Monthly Archives: July 2012

The “Paranormal” Quirk

Truth be told I’ve had a few things on my mind since Saturday when I frantically sent a text to a friend about a mutual friend as Mike and I were passing the street they lived on. The feeling was so intense. I was in a moving car, I was at least a block from their home passing it in said moving car when WHAMMY this knowledge, idea, theory, thought hit me.

This happens to me a lot. Today I was told it is because I’m an empath. One of my five core strengths is empathy. Empathy tend to be pretty sensitive to their surroundings. For me, if I’m around someone who is joyful and radiates positivity, I, too, feel that. But if I’m around someone radiating negativity or bad juju I can, if I’m not careful, fall into my own dark mood.

While we were walking through the Thomas Center I didn’t sense anything around me. I did see two black silhouettes out of the corner of my eye walk into a corner room. But much like my experience at Eastern State Penitentiary, I didn’t feel anything, nothing good or bad, just some curiosity to a corner nook.

Tonight, though, I took Kat out as usual. She was her friendly self, offered to supervise our downstairs neighbors with the remainder of their moving out activities. But then her attention was pulled, no, demanded away from them and me. She didn’t want to go where we go when I take her out at night alone. She kept trying to pull me in another direction entirely, a way we never go at night. She’d stop and watch the far side of the pond, one ear perked all the way up and the other at half mast. And she kept doing it until she all but ran, and dragged me!, back up the stairs and into the house.

To say she’s never done this is an understatement. She’s never ran after trying to investigate, in her own way, something. I think on it know and realize she wasn’t afraid or curious, but protective. She stood in front of me, her posture tall and strong. She wasn’t backing down.

It didn’t so much as freak me out but wonder at what she saw or heard that had caused her to go on the defensive. We’ve seen owls and deer and other dogs, people don’t bother her. But whatever she saw, and I couldn’t feel, she wanted to take me away from it. She didn’t slow down until we got to the top of the stairs where she gave me a quick check, her eyes slightly wild and then dragged me again to the door.

UPDATE: Kat did this same thing again last night. But even more so. She did not want to go past the pond for anything in the world.

I frustrate myself myself

I’m truly horrible at learning other languages. Unless I’m learning to swear. I seem to have a flair for swearing in foreign languages. My mom speaks Spanish fluently. My incompetence at grasping the grammar, much less the language and swearing, frustrated her to no end. She teases me to this day after I proudly said to her, “I wash myself myself!” although in Spanish.

Screw grammar because now I frustrate myself myself. I don’t need to say it in any other language because self-sabotage is universal. My Chinese students knew exactly when I was frustrated just by my tone. “Grrrr” or “arrrggghh” are very universal. So is throwing up your hands, rolling your eyes and breaking pencils. I never broke a pencil in front of student but there are plenty of broken pencils in my room.

Toni Morrison wrote, “If you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” I drag around a lot of Scheiße, merda, गंदगी, and 狗屎. Because when I’m not comfortable with something I pull out my Poopy Pouch and start shoveling in every insecurity, doubt, and bad thing ever said to me. For awhile there I was doing better about how much 狗屎 I was carrying around. Then I was down to just carrying the bag, just in case. Then I was bag free and enjoying my freedom of believing in myself.

Since I started art school I picked up my Poopy Pouches and stuff them full of all kinds of merda. To the point of overflowing! I don’t compare my work to my classmates but I have unreasonably high expectations for myself in subjects I’m not strong. Instead of celebrating the little successes when I finally connect the idea and hand to create, I look at all that I’ve done wrong and question everything I’m doing.

Today I said, “Why am I in art school? Really, why am I doing this?” I look at my drawing of Lucian’s Whippet and all I can see is a malformed whippet embryo and wonder what the hell does this have to do with photography?

This is something I ask myself Every. Single. Quarter. This is usually when I start breaking art supplies. This quarter I have noticed that my work is stronger than my first quarter in drawing. But I still judge myself against the masters. When I took piano lessons I was furious with myself that I could not get the simple exercises quickly so I could move on to Mozart.

