Thursday, September 27, 2007

Birth

So, I'm sorry that I haven't been around. I have been hiding from you, if you want to know. Part of the reason being that I had been trying to learn how to paint, or more precisely, create Art. Yes, Art with a capital "A." Not some piddling little watercolor of a tidy little cottage, but a grandiose dream of paint smears and wild colors, of Big Statements and Bold Moves.

I'm sad to say that I have always been one of those people that looks at some abstract painting, like maybe a Mark Rothko or the graffiti of Keith Haring and say, that's wonderful, but really, I could do that, even though deep inside I knew that there was something about those works that was elusive, trapped on a canvas--pinned down really, like a butterfly on a collector's board.

I would look at Piet Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie" and think, I love this painting, how he conveyed the excitement of Broadway, the movement and flashing lights with just lines and squares. I've always thought, hey, I want to do that. I was sure that I could think of some way to distill the essence of a city into a few lines. I was sure I could--all I had to do was to get a paint set and my walls would be dripping with my masterpieces. I really thought I did--just put a brush in my hand.

And because I had this huge, huge feeling, I had attempted to blog about it because I wanted to write about something and it was either this or another post about farting, which would've been appropriate since just before I sat down, I had farted. I'm in fact, still in the midst of its lingering stench.

I had written the following:

Art is daunting. It wills a person to create it, no matter how unsophisticated the hand. And then it is out there, for everyone to judge.

It scares me because sometimes, I feel that there is picture in me that needs to be conceived. I don't know the implement; a brush, a pen or knife. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by the lines of a bus. Sometimes, I am suffocated by the color of rain, or the look in a man's eye.

I wish, often, forever, I could give birth to an image--a pink squalling babe would spring forth from me--with a moon for an eyebrow, a caterpillar for a finger, a penny for a navel.


At first it sounded good to me. Then it just felt atrocious, so much so that the next word I wrote was "fuck." And then,

fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckFUCK


I'm such a fucking tool. I decided not to post it and left it in draft mode.

However, I did go online and signed up for a class at the Evanston Art Center thinking that despite my bravado, I really needed some basic instruction. I wanted to do it right. If one had something important that they wanted to do, ideally one should consult an expert, say an astrologer, you know, to see if the stars are in alignment. I gazed at the night sky looking for signs of a twinkling conga line.

A few days before the class, I checked my blog and revisited what I had written. It had not gotten better and was more and more like the literary version of the guy you brought home at the desperate hour of closing time. Since it had taken me like, over an hour to write this shit, I attempted to salvage what I wrote, sort of like pretending that the whole night never happened, I'd never met that closing time guy even though he won't stop texting me and calling me up crying in the middle of the night.

I deleted the fucks and wrote sort of an apologia for this treacle, an "i'm not taking myself that seriously" bullshit that I am wont to write:

I hired a midwife. I signed up for an art class. For the next 8 weeks I'll find out whether I suck, or I just suck dick.

I am very nervous about it. Eight weeks is a long time, especially if the rest of the class was wildly talented. What if we had to draw from nude male models? I am afraid my drawings would all have beautifully detailed dicks hanging on stick figures.

I am hoping to snag a corner where I can work privately and not draw attention to myself. Do you think wearing a velvet smoking jacket is ok? Or is that not artsy enough? Or maybe an all-black ensemble and a beret? This is just totally freaking me out. I may have to go buy a totally new outfit for the class. I want to make sure, you know, that I fit in.

I'm scared shitless.


I wasn't happy with that either. But the last line was true: I was scared shitless. I clung to that. It's kind of like that moment when you realize, yes, I am gay and I am going to have to take it up the ass. Ouuuuuuuchhhh. I used to think: why couldn't I have been born a lesbian? Until I saw the size of the dildos they used. There was one that was the size and shape of a fist. Lesbians mean business, man. You know that vibrator they call The Rabbit? The lesbian version is a real fucking rabbit, stuffed, with beady glass eyes.

That's how scared I was. What if my masterpieces turned out to be the barbecue sauce kind, you know, from KC? What if my attempts are not even worthy of the bathroom wall at the Sistine Chapel. Can I live with myself? Worse, can I live with myself after I told everyone and you that I am taking the class?

Fuck it then. I have written this post long enough to abandon it forever. You know how it is. You've posted something just for the sake of posting something.

Please don't ask me to post any pictures of my work.



P.S. There is barely any stench left from the fart at the start of this post. But if I concentrate hard enough on the scent, it maybe enough for me to start another blog post...

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The amazing art of Chuck Close.

Books about the artists:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Throw It Away



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Cartoons - The New Yorker cartoons slay me. These are ones which have appeared in this site over the years.

