OOC – Wednesday ramblin’

I was reminded recently that I joined twitter because a package was delivered to my house by mistake and the only company information on it was a twitter handle.  Sidenote, getting that package to its rightful owner I learned that tons of people will tell you everything about where someone lives and all sorts of other personal details even if say you don’t want to know and you just want to send a package back. 

Thinking about that reminded me that I joined Facebook because I heard Paul F Thompkins had a deal where if you got 300 people in your area to join a FB group he would come to do stand-up in your town.  Shortly afterwards I found out that he had stopped doing that because a guy in Texas repeatedly set up tons of fake accounts to get him to come to book shows that no one would buy tickets for.  Why?  Did that person have a personal beef with Paul F Thompkins?  Also he doesn’t even do stand-up anymore. 

One time I almost joined Instagram because I wanted a lady to draw a picture for me and that was her only contact.  Thankfully I had someone else make that request for me. 

Wattpad calls itself social media but seems different to me.  I joined that because a guy on another blog talked about it. 

Twitter sent me down a Kickstarter hole the other day and I saw all kinds of cool comic books that will never be made.  That got me to thinking about all the great stuff on Wattpad I read that will never be made. 

That got me to thinking about a guy I used to game with sometimes.  He was in a band called the Hudson Falcons.  I was curious if I would find anything about them with google and I did. 

He got back from a tour of Europe and decided to hang it up and work in an office.  I found this a surprising.  I figured if a band was touring Europe that meant they were doing well. 

He told me something that has stuck with me.  I’ve probably blogged about it before.  He had come to realize that “normal” jobs are expandable.  The more people there are in the world the more accountants and firefighters and electricians and male strippers you need.  For every X people you need Y accountants and firefighters and electricians and male strippers to meet the demand of those people. 

On the other hand with art, be it music or acting or painting or writing or drawing or whatever, you don’t always need more people doing it.  The same number of people can fulfill the demand for everyone no matter how many people there are.  The Beetles aren’t even a thing anymore and they can fulfill a good chunk of music needs no matter how many people like music. 

As he put it tons of people can be mediocre accountants and live a pretty sweet life whereas you can be a fantastic artist and never make a dime.  In theory one super awesome singer could meet the music needs of everyone in the world, but those people would still need millions of accountants. 

It’s kind of a bummer for all those comic book people on Kickstarter and Wattpad but as my yoga lady says, we don’t get angry about these things or frustrated about them, that’s just the way that it is. 

I wonder sometimes what the difference is between acceptance and nihilism.  I know that one is good and adult and the other is for immature sadboys who watch too much Fight Club. 

OOC – How sweet the sound

Every 6-11 months I drop a hint to my friends about my blogs. Then I immediately hate myself for crying for attention like a zoo orangutan begging for a mango. Sure, orangutans are much stronger than me and are better climbers and they have fiery red hair like Christina Hendricks but they can’t drive cars.

I have some new art for Grace, the character in my other blog and I think it’s cool so I’m sharing it here as well.

Credit – instagram.com/jdirenzo

I’ve also started re-writing and posting that blog from the beginning on wattpad – https://www.wattpad.com/1239343099-the-shine-hello

I think wattpad might be an even worse way to attract readers but on the plus side it keeps track of where you are in the chapters which is the excuse some people have given for why they don’t read my blogs.

OOC – Happy Lunar New Year

This is what’s on my calendar

If you don’t like it you can just stop reading this blog right now. Just kidding, please don’t stop reading, I’m desperate for attention. I’ll write anything you want, just please god pay attention to me. Just kidding again, I’m a Gen Xer, we don’t care about anything. Everyone says so.

November 27, 1973 – A Duke by any other name something something revenge

I’m working on a new song.  I wish I could find a guitar so I could really get into the nitty-gritty of it, but I’ve got some good ideas in my head at least.  It’s a song about who we are on the inside.  About how, for a bunch of reasons, we’re perceived very differently from who we are.  Some people try really hard to make people think that, but even the people that don’t are thought to be something they’re not.  It’s not a new or revolutionary idea but that’s why music is the truest and greatest form of art.  