The added stress is that I must make a B or higher in all my classes to keep my scholarship and grant. It’s a nice bit of money every semester that helps to cut down on the exorbitant cost of SCAD tuition. So I stress myself out, drag around that stinky Poopy Pouch, and freak out every semester. So this is my one freak out pass. It usually happens between Unit 4 and Unit 6. I hope I won’t have any more of them. My Poopy Pouch is a bit full at the moment. Maybe I should just go throw it away.

For your amusement I’ve added this lovely self portrait. I call it Wendi Wearing Mask. It did not help keep the charcoal out of my lungs because I could not wear it very long. All it managed to do was help me breathe in the air I had just breathed out and feel like I was trying to draw outside in the 100% humidity we’ve been having.

Dear Lane Bryant,

Dear Lane Bryant,

Recently I visited your store in Gainesville, FL where I was pretty much ignored by the staff and then shocked by what one of the sales associates was wearing. (A purple tube top is just not proper, not even in a boutique.) But before I tell you that you suck let me explain why you suck.
1. Not every woman sized 14+ is 5’7″ tall. A variety of pant length sizes would be appreciated. And I don’t just mean online, but actually in your stores. I for one have a 27″ inseam. Your pants leave 3 inches of leg that I have to do something with. Is it a bonus accessory once I cut it off?

Not me, not my image, but at least she can see her shoes. I can never see my shoes when I wear Lane Bryant pants.

2. Having one or two pairs of “petite” sizes does not make up for your lack of size diversity. Every time I’ve gone into my local store I’ve seen exactly two pairs of petite sized pants. Just two. And I’m pretty sure based on the wear and tear of the tag that it’s always the same two.

3. Back to pant length: Considering how much your over long pants cost, I find it disturbing that every sales associate tells me, “just hem your pants!”. This is an additional cost that I don’t want to pay. I’m already paying $40, $50, $60 for your pants. Now I have to chuck out extra money because you can’t offer lengths?

4. Regarding cost: why are you charging $30+ for T-shirts made of extremely poor quality? I have purchased less expensive, softer and better made T-shirts at Wal-Mart.

So let me sum up: You suck. Lower your prices or make the quality better; and most of all, add some effing length choices in all of your pants!

Sincerely, Short and Pissed

I posted this letter to Lane Bryant’s Facebook wall. This is the response I received: “We appreciate hearing your thoughts and will forward them to the appropriate depts. “ Then my post was deleted. Quickly. So I re-posted and added their comment and another comment from me: How many of you have spent a bunch of money at Lane Bryant only to find out that after one wearing you find a hole in the seam? Or a hole in the fabric?

I highly doubt that LB Facebook people will jump at the chance to start making pant lengths just because I troll them on Facebook, but damned if I’m the only woman who shops with Lane Bryant who has noticed the lack of quality but not the lowering of prices on their too long clothing.
Another Update!!
Another young woman made a reply comment to my post to Lane Bryant. This is what she wrote (I copied it directly, so forgive the mispellings and grammar issues, I can only claim my own!):

I have to agree with this person. It is s( frustrating to find nice clothes shellout the money and still have to hem the pants. Not to mention ur petiet pants are still too long. U guys use to make the pants perfect! And offer more varieties in petiets. This is why I don’t shop at ur store as often as I use to. I am begining to hate shopping because I have to fux everything anyways. Why not offer hemming services is the store? Alot of places are offering this service.
Ladies, please, if you do not like Lane Bryant or any other store because they are basically discriminating against body type, rise up! Let me know and I will be right there with you!!! If you’re on Facebook, here is the link to the post Go there and make a comment! Take your stand. Diversity in clothing!

Would you call it Swiss cheese memory?

I’ve read a lot of memoirs lately. I like funny protagonists who don’t whine about their lives and the horrible things that have happened to them (see “Glass Castle”); instead making each crappy event hilarious. Anyone who has listened to “The Moth” podcast knows that drowning in the Atlantic ocean and watching your ship mates get eaten by sharks is absolutely hilarious.

