Saturday, August 24, 2013

Better

Hey, it's okay. I feel a lot better now. I can't go into too many details right now because I have important big kid work to do! I'm moving out! And there's a lot to get done. For now, let's just chill out.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yeah, No, Seriously, Wow

So glad I'm a pathetic garbage "human". Feels good. Feels awesome. Life is awesome. Thanks for the totally rad mental fucking problems, it's all so chill.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Old Man's War

My good friend Paul introduced me to an amazing author the other day, John Scalzi. I never was a huge science fiction buff, though I was into it a bit more when I was younger. Mostly older stuff like Bradbury though, nothing too new. But Paul insisted that Scalzi's book, Old Man's War, was one of his favourites, and shit, paperback science fiction novels are like 10 bucks, so I gave it a shot...

And now I'm completely, head over heels in love! I cannot stress enough how this is easily one of the best books I have ever read. I knew I loved it when I was only two and a half pages in. Old Man's War is the first in a trilogy, thank god, because I finished it in less than a total of 24 hours and I need more. Also, I'm unused to books being so cheap, so you know what that means? Time to buy more and more and more and more and...

I also added another Christopher Moore book to my collection: Sacré Bleu: A Comedy D'Art. I have a very deep love for all of Moore's stories, and encourage everyone to give them a shot. They're funny as hell, but with amazing storytelling and some deeply emotional moments too. The tagline for Sacré |Bleu is:

In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himseld. Or did he?
 I feel like I'm at the right point in my life right now to have found this book. I don't think I would appreciate it as much as I think I'm going to if I didn't have my newfound art and art history background. Just started it today, so I'll probably be done by Sunday hahaha. Anyhow, I'm off for a lovely day of hanging out with my girl Sarah. We're going for lunch at The Tipper, a really great little place near my work, and then who knows. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Are You My Mother?

Since it was my birthday a couple of days ago, I decided to buy myself a present yesterday: two books. One was an anatomy book for artists (it's so beautiful!) that I've been meaning to buy for a while, and the other one is a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother? It's the companion to a previous novel, Fun Home. Of course, I'm already 3/4 of the way through it, and completely loving every second of it.

When I read Fun Home, it was my first time in college. I was 18, and determined to become and English major. In taking as many English and Literature classes as I could, I ended up taking one of "The Graphic Novel". My teacher at the time said that he had had a hard time getting permission to teach this class, and met with a lot of resistance from fellow professors. This was not astonishing news. At the time of this class, almost 4 and a half years ago, graphic novels had not yet reached a great degree of recognition. Today, they're making better progress.

The rest of my class was completely flummoxed by Fun Home. Bechdel is smart, and it wasn't like many other graphic novels I had encountered. I read the entire thing twice before we discussed it the following week in class, completely enthralled with a form of storytelling that I didn't yet have much experience with. It had such a personal, yet matter-of-fact tone that I hadn't seen in the other comics and graphic novels that I had read up until that point. She was good at thinking, which sounds crazy, but is something that most people are not very good at. She thought about things, and then thought about thinking about them.

During my Fine Arts program, I had to talk two classes: Cultural Theory, and Critical and Cultural Theory. Hands down the hardest classes I have ever taken in my life. At the beginning of the first class, my teacher Lynn Ruscheinsky, told us that this class was supposed to teach us how to think. We scoffed. Thanks but no thanks. I'm fairly sure we already know how to think. We thought of this statement as arrogant. But you know what? She was right! It did teach me how to think! Okay, not that I didn't already know how to think about things, but it taught me how to think about things harder, if that makes any sense. I came to see that it was a kind of glorified philosophy class, but less of the stereotypical ideas of what a college philosophy class is like, and more reading and reading and reading and READING about all these people and ideas. I already knew a bit about most of them. Plato, Nietzsche, Freud, Darwin... I had a bit of a footing with them. The others (Hume, Althusser, Foucault, Saussure, Essed, etc) I was much less framiliar with, but quickly learned to keep up. There was a lot more on psychology than I had anticipated. It was a little dizzying sometimes.

