Invasive Intrusion

Invasive Intrusion

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

A render to keep myself awake while I’m making the transition from a day to a night schedule. This is the results of one attempt to keep myself up…

Guardian of the Gate

Guardian of the Gate

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

A little fun & excitement (because the thaw continues!) and a little creative bizarreness came to mind as I started pumping this render together. Think an organic gate with a sentient gatekeeper in the center coming together to bar the way or creaking apart to let the traveler enter into the world beyond.

Algae Rinse Cycle

Algae Rinse Cycle

JWildfire 2.25, Un-Retouched

Just a little something to pass the time while I’m listening to Relic Radio’s The Saint (with Vincent Price).

Categories: Art, Fractals Tags: , , ,

Windstorms & Flowers Marble

Windstorms & Flowers MarbleWildfire 2.23, Un-Retouched

Not quite the ribbons I was trying to create, but amusing in a way that a Mad Scientist would be rather proud of.

Categories: Art, Fractals Tags: , , ,

One Door Closes… Another Door Opens…

Entry 03/08/2015 07:36:05 AM – Mentat 899

At the end of last week, I found myself rather surprised that an acquaintance of mine has blocked me from Twitter and removed me from his feed. I found myself taking it rather personally because I was left without word as to why it had happened, and that it simply changed in the course of a couple of hours. I also took it personally because like all the sites that I frequent — from WordPress, Deviant Art, Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook — I usually discriminate based on the feeling that such acquaintances (and friends) are usually there to stay for the long haul. They often know that good and bad, I have an opinion and I’m going to share it. Be it affirmatively, be it as the contrarian that I often am. Be it off-sided, and sometimes even off-colored, I share it and try to do so eloquently (or in the 140 character limit of Twitter: Succinctly).

The straw that broke the camel’s back for this acquaintance: he posted one of this daily inspirational quotes. One from Steve Jobs.

My answer, while be from one of the more comic sites (Cheezburger.com) covered rather poignantly some of the epic douche-baggery of Steve Jobs in his years while he was running Apple Corporation and had his hooked sunk into Pixar Entertainment. Let’s face it — anything inspirational and/or prophetic from this man had to have been generated within the well known reality-distortion field that Mr. Jobs used to spin himself the messiah of all things Apple/Macintosh.

This of course wasn’t the first time. A couple of weeks before this acquaintance mis-attributed a quote to Thomas Edison of which I’m well familiar to that man’s douche-baggery during his years of feuding with Nikola Tesla, suspected that if he had ever said it, it was stolen. (I was since corrected by another of this acquaintance’s followers that the quote he had attributed to Edison had come into creation a few decades after Edison’s death).

I even commented to him as succinctly as possible (in a private communiqué) that he should do some research into some of the quotes that he was pulling to inspire his followers that from as these two — Edison and Jobs — are proof positive of the saying, “the rat race is over, the rats won”.

The thing is that I have equal rancor for not only Edison and Jobs, but Gates, Ballmer, (Michael) Dell, (Steve) Case and a host of others that people often try to paint as the pioneers of the Information Age. I don’t tend to put it all up front; I usually do it opportunistically based on whether or not they’re mentioned. Because from my perspective, it’s that often the quotes people attribute to many of these people as inspirational were often used in the middle of some of the most vapid PR campaigns generated in the 20th Century. Campaigns used to cover-up not only their vices and villainy, but much of the vices and villainies of the peers of their time. They also been shown to have relied on the strengths of others (Wozniak for Apple comes readily to mind; I know there was one or two on Microsoft’s side, but I can’t recall them off the top of my head) and took the credit for those accomplishments. But I’m not here to go down the dark and often barbed rabbit hole on this, I’m talking more personally…

Through the weekend while I was working through this surprise (and disappointment), I performed a quick inventory of this budding friendship and realized it was entirely one-sided. He never made a favorite nor commented on anything that I ever created. Even so far as never followed me to see what I was going to create next. He never showed any curiosity for anything that I made, wrote or talked about unless it was referenced directly to him.

