Humidfest 2014

In my last post, I mentioned my hatred of hot weather. This inspired me to write a post about all the things I actually do enjoy about summer, like the smell of cut grass, that help to balance all the unthinkably humid aspects of the heat itself.

That didn’t exactly happen. I started to write about cut grass and the wind in the air before a thunderstorm, and ended up on a tangent about all the awful qualities of summer that I hate. But it turned out to be more than a tangent.

It became a brainstorming session. Every Wednesday (because Wednesday is an awful day, the summer of days) from now until August, I am going to write a barely controlled, seething rant post about summer’s sub-par attributes. The posts may even show up on non-Wednesday days, just because there’s so much material here.

Summer trees from depcrepit fire escape.

Summer. Looks pretty, but don’t touch it.

Summer means difficulty sleeping. Summer means clothing I hate. Summer means that trickle of sweat down your back when all you’re doing is standing there thinking about how much you hate the world. Summer means no running or hiking, because you can keep the heat stroke and mosquitos, thank ya very much.

There are so few of us who prefer winter to summer. Every time I meet someone who shares this quality, it’s like sharing a secret winter-club handshake. You might be a Mountain Dew-swilling, monster truck connoisseur*, but as soon as you say, “Why won’t this heat ever end? I can’t wait for fall,” I will know you as a kindred spirit nonetheless.

That conversation doesn’t happen often, however. Small talk, for most people, is something to fill up the awkwardness of elevator rides. For introverts, it’s an unpleasant thing that happens when you’re trying to read. For introverts whose seasonal hatred runs in reverse to that of the rest of the world? Meteorological-based small talk is an angst-filled minefield.

Summer means, when my normal level of irritation with the world in general has been raised exponentially in relation to the relative humidity and number of degrees over 55 Fahrenheit, that the typical weather chat of acquaintances becomes a constant barrage of taunting. Even as I’m wiping moisture off my forehead, chugging water and gatorade, and trying to stay frightened deer-still because movement makes the heat worse, people come up and say, “Isn’t it lovely? I hope you got out today, it is bee-yoo-tee-ful. Enjoy it while it lasts!”

Then every winter, every day, when I’m trying to enjoy the glory and austerity of snow, I hear complaints about the weather from people who decided to dress like it’s any other time of year than the one it actually is.

Enter Humidfest 2014. Here are all the complaints about summer that I hold back during most small talk this time of year.

On Deck: Pieces of Summer Apparel that We Should Burn.

 


 

*You snob. Of course people who enjoy monster trucks can be connoisseurs. They say things like, “Note the sprightly quality to the ear-obliterating sturm and drang of Lightning Warrior Monster as it crushes that line of small cars. Quite uncommon.”

The Index Card-a-Day Challenge

It’s now July 4th, and despite my Mr. Freeze-level hatred of warm weather, I haven’t been having such a bad time. I’m not even dreading the rest of July too much. This is partly thanks to the Index-Card-a-Day Challenge at Daisy Yellow, which I have participated in for the last two years.

Index-Card-a-Day is a challenge which involves making some kind of art on an index card every day in June and July. It’s not about making fantastic artwork (although that can absolutely happen), but rather about having a small, cheap canvas on which to do *something.* Daisy Yellow explains this in more detail, and with better pictures.

Color pencil index card color wheel

Index card color wheel, for reference.

Last year, I used ICAD as an opportunity to learn more about color theory. As a writer, I no longer have favorite words. They all have their uses. You can’t just use the word “defenestrate” because it’s your favorite when you’re writing about something it has nothing to do with, like coffee. Or your family. When I used to make art, I would mostly use black and grey, blue and purple, seeing as they are my favorites. Now I know how to make something yellow and brown, if what I’m trying to express has nothing to do with black and grey, blue and purple. Last year, ICAD was a great, low pressure way to learn more about color hands-on. So on a given day my assignment might be to “make something orange!” but other than that, I did anything I wanted.

I also learned how to make nice mini-collages from magazine pages that I clandestinely ripped out at work. At a cookout* I went to around this time, a guy I remembered from high school as being both really nice and having an enviable biking-places-doing-art-wearing-hoodies lifestyle confirmed what I had begun to suspect: the secret to a good collage is not to think, to go by instinct, to quash any impulse towards lining things up and adjusting the everloving fuck out of cut-out lampshades and bulldogs.

