spoiler warning

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.

end of an era

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…

Ἄνεμοι

 

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.

Significant Ink

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.

For Sale: Tarot prints.

Back in 2008, I drew what would eventually become the traditional portion of the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, and made big prints of those images for a gallery show. Most of ’em sold; the rest went into my closet. A few years later, I moved to Seattle, and brought the ones that didn’t sell all the way across the country with me.

I’m moving to New Orleans now and I really don’t wanna haul all of them another couple thousand miles.

Here’s what’s available:

(edit: a lot of these sold pretty quickly, thank you everyone! I’m down to three now, none of which are the super-bulky Majors.)

2×3’ Majors: Fortune, Lovers, Hanged, Temperance.

Suggested price $50, plus shipping – looks like $45 to the West Coast, $70 to the East, none if you’re in Seattle. Everything but the Lovers has had some interest, I’m waiting to see what folks think of the shipping before I mark ’em as sold.

sorry, both claimed!

Both of these are gone too. That felt good.

12×20” Courts: Queen of Wands, Chevaliers of Wands, Pentacles, and Swords, King of Pentacles

I don’t have a photo of her, she’s got the same frame and border treatment as the others. :)

both of these are gone now, yay!

these two are both sold now, hooray!

yay, these are both sold too!

9×13” Minors: 3w (above), 10s, 5p, 5s, 5w, 7c.

Both of these are SOLD, thanks genie friend <3

oop, sorry, this lady and her reflection are sold!

I didn’t take photos of these last two, they’re framed exactly like the other Minors.

Also I have this:

She’s two feet across, acrylics, glows in the dark/UV, and may contain an uncharged “guardian” enchantment for your home. $200 suggested price, make me an offer.

All the Tarot prints are one-off giclée prints, done on a huge printer with like eight or nine different ink tanks for a wide color gamut.

Suggested prices are $30 for the Minors, $40 for the Courts, and $50 for the Majors, plus shipping – I don’t have shipping estimates right now, if anyone out of town wants one I’ll get some. But honestly if you are in Seattle you can pretty much name your price as long as you’re willing to come pick it up yourself and give me some cash.

(Shipping estimates: minors can fit in a USPS flat rate box to anywhere in the US for $15. Majors look to range from $50 to ship to CA, to $70 for New Jersey. Might be a bit more for someone in the Gulf South. Haven’t gotten one for any Courts yet.)

Comment here or send me some email at [email protected] and we’ll work things out.

a mighty fine slice of pie

Tonight I went to Lil’ Woody’s for a burger, then to Pie Bar for a slice of pie and a drink.

The first time I went to Pie Bar, several years ago on a cold night where I felt like an adult who could have dessert first if she damn well pleased, I said to myself, this is a cool little place with a nice romantic vibe, I should take people I wanna sleep with here in the future. And I have, now and then. Thinking of that on the way home, I find myself pondering if there’s anyone I should take there again before I leave town for good. Or anyone I should take there who I haven’t yet.

These sure are not thoughts I ever really expected to be in a position to have when I was a sad, angry teen boy.

Anyway. It was good pie.

cures for homesickness

A while back, I encountered an excerpt from a book of magic by the Chilean mystic/movie director Alejandro Jodorowsky: a cure for homesickness. Acquire a box of dirt from your homeland, and regularly sit in a comfy chair with one’s bare feet resting in this dirt.

It sounds at once goofy and exceedingly obvious, at least if you look at the world through a magical lens.

I keep on thinking about that spell as I go around my apartment, putting things in boxes. Because a while back I acquired a whole bunch of Mardi Gras doubloons from my hometown of New Orleans, and scattered them about the floor of my living room and bedroom to create a cartoony sort of “dragon’s lair” ambience. And now and then I would stand barefoot in them, wiggle my toes, and feel really good about doing this. I chalked that up to the mostly-joking “I am a dragon!” thing I have going on in my life; of course dragons feel good when they’re wallowing in their hoards, right? But maybe I was just doing an unwitting variation on that homesickness spell.

I keep on thinking about this because, while most of the doubloons are packed into a few small boxes, I keep finding more of them hidden under things as I work on going through everything I own and either packing it up or selling/giving away/donating/trashing it.

sigils: towards a modern aesthetic

It occurs to me that not a single person who has worked on popularizing Austin Osman Spare’s methods of “sigil magic” has been, like, actually an artist.

So everyone draws these little things that chase the aesthetics of Goetic demon seals. Occasionally people will look at a Vodun veve for inspiration. But whatever they do, they always make little line-drawn symbols that positively reek of Witchiness. Or of the glyphs in Seuss’ On Beyond Zebra. Sometimes you will see people paraphrasing Grant Morrison about how you can see corporate logos as powerful sigils of corporate egregores… but I never see anyone writing about Sigil Majgickqgh who actually tries to use that aesthetic. They just make the usual witchy scribbles. Because none of them seem to, like, actually draw as their vocation.

But I’m an artist. Spare was an artist. Sigils are fucking art majgickqgh.

I mean, I’ve been guilty of making Obviously Witchy Sigils too. It’s what everyone does in their examples, so it’s what I copied. And sometimes that is exactly the aesthetic something needs.

But. Lately I’ve been getting out of my armchair and making some sigils again. I’ve been starting with the usual modern chaos magic workflow of “throw out vowels and duplicate letters, start combining letters into a pleasing pattern”… but instead of keeping it a linear thing I could draw with pen and paper as I start finessing it, I’m just letting my hands do what they do naturally when I’ve got Illustrator open, and using a lot of solid shapes. Treating it as a rough sketch that vanishes, instead of lines to preserve.

