Tuesday, March 22, 2016

As you were.

I have so much work, I can't paint! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Speaking of science ...

Star Cluster R136
Source: Hubblesite.org

March 17, 2016: An international team of astronomers using the ultraviolet capabilities of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has identified nine monster stars with masses over 100 times the mass of the sun in the star cluster R136. This makes for the largest sample of very massive stars identified to date. The results, which will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, raise many new questions about the formation of massive stars. R136 is only a few light-years across and is located in the Tarantula Nebula within the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 170,000 light-years away from Earth. The young cluster hosts many extremely massive, hot, and luminous stars whose energy is mostly radiated in the ultraviolet.
For more information about this study, visit:
http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1605 .

Nuff said

Thank God for my Science feed

Oxymorons aside.

I'm so freaking tired of the News and by that I mean World News, General News, Uk News, Entertainment News ... I'll go batshit crazy if I read one more article about:

Donald Trump / the US voting system.
George Osborne
North Korea
Isis / Al Qaeda / insert a terrorist group of your choice here.
Fucking Kim Kardashian and her megalomaniac of a husband.
The entire Jenner family.
Madonna and her airing all her menopausal problems on stage

Facebook is even worse.  Why oh why do people post crap like this: 

"Just when you feel like giving up. Boom. God turns it and it works in your favor"

God couldn't give a fuck about your miserable life, grow up and get lost. Find another forum to troll.

I've said it before but I've really had it up to 'ere with Facebook, it's turned into a junkyard of bad intentions and even worse grammar, half-baked pseudo science masquerading as kitchen philosophies and maudlin moaning housewives.   

So yay for the Science channel on my phone, it's the only place that (so far) hasn't been populated by self-promoting narcissists and boring social inanity.     

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cars ...

Having my car MOT'd today ... not looking forward to that, 'cos last time it cost me a fortune as they had to replace hoses.  My car is an antique, to be sure, but there's still life in her and she is faithful to the core.  I've given her a hard time in the past, scoffing at the fact that she's a Vauxhall and not particularly sexy but she is a work horse, reliable (so far) and trustworthy on long journeys (again, so far).  She's actually the best car I've ever owned and cost peanuts when you consider that a second hand car in South Africa can still cost the same as a small apartment. 

The grey Nissan Sentra was my second favourite before it started packing in four kilometres from my house every now and then.  We thought it was the immobiliser but it turned out to be other problems.
The first car I bought with my own money was a Volksie Beetle bug with the extra fat back-takkies - the carb would get stuck and I had to regularly pull over to the side on the highway, get out and kick it with my Doc Martins, then it would cough into life again.    The electrics on it were shot to hell, you couldn't drive with the lights on AND the windscreen wipers, so if you were coming home from a club at 1am in the morning and it was raining, you had to make some difficult choices.    It had absolutely no interior heating to speak of, so in winter I would have to wrap up like I was going to the North Pole, complete with hat and scarf around my face, cos the wind would howl through the dashboard and freeze my hands.  But I loved Beavis so much.

My very first car was a Ford Cortina that my mother's second husband bought me when we lived in Welkom.   It was way too powerful for me but eventually I got used to it, I took out a lot of trees, kieviets (birdies) and one morning a whole bunch of kittens kept spewing out onto the road from somewhere inside the engine!  They'd fallen asleep on the engine block and I didn't know about that.
I was a Rasta when we lived in Welkom and my daughter said she always knew I was coming because she could hear the IJahMan or Burning Spear blasting out of my Ford from miles away.  I put stickers of Bob Marley and any other Rasta I knew all over the back windows - I was dead popular in Thabong (the local African township) where I used to go to interview Rastas for Jive magazine.  Those were the days.
When I was living in Edenvale, years later, I bought myself a  brand new Proton Satria Neo, out the box and I fucking hated that car right from the second I drove it off the salesroom floor.  It was way too small inside, no room for passengers although it had 'back seats'  (what was I thinking?); two doors and so low you took your head out every time you got in.  You couldn't open the boot from the outside, which was a nightmare when you went shopping with kids in tow.  It was a right pain in the arse that car.   She might have looked sexy (midnight black, i.e. having flecks of metallic dark blue paint mixed in with the black spray job) and nice mags but that was about it.  I was so disappointed with that car and then she went and got hail damage the day BEFORE she was sold (prior to leaving South Africa).

Friday, March 11, 2016

You spin me right round baby ...

Crikey I really am all over the place at the moment, hey?  Up and down like the proverbial yo-yo.

I think I know why ... i've got many sides to me but there are two distinctly defined ones that are in direct creative opposition to each other all the time - writing and painting.

