Today was slow to start. I spent most of daylight hanging around the apartment while the maintenance guys dealt with putting a new chain in the one ceiling fan that was lacking that, and with fixing the faucet handle in the tub that was barely hanging on by one screw. I got the first of my two bookshelves almost filled, an important step in feeling like Home, then sat around poking at the internet way too long.
But then I went out and while I was feeling so spoilt for being able to start every trip around the city by bicycling down an oak-shaded parkway, I saw something big and black coming towards me from one side. An owl? No, a fucking grey heron flying past my path to land in an oak tree. I think there’s a few living on the parkway near me, last week I surprised one while I was biking home in the evening.
And then I went out to City Park with the intent to maybe draw.
I sat on a bench by a fountain and just didn’t have the energy to work, so I did my daily half-hour of meditation instead. It was a lot easier than usual to quiet down my mind and I suspect this may have been because the sounds of cicada screaming WHO WANTS SOME FUK at each other created a pleasant distraction. Or maybe I just finally put enough time into it that my brain’s starting to cooperate. I suspect it was the horny insects though.
Then I went to a cafe and worked on Parallax for a while. I’m starting to get back into the arting groove and make some progress on stuff every day, which is really nice after like three months of Moving. I really need to get a workspace together at home, though. Can’t work on porn commissions at a cafe or in the park, plus I have a chance of getting more done if I’m puttering around the desk at home. Eventually I will find the right components for a standing setup that I like again.
I stopped at the supermarket on the way home. On my way out I noticed a mosquito hawk sitting on a notice next to the door, and reflected on how when I left I might have been tempted to kill it, but now I’m kind of delighted to see any bug that doesn’t want to eat me or shit in my stored food, especially after thirteen years in the frozen hells of Boston and Seattle where there are a lot less different kinds of creatures out and about in general. Every critter is kind of a pleasant surprise.
Every day here kind of feels amazing. It’s good to be back down here. I hope I get to live here for a good long time, though news like “the ice caps are experiencing a summer melt much more forcefully than ever before observed” makes me fear I won’t. Enjoy it while it lasts, I guess.
A couple of blocks away from me on Jefferson Davis Parkway, there is a stepped pedestal. I am pretty sure it used to have a statue of some Confederate military figure; now it’s just an empty pedestal. I have seen people sitting atop it meditating, and think I need to try that someday.
The other day I passed by there on my bike and there was a skinny dude wearing a big grey mask that I can only describe as “the skeleton of a dead carrot”. He was dancing around up there with a friend filming him. I did what came naturally, and hollered HAIL KING CARROT! ALL HAIL THE KING OF CARROTS! as I passed by.
Today I was bicycling home from a cafe in the Quarter. The tail end of a rainstorm was still passing through. I came to the place where the bicycle trail passes under the I-10; there’s a little parking lot there with a pop-up vegan takeout joint in a repurposed shipping container. In that parking lot were a half dozen dudes with assorted drums, banging out apocalyptic rhythms that were both infectiously danceable and really sophisticated; I could hear them a good block away despite the noise of the rain and the cars overhead. Turns out the space under a highway is pretty damn good for drum practice.
I have been toying with the idea of doing a series of portraits of deities to flog at some of the galleries downtown. As I cycled home in the rain, I decided maybe I should do one of the city’s personal Storm King, as well – praying to the ghost of Nash Roberts for a little extra intervention with the weather feels like a good idea as we slide into hurricane season.
I continue to feel astonishingly spoilt to have grown up in this weird little city that no sane person would have founded in these swamps, and to be able to return to it after enough time away to realize how unique it is compared to the rest of the US. I hope it continues to not be washed away for many a decade.
So last night I sat around and drew a picture of my dragon self, put it on top of a photo I took of a part of City Park, and then spent a little time making her look vaguely sweaty.
click for full size, contains bare lizard titties
This morning, I realized something. For the past several years I’ve mostly described myself as a dragon from New Orleans. But in a technical sense, Peganthyrus has never been from New Orleans – the player entity on Furrymuck bearing her name was created in fall 1995, and I moved to Los Angeles in summer 1995. She was something I created as I figured out who I was outside of the expectations of the place and people I grew up with. Nick’s been calling me a “swamp dragon” for a lot of the past few years as my desire to get the hell out of Seattle for somewhere warmer grew, but it’s kind of been a lie if I look at the dates like that.
And now here I am back in New Orleans, discovering that running around with a fine film of warm sweat on my body is something I miss. And since she is basically Me, so is Peganthyrus.
I’m just gonna retroactively declare her as also being from here, I guess. Or something. She had her own history once but it’s mostly fallen away as she stopped being A Character and started being Me, But A Cartoon Dragon. I kinda feel like I’m not entirely from New Orleans any more either; I was twenty five years old when I left, and Peganthyrus will be twenty five years old this year. That’s a significant chunk of a lifetime.
