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Monday, November 24, 2014

Dance Dance Revolution!

This post has nothing to do with the popular Japanese game. But, it does have to do with dancing. Last Friday night, I went to my very first dance club. At 30 years old. Even though it wasn't on my not-quite-mid-life-crisis list, it had been something in the back of my mind to do for several years.

I was never your typical child. Due to a mix of being overweight, extremely shy, introverted and ostracized, I never really got to do the things that normal teenagers do; like going to parties, or night clubs, or anything even remotely considered hanging out with strangers. I got it in my mind a few years ago that I wanted to try some of those things before it was too late.

How did I get it in my mind to go last Friday? Well, it was an idea prompted from Derek. He had invited me to a band still yet to be played, and I thought 'well, if I decide to go, I better check this place out and see if I even like the idea of it.' So, I found a DJ or a composer or whatever you call people who play House music, that sounded pretty good and I bought tickets. One for me, and one for my friend Mary.

The Futuristic Polar Bears weren't even going to start playing until 12:15am, so, not only did I have afternoon coffee, but I bought a 5-hour energy because: old. We arrived at 9pm, paid $20 to park (geezus) and promptly had to chug my energy shot in front of the bouncer because they wouldn't let me in the club with it. Oddly enough, I wasn't too embarrassed about that.

I had been chatting with Derek earlier in the day and I'd invited him to come, but he said he was hanging with his friends and might join us after if he wasn't tired. I was honestly kind of hoping he wasn't going to show, because this would be the first time meeting any of my friends and I was super nervous about it. Plus: dancing. I mean, I'm a gal going to a dance club at 30 who doesn't even dance. I'm full of contradictions! Not to mention this would be the first time dancing with Derek. This almost sounds like a play or a book. A very sad book.

Mary was the opposite of helpful, of course. I ordered drinks, and she tried to get me to dance but I refused. It mainly had to do with the fact that the place wasn't yet packed like a can of sardines, and people were basically dancing in friendship circles. She managed to pull me onto the dance floor, right in front of a bunch of VIP's standing watch over the area, and forced me to dance by waving my arms about as if I was her puppet on strings. I had a profound thought regarding this after the night was done:

Sometimes you can create the very situation you fear when you try to avoid it.

And then of course, Derek texted that he was on his way and would be there in 15 minutes. I tried not to panic. Which, lets be honest, I'm no good at. Mary was giving me a countdown. Again, not helpful. After my intense bout of "oh shit", Derek arrived, they shook hands, (it's never as bad as my imagination perceives it to be) and then Derek insisted on dancing, which was my other fear about his arrival.

I swear, Moon Moon is the funniest meme I've ever read

Okay, I'm good at panicking on the inside where Derek is concerned, so I contained myself as best as I could. For better or worse (I'm still not sure which) Derek never actually danced with me, we were side by side. Probably for the best. By this time the place was packed and I knew no one would be staring at me. That and at least I wasn't dancing alone (technically). I swear though, only Derek could get me to do this shit. I just followed everybody's lead. Jumped when the music hit its peak, tried to follow the rhythm, and have a decent time. And, I did mainly. You really do have to be super into the music that's playing though, so I doubt I would join him on this upcoming event he invited me to (he was going with friends anyway, it wouldn't have just been us) because it's Far East Movement, who are basically a hip hop band.

You have to be a certain kind of wacky to enjoy stuff like this

Derek tells me going to a dance club for House music isn't quite the same as going to a real band, but this is exactly the experience I hoped for, so I got what I wanted. It was hot, it was crowded, it was loud, but I would do it again as long as the music was right. That's certainly saying something!

What about you? Have you ever gone clubbing? Do you like it? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

An Artist Without Creativity

Have you ever heard of such a thing? You see, I'm not just a blogger or a writer, I'm an artist. For many years, the medium I craved the most was to draw. I was born with a pencil in my hand it seems. I never strayed far from pen and paper; I would sometimes get in trouble at school for doodling on my homework.

But I'm also not creative. I'm a copy artist. I have no clue if this is an actual word or not. However, I'm not a cheater. Tracing is not art. But I've been coping work ever since I was a child.

This is one of the first pictures I remember drawing, because it was a process to record an episode of Sailor Moon, grab my TV tray, and pause it at the exact moment that I wanted to copy.

[I remember going through my childhood complaining of crappy VCRs that had horrible noise whenever they paused and it was impossible to get a good picture to draw from. And every 5 minutes it would un-pause and I'd have to find the exact moment again!]

Anime became my obsession. The thing I loved most about anime was the fact that it was both very simplistic yet very complex.

I still have all of my old artwork. Page after page of every Sailor Moon character. A ton of Pokemon and Digimon pictures. Every Ranma 1/2 character, and even some Tenchi Muyo.

But very little original artwork. Yes, I took all of the elective art classes that I could, and I did draw a lot of things on my own, but my best work was always the original work of someone else. The only time I traced anything was if I had other plans for the piece.

This piece, for example, was taken off of the internet originally. I have no idea who drew it, but when I saw it, I had plans of my own. Even though I traced the work, I wanted to test my abilities with a new medium: oil pastels.

I didn't do very many of these. Even though it was fun, it didn't seem worth it. It looks rather sloppy.

Scratch art became my new favorite medium. It was something I discovered in high school art class. It is a sheet of silver or gold foil glued to a backing, and a thin layer of black ink is applied over the top. Your goal: scratch out your vision. Well, because I had no vision of my own, I once again took from an artist. This time, someone on DeviantArt had drawn a series of werewolf poses, and because of how the medium works (you can't erase pencil on an ink surface) I had to trace using chalk and an outline. This certainly got the job done, and I filled in all the gaps myself.

I've done lots of other things, too. This picture, for example, is scanned straight from a "How to Draw
Anime" book that I own. I was using a very old program, Photoshop Business Edition, and learning how to color art using layers. It's not as easy as it sounds. There was definitely no use of the paint bucket here.

Bob Ross was my perfect victim. Ahem, inspiration. He actually wanted you to copy his work. After doing a couple of pieces to get used to how he paints, this was my first real attempt. This is only on an 8x10 piece of canvas and was incredibly hard to scale down so far.

Some of you may recognize this picture - it is the one I use for my Kat in the Hat Facebook profile photo. It is one of my favorites. I drew this after I graduated high school and found myself bored at Bates Technical College. This time, I had moved beyond lousy crayons and even past "normal" colored pencils and into the likes of Prismacolor pencils. 100 times better. Yet still, despite all my advancement, this was still not an original piece.

Nothing that I drew from my own mind was good enough for me.

This... is an original piece. Obviously inspired by other things, but still from my own brain. Unfortunately undated, I can't even tell you how long ago I did this. I'm thinking it was back in high school.

Maybe I'm a cheater and not really an artist, or maybe an artist is their own worst critic and I'm being too hard on myself. I might never figure it out.

I wish that I still drew today, though. I've done some artsy things (a new scratch art piece and that Bob Ross painting were the most recent) but never to the scale that I used to. I kind of miss it.

Do you have anything that you used to do when you were young that you miss? Would you pick it up again, or have you grown out of it? Let me know in the comments!