Some would say these are the same thing, they are both creative forces. But they require different disciplines and they are dynamically contradictory.  The one requires tactile and intellectual, as well as spiritual immersion from the person's whole body and senses.  The other requires only intellectual and spiritual input. (Yes, I'm over-simplifying).    So in my quest to understand this, I thought of the 'pros and cons' if you like of either pursuit and see if a logical enquiry would help steer this rudderless ship of me onto the right course. 

Let's take writing first.
1.  It involves substantial inner reflection, peace and quiet, enormous concentration.
2.  It requires conscious planning, research, technical skill (not necessarily learned through a degree, but it helps).
3.  It demands confidence in the writer. If you are not confident writing, then you will not write. 
4.  It is something a person is compelled to do, utterly.  A writer doesn't generally dabble in other art forms, they write and that's pretty much all they need to do. Besides reading everything they can get their hands on. 
5.  It can be done basically anytime, anywhere  - you don't have to have a specific place to write each day, although Stephen King would argue that this is a prerogative and non-negotiable aspect of writing - i.e. that you have a writerly space, somewhere you can go to, shut the door and dream.  But there are other writers who have said they could do it on a bus, in a cafe, didn't matter.  I write in the car, basically 'cos I'm bored.
6. It's very easy to get distracted, when writing, and go off tangent.  It's easy to lose direction and become frustrated with your written output.   Projects can sometimes sit for years and never get finished.  There's a lot of guilt in writing (at least for me).

Then there's art - painting specifically
1. It involves complete physical immersion by the artist - motor skill, sensory perception, visual perception (to name a few).  It is the stuff of mythology, it goes back to the dawn of time.  Cave men were painting long before they knew how to communicate with the written word, it's in our prehistoric DNA. 
2. It does not always require planning.   Some of the best art is spontaneous and primal.  
3. It is something a person is compelled to do, utterly.  There is no getting away from it, no hiding, no putting it off 'til tomorrow. The urge to create (for any serious artist) is always there, one hundred and ten per cent of the time.
4.  It needs specific equipment and space.

So if I look at all that - the two are really similar.  Then if I take it a bit further and look at my working space at home and try and figure out how much space is devoted to one or the other pursuit - is it equal?  Forget about it.  Art - the production of art, the results of my artistic endeavours - almost completely fills up my room.  If I had a workshop the size of an aircraft hangar, it would be full of art.  I need no encouragement to paint, I need no outside stimulii, no prodding, no self-help courses, no pep-talks. It just happens, almost on a sub-conscious level.  I am creating art when I'm sitting in the lounge watching a tv programme, or going to the loo - I'm always thinking about what I can do next, how better I can expand my knowledge, where I can learn more tricks.  

If I'm honest, I know that I have to prod myself to write. I have to do the whole pep-talk thing. I have to plan and research (and usually I get bogged down in this process and lose interest in the actual written piece long before I've even started it).  Most of the time I see writing as a chore, a drudge, something to get done so I can concentrate on more fun stuff, like painting.
I am impatient with my writing, I look at it and I want to scream sometimes. It just doesn't do what it's supposed to.  I also lose interest in my ideas, sometimes even before I've started typing them up.
Or I get carried away with the beginnings of an idea and run out of steam fifteen thousand words later.  I have hundreds of half started/half finished bits of writing on my laptop, that I can't bring myself to delete. That doesn't happen with painting.

I start a painting, I finish it.
If it's crap, I get rid of it and start again - learn from that, move on, don't cry about it.
I don't hang on to old work that I don't like, I destroy it or recycle it

What do you think, Clive?



Thursday, March 10, 2016

Why do I do this to myself?

So I go off all enthusiastic minnie, set myself tasks, light bulbs come on ... writing juices start whirring, everything's looking really gude.  Then what?  I'm fucked before I start, that's what. 

Today I spent the whole morning, going through my lists of publishers who I've contacted since October last year.  I compiled a massively comprehensive list on Excel, with comments and notes. of the over 125 publishers I've sent enquiry emails for book proposals to.  So I'm not playing at it.  The majority haven't even had the decency to respond.  The ones that did respond, were very sweet, polite, nice, kind, (aargh blech) and gave me some words of encouragement or pointed me in the direction of publishers who:

 'might be interested in the concept.  This is a very important topic and thanks for your courage in pitching the idea to us.  But for the moment, it's not for us.  Good luck in your endeavours. Have you tried looking through the Writers And Artists Yearbook for potential publishers who might suit?'

Oh God, people are so condescending.   I got the WAAY2016 edition for Christmas, that's where I got your fricking details from moron.  

