May 23rd, 2010

Zetsubo Sensei

We're All In It Together, Some More Together than Others

Last night's tweets;

Old moon's house didn't pay its power bill.
A bored comet can't keep trajectory.
Venus lava has fibreglass to kill.
Kids paint bad stars in a tarot factory.


Some days I wonder what is the proper amount of despair one is supposed to have, and where precisely it's meant to be allocated. I think it's perhaps the natural inclination towards caring for one's fellow man or woman that causes us to react with irritation or amusement to the distress of another over something with which we don't agree or over something we flatly don't understand. Irritation or amusement is a defence mechanism to ward off the gruelling task of stretching our imaginations so far, and I think it's a vital defence mechanism, by the way. Even the best places in the world are filled with various kinds of emotional and physical suffering, and no one should be expected to live their lives crying over everything that happens to everyone else. People who try to can seem obnoxious because it's as though they're implicitly saying everyone else isn't trying as hard as they could be.

So, since I lead a life defined by priorities most people don't understand or agree with, I've learned not to be entirely open in most conversations about how to live. Unfortunately, it seems that whiskey loosens my tongue, and I've just gotten back from my parents' house where I had an argument with them about the fact that I work full time on something that doesn't pay. It's amazing I actually keep getting to a place where I think certain people around me are willing to understand and try to sympathise with me as it inevitably leads to disappointment, it inevitably leads to people like my parents giving me the same circular arguments. I say my art is more important to me than my survival, they say my art won't survive if I won't, I say it will if people read it and keep it and what I do is a full time job, regardless of whether or not it pays. If I speed up, the quality will go down. If I try to work another job and try to work on my comic, the quality will go down. I know this--if I go even a week without drawing, I get noticeably rusty. Not to mention I see the web comics by people who have other jobs, and, except the newspaper style humour strips, they all suffer from stories that lack flow and cohesion. Which is natural--I couldn't write now what I wrote a year ago. Time evolves opinion and ideas, and one inevitably drifts away from old places. I'm sure there are writers who are exceptions, but if I don't write chapters of my work within a certain amount of time of each other, a chain inevitably gets broken. How am I supposed to make people who aren't artists understand this, particularly if it runs contrary to their own arguments? I shouldn't expect that much.

I try to explain that I realise I can't live off other people forever, that I just want to at least finish this one thing so if I can never again have this luxury of time I can at least always have this completed work, I can always point to a time in my life where I was able to do what I needed to do. It's hard to explain to people who somehow think that anyone who wants to make money off what they love is able to, and that it's something immature or illogical about my way of thinking that has prevented me from making money off what I love.

I really envy people who aren't evidently driven to do the kind of thing I'm doing, people who are perfectly satisfied by a job within their capabilities and relaxing on weekends and after work. I've lived that life, I used to work twelve hours a day, on two jobs. I worked at a Rite Aid in Ocean Beach where my boss made me sweep up human shit behind the building after a rain storm, where I loaded stock in the freezer every day, having to wear my bomber jacket in the middle of summer. Those were easy jobs--I had no trouble with them, and the fact that they took up all my day made them even easier. I could shut off my brain. I had to stop because I felt like there was something better I could be doing than surviving and being comfortable. And I was right. But some people will never get it.

Anyway . . .

I saw Iron Man 2 with Tim yesterday. It was good, not as good as the first movie. It felt more like a good episode of a television series than the revelation that was the first film. I could definitely sense that Jon Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux were working at a much faster pace than they'd have liked, that they didn't quite have time for all their ideas to develop. The Tony Stark/Pepper Pots relationship was a bit short-changed, but even more disappointing was lack of development for Mickey Rourke's character. He easily creates an odd sort of sympathy for his character, and there was a great potential for his and Stark's conflict to be a real, good, painful conflict between Left and Right. But unfortunately, his motives for going after Stark end up feeling sort of vague and arbitrary.

But it was a good enough film to have a wide cast of famous actors and make me forget they were a bunch of famous actors. Sam Rockwell was great as Stark's rival weapons developer--funny, but played with a very credible layering of jealousy and ambition. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury comes across as a fusion of Nick Fury and the Irritable Motherfuckin' Samuel L. Jackson Type. Which, I'm happy to say filmmakers have finally realised, is the only way to use Samuel L. Jackson in a movie.

I like Scarlett Johansson, but I was unprepared for how absolutely fucking hot she was going to be in this movie. I wanted to reach through the screen and grab her. I love how in all these movies the female martial artists inevitably have to wrap their legs around a bunch of peoples' heads to kill them. You never see the male characters doing that.

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