Gash

私の心には一度穴があった
時間の経過とともに、すべての愛が流出した
ある日、私が見下ろしたとき
穴だけが残っていた。

 

(My poetry and I are awful, on so many levels.)

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We All Have Our Demons

 

I recently decided to rip into the blank Foomi figure someone gave me ages ago, turning it into this tiny grinning demon with a light-up jar head full of industrial junk and epoxy. Unsatisfied with his spiked mace accessory, I turned it into a brutal blood-soaked flail, to match all the screws and nails in his body. (He is a machine demon, you see, here to fuck up yo’ shit.)  I also went pretty hard on the glow-in-the-dark paint, as well. Upon being put up for sale on Facebook, he sold in a whopping three minutes– beating even my own previous record of seven minutes. He now lives with a nice lady named Jane in New York, and has been named “Kickstand” due to the, ah… apparatus which helps him counterbalance that big, heavy head.

Originally I had something else to say here too, but in the end… to hell with it.

Burning Fortress

battledamagecolor

 

Every once in a while, I challenge myself to a time limit, because if I don’t actively practice the act of completing my art, I will obsess myself to a standstill. Many wonderful things have died on my drawing board this way.

In order to see my ideas take form quickly, I often fall back on charcoal and ink. Even though charcoal is sloppy and imprecise, it is a pretty forgiving medium, which makes it idea for working out shapes and compositions one is unsure of. I’ll often finish it off with a brief pass with a fine tip marker or ballpoint pen, to drive home some of the more prominent parts of the fine details. Every once in a while I’ll brush in some coffee for a sepia tone feel, like in the pic above. It is from an ongoing body of concept art for a WWII comic about a B17 Flying Fortress which I am slowly developing, a rough draft which I scanned and subjected to a brief round of digital coloring. I did my best to do as little as possible, no “corrections”,  just the orange in the sky, the red on the wounded gunner and leaking oil, and some fiddling with transparencies and layers. I spent maybe fifteen minutes on the original drawing, and maybe another fifteen colorizing it. The final result is very different from my usual work, which is controlled and precise and takes forever to come to life, but I’m still oddly happy with it.

Lately I’ve been contemplating art as a medium for catharsis. I can communicate a great number of things through art, even things for which there are no words, but I can never truly work through my pain via art, like some artists can. (I get a bit jealous, really.) No matter how much I practice my weird handstyle or begin my paintings by literally throwing paint at them, I can find neither words nor images to encapsulate many of the things inside of me.

Festering Head Art

 

So, I’ve been doing painted hats again, and this time my take on rotting animal heads seems to be popular. This one is a bat head featuring the alchemical symbol for putrifaction. (Before this one there was a Satanic rabbit head, but I forgot to take photos of it when it was finished! Of all things…) The up-curved brim was actually a request from the person who commissioned it, apparently this Gomer Pyle-esque style is popular among skaterboarders here– it was certainly a challenge from a design point of view, but in the end I think I was able to capitalize on and give it a truly monstrous feel it by breaking the face up across three surfaces and putting the teeth right on the leading edge of the brim, like a sneering, up-turned lip. In fact, I may just adopt this technique and call it “monster style” from now on.