Want proof?  There are a million songs about getting your heart broken, and there needs to be a million songs about getting your heart broken because each one speaks to people in different ways.  With music, the same basic message in a different package really is something different because it hits people in a different way.  You can’t achieve that with any other medium.  

If you’re into mountain climbing, you may read a bunch of books about climbing Everest but one is all you need to get the message.  The other ones are just entertainment.  With literature, the same story is the same story.  Maybe one writer is better than the other or there’s one perspective that you identify with more, but you don’t need more books about the same thing like you do with songs.  

Paintings and sculptures and drawings and things like that can evoke feelings and ideas but it’s open to interpretation.  Maybe the artist intended those three red lines to signify the sunrise but you see what you see.  When I look at ‘The Poetess’ by Joan Miro, I have a strong reaction, but it’s one that I can’t really explain.  When I hear Etta James singing about how she’d rather go blind than see her man walking away from her, I know exactly what she’s talking about.  

The point is while that song speaks to me, maybe someone else really feels it when Janis Joplin is telling them about someone taking a piece of her heart.  And maybe another body feels it when Otis Rush is telling them.  They’re all singing about the same thing, getting hurt by love, but we need all those different ways to say it because everyone is different.  Music speaks to the soul in a way that other art doesn’t.  Sorry other kinds artist, but as a singer I’m better than you.   At least you’re still better than horrible non-creative types.

Fred (editor’s note, she means Frank) told me that Duke Eaglevane is in a prison in German East Africa.  When I suggested that the world’s most wanted man being captured and put in jail was something that would have been in the papers, he said that they don’t know that’s who they have.  According to Fred, a few months ago the Pecos military launched a missile attack at a guerilla camp in southern Mexico under the impression that in residence at the time was an international criminal by the name of Miro Viga, wanted in connection with several violent uprisings in South America.  Miro, who either wasn’t there or survived the attack, in retaliation, tried to enter the Pecos Republic intent on blowing up several government buildings.  There was a battle at the border in which six men were killed and thirty more wounded before Miro was taken into custody by one of the only PR NBH operatives, Justice Ranger – which is a terrible name.

Fred claims that Miro Viga is none other than Duke Eaglevane.  As Fred tells it, the good Duke has many different personas that have been constructed and maintained with such detail as to be practically different people – hence why the Pecos authorities don’t know who they really have.  He said that this is at least the third time the Duke has been captured without the authorities knowing who they really have.  Seems pretty far-fetched to me.  I asked Fred if this was so super-duper secret how did he know about it, and he said that he was part of an “op” that broke the Miro Viga identity back when he was still in the good graces of the US spymasters.  

“If this is true, why didn’t your government tell the Texans who they had?”

He half-shrugged “I don’t know, I’m not in the loop anymore.  Maybe they did and the Pecos authorities didn’t believe it.  Or maybe they like having one of the Dukes identities that no one else knows about.  There are a lot of angles they could be playing.”

I glanced at Martialla “So all we need to do is get to German Africa once we wrap up this other thing.”

Fred looked somber “Get there quickly is my advice. As I said, this has happened before – the Duke’s minions always break him out in a couple of months.  That’s the whole point of these supplementary personas, if they knew who they had, Duke Eaglevane would be in some black site where you’d never find him.  Actually, he’d never be taken into custody in the first place, if they had him in their sights they’d kill him.  But Miro is just an ordinary terrorist wanted by fifteen world governments, so he’s merely in a normal maximum security facility.   If you want to kill him, this is the best chance you’re going to get.”

“Do you know any of his other identities?”

“I did, but it doesn’t matter, the Duke knows those ones are burned.  Miro Viga is the only one that’s still active that I know about.”

While I was thinking, Martialla gave me a look “I think you’re overlooking an obvious course of action, Ela.  Half the world wants the Duke dead.  The safe bet is to give this information to someone who has the juice to make sure he goes down.”