This isn’t friendship Michael, I thought to myself. Far from it; this is one-sided.

I then took an inventory of this acquaintance’s actions and realized that with extremely rare exceptions, a majority of his actions and activities were the sort of self-absorbed drivel I would expect of someone wanting followers and fans. The sort of followers and fans that only have stars and likes (and favorites) to flourish, and ne’er an opposing word to anything spouted by this acquaintance. Looking at this inventory, I got the strongest impression, what he wanted were supplicants for his cult of personality… In order to make money.

I readily admit, I might be intentionally villainizing him in a method of handling the hurt and surprise in an adolescent fashion. So to balance this immaturity out (just a little) I’ll say something less villainizing: I don’t damn him for taking his talent and making money from it. Music-making is tough enough in this dog-eat-dog world. Lord knows I understand this intimately from fellow artists (painters, sculptors, fractal artists, jewelry makers, the list goes on) that the only time the kind of art I practice makes money when the artist (that created it) is dead. I applaud his attempts at generating revenue from it — even from a single song. I might not personally relate to his music, but others do and that’s something to be respected.

The thing is that I don’t respect his thoughtform that he’s been subtly creating, A thoughtform that I should blindly worship him. That I should be the visions of light, goodness and softness for all that he spouts to the world around him. For failing to being this vision, I should be punished (by exclusion) when I go beyond that myopic vision of how people should act around him. Because the last thing I’ll ever be is part of anyone’s advertising machine. (After all, I believe that if they or their product cannot sell itself, no amount of my pushing it will do the same). Nor will I ever see them as anything less than an equal: and being equal means that you get the good with the bad. The agreement with the disagreement. The praise with the criticism.

For another acquaintance from years gone by had hit the nail on the head when he commented on my personality and the years of crotchety, snarky and acerbic rebuttals from the likes of me on a public newsgroup when he said:

Merrick is Dr Leonard McCoy. The barbs! The barbs! Not to mention professional brilliance, sharp opinions and scathing wit! Nonsense–even of the superficially logical sort–will not go unchallenged by either of these men. Two of the most colorful characters on Star Trek and ATSTV, Bones and Merrick are in a class of their own. You gotta love the way they blurt out their opinions, devil-may-care, if you don’t like it, that’s just too damn bad! Original and unique, they will never go unheard. They may be masters of irony, but the most ironic thing of all is that underneath the acerbic jabs are men of great sensitivity and tremendous heart.

I never crafted this attitude, I simply was me — spouting (or sharing) my opinion. Debating against one side (or the other), trying to create balance through the actions of both sides trying to create a perspective. Critiquing what I was seeing as weakness in the hopes of garnering strength. Tearing down strength(s) when they appeared to be hubris. And most importantly working towards optimistic visions while cutting away from the dreck and dross to find the germ (of the grain) and gem (of the jewel).

So with all this — a door has been closed. Time to move on — into the world — continuing to be me.

And what door has been opened? Why just the sort of job I’ve been missing for years. Yes, it’s a tech support job. Yes, it’s something that I’m rather talented at doing. And most importantly; yes, it’s on third shift. You heard it here — I’m going to be Nightbreed once again. I’m going to be missing from my usual postings, commenting and usual Day-Walker shenanigans for the rest of the month, but after that what was done during the day will be done in the middle of the night. The best part is that it’s just over 3 miles (4.8 km) from the house which means that for the spring through the autumn I can walk it (in an hour), ride it (in about 40 minutes or less, it’s pretty even terrain from here to there) and avoid the butt-loads of traffic through the major streets at the butt-crack of dawn or late in the evening. Best of all, I can return to the usual giggles and guffaws of watching my fellow homo sapiens in the morning, being complete zombies as they head to work while I’m heading home to sleep.

