When I sent cards to the people I care about for the holidays in 2012, I didn’t end up getting most of them mailed out until early in 2013. With that in mind, I figured I’d play it safe this time around and draw something that’d play off my anticipated tardiness. So (of course) the cards ended up being totally ready to go with more than enough time to spare before Christmas. But that’d mean my joke wouldn’t work! So I held off on asking for addresses ’til I figured it was late enough that people wouldn’t suspect I was asking for the sake of Christmas cards and then waited even longer (January 1st) to actually drop them in the mail.
I held off on sharing this cartoon ’til now because I wanted my friends to see it for the first time when it showed up in their mailbox. And then a couple months went by and I just forgot about it.
So here it is, “Happy Martin Luther King or Valentine’s Day! (punctuality’s not really my strong suit).”
If we’re pals and you didn’t get one, it’s ’cause (1) I asked for your address and you didn’t give it to me; (2) I didn’t ask for your address ’cause I thought I already had it but you’ve moved and I don’t know it; (3) you were just one of those unfortunates that was probably on my list but got lost in the shuffle. Better luck next year! (And in the meantime, send me your god damn address). I love all of you.
“I get a physical at least once a year. Not by design. It’s part of most places’ intake process.”
I don’t remember if I had this idea or if I just drew something that developed into a kid in a straight jacket and then added the caption after the fact. Either way, it’s silly but it’s not really a joke. The only check-ups I’ve had in years were all in treatment centers, mental wards, and methadone clinics.
I’m still outta town, visiting a friend. Today, I met James; he’s seven years old and really great at Mad Libs. For example:
Yesterday my friend Poop and I walked across town to see Santa at our local poop store. But there was a long line of kids waiting to poop with Santa. As expected, he was a big, round poop who wore a bright red poop. Whenever a little kid came up to him, Santa would sit the child on his poop and ask, “Have you been a good little poop this year?”
James has been lucky to find his niche early in life and I admire his confidence in ignoring his detractors and refusing to deviate or stray from his vision. He knows what works and he delivers.
The plans were made and my flight was booked just a few hours before I made my way to the airport; I left Florida this morning to visit a friend for the week. She picked me up at the airport and we went back to her place, where I found this watercolor painting that I had given her after painting it back in February. It was my first time using non-Crayola watercolor paints, which were a gift from a friend. The special (watercolor specific) paper I used was also a gift from a(nother) friend. I’m very lucky in that sense. The words are still a little uncomfortable but… I’m very blessed.
I’ll be fairly preoccupied until I get back to Jacksonville on Friday night, so don’t take it personally if I don’t respond right away to comments, texts, emails, etc.
And if you ordered the Like Bats cassette and/or any art/prints last night or today, my apologies for the delay. I had no idea (or even any reason to suspect) that I’d be taking this trip until earlier this morning. I’ll ship everything out just as soon as I get home.
Rather than pay attention in group one morning, I decided to try and sketch my friend sitting across from me.
I’m pretty sure that this was my first (and only) attempt at an honest portrait. My technical ability as an artist is so limited that I rarely ever risk even trying to draw caricatures. I can think of seven exceptions but the only ones online so far are Rational Anthem, Heather, and Servo & Megan.
Matt and I were sitting outside smoking cigarettes one day and he had some paperwork to fill out. We both thought it was pretty silly that the form asked for his race and ethnicity and, while he was initially hesitant, I was eventually able to convince him to have a little fun with it.
You know that feeling when you’re hanging out with people in your favorite bands and you’re pretending that you’re as cool as they are (or – put another way – that you don’t secretly think they’re, like, THE COOLEST EVER [just ’cause they happen to be in a band you really like])? And you pull it off successfully?
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re a liar. (Because we bothknow YOU’RE NOT COOL). You are exactly as much of a faker as I am.
I wrote that a few minutes ago (for nothing in particular) but then decided to use it in my entry tonight. It’s not totally on point for this painting (and what it means to me today) but it’s related. You could call that little blurb a prequel of sorts to what follows…
One of my best friends has written a ton of my favorite songs. Since we first became friends years ago, he’s known how much I liked his bands but – now that I have a website where I write about a lot of this stuff all the time – I guess the full extent of it sort of dawned on him. He called me recently to ask about our friendship. “Like, is it pretty much the same as if Dr. Frank or Ben Weasel were calling me to tell me about their problems?” My answer: “Yeah, pretty much.” He asked what that was like and I told him it had been good for me. That I had learned a lot from the experience.
Believe it or not, there are people who think that I’m cool (and/or accomplished). And the experience of becoming so close with one of my “heroes” has given me some insight into that. We’re all nerds, none of us have a handle on our lives, and we all feel like we’re faking it to some degree. And the things that we’ve each achieved: they don’t always seem like much because they’re all we know. My “measure for success” changes constantly. At one point, if I posted a picture of something I made on Facebook and it got a dozen or so “likes,” I wanted to throw a fucking parade. That kind of stuff can still mean a lot to me (especially when I’m down) but it’s not quite the big deal that it used to be.
