't yet told why the sky is blue, why the grass is green, and where babies come from.

It was a time

when fantasy

was

reality.

And that meant for me that anything was possible. If I wanted to be Peter Pan, or Spider-Man, or a character out of Tom Sawyer (nameless or otherwise), dammit, I was. If I could imagine it, it was real. I could feel it. I could see it. I could even taste it. And it was sometimes a bitter taste, but it was worth it.

I had no real friends, but that didn't matter so much. I could see everything that was, and everything that wasn't, and everything that could be. Only now does it don on me how great an ability that was. My imagination was my best friend... the only one who understood me. And I understood my imagination completely.

How did I lose you?

My life changed. We moved to a new house in Brevard, I met new people, and was forced to adapt to a new environment. It was here that my childhood began having maturity slowly poured upon it, gradually burying it under the ground like a body past its expiration date. But it took a long time. I still saw through the intuitive eyes of a fresh mind, still sometimes seeing things that only existed in my mind.

It was in this first home in Brevard that my parents started to sit me down on uncomfortable chairs, prop a book up on a desk in front of me, and have me absorb it. This was okay for awhile. It was fresh to me, and I was intrigued. But this game eventually stopped being a game. Although I was still learning what the books had to say, I was losing focus of why. Many "why"s were answerable. But soon came the "because I said so," "or else". 

My fantasies were being pushed away. Along with them went my natural joy. But I know they've never totally left me. I've only lost touch with them. And when I have been seeing them, my vision is blurry, or they're whispered to me in a way I can almost understand. They're still there, surely enough -- but the lifestyle that's fallen upon me, conditioning me into a different person, has weakened the bond between us.

I've found where it's hidden from me all these years. Where else did it have to go than to the negative plain?

My shadow. I should have known. I must get to know you, again, old friend.

Return to me my dreams. Remind me of what life's really about.

I will never lose you again. 

We can do this. You, me, and my girl. You were once good friends with her, yourself, you might recall.

Let us slumber together, tonight. Awaken with me in the morning.

January 21, 2004 | 10:35 p.m.
Study: Sleep Essential for Creativity
Wed Jan 21, 3:53 PM ET  Add Health - AP to My Yahoo! 
 

By WILLIAM McCALL, Associated Press Writer 

For the first time, scientists say they have proved what creative minds have known all along: that our sleeping brains continue working on problems that baffle us during the day, and that the right answer may come more easily after eight hours of rest. 

The German study is considered to be the first hard evidence supporting the commonsense notion that creativity and problem-solving appear to be directly linked to adequate sleep. 
 

Some researchers said the study provides a valuable reminder for overtired workers and students that sleep is often the best medicine. 
 

"A single study never settles an issue once and for all, but I would say this study does advance the field significantly," said Dr. Carl E. Hunt, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health (news - web sites). "It's going to have potentially important results for children for school performance and for adults for work performance." 
 

Sleep has long been thought to improve creativity. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards said the riff in "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" came to him in his sleep, while the 19th-century chemist Dmitri Mendeleev literally dreamed up the periodic table of elements. 
 

Scientists at the University of Luebeck found that volunteers taking a simple math test were three times more likely than sleep-deprived participants to figure out a hidden rule for converting the numbers into the right answer if they had eight hours of sleep. The findings appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. 
 

Jan Born, who led the study, said the results support biochemical studies of the brain that indicate memories are restructured before they are stored. Creativity also appears to be enhanced in the process, he said. 
 

"This restructuring might be occurring in such a way that the problem is easier to solve," Born said. 
 

Born said the exact process in the sleeping brain for sharpening these abilities remains unclear. But it appears that memories start deep in an area of the brain called the hippocampus, and are eventually pushed outward to the neocortex to be consolidated. 
 

The changes leading to creativity or problem-solving insight occur during "slow wave" or deep sleep, which typically occurs in the first four hours of the sleep cycle, he said. 
 

The findings also may explain the memory problems associated with aging, because older people typically have trouble getting enough sleep, especially the kind of deep sleep needed to process memories, Born said. 
 

History is rife with examples of artists and scientists who have awakened to make their most notable contributions. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote the epic poem "Kubla Khan" after a long night of rest. Robert Louis Stevenson credited a good night's sleep with helping him create scenes in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." And Elias Howe came up with his idea for the sewing machine after waking up. 
 

Other researchers have long suspected that sleep helps to consolidate memories and sharpen thoughts. But until now it had been difficult to design an experiment to demonstrate it. 
 

Born and his team "have applied a clever test that allows them to determine exactly when insight occurs," Pierre Maquet and Perrine Ruby at the University of Liege said in an accompanying commentary. 
 

Some 70 million Americans are believed to be sleep-deprived, contributing to accidents, health problems and lower test scores. 
 

Maquet and Ruby said the study should be considered a warning to schools, employers and government agencies that sleep makes a huge difference in mental performance. 
 