I’ll tell the story about this — once I’ve started the job. Until then, that’s enough from me because I really don’t want to jinx it any more than I have than mentioning it here. I’m going to wander off for the time being. Off to play a little before I head to bed. Until the next time.

Armitage’s Trip into Wonderland

Armitage's Trip into Wonderland

 

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

All right, I was in one of my more excitable moods and slapped code (and gradients) together sort of haphazardly. I was thinking, pastels! And this was the result.

Ode to the thoughts of HP Lovecraft and Lewis Carroll having tea as they talked about Wonderland and creatures like Azothoth (and Shub-Niggurath) in the Queen’s Garden…

A Year Later…

Entry 03/01/2015 08:53:39 AM – Mentat 893

It’s hard to imagine that more than a year has passed since that cold (and snowless) day when I moved out of the Valley and a mile up the road to the Hill. Federal Hill that is. The move itself was relatively painless and drama free. There had been no sight of the douchebag ex-landlord. The drunken ex-roommate was probably sleeping through most of it in his typically alcoholic catatonic stupor. The only two that might have seen the move were the two Guatemalans living on the third floor; and I think at one point I stumbled across one of the two of them in the process. The weird one on the third floor (above me) probably hid like a conspiracy theorist… I never did figure out whether his favorite headwear was tinfoil or was simply one of those functional agoraphobics that enjoyed his own company than the company of others. And the artist below me? Bless her heart, I’m still rather amazed she stayed in spite of the lack of storm windows and constant drafts cutting through her apartment.

There of course had been other drama going on… My mother had slipped on the ice when she had been walking her Monster Child (her 140+ pound very spoiled Chocolate Labrador Retriever) and had to spend a month in the hospital and then another 5½ months housebound and hobbling around her house with the Zimmer frame I often joked about needing sometime in the near future as I’m getting up in the years. I was there helping her through her various chores around the house, meeting her visiting nurses at the door and escorting them up and down the two flights of stairs from the outside door to her apartment. I was wrangling that spoiled trouble child during those visits to ensure he doesn’t try licking the nurses to death while they were helping my mother going through her various physical therapy exercises to strengthening her leg and to get used to the pins in her hip. And walking him at the assigned times that he often didn’t like as they were an hour later than the times he thought he should be going out.

In that time, I was getting used to my own little all-black hellion on four legs in the new environment and learning how a change of environment changed several of the habits he had into something between annoyances and health concerns. But any crises I might have been feeling when it came to Moe were quickly abated when I adjusted to those new habits he was demonstrating. Like the fact that the water bowl and the food bowl can’t be near each other in this house like they were for the house in the Valley. Heh, the food bowl is fine near to the door to the apartment, but water needs to be in the bathroom near to the bathtub and opposite to the litter box location. Like the food bags needs to be out of his reach. Like the doors to the cabinet need to be tied closed or else he’ll get in there and snap the mouse traps in there because he thinks they’re toys to play chicken with. Like the top of the fridge is a perfect place to lay down on during the winter because he likes the heat and likes being out of the way when I’m doing the weekly house-cleaning. Like looking out the windows at 2 in the morning during the summer (which he avoids during the day because people seeing him scares him to hide). But I digress; the bottom line is that my cat’s content, well-fed and well-watered.

I know that it took me several emotional purges and a serious voodoo-like ceremony for Emancipation Day (June 25) for me to exorcise the anger and pent-up rage I had been feeling because of the years of working/living under the douchebag ex-landlord. I might still maintain my complete refusal to use his name in any references to him because using his name is deferring respect of some sort in his direction: respect that he most assuredly doesn’t deserve. And the drunken ex-roommate? Pfft, forgotten.

