H.S.T.

Posted by DmentD | Rambling,Reflection | Wednesday 11 November 2009 12:42 pm

I’ve been in a mood for Hunter S. Thompson.  Just re-read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and during this — my third dance with this particular work — I’m better able to read past the hyper-sensationalized drug-addled fog he’s put forth and pick out some gems of wisdom.

The most notable contrast between Hunter writing in the voice of “Raoul Duke” — a caricature of himself distilled to the very core of bad craziness — and in his own voice comes at the end of the book, specifically the “jacket copy” he wrote for Fear and Loathing.  In a brief few pages, H.S.T. soberly, and with a sudden clarity that takes such an immediate u-turn from the insanity of the book that gives you whiplash, explains that Fear and Loathing was a failed experiment in Gonzo Journalism… a phrase he coined at the time to describe what he envisioned to be a free-form method of writing — to buy a notebook and write down everything as it happened and publish it with no editing whatsoever.

What he ended up with was a mix of fact and fiction, with no discernible lines to tell one from the other.  It is a failure in that he never accomplished his original vision, but instead ended up writing something altogether different and ground-shaking. He accidentally invented a new genre of writing, one that continues to inspire writers to this very day.  His success was that he wrote something that not only entertained readers, but gave him immense joy and gratification to write.  He would take a break from banging out whatever assignment he was on to write F&L.  It was a vacation for him.

I’ve always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it’s a bit like fucking, which is only fun for amateurs. Old whores don’t do much giggling.

I’ve found myself, again, very attracted to the way an author’s mind works.  While I do not agree with every gilded word that falls from him his mouth, I find Hunter — like Vonnegut — a very intriguing personality.  A number of the things he’s said strikes certain chords within me.  I stumbled across a number of quotes while searching out the one above, that just resonate happily through my head.  I’ll leave you with these.

Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.

A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on Fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.

We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.

Good people drink good beer.

…and he would probably not agree with my conviction that a sense of humor is the main measure of sanity. But who can say for sure? Humor is a very private thing.

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.

And, on the impending arrival of my 40th birthday…

It gave me a strange feeling, and the rest of that night I didn’t say much, but merely sat there and drank, trying to decide if I was getting older and wiser, or just plain old.

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Two New Cakes.

Posted by DmentD | Cakes,Links,Pictures | Tuesday 10 November 2009 8:00 am

Two new cakes to share.  Also, switching gears with how cake galleries are being hosted — rather than host the images twice (here, and on Curious Confections) — and waste a lot of space, I’m creating new galleries on Curious Confections and linking to there.  Curious Confections’ gallery is ultimately where the cakes need to be showcased.

El Día de los Muertos SkullRainbow Cherry Blossoms

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This Was Halloween… Halloween, Halloween!

Posted by DmentD | Cakes,Domestica,Friends,House,Links,Party,Pictures | Monday 9 November 2009 4:02 pm

Halloween 2009 has arrived, then expired. The decorations are once more banished to the attic, and the house has been cleaned — again! — from top to bottom… and oh, what a relief to have the house back in order again!

This year marked the return of the annual Halloween party to my home — the first time since the move to Austin — and I’m thrilled to have been able to host it again. Sweets finds it amusing that we have more containers of Halloween decorations in the attic than we do all the other holidays combined. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that, maybe, only a quarter of those containers has stuff that can be put out for generally decorating for the Halloween season.  All the rest is geared toward hosting a kick-ass party. And we added to it this year.

Every space is different, and the house in Austin is no exception. Different lighting needs, different party layout, different decorating styles. We made an investment in some new lighting options for the yard and house, and making the foray into colored CFL bulbs that will last us for years to come (in addition to just having better color output that tinted incandescent bulbs). CFL bulbs also come in true UV blacklight format too, so we can now “light” smaller spaces with individual bulbs rather than big fixtures. I also had need to start replenishing my inventory of heavy-duty extension cords, as they all went glub-glub in NOLA. I believe we created some interesting lighting atmospheres in and around the house.

We resurrected some old party traditions: the bar was a “blacklight” room, and I built a themed entryway for the guests to come through, as well as having heir pictures taken in front of (having your picture taken when you first arrive is your “price of admission”, and also guarantees that we have at least one picture of everyone that is taken while they are “fresh” and in costume).

We laid out a good spread of food, and Sweets went all out on sweet treats and the cake, which was fashioned after the skulls of El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It was a delicious butter cake with black raspberry filling.

We had a houseful of costumed revelers, with very few uncostumed (shame-filled) miscreants — whom we love very much, but obviously are numskulls for not bothering to put any effort out, even though they were invited to a party being held for the express purpose of being a goofball in a costume, and their gracious hosts went though a hell of a lot of effort to decorate the house, and to feed and water them lavishly. And no, carrying a plastic bat does not constitute a costume, you slacker (yesI’mlookingatyouGonzoyoubastard *grins*).