One afternoon in January, I was sitting on the side of the road trying not to lose my mind… I found a few crayons and some scrap paper in my backpack and scribbled out some nonsense. Today, somebody gave me sixty-five dollars for that piece of scrap paper. When I take the time to stop and think about that, it’s pretty incredible (and I’m very grateful). But that’s sort of where the bar is at now. When that sort of thing doesn’t happen, I feel like a failure. Recently though, I’ve been able to examine that along with my experiences with friends in more “successful” bands (who do the kinds of shit that a lot of us have only dreamt about (and write the kinds of songs most of us will never even get close to)) and I get it; I can understand why they don’t feel like the “success stories” that others might see them as. And I can see why I am the success story that I don’t always think I am.
That’s not all either. At times, the experience has given me self-esteem. Not because “somebody cool is my friend,” but because of the tough spots that it’s put me in. It’s hard to tell anyone that you care about something you think they might not wanna hear (or that they might be insulted by). And it’s even harder when that person is a “hero” of sorts. I found myself in that position recently and it wasn’t easy. I reallywanted to keep my mouth shut, but I also didn’t wanna be a coward. I swallowed the lump in my throat, said everything I wanted to say (with as much sincerity as I could), and… it couldn’t have gone better. Not only that but – when I asked, “What’ve your other friends said?” – the response I got was, “You’re the only one that’s said anything to me about this.” I think that’s a testament to just how easy it is to keep one’s mouth shut and not say the hard thing to a friend. Which (of course) isn’t being a friend at all. I was pretty shocked when I heard that but I also felt good about it – about overcoming my fear and finding the courage to say these things. No one else had.
This stuff’s all super awkward. Who wants to talk about friendship or admit to having “heroes” in the first place? (Not me!) So – seein’ as I’ve been brave enough to do that – I’m gonna cut myself a little slack and allow myself to “cut it short” right here. Cool? Cool.
It happened! I allowed myself to NOT post something new. (And for two days!)My phone wasn’t working properly and it seemed crazy to leave friends (some of whom I haven’t seen in years) just so I could go find a computer to sate my neurotic compulsion to add new content every day.
I had a really good time in Gainesville for The Fest this year. I got to town around 10 on Saturday night. Initially, every thing reminded me of drugs; I kept thinking about the last few times I was there: spent shooting up in vans, bathrooms, and crouching behind dumpsters or in alleys. Which wasn’t necessarily bad (it doesn’t freak me out or make me wanna use) but there are better thoughts that I’d rather occupy my mind.
In some of the quieter moments on Sunday morning, I started stressing out a little bit [basic social anxiety] and considered flipping right back to Jacksonville. I hid for about an hour, journaled a little bit, and then met up with some friends though and – from there – everything stayed on track right through to the end.
I think that arriving/starting on Saturday night (instead of Thursday, or even Tuesday, as a lot of people did) was a really good idea for me. I don’t need that much Fest time. It’s true that there were a lot of people I would have really loved to see that I didn’t get a chance to meet up with so much as once (and plenty of others I could have used a lot more time with) but – in all – everything played out well.
And I was extremely lucky to have a lot of great people still around this morning for a dual Sam/Alec birthday breakfast. Birthdays aren’t a huge deal to me, but what better way to start one off than a few hours with friends from all over the map (just before they scatter back out across it)?
I’m gonna continue my little celebration by not being a nerd glued to the computer and just wait ’til tomorrow to get back into the regular swing of things. Here are two of the most endearing things I heard over the weekend though.
“Go pee before you go to bed. Then you won’t piss in your sleep. That’s how it works.” The way you say that, it sounds like this is a recurring problem…
“About four nights a week.”
No way… Is he really drinking that much, that often so as to be pissing himself on a regular basis?
[sad voice] “Dude, don’t tell Sam that. I don’t want Sam to know that.”
What hoodie is that?
“Um… I’m not sure. Night of the Living Dead, I think.”
[laugh] Oh yeah – you get that at the mall?
“It’s not mine. – Hey, where’d you get this hoodie?”
[laughs] Serious? I was just kidding around.
“They’ve got cool stuff there.”
Outstanding. Hopefully, these work on some level even without knowing the identities of the speakers. Either way, they both made me smile.
Here’s a cartoon about my buddy, Avi (one of the kids in the photo). [I was gonna link to a bunch of art/posts about kids in the photo, but Heather just got home from work and I haven’t seen her since Saturday morning]. More (legit stuff) tomorrow!
Aside from a couple hours of fliering, I spent all day painting. It’s still not done but I did put a small part of it online.
When I coined out at Tranquil Shores, a friend told the story of his first day. He got out of the van, stepped into the courtyard, and the first thing he saw was me: shirtless with a giant butcher knife, carving a pumpkin, smoking cigarettes, and listening to punk records on a portable turntable. I tried to hit him up today but got no response. I heard a few weeks ago that he wasn’t doing well and was probably shooting up again.
Earlier this morning, I got a call from another kid I was in treatment with (in January and February of 2012). We hadn’t talked in 18 months. He’s still shooting up but he’s still young… My heroin use didn’t become a heroin problem ’til I turned twenty-five so… The important thing was that he said he was doing well overall (and I believe him). When I get a phone call like that, it’s almost always from someone that wants to know if I’m still in [whichever city] and if I’m still clean – ’cause if I’m not could I maybe help them find some dope? He’s up in New York though and was just calling to catch up. It was really cool to hear from him.
I think I broke up with my girlfriend this morning. I’ve journaled about it a lot over the last few days but – whatever I choose to share of those – I’ll hold off on until my painting is done.