Tropical fish collage with blackout poem

Blackout poetry, but with fish.

So this year, I have been doing the ICAD challenge again. June was a crappy month, and I didn’t do as much with ICAD as I wanted. Since I’ve been working on my drawing this year, I may end up using the rest of ICAD to further that learning. Soon I will probably post the index cards I have made so far on my flickr. National Novel Writing Month has always been a time for me to dedicate to writing, no matter if I’ve had a poor writing year. Now I have the Index-Card-a-Day challenge to fill the same function for my art. Instead of being the classic security guard with the magazine, when the building emptied for the night, I was the security guard with the gluestick. And as someone who is prone to depression, participating in ICAD is a great way to make myself feel better during a time of year when I tend to stay indoors and get less sunlight. Yes, I have Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. Clinically, I don’t know if that’s a thing, but I’m sure I’ve got it. So yeah, treating RSAD with ICAD.

This month is not only the 2nd half of ICAD, but also Camp NaNoWriMo. So my big dilemma for the moment, after I finish this post, is whether I should go draw something, go write something, or put off both and get some more coffee.


 

*where cookout is short hand for night time outdoor gathering with a big ass fire, and liquor.

Hello World, Part II

There’s a lot of pressure on the first blog post. If I post regulary, it will soon be relegated to the murky depths of my archive, but I can’t help feeling that this sets the tone for my whole blog. In fact, I’ve left up the default WordPress “Hello World” post, as well as my own test post, in the hopes that it would take some of the pressure off this post. Rather than jumping right in with fully-formed posts, I could make my blog evolve, like a diagram of prehistoric creatures crawling out of the sea and growing legs. I could even post dozens of test posts, single-celled nouns becoming the land-dwelling quadrupeds of complex sentences, with commas and everything.

But I’m not doing that. I’m jumping in. It’s not so much evolution, but rather something more akin to a toaster being invented, and the next day becoming sentient and taking over the world. This may have been too many metaphors, and they may not have worked. Like when your sentient toaster eats your English muffin and then vengefully electrocutes you because no one ever taught you not to battle your toaster with a piece of metal when it’s plugged in.

That’s never happened to me, by the way. I’m acting like I know what I’m talking about, but in reality, I’m making my blog on a mattress of lies.

Which is actually appropriate, because I write fiction. Specifically, I write sci-fi and fantasy. Speculative fiction, if you want to call it that. I’ve accumulated a collection of promising (to me, anyway), partially finished stories about magicians and travellers, thieves and ghost hunters, park rangers and bards. People who don’t have a handle on basic life stuff, like making telephone calls, or who want to build fires in places where they’re not allowed to, like a space station. And everyone in the world who knows more about writing and publishing than I do says I need to have a blog, if I would like to sell my fiction one day.

That’s not the only reason I’m doing this, though. It may even be just an excuse. I put my first website online in 1999, when I was 14. I devoured all the information I could find on html, ftp uploads, stupid tricks you can do with Javascript, and how to make animated gifs. All this so I could share with the world such gems as new versions of the Pledge of Allegiance (one was to the Republic of Mr. Peanut) and animations about 12 frames long, in which a stupid little character based on my brother’s stupid friend birthed whole from my prodigious imagination basically lived the life of Wile E. Coyote, only without Road Runner. If you think about it, Wile E. Coyote’s life without Road Runner would be kind of pathetic, a string of incidents in which Wile E. orders dangerously malfunctioning items from the ACME catalog, for no reason at all, and never learns his lesson.

Anyway, my first website was something I had a lot of fun with. You’d know this if you saw it, because the whole thing was in Comic Sans. I’ve had a few websites and blogs since then, but they were always halted by my perfectionist tendencies. It would take me weeks to write a post like this. I would agonize over every sentence, which I have clearly not done here, as evidenced by the clumsy metaphors and the fact that I admitted to Comic Sans. Things only grew worse when I learned CSS and some basic Photoshop skills, because then I felt like I had the power to make things REALLY perfect.

I hope to create this website in the spirit of that first one.

testing stuffs

Testing testing testing. ROAR.

Roar. Blargh.

Something.

 

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