Ahem.

What else can be said… it was a party, and parties are what they are. Food, drink, good company, fun.

To see the rest of the pictures, I direct you over the the Halloween 2009 gallery. If you like, you can read Sweets’ telling of the Halloween tale.

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I Am… Halloween.

Posted by DmentD | Entertainment,Links | Thursday 29 October 2009 3:05 pm

Sorry about the radio silence, but I’m building Halloween.  Let this rockin’ little dance number salve your grieving soul in my absence.

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Backyard Wildlife.

Posted by DmentD | Domestica,House,Rambling | Monday 19 October 2009 2:09 pm

I’ve had a few brushes with living nature the last week or so.  Nothing as severe as baboons flinging poop at me from the roof-line or anything… think a little more suburban.

Was talking on the phone and wandering around the house as I did so, out of a lack of anything better to do with myself, and stopped to peek out of my back patio door… to see a possum (an “opossum”, to be accurate) the size of a pug doing a slow balancing act as he walked along the top of the wooden fence between my yard and my neighbors.  This was a big boy!  This also explains why I occasionally find little dug-out spots in the yard and in the garden — no growing plants were harmed, but they were a little dug out around the roots — as something was foraging for insects and worms.

I stood and watched, entranced, as he climbed down a tree trunk and into the yard.  The spell was broken however when he started nosing around our newly acquired baby banana-tree plant, which was still in it’s original nursery pot and not very stable or able to be dug in without possible damage.  The second I opened the door, he quickly scurried off.

Last week, we watched a hawk hunt the doves that live in the trees in our back yard, scissoring through the branches and causing a huge ruckus among its prey.  More power to him, as the doves are obnoxious pains in the ass, and dumber than a sack of hammers.

I also had the startling pleasure a few months back, while exiting the parking garage where I work, of rounding a corner in time to watch a hawk take off from the concrete in front of me with a pigeon in its talons… again, I wish him much future success as the pigeons that live in the parking garage do nothing but scratch up the roofs of cars with their claws, and leave a pleasant layer of shit over everything.  Between the hawk and the cat, I can only hope the population dwindles rapidly.

Yeah, I know, I’m practically Doctor Dolittle.

Not the retarded Eddie Murphy version, though.

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Least I Could Do.

Posted by DmentD | Entertainment,Links,Promotion,Spotlight | Thursday 15 October 2009 12:00 am

In an apparent continuation of pimping webcomics I enjoy, here’s another: Least I Could Do.

Chronicling the day-to-day life story of Rayne Summers, the primary theme of the strip is sexuality… especially the promiscuity of the primary character.  It’s snort-out-loud funny at times, and quite touching (figuratively and literally) at others.

While always written by Ryan Sohmer, the comic has been drawn by three artists through the years… the most current being Lar deSouza– and in my opinion he’s the best… the meld of visual and writing comedy just gelled when they teamed up.  The comic is updated seven days a week.  The duo of Ryan and Lar also publish a second webcomic — Looking for Group, a fantasy based strip that is updated twice weekly.

I suggest, if you’re interested in reading the back-archives to catch up, starting HERE.  That marks the beginning of Lar’s takeover of drawing the comic.

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In Other News…

Posted by DmentD | Cooking,Coolness,Rambling | Wednesday 14 October 2009 12:15 pm

… hooray for taco night!  Take my advice, add diced mushrooms and grated carrots to your simmering ground meat.  Trust me on this.

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Against The Dead.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Entertainment,Friends,Links,Promotion,Spotlight | Wednesday 14 October 2009 11:49 am

Martin Whitmore — my obnoxiously talented friend and illustrator — has been developing a d20 zombie apocalypse game for about a year now.  The official title is “Against the Dead”.  I know, I’m excited too. *glee*

Against the Dead - Cover Preview

He’s already amassed 70+ original illustrations for the book, and is looking to “flesh it out” with some more zombie-massacre (and flesh-eating) action shots.  In order to generate some capital to offset the costs of putting the book together, he’s offering — for a  nominal fee — to put a custom illustration of YOU in the book… as either a survivor or one of the unholy walking dead:

In both cases you can make requests as to the details of the drawing, which I will fill to the best of my ability with respect to what we still need in the book. Feel free to suggest weapons, equipment — whatever would make you happy. If I can make it suit the book, I will. Depending on how many people are interested, I may put multiple subjects into a single illustration – we do need some action shots of survivors killing zombies, and vice-versa!

$20 to be a zombie, $30 to be a survivor.  Your donation gets you into the pages of Against the Dead, as well as a signed print of your illustration.

Go HERE for more details, and to get your ugly mug into the book.

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Eeenvites.

Posted by DmentD | Domestica,Friends,Party,Pictures | Friday 9 October 2009 8:00 am

We are hosting Halloween this year.  It’s the first Halloween part I’ve thrown since 2004.  I’m very excited.