I haven’t quite gotten anything down to the graphic power of, say, one of Paul Rand’s logos yet. Or maybe one of Jim Flora’s lively cubist album covers. But I’m getting somewhere that feels right. Somewhere that feels like art as well as magic.

I should probably actually find a copy of Spare’s books and plow through them sometime soon instead of reading yet another person rehashing Peter Carroll’s simplification of Spare.

above: some WIP sigils, none of them are entirely There yet, never mind charged, and in fact one of them saw some major revisions after I asked myself “what would Jim Flora do with this image to make it suck less” in the course of writing this post.


(and yes, I know that there is also a tradition of making sigils by just hooking up points on a grid of letters, and, y’know, that works but it is so utilitarian and boring…)

moving home

March 4: Nick and I got on a plane in Seattle, sat a while, then got off another plane in New Orleans, picked up our rental car, and went to my friend Lewis’ place to sleep.

March 5: We joined Lewis and Jeanine in going downtown, as we had accidentally scheduled our trip to coincide with Mardi Gras. Their plan was to bicycle about the city and sample the parades; we didn’t have bikes available, so we split up. When we got to Zulu, I raised my hands, hollered for beads, and got smacked in the face by a whole bag full. I shared them with Nick and then giddily dragged him up Zulu’s route against the flow of the floats, stoping regularly to scream for beads. He got hit in the side of the head with one of their medallions and was worried it drew blood for a bit. By the time we’d caught Rex at fast-forwards, he was utterly exhausted and overloaded with all these new sights and experiences, while I was feeling a place inside me get filled up that I hadn’t realized had been empty half my life.

Over the next few days we drove around New Orleans, checking out neighborhoods, and scoured various rental mapping websites to figure out what area we wanted to live in.

March 8: We started filling in an application for either of two amazing three-bedroom places in Mid-City and realized that, technically, someone in the Seattle postfurry scene from whom we were both Very Estranged was our second-previous landlord. We diffidently contacted her asking her to be chill if our new potential landlords followed up on us truthfully listing her in the list of past landlords. She demanded an apology from Nick, which he wrote at length.

We spent the weekend, in part, worrying about how this was going to go over. She could potentially ruin our chances if they contacted her, y’know? But we got the application finished off, and submitted electronically.

March 11: We went by the realty office to let them know we’d submitted the application, and wanted to make sure it was in the running for both places, not just the one officially assigned to it in their online system. They told us it was, and that they were handing off our application, and those of the four or five other people interested in these two places, off to the property owner that morning; we could expect some news within the hour. We bummed around midtown for a bit with lunch and chilling in City Park, then went back to Lewis’ place in Harahan (where we’d been staying).

Shortly after getting back, the phone rang. We did not get the absolutely dreamy three bedroom shotgun house one block off of Canal but we got the only slightly less amazing (and slightly cheaper) 3br shotgun two blocks off Canal was ours if we wanted it, and could come in to sign the lease today.

Five minutes after that, Nick got mail from the Very Estranged ex-friend going on at great length about the many, many sins that both he and I have committed to her person, her absolute blamelessness in all of our interactions, and how she could not ever say anything nice about us ever. We laughed. All that stress and fear, for naught.

Tomorrow, we run in town to grab the keys, then fly back to Seattle. And start packing or selling all our stuff. I think we may be hanging the beads we caught in a place of honor when we start decorating the new place; they really felt like the city saying HEY WELCOME HOME in its own special way.

It’s far from a perfect city. It’s got its flaws. It’s got its disasters. But I think that after twenty five years away from it, thirteen of which were spent leaning what “winter” is really like, I will be glad to be back home.

it’s probably nothing

October 2017: Astronomers in Hawaii discover an extrasolar object shortly after it’s slingshotted around the Sun. They name it ʻOumuamua, which roughly translates to “first distant messenger” or maybe “advance scout”.

June 2018: ʻOumuamua’s trajectory changed without any visible reason for it to do so. There’s probably a mundane explanation. It’s probably not a course adjustment on its way to the next destination. It’s probably not a deliberate wiggle to acknowledge that we were watching it and talking about it. There’s probably a perfectly fine reason for it being ten times shinier than the average comet, and there’s probably a perfectly sensible reason that its slow trajectory change was consistent with what a light sail would create rather than the abrupt change of a breakup or outgassing. There’s probably explanations for all the other interesting facts the chair of the Harvard astronomy department lists in this article, too. It’s probably not aliens.

January 2019: During a lunar eclipse, when humanity is paying a lot more attention to the moon than normal, something flashes on it near the middle of the eclipse. “Just a beachball-sized meteorite”, astronomers are currently saying. “Happens all the time, we just can’t see it when the sun’s on the moon.”

It’s probably just something mundane. Probably something boring. Probably not the work of an extrasolar probe that either knows it’s been seen, or doesn’t care if it is. It’s probably not something dropped on the moon by an alien probe.

Four days later, astronomers (again in Hawaii, with followup observations in London) notice a very low-mass object taking a highly erratic path around the earth outside the Moon’s orbit. Kinda like a trash bag blown in the wind. Looks really light for its size. It’s probably just a piece of junk that fell off of one of our satellites or something. Probably. It’s totally just a coincidence that the Popular Science article about this that I’m linking to compares it to the mechanics behind solar sails. It’s probably not some kind of exploration package ‘Oumuamua dropped off when it zoomed through the “Goldilocks zone” of our solar system. It’ll probably fall into our atmosphere and burn up, or get knocked out of anything resembling Earth orbit in a couple weeks.

Probably.

I’m probably just stoned and telling myself a story.

It sure works as the opening act of a first contact story, though. In the tiny possibility that it is one, I hope it’s more “The Day The Earth Stood Still” than “The War Against The Chtorr”.