The results "give us good reason to fully respect our periods of sleep especially given the current trend to recklessly curtail them," they said.

January 21, 2004 | 9:46 p.m.
I'm working on a self-portrait. I'm kinda happy with it, so far, but it's lacking in charm. I think I'll change my color selection.

It's going to be one of my first submissions to the conceptart.org forums. I'm really trying to get into that community, and participate in their activities. It certainly is a great place to be, for serious artists. I highly recommend it.

January 20, 2004 | 7:06 p.m.
Hey, I actually finished a drawing. How 'bout that. This is a frontal view of myself with black & blue hair in the Dreamscape style. I'm actually happy with it.

January 19, 2004 | 7:06 p.m.
"No one is truly free until there is no more authority to question." - Perry Mason
 

I've been redecorating my room, somewhat. I took a long mirror I had laying around in my room and decided to hang it horizontally on my west wall. (That is, assuming the wall my monitor is against is the north wall.) And I moved my blacklight to be right above it. Also, I've been drawing on the borders of my closet. It looks good so far, and if it works out, I'm going to do the same to all the borders in the room.

My door was installed incorrectly, so it doesn't really lock or anything. If I get enthusiastic enough, I'm gonna get me a new door an' borders an' whatnot an' install all by me onesy.

After 8 years of living here, I'm finally feeling at home in my room. Stunning. It's truly amazing what an "ahhh, what the hell" sort of attitude can accomplish. And it all started from me deciding to clean the place up a bit. My spontaneity can be an asset, at times.
 

By the by, I've made what I think is a relevant discovery about Jack Sparrow. I believe his character is possibly supposed to be American. I believe this due to accent, for one (which I'm guessing is south-eastern, and the fact that he uses an old U.S. slang word: savvy.

Just something to consider.

January 19, 2004 | 3:04 a.m.
Why do indoctrinated people come to believe they're infallible?
January 18, 2004 | 2:23 a.m.
I was getting out of the bathroom, a few minutes ago, and as I was washing up, I took notice of myself in the mirror. I know everyone occasionally humors the vanity of looking oneself over, and so I did. For me, it's usually nothing special -- normally not ego-boosting or anything like that. But I was rather pleased with myself, this time. I happened to discover muscles bulging in places on my arm that I'm certain weren't formerly showing six months ago or prior to that, and how! The funny thing is that I haven't made any real point of exercising at all. But I guess I must be doing something right.

At any rate, it encourages me to seriously develop my body a bit more. Maybe I'll make th' ol' "six-pack" more prominent. I need to work on that area anyway. I can't take a good punch there without doubling over, and that can't be good. Time to resume those stomach crunches.
 

I finally got Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD, today. Arrr, I love that movie. Johnny Depp makes for the best pirate I've ever seen. Brilliant casting job, there.

"Eunuch."

Ha ha, that cracks me up. Anyone that refers to Orlando Bloom as a eunuch is okay by me.

January 16, 2004 | 4:31 p.m.
Three hours can make a difference. After my previous post, I've managed to come up with something semi-attractive in drawing. I'm working on character sheets so I'll have an easier time with sequential art. Here's a sample:

It was inevitabe, I suppose, that I'd eventually incorporate noses into my Dreamscape style. I'm rather content with the outcome of it. By coincidence, it reminds me a lot of Kingdom Hearts, though. Pure coincidence.

I can see some things that I still want to carve out, however. Martha Stewart and I agree that that is a good thing.

January 16, 2004 | 1:21 p.m.
Sometimes I think I'm not cut out to be a professional artist. A lot of times, actually. It's extremely discouraging, because drawing has been the one returning source of joy in my life for almost two decades. (Significant people in my life aside, that is.) Why does it have to be so hard? What've I been doing wrong? My visualization is virtually non-existent, at this point. Sometimes, I spend hours upon hours just imagining and hoping I can somehow keep the images in my mind long enough to translate them to paper. The very moment the graphite touches the paper seems to be the very moment I lose my creativity, my imagination. What the fuck is up with that? I lacked the technical skill when my visualization was at its best. Now, I lack the visualization and my technical skill is at its best.

There should be no truth in the phrase "trying too hard"...

I dare say that I've put in far more time and attention than virtually any other artist my age. So why do I see a number of others accomplishing more than I do, or seem to be able to?

I've been planning a webcomic for over a year, now. I finally have virtually all the equipment I could possibly need for doing a good one, but I'm seriously lacking the ability to produce sequential artwork.
 

Now I'm depressed. I don't know why I even bother trying to draw seriously anymore.

But I know this is just a phase... I've been through many of them before. I know I can't give it up. I've worked too long and too hard to abandon my commitment. I'll figure it out, someday. After all, what better things do I have to do? This is basically what I'm all about.