Sweets and I wanted the invitations to be very special, so we set out to design our own — simple, stylish and attention getting.  A black outer card with an orange inner card, the invitation printed in Gothic script and a jack-o-lantern face hand cut from the facing page.  The invitation was sheathed in a black envelope and sealed with burgundy wax using a Celtic knot-work imprinted stamp.  The invite was then tethered by rough twine fashioned into a noose to a miniature pumpkin inscribed with “A Summoning…”


We also wanted to  arrange a special delivery for our friends in town, so we took one evening after work and drove from house to house.  Sweets would sneak up and deposit the envelope with the pumpkin resting atop it on the doorstep, then we zoomed off.  Once clear of the delivery zone we texted: “You may want to check your doorstep, we saw some shady characters about, just a minute ago!” Only two of our marks were baffled enough to respond with confusion… admittedly, they weren’t home a the time.

The best part, we managed to have 100% success making the deliveries undetected — with he exception of the one person who we didn’t trust leaving the invite on her apartment doorstep, so we hand delivered that one to her at work.

A fine start to the Halloween season, I’d say.

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Ghosts.

Posted by DmentD | Rambling,Reflection | Thursday 8 October 2009 8:00 am

It’s October, and October means two things… Halloween and Ren Faire — not necessarily in that order.  We’ve pulled the boxes of Halloween decorations down from the attic and started rummaging through them.  The living room is a glorious mess.

Since the storm 4+ years ago I haven’t had the same manic motivation for Halloween that I have always had.  Maybe it was knocked out of me by depression, maybe my brain was too busy operating in life-support mode to devote the neural energies toward it.  Maybe seeing those containers of useless Halloween decorations stacked on the lawn of my shattered house — my shattered life — perfectly intact next to the ruins of the rest of my possessions, the things that I would have happily traded every Halloween for the previous decade to have back, evidence of a lifetime of living… maybe that banished Halloween from my soul.

Lady said it best at the time:

I wanted to set those containers of Christmas and Halloween decorations on fire, seeing them sitting there on the lawn while we dredged through the ruined remains of the house.  Fat load of good they were to us, and a reminder of all the useful things we lost.

But regardless, we took them with us.  They were still reminders of good times gone by, every bit as useful in that regard as the photographs we lost.  How can you not go through your Christmas decorations and not remember when you got an ornament, or who gave you that star for the tree?

Two years ago I took part in staging Halloween with my friends who were hosting a party at their place.  I summoned the energy and as much enthusiasm as I could muster and built lots of great props and things, but I was still underwhelmed regardless.  The enthusiasm was more for the creative outlet than for Halloween, but it didn’t quite gel for me.  I felt out of sync with the occasion.  It felt like I had doused the flame further, rather than rekindling it.

Last year was the first year I actually took the decorations down from the attic and put a few out, but nothing like years past.  For some reason those containers of decorations seemed so large, and yet so full of stuff that I couldn’t be bothered to put out for the holiday, to make my home festive for the time of tear I looked forward to more than any other.  So many cheap and cheesy baubles, almost embarrassing for a guy pushing 40 to have around.  So many lights that would be more of a hassle to hang and take down, than to enjoy while they were up.  And what for?  No party of my own to decorate for… no constant stream of people coming around on the weekends during the month of October to enjoy it with me, to share my juvenile enthusiasm.

Last year I was a passive participant in the Halloween party, dressing up and showing up but not contributing.  The energy still wasn’t there.  It was just another day.

But I saw a glimmer, somewhere deep down in the darkness.  There was something there, it was weak and faint — but it was there.

This year, I feel like someone recovering from an illness: the will to move and act is there, but the body is still run down… yet gaining strength every day.  My head is getting into the right space — I can feel the tumblers clicking into place.  A little over a year ago my inner 8-year-old was given cotton candy and an espresso — by the cutest and most wonderful enabler ever to cross the Atlantic — and he’s been set loose to recharge my soul with his manic energy.

My soul has been running on fumes for too long — 4+ years to be specific.

I’m getting my juvenile enthusiasm back.  Who cares if a guy pushing 40 decorates his house with purple lights, skulls and crappy polyester cobwebs for one month out of every year?  Who cares if he dresses up like a tard for a party and has a marvelous time hanging out with others who dress just as mentally deranged?  Who cares if he gets covered in pumpkin guts carving jack-o-lanterns into the wee hours?

He cares.

He cares very much to decorate, dress silly, and murder pumpkins for his own enjoyment — anyone who doesn’t approve can just take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.

I have always nurtured my inner-child… spoiled him to the point of being a brat.  He stopped coming around for a while, but has been visiting with increasing frequency the last two years.  I’ve missed him so much.

Now if you don’t mind, there is an 8-year-old in my head who is giggling at fart jokes, and he needs to have his espresso topped off.

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