After the class was over, I was convinced that I learned absolutely nothing from it. I passed with a B (somehow?) and was content to forget about it. But two weeks ago, discussing it with Sarah, we both agreed that it had completely changed the way that we approached thinking about things. I feel like I'm more mentally capable than I used to be. And since that class, I have read so many things that directly reference things that I learned in Cultural Theory, and I would have been lost in my reading if I hadn't learned about it in school.

So, back to Alison Bechdel. I feel like I found Fun Home and Are You My Mother? at very appropriate times in my life. Fun Home was my first foray into what else graphic novels could be, and it enticed me in. Are You My Mother? would have been so much more impossible to understand if I hadn't taken Cultural Theory. It's smarter than Fun Home, and more challenging.

I can't gush enough about it. I wish I wasn't almost done. I always do this, where I completely power through a book. I know I'll go back and read it at least 3 more times though, and each time I'll pick up on an idea I missed the first time. I wish I could meet her, and tell her... I don't know, I don't want to say "what an inspiration she is to me!" because it sounds so over-eager and dramatic. I just really wish I could make comics like she can. To be fair, she's been at it a lot longer than I have, and maybe longer than I've even been alive? She's just cool as hell, and she makes me want to learn more. She talks a lot about this guy Donald Winnicott, a psychoanalyst, and I'm thinking about going to the library and finding some of his stuff to read, because it's actually really interesting.

If I actually met her though, she'd think I was the biggest idiot ever though, because I cannot talk to people that I admire without losing my voice and going red. Thank you, anxiety. It sounds like she's got anxiety problems like I do too though, so maybe she'd understand and take pity on me, haha.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's All Art, You Twat-Weasles

Can I please, please, please just make art without it being pointed out to me that illustration and "art" are different things? Maybe I like illustrating jokes for my friends. How can you honestly look at a thoughtfully drawn illustration and differentiate, and then look at something fucking Duchamp puked up and call that art.

Plebians.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Different Kind of Fix

My role in life has made itself apparent to me. The thing that I am best at doing is helping people. But not in a mundane way. I seem to be best at helping people be at ease. I'm not doing a very good job at explaining it, I know. But it's like... like I seem to be able to lift the veil for people, and bring them out into the sunshine. To just put out a hand, and touch someone, and coax them into some sense, however brief, of gladness or serenity or joy.

I'm not trying to sound high and mighty about this. Quite the opposite, I am incredibly humbled at my seeming ability to do this. I'm happy that I can help. I feel like art is just another avenue for me to help out. Images can effect us deeply, and I appear to be very capable of creating things that bring other people joy. It's a good feeling, and it gives me a sort of peace of mind, knowing that I've found what I'm really good at. I like quietly moving amongst the people in my life, stopping here and there to pick somebody up.

The only thing that occassionally worries me, when I stop long enough to let myself think about it, is: Who's going to pick me up?

(Also, please check out this link! It leads to some of the most marvelously beautiful photography I've ever seen: http://www.kirstymitchellphotography.com/gallery.php?album=5 )

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cherchez La Femme

I'd like to talk about a subject that I am very sensitive to. Normally I wouldn't even discuss it, because I feel like talking about it is just feeding the beast. But I decided that that's silly, and I can talk about whatever I like, and if you don't like it, well, then I don't like you.

Hi, my name is Lisa, and I'm a girl nerd.

Or or nerd girl? Or geek girl? Or... or something? See, I'm even hesitant to name it, because the second you call yourself a "girl geek" or whatever, you're setting yourself up for adversity. You cannot call yourself a "girl geek" or anything similar without feeling that, somewhere out there in the world, someone is rolling their eyes at the term. We all know what the so-called "girl geeks" are. They're wannabes, they're phonies, and most of all, they are not REAL fans.

But I'm NOT a phony! I am a real fan! Fuck labels! Why do I need to differentiate myself from others by tacking the "girl" part in there? Why can't we all just be geeks or nerds or whatever we want together? But at the same time, why can't I call myself whatever I like? I'm a girl, who also happens to be fairly (read: extremely) geeky. If I want to call myself a "girl geek" or anything similar, I should be allowed to without fear of judgement from others.