This feels like a weird complicated thought to untie, and also not like one really worth spending a lot of time untying. Enjoy the sweaty dragon titties.
I spent a while today and Monday doing something I’d been putting off for a good while: resizing the styles for the Mixolyne mechs. See, I’d drawn them super-huge originally, and a lot of the graphic styles I’d built out of those drawings performed poorly when I tried to use them at the right size. I’d been resizing them on an ad-hoc basis every time I pulled the styles into a new page, but last Monday I pulled up the first of several rough pages where Kirt and Noa will be spending a lot of time running around in their mechs, emoting at each other through body language, and I just really did not feel like rescaling these styles for every page individually like I’d done for the first few pages.
A few weird Illustrator hangs later, I’ve generated a feature request for folders in the Graphic Style palette, decided to do an ugly organizational kudge in the meantime of blank styles serving as separators to help me find stuff in the giant sprawling pile of styles I’ve ended up with, and created sets of styles for these mechs in both their shiny, healthy versions and the “dehydrated” versions they started the story in.
This took me a few hours but it should help a lot when I start actually drawing these pages; by doing this I’ve piled up a bunch of cool effects and taught Illustrator how to do them for me, and now I can just mindlessly re-use all of them at high speed.
So last year I was in this anthology Alex DeCampi put together called “Twisted Romance”.
It’s up for an Eisner. I get to put “Eisner-nominated” on every attempt to find a publisher for Parallax now. Maybe I’ll even get to put “Eisner-winning”. I’m not sure what the protocol is for saying “nominated for/received one thirteenth of an Eisner” but I guess I get to figure that out now.
If you make comics then you’re eligible to vote. Yes, even web comics or small press stuff. http://www.eisnervote.com has everything you need to know if you wanna vote for me and the rest of the Twisted Romance crew, anthologies are in the second page if you don’t have any opinions about the other categories.
I am also up for a fraction of a Lambda; the all-trans anthology I was in is in the running for one of those. Those don’t seem to be public voting so we’ll see how that goes. It’s been a good year for this sort of thing for me, I guess!
I just woke up to the first real thunderstorm I’ve heard in… I can’t even remember how long. Quite possibly since I left New Orleans back in 1995. After the center passed over us (as telegraphed by the time between seeing flashes of lightning through my still-closed eyes while lying in bed, and hearing the thunderclap roar across the land), I got up and went out on the porch to watch the rain come down for a bit.
I have missed that more than I knew.
And the back of my head is singing a little song from nursery school days:
The old man is snoring
Went to bed, bumped his head
And couldn’t get up in the morning.
Once again it’s that special time of year where it becomes vitally important that people who have seen the latest installment in a never-ending big-budget movie series not “spoil” the plot by talking about how shocking it was when Thanos declared his eternal love for Bucky.
It is also that special time of year when people like me who haven’t seen any of these movies feel compelled to grumble about them dominating the discussion.
I kind of feel like the story of how serialized adventure movies went from being a series of shorts filling out a matinee to a completely archaic form to something that squashes the global box office under its titanic spandex-clad ass a few times a year has a lot of interesting things to teach us about financing and story-building but holy crap if I never hear another damn word about Star Wars or the Avengers or whatever in the rest of my life I would be pretty happy.
Anyway I should have some breakfast.
For most of the time I’ve lived in this apartment, the living room has been dominated by shelves with my fursona painted on them at life-size.
But now they are gone. Starkatt and her friend came by to haul them off to their new home. I am told there is a very high chance these shelves will be filled with the tools and products of a Dicksmithy. I think I am totally fine with my fursona being FILLED WITH DICKS.
Also I just liked looking at the clear spots in the dust that had collected on top of the shelves. A line of electric candles, the base of a glass swan I inherited from my mom, and a couple vague blobs where some dragon flags and a plushie lived.
It will feel weird to not round the corner and see my dragon self staring back at me. I may have to set up something similar in the new place, whether by painting it on the wall, or on new shelves… we will see. Between this and taking down the canvas print of the luminous white angel-dragon that I had on the inside of the front door, it definitely feels like I really don’t live here any more. The bedroom and kitchen and bathroom still look inhabited but that should change soon.
I was also pretty glad to not find anything lost in the space behind the shelves. There’s like two or three boxes worth of stuff hanging around the living room still, I would like to see myself make a dent in that before bed tonight but getting the last things out of the path between the shelves and the door felt like significant work for the day…
The Ἄνεμοι (Anemoi) were, collectively, the wind gods of Ancient Greece.
Feels like a good title for a piece based on what I saw swirling around my plane when I asked the spirits of the air to convey us safely across the “bomb cyclone” that covered a lot of the US recently.
Illustrator, two hours spread out across a couple weeks.
Opening one’s third eye comes easily for some, slowly for others. It is not advisable to use a scalpel to hasten this process along.
Portrait commission, about six hours.