If the Starship Enterprise Were Run On Windows

If the Starship Enterprise were run on Windows

“Captain! We have a Romulan warbird decloaking off the starboard bow!”
“Raise the shields!”
“Raising shields, sir!”
To the shock of the crew, the screen goes completely black for a solid second.
“Uh, Ensign?”
A dialogue box appears asking for an administrator password to raise the shields. The ensign growls in frustration and types into his control panel. Windows rejects the password.
“I thought we turned User Account Control OFF!”
“Sorry sir, so did we,” the ensign replies from his control panel. The ensign types the password again, only to be greeted by another box asking for confirmation to raise the shields, upon which he angrily clicks ‘yes.’ Then, another confirmation box, after which a dialogue box appears with the words ‘shields raising,’ a time estimate, and a loading bar.
“I see it counting, but the time is going up instead of do–” Suddenly, the Captain is cut off by a photon torpedo slams into the ship.
“Damage report!” Nothing happens. The Captain waits for several seconds.”Damage report! God dammit… computer! Damage report! DAMAGE REPORT!”
No response.
What’s the hold up?!
“I don’t know, sir! We seem to be topping out our RAM and processor but I’m not sure why!!”
Another photon torpedo slams into the ship; several control panels explode.
“Fuck! Control-alt-delete it!”
“I can’t! It’s totally frozen now! We’re too far gone to even get the Task Manager pulled up!”
“But we weren’t even DOING ANYTHING before!! Did you try the power button?!”
“I’m holding it down, but nothing’s happening!”
Four damage reports appear onscreen simultaneously, all atop one another. Another photon torpedo hits the ship, rendering them all incorrect. Alarms begin blaring. The ensign quickly attempts to close the damage reports, only to begin fumbling ineffectually at his controls. “The keyboard shortcuts don’t work anymore– no, the mouse is frozen too, sir!”
An important-looking message appears behind the four frozen damage reports, where it cannot be read.
“I found it!” shouts the Helmsman. “It’s BITS! Background Intelligent Transfer Service is downloading a massive update and can’t be interrupted, or it will corrupt the hard drive!!” The panel explodes, killing the Helmsman.
“We’re just going to have to risk it! Engineering! Pull the power cord AND the batteries! Engineering…? Hello?”
“It’s no good sir, there’s some kind of problem with the audio drivers!”
“They worked fine ten minutes ago!!”
Another hit slams into the ship.
“God! Dammit! What’s taking so long?!”
“Volume Copy Shadow Service is jamming up the hard-drive!”
“I thought I turned that off!!”
“It got turned back on by the last update!”
“I thought it was still downloading?!”
“That was the LAST update… this is a new one!”
“HOW MANY FUCKING UPDATES DO WE–”
Another photon torpedo hits. Another panel explodes. A red-shirt falls over a railing and dies. A dialogue box appears on-screen asking for confirmation to close the damage reports. Once clicked, an ‘end task’ box appears, which then itself freezes and does nothing.
“Sir! The Romulans are hailing us!”
“On screen!… I SAID, ON SCREEN!”
“Nothing is happening! It’s completely fro– oh, wait…”
Suddenly the screen goes blank, as the ship’s computer eventually begins to reboot.
“God almighty, finally!”
A screen appears reading “installing updates, do not power off or unplug.”
“FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!”
The screen remains frozen as several more hits slam into the Enterprise. Panels explode everywhere. Life support systems fail. As the Captain lays dying, he glances up one last time at the screen, which blinks and changes as he watches, from “installing updates” to another loading screen which reads “preparing to configure Windows.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake…” the Captain says as his head falls to the floor, the life slowly fading from his eyes.
Ten minutes later, the sign-in screen appears, bathing the wrecked bridge and its crew of dead bodies in an eerie blue light.

 

Aboard the Romulan vessel, its Captain stands calmly, his arms folded, watching the Federation vessel explode on the screen before him. A malicious smirk widens across his face into a sneering grin.

“Fools,” he chuckles. “When will they ever learn? Helmsman, set a course for planet Earth.”

“Yes sir!”

A moment of silence passes as the ship fails to respond. The captain frowns and turns to the helmsman, who simply raises his eyebrows and shrugs. Turning back to the main screen, he finds that a small, multicolored wheel has appeared in the center, spinning silently.

“OH, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!”

 

 

(Ironically, Windows absolutely would not copy/paste this out of Notepad and into WordPress without massively fucking up the formatting for no apparent reason, causing me to take more time fiddling its goddamn appearance than it took to write the whole thing. And if the scroll buttons and keyboard shortcuts would work consistently, that would speed up my user experience quite a bit too. But apparently twenty-five years of developing Windows isn’t enough to nail down consistently working keyboard shortcuts. I can’t believe how much I paid for this faulty fucking OS.)