Along the way, I realized I couldn’t have people in my life that were depressed, in ruts of their own (and refused to shake out of it) or were the sort of crotchety that came off as arbitrary or negatively capricious. And so it was the mid-year sort of purge that so many other people do at the beginning of their years. After all, nothing I could do to suggest change was going to change them; and their attitude while not being labeled “toxic” were the wrong sort of energy I needed during my healing process for dragging myself out of the hole I had dug for myself. And like a woman breaking up with boyfriend; I washed them right out of my hair. I haven’t looked back at them or tried to look them up — they are behind me, and I don’t need their negativity in my life anymore.

Things for July and the beginning of August were looking up. I decided on pulling my journal/blogging offline except for when I had some issue that was working my nerves and then I would be off to blasting to my heart’s content. Local government, local attitudes even clear wastes of energy and effort were the targets of that passion. I went at the old mayor (and now the new mayor) with passionate fervor. I went after thoughtforms that were generated by lack of sense, experience or sensibility.

On the other hand, I kept up with my learning and whimsical randomness with Mandelbulb and for the new year J-Wildfire; posting fractals on Mondays (almost religiously) and other times in the week depending on love, pride or “feel the want to share” of whatever it was I produced. I had in that time got back in touch with the Mad Scientist™ within creating the sort of weirdness I could in mathematics and losing the writer’s block in being able to sit down and write to myself without self-consciousness nor the pressure of entertaining people. Sure many times my entries are banal, frivolous, even vapid… But the writer in me is happy to let the words flow. The thoughts run stampede and my feelings to take wing as free and carefree as the local birds in the summer. As you can see here:

clip_image001

Quite the change from the end of July which was 10% at best just over 75,000 (or so) words.

There was another dramatic moment at about this time. I was getting seriously tired of walking my mother’s dog — mostly because it’s not my dog and he has serious obedience issues when it comes to anyone not my mother nor her husband. The weather was also getting into the humid times of August and while I didn’t mind the walks, his constantly pulling and my needing to be mindful of other dogs was getting on my nerves. It’s my mother dog after all, and as she always told the three boys — “your pet, your responsibility.” It was also a sort of way to getting my mother to walk more for exercise as for the last months was doing nothing more than hobbling about. The walk started off sort of all right — her Monster Child was pulling as always and excited to be walking to the vacant lot.

I didn’t see the man walking his dog in the vacant lot. The Monster Child did first. And that’s when he pulled like he always does. So hard and so fast that he pulled my mother off her feet. She tried bracing and failed; getting her first experience of asphalt surfing on Adams Street toward Marcello Street and breaking her ankle in the process: the same ankle that she broke her hip. This meant for the next 6’ish months more hospital visits, more pins and a plate (since removed because of issues with the thin skin around her ankle), a skin graft, more hobbling around the house for months at a time, more visiting nurses visits, and more of my having to help her with the chores around the house.

When it comes to injury and illness, my mother and I truck along the best we can. We might whinge a bit here and there when it comes to pain, we sometimes even get a bit alarmist if it’s taking too long and we sort of clam up when it’s something that might be frightening but on the whole all we do is keep going and let the body heal according to its own schedule. My mother’s husband on the other hand… Well let’s just say his over-protectiveness got on my mother’s nerves constantly and his issuing orders were often disregarded the instant he was out of eyesight and earshot for the betterment of the situation and the often frayed sanity.

And there was still more drama around September. A flare-up between my mother’s husband and myself. One that I recall distinctly writing about. While I won’t recant the story about this, I can tell you that because of the promise I made to my mother, I have avoided creating any drama against him in the time that she was healing and the couple of months since his recovery. Unlike other parts of my family who always apologize for their transgressions — he refuses. I had a chat with the son that positively hates him and from what I’ve collected from him he a “…narcissistic bastard… that thinks he does no wrong…” So I keep this in mind when avoiding dealing with him. He was also able to confirm that with the amount of whinging he does with his job, his life and frail ego, he’s not the Commissioned Marine that he tries to paint himself as, but instead is part of the armed forces that he constantly derides: an air force officer. I know there’s only matter of time when the opportunity will present itself and I will face off against him again with the energy of taking back what he took when he physically attacked me. Promise or no promise, I refuse to be cowed by acts of a bully.