January 16, 2004 | 2:11 a.m.
I've turned in an application to work at the Blockbuster that'll be coming into town in a little while. I hope I get hired. I quite need the funds.

But I admit that I am enjoying all the extra free time that goes along with being unemployed. Might as well make the best of it, no? After all, this is what life's *really* about. Not being unemployed, mind you, but being free.
 

January 15th was Anna's first day back to college. Good luck, love. I'm with you 150%.

She has fewer classes than last semester, now, but she'll be spending just about as much time as the previous semester -- if not more. College is such bullshit, sometimes. And it's 90% for appearances. When the heck are the rules going to change? I wish she didn't have to deal with all that excess nonsense.
 

I watched "The Clan of the Cave Bear". And it was horrible. Don't watch it.

I have no movies to look forward to in theatres until that Mel Gibson "Jesus" flick comes out. What was it? "The Passion," I think? I heard that the entire dialogue would be in the correct languages, even Aramaic. A rare number of people speak that language anymore, I understand.
 

Do you ever have times in your life where you just feel like taking a vacation for a whole year, doing whatever you darn well please? Even if it means procrastinating with all the work you have to do to accomplish your dreams?

I do.

But then I get my sleep for the night and wake up usually with enough encouragement to make a little more progress to bringing those dreams closer to reality. Because the dreams are so much more attractive, in the long run. It's a wonder how I ever get discouraged. But I know my heart's in it, so I know I'l be pursuing it until I have it.

God bless beds.

January 15, 2004 | 9:44 p.m.
I use Yahoo.com as my start page. Sometimes, I see a headline to a news article on there that catches my eye, and I usually check the public's opinion on the article in their forums. 95% stupidity, but it's nevertheless amusing to see someone always rushing to be the first to start a thread that says "IT'S ALL BUSH'S FAULT", and leave it at that.

It's cute.

I just wanted to mention that.
 

I'm making shell pasta and cheese. It is a big yum.

January 15, 2004 | 1:08 a.m.
Worry not for tonight when it is tomorrow you need be concerned with. Let there be rest where rest is due. Now is the time for night's black, sparkling blanket to put us at ease.

Sleep now. The stars are watching over you.

January 14, 2004 | 1:52 a.m.
If God likes chicken, would that suffice to say that the chicken came before the egg? And if Eve was created from Adam's rib, was the chicken created from some part of a rooster?
 

I learned something today. I learned that I do not particularly enjoy French onion soup with a slice of bread soaking in it. Very disturbing textural issue.

Speaking of food, I need some good ideas for future improv cooking. Improv cooking has become a new hobby of mine. I'd like to try something exotic, preferably. Off the top of my brain, I believe I'd like to get into some kinda fruit recipe.

Oh, and another thing I did today: ceramics. Totally new to me. I went to this place that makes ceramic sculptures with Anna and her mom, and we got to pick our own sculptures and carve 'em or paint 'em or whatever. Anna's mom got this pot thing to do, and Anna got a little frog and a Yoda to do. The Yoda's going to be fired, already. I got a big frog to carve, and I'm not finished with it yet. I only recently really got the hang of it. It's not going to be hard at all, and it's quite enjoyable.

I also re-learned from Mom that she minored in ceramics. Interesting bit of information, there.
 

I'd like to gripe about some nameless people who diss Brevard. I will have you know that Brevard IS a rather boring place to those who haven't lived here long enough to really get to know it. After living here for 14 years, I can tell you that it's a very beautiful place that's full of potential. It has everything a broad mind needs for growth, and it's not as cramped as the big cities (such as Asheville). But don't get me wrong -- Asheville is quite charming, but it's too populated.

That is all.

January 12, 2004 | 3:06 p.m.
I love my tablet. This is generally a sample of my Dreamscape resemblance:

January 11, 2004 | 11:56 p.m.
I stopped by Grace for a little bit, this morning. They haven't really changed to better appeal to my taste, so I left prematurely. However, J.D. Mills was there. It was nice to see him.

I'm comfortable with avoiding Grace for a couple more months, again.
 

I need to get another job, darn it...

It's interesting that I want another job, and yet I don't. Better put, I'd like to explore my entrepreneurial potential outside of your average joe's minimum wage slaving. I've had some hope for eventually profiting from selling artwork. I think I should take up a secondary craft, if possible. Be it making candles, or wood carving, or whatever such pastimes. I could get into that. It'd be great if I could reasonably profit from doing that sort of thing, as it'd be far easier to multi-task in my life, where need be. Did I mention I find that sort of thing quite fulfilling?
 

Thank you for your perpetual support, Anna dearest. :)

January 11, 2004 | 9:42 a.m.
Finally, I have my computer up again. It's been down for about a month, so I haven't been able to update my blog at all.

I have some excellent news, though. Anna got me a tablet for Christmas, and I've thoroughly been enjoying drawing with it.

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