“Colossus Arise,” a DCC Adventure written by Harley Stroh has a drawing in it by me and has just hit the store shelves — this is a full page ‘front piece’ on page one; the black upper half is where the title, author’s name, etc., are superimposed in white text:
The other day Facebook showed me some of the names and pictures of people that Facebook thinks I ought to ‘friend.’ Among them was a woman I used to be involved with… and beneath her picture and name I could see a list of everyone we know in common. It appears she has “friended” everyone on that list… which is only three or four people, but I still feel a bit conspicuous in my absence from that list.
I should probably mention that I suck at Facebook. Annie tells me, “I put something for you on Facebook” and then I go and look at it – which is kind of bass-ackwards from the way Facebook is supposed to work. I don’t dislike Facebook; I just don’t find it comes naturally to me and I guess I’m not ready to force my relationship with Mark Zuckerberg’s addictive spyware.
But back to the woman whom I will call ‘A.’ I honestly don’t know whether I should friend ‘A’ or not. I was in my last year of school and I was diagnosed with cancer — we had been ‘together’ for somewhere around six months when I found out about the cancer. I put ‘together’ in quotes because, shortly after I got diagnosed, she told me that although we had been spending time together, we were not, as I had assumed, a couple. Although my surgery had been covered by my school health insurance, my subsequent care wasn’t. When I left the state and moved back home because I was broke and sick and without a job, ‘A’ continued to communicate with me – even having one of her close friends write me a letter saying that she (the friend) had heard a lot about me and really wanted to meet me some day – which was a bit of a mind fuck given what had gone on with ‘A’ before. I don’t think either one of us ever declared, “I’m not talking to you anymore.” But at some point I failed to return calls or answer letters; I just did nothing and allowed our undefined relationship to slide into the obscurity of things I’d rather not think about, like cancer or unpaid library fines, confident that since the two of us no longer moved in the same orbits, this would be the best and easiest way. Her saying, “I never thought of you as my boyfriend,” after 6 or so months of being exclusive made me think that I didn’t need the confusion of an undefined relationship with a woman half-way across the country still following me around. Rather than pretend to be friends with her sending hints that she was possibly interested in more, I decided not to decide and just fade out of her life and let her fade out of mine.
But it gets harder and harder to put the past behind you in the age of Facebook. Shitty or annoying co-workers whom I thought I would never miss sometimes surprise me by emailing me, or, even worse, asking me for an endorsement. Someone who had burned the bridges of our friendship 20 years before emailed me a few years ago as if nothing had happened. It’s gotten really hard to think, “I hope I never see or hear from that person again” because of this goddamn internet.
Perhaps I’m over thinking things. Suspecting that ‘A’ is ‘friending’ my friends on Facebook in hopes that I will make the first move in contacting her might just be my paranoia talking. If I find myself wondering about her motivations, why I haven’t I contacted her? The first step to getting answers is asking questions, right?
I think, in this case, I don’t think I want answers. Back when I knew ‘A,’ I was still young enough to believe I could solve problems by first identifying them and then changing my behavior. And for some things, like deciding to quit smoking, that strategy works well… or as well as one can expect given our personal limitations. The problem with using something like ‘Facebook’ to pick up where we left off is that I don’t know where we left off, and, given our history, I’m not sure she knows either. Maybe she just wants to know if I am alright. Maybe she thinks that if she could ‘friend’ me on Facebook, it means she doesn’t have to feel bad about how things went. Maybe she just wants to be friends on Facebook with those other people but not with me. Maybe she hasn’t noticed that I am in her list of potential friends. Maybe she doesn’t remember who I am. I can’t honestly say anything for certain. I know that I suspect that she wants me to be the one to extend the olive branch and get in touch – I just don’t know if I want to.
I don’t have any big ‘take away’ message from this. If you are one of the people who has ‘friended’ me on Facebook, you probably have already figured out that you are not going to get a lot of updates from me on your Facebook account. I know that in order to become a more successful person and a more fully realized 21st century person, I ought to be ‘leveraging’ my ‘social media’ presence more… but I just don’t know if I have it in me.
The other day I posted that Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker, had died and I mentioned that I had done a drawing of him but couldn’t find the scan. Well, I discovered that I had never finished the Ramirez drawing; I started it over a year ago, then set it aside and forgot about it. This weekend I finished it:
I like the ‘rotten teeth’ border and think the likeness is pretty good — not sure about the pentagram on the forehead, though — might have to white that out.
Richard Ramirez, aka the “Night Stalker,” has died in San Quentin. I did some drawings of him a while back; I’ll have to find them and scan them for public consumption. Bet it’s hot as hell down there, eh Richie?
In the meanwhile, here are drawings of Albert Fish and Earle Leonard Nelson I did a while back:
I just heard how this professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of New Mexico, Geoffrey Miller, sent out a tweet over the weekend in which he said, “Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation #truth.” Following his tweet, people got pissed and began to question Professor Miller’s capacity to judge the worth of potential PhD candidates based on his endorsing of a rather shallow set of criteria. After issueing numerous impotent apologies, the slender prof apparently switched to ‘protected’ tweeting once the shit began to rain down on his head (“Protected” tweets are apparently not visible to the public — I don’t know if we are protected from them or they are protected from us).