More drama for the coming winter too… End of October to be exact. Though not so much the negative drama that comes with family, illness, dating or whatever. More like the comedy of errors and over-caution that’s the product of a litigious society. There had been a gas leak in the house — a very small one — caused probably a combination of events between my moving the stove to light the pilot on the space heater and the gas pressure of an added unit to the gas main into the apartment. It was enough to give the place the wrong odor of leaking gas, but not enough to actually be a threat to life, property and well being. I called the utility company to ask them if their checking service was free and they confirmed it was. Stressing it was a gas leak that didn’t involve an emergency call to the local fire department, I told them to send a technician to confirm where the gas was leaking out of. I remember telling the call representative that it’s not an emergency and that it’s a very small leak as it took almost 8 hours to get the whiff of it in my house, he told me that someone was going to be over in less than thirty minutes.

Turns out that I happened to look out the window when I heard sirens racing up Atwells Avenue to see that the full fire company was trying to get up my street as well as parked in front of my house. Seeing the Department’s chief, I quickly sorted out what happened and tried to explain to them that it wasn’t that much of an emergency, and ask that the Chief and one other come upstairs to investigate while I explained to them why the call and what happened.

Two men turned into the whole of the Company, which friends ribbed me about it being a “gay man’s dream” with that many firemen in my house. Sure, it might have been — if my apartment were bigger. It’s roomy for one man and a cat, and perhaps comfortable with a couple and a pet or two… But 12 men in a 20′ x 20′ kitchen all firing questions at me scattershot trouncing upstairs (to the vacant apartment), downstairs to my neighbor’s place (also a quiet person that doesn’t make all that much noise even when her adult children are over), into and out of the basement; it was the sort of chaos I would have rather liked keeping out of the homestead and spending some time with my terrified cat in the closet in the bedroom. After the utility technician showed up and confirmed a small leak in the distributor and one of the non-lighting pilots on the stove — they all filed out of my place with almost a look of disappointment (coupled with relief) it wasn’t as bad as they were expecting.

Since then it’s been pretty uneventful and a hell of a lot more peaceful. I’ve been getting back onto the socializing wagon, trying to be the charming curmudgeon I was known for before my relationship with the psycho-ex (pre-2000). While I haven’t really met anyone to try to shatter the commandments with, I’ve been more friendly with strangers than I have in a long time. Old friends spotted the change with time, new friends and acquaintances don’t understand the teeter-totter between snarkish, helpful and the overly-opinionated perspective I share with them… Some find it simply funny, others are more to take the ‘respective distance’ until they can figure out that I’m (very) vocal but otherwise harmless. I might still have issues with the way local government is run and take them to task verbally in either a blog entry or with the assistants that answer the phone at the Mayor’s office at least it’s more snarkish rather than vitriolic. I seem to remember days where it didn’t matter whether one was a pedestrian or not: walkways and sidewalks were always shoveled. Days long since passed where pedestrians now are nothing more than second-class citizens… But again, I digress.

I’ve also been doing daily exercises since the beginning of October and couple this with the rather surprisingly gross amount of water I drink (7 or more cups) and more than 7½ hours of sleep at night, I find myself better able to handle whatever stresses that come my way on a day to day basis. I still have some obsessive-compulsive habits; but at least those habits don’t consume hours of my time and energy in the process as they used to in the past. Oh, I’m definitely not buff, or lean… But instead maintain the illusion of a teddy bear; but with a little more bite (and strength) than before.

And that’s it for this year on the Hill. Now it’s time for me to do the dishes I used for lunch and perhaps work out playing a game or three with my very verbal hellion on four legs wanting “lap time”. In the end I know, I am back. Even if not everyone sees (or fully understands) it. Until the next time.

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