In a related tangent, I recently had a dream involving the fate of Windows 9. In this dream, Microsoft created what it considered to be the perfect operating system, one in which the computer is so overloaded with self-important tasks and processes that once turned on, it reached a state of self-serving computer Nirvana. With no system resources left for user tasks of any kind, it existed only to run itself and did nothing else, a kind of infinite closed loop. After contemplating the philosophical implications of this for a while, the engineers smashed the test computer with an axe because it would neither do anything nor shut off.

The End of the (Whiny Eurocentric Industrialized) World

It is said that those alive right now are witnessing the end of the world. As usual, this is Eurocentric arrogance. As in, it takes an extremely narrow view of the situation on planet earth and generalizes it as the norm.
 
Yes, environmental collapse will cause the end of industrialized society and life as we know it. Yes, many, many people will die in the eventuality of man and nature regaining equilibrium. The one thing that everyone seems to forget is that human life on earth does not exist in a neat, fragile, self-enclosed vacuum. There are people on this planet who, even now, live in the same manner as their ancestors did in the distant past, and in all the shades of adaptation to extreme adversity which lie between that life and the pampered, fragile “norm” of the twenty-first century. What will happen when the hospitals no longer have medicine and electricity? Ask a Mongolian shepherd. How can society exist without street lights, courts, and prisons? Ask a Masai hunter.
The fact is, humans adapt. While all of the fat, flabby Westerners will die because they can no longer use the Wikipedia app on their smart phones to look up ways to deal with the effects of rising sea levels on municipal infrastructure, the Aborigines and Amazonians and Masai will be fine. When disasters wipe out the cities, whose who never needed them will find themselves oddly at home. When the planes stop flying, those who were never able to board them in the first place will hardly notice the difference. When international commercial shipping collapses, those who have always had to scavenge their food from their environment might actually laugh at the newly starving masses.
 
Even the poor of America will have the combination of skills and lack of attachment to property which will ultimately allow them to adapt en masse, where those who rely on ephemeral means for their survival (management professionals, CEOs, bankers, Yelp reviewers, etc.) and have attachment to property (home ownership, business assets, Beanie Baby collections, etc.) will quickly  wind up unable to care for neither themselves nor their attachments, as a lack of mobility and over-reliance on the skills of others finally catch up with them.
 
Perhaps this is what is meant by the old prophecy “the meek shall inherit the earth.” Perhaps in this case “meek,” with its implications of humility and passivity, is not the right word. These things have no place in an adverse environment. Perhaps instead the word should be “marginalized” or “disregarded.” As in, “the disregarded shall inherit the earth,” because in industrialized society it is (as Karl Marx observed) those who work the hardest, produce the most, and possess the most readily applicable skills who gain the least regard, and also actually make society function– not the pampered, the praised, the wealthy, whose sole pursuit seems to be to gain the most while doing the least.
 
On a side note, I firmly believe that resentment of this self-reliance among the lower classes, whether articulated or subconscious, is what has lead the American oligarchy to sabotage them time and time again. This top-down class warfare has lead to the paradoxical and ultimately unsustainable situation in which society relies most upon those who have been deprived of decent education, access to healthy food, and health care. Like the old slave labor days, but now the slaves beat themselves into submission. However, no matter how “rich” a person might be, one ultimately cannot be an idiot who relies on another idiot for their survival. In the end, somebody has to have the skills to make life work, and it probably isn’t going to be the guy whose “wealth” comes from an invisible social agreement where one person does the bidding of another for no real reason. Even a dude who has done nothing but dig ditches his entire life has more use than that guy.

It makes me sad to think of all the people I know who will drown in the Apocalypse, clutching their dead smart phones above their heads in search of a nonexistent signal, crying out “but this isn’t faaaaaiiiirrrr, who’s in chaaaaarge heeeereee….!”

 

Art, Music, and Writing by J. Wells