The Deep South - My comic strip blog that rips off works of art. Now on haitus coz I'm lazy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Scar

This is my scar. It was a result of a surgery performed earlier in March.

It travels down my stomach like train tracks. It starts two inches above my navel, runs down, circles half-way around my navel as if it were a rotunda, then trails away another three inches before ending abruptly, abandoned, just near my treasure trail, as if treasure hunters abandoned the train and set off on foot to find the family jewels.

I rubbed the scar absentmindedly, tracing its rickety path, feeling twinges in spots--ghost pains, particularly in the darker knots. I imagined the sharp scalpel cutting through my skin as I lay unconscious on the operating table. I imagined the skin separating, slowly, like petals blooming open, a bloody rose; the separated flesh revealing the wetness of my organs.

I had never had been cut open before. I thought that all my firsts were over: my first kiss, my first job, my first pre-mature ejaculation. But I realized afterwards that those were the firsts that I had looked forward to--goals to be achieved. I didn’t know that as life went on, there were firsts that would come unbidden, sprouting underground, like sleeping cicadas: my first grey hair, my first lay-off, my first tumor.

In the minutes, the seconds before going under, I told Brian that I was going to be ok. “I’ll see you in a couple of hours,” I said, hoping my voice was confident, even. But I guess it wasn’t, because his eyes watered. And suddenly, I felt my own tears fall, our bodies heaving silently before we calmed ourselves down.

I was afraid. Meredith Grey’s stepmother went in for a routine procedure and died on the operating table, never knowing her own life was ended by Fate and/or the Nielsen ratings. My recent Google Page Rank or Technorati Authority were low enough to not tempt a dramatic turn, but I was nervous nonetheless. If this blog were Pink is The New Blog or Towleroad, I’d be afraid to cross the street. There is an out-of-control bus with their URL on it, waiting to make a sensational story in the blogosphere. My traffic is hopefully small enough not to tempt Fate, even if s/he had a fetish for Asians with lactophobia. Fate is a capricious tranny.


Anesthesia is not sleep. When you sleep, you toss around, your body moves; turning, like fallen leaves. Your body retreats into a nook; you dream, you moan. Anesthesia is blackness; it is nowhere, nowhen. There is no memory of it.

The surgery was exploratory. I was admitted for another bout of small bowel obstruction, something clogging up my plumbing. It was painful. They couldn’t explain why this is happening to a young, healthy guy with such a great manicure. When this happened to me before, they thought it unusual, but a fluke--the human body is mysterious and sometimes, like Fergie’s songs, you don’t need to look too deeply into it. Sometimes, the human body fails, like a celebutante and a breathalyzer test. You stay a few days at the L.A. County jail, you move on, you go on Larry King.

But a second bout in a relatively short time was unusual. They wanted to rule out certain things.

I didn’t want to think about these certain things.

When they cut me open, they found adhesions: strips of fleshy tape, like plastic wrap, that wound itself around my intestines. They told Brian when I went in that the surgery would be a couple of hours. It took twice that amount of time to cut away the adhesions. If I had been Brian, I would’ve been crossing nerves, climbing walls, compiling dust.

I woke up stapled. The skin on my stomach was gathered together, like continents colliding. The staples were uneven all along the incision, as if these train tracks were built in the old Wild West, rickety and precarious. They were the only thing that kept my guts from spilling out. I pictured my innards packed haphazardly, like a suitcase after a vacation, filled with jumbled dirty clothes.

I wondered idly if I they could’ve taken a kidney or half a liver--that would’ve brought me closer to my goal weight of 150 lbs. But it’s too late now, I have to lose weight the normal way, by abusing laxatives.

It’s been six months, the scar is no longer an angry red. It is maybe, just a little sulky maroon. Very slowly, like Pluto contemplating its orbit, the scar is fading away.

I’ll always remember that moment when I was scared and Brian was scared. It’s terrifying, this synchronicity. I always thought that when one of us was scared, the other would be unscared. I place my palm on my stomach, covering the scar.

But the scar peeked out from between my fingers, like flashes of an old memory; the memory of my fear.



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Check these out:

Today I Am Happy - A message for my future self to read.
A Sense of Impending Doom - An overwhelming sense of dread engulfs me.

Rollercoaster - My mom warned me that the good times will not last forever.
Revisionist History - In this blog post, I am all-powerful, bending the universe to my will.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Driving Home



Minister of our coming doom, preaching
On the car radio, how right
Your Hell and damnation sound to me
As I travel these small, bleak roads
Thinking of the mailman's son
The Army sent back in a sealed coffin.

His house is around the next turn.
A forlorn mutt sits in the yard
Waiting for someone to return home.
I can see the TV is on in the living room,
Canned laughter in the empty house
Like the sound of beer cans tied to a hearse.