I don’t know what this story is about – is it about the fact that twitter (which I don’t understand at all) seems to turn some people into idiots? (Note to self: do not tweet; the world does not need more proof of your idiocy.) Is it kind of funny that a professor of ‘evolutionary psychology’ accuses all fat people of ‘lacking willpower’ ? I would think an “evolutionary psychologist” (whatever that is) would go for something slightly more nuanced and research based. Maybe Professor Miller is really kind of a shitty scientist? Or is the real lesson here that fat people are one of the few remaining demographics that many of us still feels that one can ‘hate on’ without getting ‘hated on for being a hater’ because, well, the fat people are fat so fuck them… amiright?
In our grandparent’s time, the white Christians could still hate the blacks and the Jews and maintain an air of respectability, but in most places these days, using n-words and similar will get you ostracized… so the bigots still among us often feel pretty put upon when they go around just “expressing their opinion” and get told to shut their dirty pie holes. In our parent’s time, you were expected to hate the gays (unless you were a gay; then it was your job to feel guilty and try to change), but even hating the gays is less acceptable these days — unless you are a Christian or just a douche I guess. What can a poor hater do when one is constantly being told ‘you suck’ for hating? Answer: It is apparently still OK to hate the fat people. And you can hate the smokers. It’s also still OK in most circles to hate the poor. And the crazy people. It’s OK to hate the crazy people.
I used to be thin as a fucking rail — then age 40 happened and all that beer, meat and cheese began to catch up with me. Now that I’m a few pounds heavier, if I ever meet Professor Miller, I’m going to punch that skinny fuck in the mouth with my pudgy fist.
All three people who read this blog probably already know that Jack Vance, author of The Dying Earth stories and so much more, died last month at the ripe old age of 96. If you are looking for the facts, the LA times can tell you what you need to know.
The first Vance book I remember reading was “The Gray Prince.” I remember finding the cultures Vance described as very interesting, and after I started reading the Dying Earth stories, I began to understand that Vance wasn’t just another science fiction/fantasy author; I think he was a social commentator in the style of Swift or Twain. In “The Gray Prince,” Vance presents us with fictional world in which numerous intelligent species claim to be the original inhabitants with a moral claim to primacy; by the end, we discover that nearly all of the sentient races of the world are the descendents of colonists who have been practicing generations of self deception and selective editing of their own history and the real ‘original inhabitants’ are the ‘morphotes,’ a race of bisexual savages that all the other species have previously agreed to collectively look down upon as utterly degenerate. Stories like Rhialto the Marvelous or the Cugel saga seem (at least to me) to have more in common with Twain’s “Roughing It” or Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” than the offerings from George R.R. Martin or other science fiction/fantasy genre authors. Maybe that’s why Vance isn’t as well known as most of his contemporaries; with it’s social satire elements, Vance’s work might have been too ‘highbrow’ for the science fiction and fantasy crowd who wanted pure escapist fiction, but, since it was also associated with the pulps genre fiction, it was too ‘lowbrow’ for the academic world. I don’t know if lacking the household name status of some of his near contemporaries irked Vance; to his credit, he didn’t seem to try to change his style or his content to pitch his fiction to a wider audience.
But I think Vance was, to a large extent, a satirist who happened to work in sci-fi/fantasy. Consider this humorous exchange from Vance’s “Cugel’s Saga:”
“The folk are peculiar in many ways,” said Erwig. “They preen themselves upon the gentility of their habits, yet they refuse to whitewash their hair, and they are slack in their religious observances. For instance, they make obeisance to Divine Wiulio with the right hand, not on the buttock, but on the abdomen, which we here consider a slipshod practice. What are your own views?”
“The rite should be conducted as you describe,” said Cugel. “No other method carries weight.”
Erwig refilled Cugel’s glass. “I consider this an important endorsement of our views!”
I also love Vance’s baroque prose and imagery. In any case, it’s been a while since I have read any Vance; now might be the perfect time to dig out some of his books and read them again.
By now you have probably heard that Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, suppliers of man-whore wear to the masses, said some nasty things seven years ago and now people are really mad because he said nasty things about fat people and ‘aspirational branding’ and other bullshittery. People got very angry and protested in the streets. The squawks of outrage created by this ‘terrible event’ where a rich cocksucker said he didn’t want to sell clothing to fat or ‘uncool’ people has eclipsed the story of a Bangladesh factory collapse that killed more than 1,000 people who were making clothing for the US market (and may have even been making clothes for Abercrombie & Fitch). Factories collapse and workers die? The consumer shrugs and heads to the mall. A CEO says he doesn’t want to sell clothes to unpopular kids? We get mad, grab our placards and hit the streets. Are our priorities just a bit fucked or what?
Look at this picture where I compare Jeffries, Cocksucker in Chief of A&F, and a lizard man:
Is that motherfucker terrifying or what? His face just looks like a mask pulled over his lizardy skull – the weirdly fake prominent cheek bones and the flaccid lizard lips… under that obvious wig is probably a zipper that starts at the top of his skull and goes down his spine, allowing the lizard-king to show his true form… those fake teeth probably pop out like dentures, allowing him to chew his human babies with razor-sharp fangs. The lizard-humanoid hybrids are exactly what David Icke has been trying to warn us about! Jeffries is clearly one of the hybrids in disguise… Wanting to ‘create an aspirational brand’ by saying he will not sell clothes to the unpopular kids at your high school is the least of his crimes… child sacrifice, cannibalism, plotting the overthrow of humanity – that’s the shit we are talking about. This dude is more evil than Ming the Merciless