So I wondered what would happen if I wrote a memoir. Would it be interesting? How could I make my moments of hell funny, if I even had moments of hell.  Would what I write just be considered another white girl with “problems”? Would the people I mention be okay with what I write? Probably not. Best wait until everyone’s passed before I write anything too funny, at least according to my theory of what makes a good memoir.

So why don’t I just start with a memory. I have a very odd memory bank. You could say that my memory is like the director’s alternative ending on a DVD promising 90 more minutes of unseen footage. What I can remember of my childhood is a mash-up of stories my mother has told me and real Wendi Memory (TM).

In junior high and high school a friend remembered everything we ever did or said. It was a freaky talent, but in some ways it was reassuring to have someone who would remember all the stuff I was sure to forget or remember incorrectly. Even then I knew something was off about my memory.

Of course, the Southerner in me would have you believe that my incorrect memories are not incorrect just embellished. And who doesn’t like a good embellish story? Isn’t it more interesting to read that the two-inch scar in my left elbow-pit was from a dark time in my past when I lost a match in a local Fight Club and not just a relic from surgery to remove tissue that grew too big in that area of my arm?

Okay, so maybe that’s not just embellishing but outright lying. Let’s forget about lying and go on to embellishing. Did you ever see the movie “Big Fish”? The general story is that the protagonist’s father always had a version of the proverbial fishing story in which the fish caught gets bigger and bigger every time the story is told. When I think of embellished stories I always call them Big Fish stories. My dad is an excellent Big Fisher. Apparently, so am I.

I have this memory that I have Big Fished for years now. I thought it was time that I get the real skinny on what happened. So during a recent visit with my parents I asked my mom to help me clear up this particular memory. Here is my version, the one I’ve actually been telling people:

I’m four years old. My uncle Jack is a photographer and film maker. He’s making a commercial and he needs a little girl to star in it. Who else would he turn to but his older sister and her adorable daughter (me), who was also a ham for the camera.

The commercial is a PSA for drivers: Watch for children at play. My uncle films me chasing a ball across the road while my mother drives her car towards me and barely misses hitting me. Tight shot on my face full of fear and shock! Flash to a flattened ball. Look what could happen if you’re not paying attention! You could flatten a ball or kill a child! The ball, my uncle promises me after filming, would be returned to me with air in it again.

The only truths to this memory are: my uncle was making a commercial and he did film me. Pretty much everything else was Big Fished by my wacky brain. My mother’s memory is thus: My uncle Jack was filming a commercial for Volkswagen “or some other car company, who knows”. There was a ball but she is certain it belonged to my Uncle Jack and not me. She did not drive the car. In fact, the day we filmed there was no car. It was just me and the ball. Even now, my memory of what my mother told me just a few weeks ago is fuzzy. So I’ll stop there. Maybe my Uncle Jack can finish the story for me.

What gives? A few years ago I learned that people with anxiety disorders and depression often lose memories. People with depression and anxiety have too much cortisol floating around. Too much cortisol causes belly fat (but so does cake) and memory loss. Basically, the cortisol is like a few pints too many at the pub and makes the brain all drunk and bumbled. Sometimes this is really funny. Like the time my husband, his mother, brother and I went out for dinner and I exclaimed, “Man, this place is great! We have got to come back again!” and my family told me that this was the “again” visit. We had been there just a couple of weeks earlier. Oh, too funny! I laugh every time I think about it until I wonder if we ever went back. I don’t think we did but at this point who knows.

I find my memories quite entertaining. God only knows how I’m going to remember any given situation. I do try to at least put a positive spin on my memories. I have some sad ones, yes, but ultimately, they’re damn funny (which means, according to the tales told by the author of “The Glass House” they’re horrible memories filled with starvation and fleas.)

Postscript: My uncle writes, “Gosh Wendi I don’t remember that. But did you see the silent super 8 film we did in college starring your mom and dad? If I can find a projector, I’ll transfer it and maybe put it up on YouTube.”