- Charles Simic





Godspeed, soldiers.

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The Day After - A post I wrote the day after the Sept 11 attacks.
Poetry - Schmoetry. Stuff that rhyme and shit.

Stone - Another awesome poem by Charles Simic.
Back On The Bus - After the London bombings in 2005, I brave public transportation.


Books by Charles Simic:

Monday, September 10, 2007

British Invasion!




Catch up on the magic! Adventures awaited us in the busy streets of Soho, in the grand city of London. Where can you find the best Gay Food Porn? How can you discern a gay Londoner just by looking at the back of his head? How do you avoid Voldemort who apparently works in a booth in the Tube? Click on the icons above to navigate through the posts and find out!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Notes From The Underground

PREVIOUSLY: The Harry Potter Experience

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The world is my oyster, proclaimed Shakespeare, but that was because he didn’t have to travel via the Underground, or the Tube, as the locals affectionately call it. And by affectionate, I am referring to the feeling one has for that relative that comes to every family get-together and causes fights, eats all the food and brings no presents; the one you wish you could invite to your mother-in-law’s parties.

Well, Shakes wouldn’t be able to get around London these days without a pre-paid fare card called the ‘Oyster card.’ Any one-way fare within a zone was £4. With an Oyster card, it is £1.50, but you have to shell out a one-time, refundable £3 deposit for the card. Easy enough decision, as any Asian can tell you. If you don’t understand the math, pull a nearby Asian aside and they will be able to assist you. We’re very helpful.

On day 7, we had decided to take the tube to check out the Notting Hill area, sort of a dry-run for our return trip to Heathrow, since we’ve previously decided not to take a taxi to avoid getting killed by the nefarious, you know, currency exchange rate, which right now is at about £1 to $2.

The trip started easy enough. After being in London several days, we had reached a level of comfort that allowed us to expertly count out foreign coins, bravely explore neighborhoods and confidently pee into bushes when we couldn’t find the loo.

We boldly went to a ticket counter and got ourselves Oyster cards, loading it up with £3 pounds each, enough to get to Notting Hill Gate station from our station, Tottenham Court Road, and back.

We quickly arrived at Notting Hill and spent a couple of hours in the area, shopping and exploring the pretty neighborhoods so that when we come back later that evening, we know which houses to break into. Shopping and casing out homes are two of my favorite hobbies, next to knitting.

Then disaster strikes. First, on our trip back, my Oyster card wouldn’t let me in at Notting Hill Gate station, even though there should be enough fare left. After several tries, I went to a ticket agent who took my card and told me that I didn’t swipe my card when I left Tottenham Court Road (I did, I swear) and now I am short. But my ticket agent, a nice young woman, after reviewing the activity on the card, decided to fix the situation by reloading my card with £1.50 so I can enter. Problem solved, Brian and I entered the station.

However, when we arrived back at Tottenham Court, Brian's card wouldn't let him get out. We thought, well, the ticket agent here can fix this. Boy, we were wrong.

The agent, an older dude, told us that the balance on the card was negative £1. After arguing with the agent about how we had loaded enough cash for our little round trip, he accused Brian of following someone in and not touching the entry gate reader with his card, even though we both did.

First of all, we were obviously tourists due to our expertly coordinated outfits, and since we took the effort to buy the damn card and then asking for help, wouldn’t you think we were on the up-and-up? Plus, if he reviewed the history of the card like the woman at Notting Hill did, he would’ve come to the same conclusion as she did, that this was an unfortunate mix-up.

But the old guy wouldn’t budge. The vein in Brian’s neck was just about ready to bust. But seeing as we weren’t getting anywhere, Brian paid the damn £1. That should’ve been the end of the story, but oh-ho, we found that he still couldn’t get out. We went back to the old guy who told us that the reason was that now the balance was £0 and we had to pay another £1.50 just to get out. We were outraged! We threw hissy fits! But apparently the old guy was immune to our gay super powers so we begrudgingly paid the extra £1.50.

All in all, Brian paid £5.50 for the trip, which pissed us off, especially since the old dude could’ve fixed it, if he so wished.

After we had calmed down, back at the hotel, we discussed how this could’ve happened to us, since we made sure to touch our cards to the reader. We concluded that the first entry gate had a faulty reader and didn’t trigger our cards. We also remembered that this entry didn’t close after every person passed, remaining open. Of course, we didn’t think anything of it then, but in hindsight, we should’ve paid attention to that oddity.

Mystery of the Blimey Oyster Card solved.


Gentle reader, I pray that you don’t encounter this old guy at the Tottenham Court Road station, whom I didn't summon by uttering Voldemort's jinxed name. I pray that if you travel to London, you have better luck than us with the Oyster card.


NEXT: The Final London Post. Mystery Location!




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