I shook my head slowly “No.  It has to be me.  He has to know I’m the one that got him.”  

Martialla frowned “But he doesn’t even know who you are.”

“He will.  For a few seconds.”

Stolen writing advice from someone better

Being a soulless Gen X mutant, normally I don’t try to help people or do anything, I just sit in my flannel shirt in my dimly lit basement listening to Alice in Chains and reveling in the fact that I don’t care about anything and only being happy when it rains.  And also not even then.  As a Xer I spend my time normally not caring about money or success or anything but Bikini Kill. 

Normally I wouldn’t post twice in a day either, but if I wait I’ll forget.  Sometimes I write myself notes of things to write about later and then I never remember what they mean later.  This has been going on for 30 years.

There’s a pretty common piece of writing advice which is “write a lot”.  If you feel blocked it’s because you’re thinking too much.  Just write something, anything.  Write every day all the time.  The theory is that you get better at something by doing it.  A basketball player doesn’t get better by thinking about shooting, they get better by shooting baskets in an empty gym. 

Part of the idea is that most of what everyone writes, except for a few geniuses, sucks.  So if ten percent of what you write is going to be good, you need to write tons and tons to make that ten percent pile as big as possible. 

For me, this advice was one of those things where I said “That sounds right” but didn’t really take it to heart.  Today though I heard something that really made it land for me. 

This information is coming to me 5th hand so the details are probably wrong but the gist is correct I think.  There’s a book called Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.  According to a different book that referenced that book that was referenced on a YouTube video that was referenced on a TV show that was referenced on a podcast I listen to, in Art &Fear they talk about an art teacher.

This art teacher decided to play a cruel joke on their class in the name of the social sciences.  They divided the class into two groups.  Group one was told their grade would be based on the number of pots they made.  Group two was told that their grade would be based on their best pot.  But hold onto your butts folks, because the first group was lied to, everyone was judged on their best pot. 

The gag is at the end of the semester (or whatever) the first group had made better pots.  The theory is that while group two spent all their time trying to make one or a few good pots, group one was cranking out pots right and left; ergo they got good at making pots, ergo they made a lot of crappy pots but the good ones they made were better than the people who were trying to make good ones. 

This may not even be a true story, but it made the “write a lot” advice sink in for me. 

I already write almost every day but nevertheless in order to write more, I will be starting a 5th blog with a new fiction narrative,  working title – Blood Orgy in The House of Pain.

A critical question for the future of everything everywhere

I’ve been thinking about doing another art commission because paying people money to draw me pictures is a good use of my paycheck.

My first thought was I wanted Ela in a jumpsuit like Bruce Lee wore in Game of Death. But then I realized that probably everyone would assume that instead it was a reference to The Bride from Kill Bill. Which is a fine film (the second part anyway) but I hate when my reference is mistaken for another reference! Because my life is very hard and challenging with many obstacles.

So the question is should I go with the game of death jumpsuit anyway? And if not, what sort of outfit would be better? Also I want her to be casually holding something to show how strong she is. A car is too much but I can’t think of something better. A safe? Something like that but not that.

Here’s another question, why can’t some talented comic book artist find my blog and love it and just draw me free pictures all the time? I mean is that so much to ask? That I get tons of free stuff all the time? I mean what kind of world is this?

My girlfriend really wants me to have a portrait of Martialla done and I do too, but I have kind of a specific image in my mind of what she looks like and I am terrible at describing what I want because I am terrible at describing things. Which is why I am a great writer.

D&D Ela was pretty awful, 70’s funkadelic superhero Ela is much less horrible but I kept some things – like her vanity and cattiness. Which worries me sometimes because it seems kind of stereotypical to portray a female character that way. When I first started this blog I had a “contact me” thing, which I did away with because it was mostly people scolding me for being a gross man writing a female character that they didn’t like. But my girlfriend thinks it’s funny when Ela makes mean comments about other woman so one woman is on my side so it’s fine. That’s how complex societal issues work.