Exercises 5 and 6 – Perspectives and Hatching!

Last week was fun in drawing. I actually preferred the Exercise 6 study to Exercise 5.

In Ex5 we were supposed to draw foreground, middle, and background and focus on value using vine charcoal. I hate charcoal. I hate how it makes my hands all nasty. More importantly, I hate that every time I use it the dang charcoal closes up my lungs and I wind up sucking on my inhaler a few times so  can breathe and stop the wheezing and whistling in my chest.


Exercise 6 was a lot of fun. I can start to see where I need to make some changes, especially on the upside down bowl. Ellipses are just too much fun!  Over all I think this is pretty good since it was my first time using Conte sticks and gray toned paper, oh and that whole I really don’t feel comfortable with my drawing thing.

I’m really excited.  The other day I found all of my negatives and digi pics of Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA. Tooting my own horn and all, there are some damn fine pictures I shot on film. I cannot wait to share them with you.


Drawing II Works in Progress

Since this really is supposed to be a blog for my journey through art school. This semester I’m taking Drawing II and 20th Century Art (history). Drawing II is kicking my butt, as usual. I should have taken Drawing II the quarter directly after Drawing I. I’ve forgotten a lot of what I learned.

Right off the bat we had to create a still life composition on 18×24″ drawing paper. This, if you remember, is the project we had three weeks to complete. Now I had to complete the same project (different composition, of course) in one week.

I didn’t get so far with this. I got wrapped up doing all the shading. I feel like I got the shading and the drop cloth right around the train case, box and candle but then I got so excited to be playing with charcoal again and totally lost sight of what I was doing.

Week 2 we started working on thumbnails of various angles of the same composition. We had to use a window or some interesting architectural thing. I chose our front door window and some buildings around work. Later I had to go back and add the three thumbs on the right side of the page. I continue to struggle with spheres and circles and cylinders.

We have to take one of these thumbs and make a large additive/subtractive print using black and white conte on gray felt paper. I’m going to use the basic of the top left thumb but add the candlesticks from the middle right.

Last night I had to turn in another set of thumbs of yet another still life scene using only spheres and cylindrical objects. Shading had to be done with cross hatching. I just want to beat my head in the wall.

At some point I have to take one of these thumbs and turn it into a large composition. I’m considering the top right and bottom left. It really helps to be able to step back and see these after a few hours. But dang if I don’t need help drawing flat circle-y things, like the top of the bowl there. (All these items are at work. Beth’s beach ball, a vase left behind by the former secretary, the bowl is the condiment bowl turned upside down, a roll of paper towels, some cups and a salt shaker. Good times!)

Design I Follow Up

I doesn’t look like I posted the final motifs I did for Design I. I really loved my Design I class. The final project was so much fun.

First we had to create a motif, which I posted in “Been Away and Back“. I decided to use a mudra as my main focus. Confession: the mudra pictured is mine, but I traced it from a photograph. My prof gave me permission because he knows how long it takes me to draw my own original work. The second week of class he emailed me and said, “Wendi, just trace it. Just trace it all from here.” The neat thing was that I got to collage the tracings I did  to create my master works.

Anyway, here is where I started with my final motif pattern: We started with a shading of the motif.

We had to submit the full pattern in gray shading. It seems I do as much “drawing” with an eraser as I do with the graphite:

Then we moved to adding color:

And finally we submitted the color full motif pattern

The final was to paint the pattern with acrylics. I won’t post that because it looks nothing like my color pencil work (the hands look like they were painted with poo.) I’m quite happy with the work I did here. Maybe when I have more time I’ll continue to practice this.

Alien Allergy Testing

Holy Sh**!!!Allergists mean businessNew TattooAllergens!!!!More Allergens!!!!Allergens everywhere
Melons and LatexRelieve me!Slow reliefLiquid TortureNeedles and VialsGroovy Atomic Nebulizer

Alien Allergy Testing, a set on Flickr.

Spent a lovely morning getting poked and prodded to find out that I’m allergic to the outdoors.

And cats and watermelons.