This is the train of thought that keeps me torn. I want to distance myself from stereotypes, but at the same time, I want to be able to call myself whatever the hell I please. And while there are definitely living, breathing stereotypes of these types of girls out there (ex. grrl gamerz), and we've definitely all met them before, there are also boys who could be classified as wannabes, phonies, and less than die-hard fans.

I was raised by two parents who were into pretty much nothing that I'm into. They did a great job at nurturing my creativty and imagination by kicking me out of the house all day and letting me ramble about the woods with my siblings, but they did not expose me to pop culture, video games, comics and all that jazz. I had to discover these things on my own. That's why I did not play through my first video game until I was 18 (excluding the different variations of Pokemon that I and everyone else in my generation played as children). I didn't watch the right shows, or movies, so a lot of references are lost on me. I've never watched an entire episode of Doctor Who, because frankly, the years and years of already existing story is intimidating to catch up on. I've recently started playing Magic, but only because Max introduced me to it, and I am hyper-aware of the stereotype that exists of girls playing Magic only because their boyfriends got them into it. Yeah, Max is the big reason why I was exposed to the game, but I also think it's really cool.

I'm incredibly tired of people remarking how unusual it is for a girl to take part in the traditional male world of geekdom. I cannot wear a shirt with references to a game that I like without at least one person remarking on it. I have a beautiful Portal 2 shirt that I no longer wear to work because I'm tired of talking to people about it. An older couple once asked me what my shirt was of. I gave them a brief explanation ("A game I like called Portal), and then had to explain to them the concept of Portal. Have you ever had to do that? It's not as easy as one would think. They didn't even know what a portal was. And after I told them about it, I was rewarded with "Gee, it's so nice that they're making more games for girls these days." Sigh. They also added "Not like those horrible, violent shooting games. You don't play those, do you?" They looked pretty sure that I would agree with them that, yes, shooting games are horrible and violent, and no, I certainly do no play them. But:

"Oh, no, I do play them. A lot. And I'm really good at them." They were polite, but visibly disapproving.

This is trivial. This is an occurence that happens less than 10% of the time to me, and therefore should no matter. But it DOES matter. It matters to me! I'm tired of being belittled over the subject. And it's starting to get into my head. Recently, I did some investigating into the subject of larping. I knew what larping basically was (for the uninitated: LARP stands for Live Action Role-Playing), but never really knew what it was all about. I go (or went, rather) to school with a boy who said he did it quite frequently, then ran into him at Fan Expo in his larping outfit, and later had a conversation with another boy about it at work. So there it was, stuck in my head, and I did some reading.

So, it's probably like the coolest thing ever, right? RIGHT! I want to do this so badly! I'm dead serious. This looks like my kind of activity, 100%. I was daydreaming about how much fun I would have, the cool people I might meet, and how it looks like decent exercise to boot, and then...

But what would they think of me? Some random, stupid girl that wants to inflitrate their hobby? I wouldn't know anything to start off, and they would see me as some dumb poser.

Thanks for that, society. You did it. You conditioned me into thinking that I can't participate in something because people will judge me for my gender.

Anyone who knows me, knows that i'm not one to harp on about how women are still mistreated by society. Mostly, it doesn't effect me. But everytime one of those thoughts pops into my mind, and everytime a stranger tells me "What's that going to be like for a girl in a man's world?" in relation to my desire to make comics, it does effect me. And I don't like it.


So as I get more into Magic, more into comics, more into games, and cosplay, and movies and tv shows and hell, maybe even larping, I'm going to shrug off this mentality; that I can't be good enough for the things that I like because I'm a girl, and that geekdom is a boys-only club that requires me to prove myself before I join. i can do whatever I want and be good at it to boot, girl or not.

----

Sorry if I totally started to ramble towards the end there. Truth is my attention span is too small to handle long posts, and my interest wanes. But this was something I've been increasingly thinking about, so it needed to be said.

Also, +10 points if you saw the Fallout reference.