So I took a long hard look at this frigging manuscript again and the light bulb exploded on top of my head and the broken glass fell into my eye.  There is no way I'm going to get any publisher to print this manuscript as it is, in memoir / semi-autobiographical / essay format. It's just too risky.  I'm no Sylvia Plath and anyway I'm not writing about mental illness from MY perspective as a sufferer (although some would vouch that I do need to see a psychiatrist).  The viewpoint in my story is that of a carer of someone who has a severe mental illness.

I have to divulge a whole ton of personal information/feelings/observations in order to tell the story with any degree of authenticity.  This stuff is potentially defamatory or could be construed as an invasion of privacy.

The old chestnut that you should change names, places, dates, occupations, countries etc. etc. of your 'characters' is a crock of shit.  As sooon as it gets out that I wrote the book (i.e. that I get some degree of public acknowledgement or acclaim for it), it will be blindingly obvious to anyone with even a slight knowledge of my family, who I am writing about.   Leaving out some members of the family in order to protect their identity in the story is also counter-productive because I need them there to illustrate certain points.  My reactions towards things wouldn't have been possible without all those people. 

So how did someone like Doris Lessing get around this?  How do you stand up to being sued by a family member or other person, after you've published an honest (fictionalised or otherwise) account of how YOUR life has been affected by the onset of mental illness in someone close to you? 

I have her consent to write the story, that's a start I suppose.  And all the other members of my family have said they're okay with it (although none of them have seen the manuscript) but they're all saying this before the thing is published - everything changes when it's standing there in the bald light of day and you can pick it up and your name shouts out from the page in big black shiny letters. 

This is why pI believe ublishers don't want to touch it with a barge pole. 

But shortly after first publishing this post, I found  this 

And there's a new glimmer of hope ... 


Monday, March 7, 2016

Staring into space and then it hit me ...

I was sitting in the car and I got the weirdest idea that might actually work for a book. I made a couple of notes and told myself to actually try and er write the damn thing and not take months to do it either.  So I'll have a go, watch this space.  I hope this is a winner idea for once.

UPDATE - 10/3/2016
This is another idea for a different story to the one I talk about in today's post (above)

Oh well Part 1 and 11...

Getting a publishing deal, when the subject is about mental illness, is proving to be a complete non-starter.  I'm not interested in partnership, self or vanity publishing deals but the way things are going, I might have to look at one of these options next year (not this year, I don't have the dosh).
I'm not giving up on the traditional publishing route completely but I am very despondent and demotivated.
I had another look over the manuscript today and it's not bad at all - needs some editing and tweaking but overall the structure is okay (i think, but what do I know).

Friday, March 4, 2016

Station ...

Here's the thing, I've been keeping an eye on Keanu Reeves since the days of Bill & Ted - even thought I had a chance after I watched him in Prince of Pennsylvania ... (cough). I suppose his secret must be that bone structure but it's more than that. There's a zen quality about him (and by that I mean way more real than Richard Gere's holier than thou Buddhist serenity).

The two pices above were taken about ten years apart! 

These stills from 2016, shooting John Wick 2 ...

Wonder how he does it ... I'm sure it's not Maybelline. 

In other news
I upgraded my machine to Windows 10 today, took most of the morning. Not noticing anything different but at least MS is happy and it was free, so who's complaining.  
Trying to reorganise my room ... I so need one of these for my art stuff:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Move along there's nothing to see here.

It's inconceivable, to me, how a third-grade rehash of a classic (Mad Max: Fury Road) could get more Oscars than The Martian, which actually didn't get any Oscars at all.
Just goes to show the Oscar selection committee is populated with narcissistic dumbnuts who wouldn't know a good movie if it kicked them in the balls.  Hmpf.  Disgusted.

In other news,
it's supposed to be the first day of Spring here. Ha! That's a laugh.  Anyway, it is raining, almost sleet and ffffcuking freezing. But this is Blightey so one mustn't complain, must one?

Jason Mamoa (him of Game of Thrones fame) is going to be playing Aquaman (released in 2017, I believe) - oh joy, something to look forward to.  It's a good look for him:

I've been wondering what has happened to Rory McCann ...

Rory and George
But I think he's still doing the GoT proms/comicons ...   

Sorry .another bad photo of Matthew Gray Gubler ..
Is that a gun in your pocket ...
I suppose the fact that he was born a supermodel means that there are absolutely NO yuch photos of him on the Internet - even when he's covered in gunk, or all sweaty, or in crutches ... he's just perfectly pretty. He'll grow up to be a genuinely gorgeous older man. What a lovely person he is, for all that Hollywood bollox and I think he was involved with Taylor Swift at one point (we all make mistakes in our youth).