Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Piper At The Gates

Daddy loved all his gifts. He delighted in the new Blade Runner (which was surprisingly good, we all thought); he laughed in Deadpool; he enjoyed the books, the company and the attention, and I couldn't hope for better. Brother loved his gift too. And - no fighting; brother has my back, fiercely, and daddy not only acts with respect for my wishes, he also evidently respects me now, which is all the difference. To be in a place where I feel appreciated and loved; that was nice.

I read The Wind In The Willows when I was there, for the first time ever. It deserves every bit of its glory, and the Shepard illustrations are as captivating and sweet as the immortal ones he made for Winnie The Pooh. And there's a few scenes in the book which are so spot on, so emotional and captivating they brought tears to my eyes.

The last time I watched the Eurovision was in the eighties, but we were chatting in the living room and the Eurovision happened on the screen and Israel won, with a kickass song and a kickass singer. And it's going to remain a very pleasant memory now, daddy and me holding hands and talking about everything, anything, with those sappy happy completely fake lyrics and utterly genuine emotions happening on screen.

"This is called raising the sun", said the pilot; we were flying north, seconds after sunset; it was dark - but we were chasing the sun, and it was incredible - because as we did, I saw the sun rising over the western horizon. It was mind boggling. It also sparked a conversation with the guy next to me and we didn't stop talking until the landing; another nice memory. 

And... home. Some sort of weird acceptance of things; perhaps less of a struggle against what's happening. I think it's healthier, but it feels like giving up. Whatever; being so afraid 24/7 is draining. 

Kissed husband. Sat to Blender. Made tea. Listened to The Last Ship. It's all the tropes of normality, but nothing is. So weird. And the Big Shit didn't even hit the fan yet. Gosh, life. Why you do. You're so scary I sometimes wonder who's the nutcase weirdo that has the guts to face you at all.  

Friday, 11 May 2018

Dad's birthday

I'll never get used to this - sitting in an airport with my Blender tutorials, when having to kill 1.5 hours stops being a nuisance and becomes a welcome thing. This is liberty.

It's daddy's 75th birthday in a few days, so this weekend it's him, me and bro celebrating that; bro didn't get to see me around his birthday - he rarely does - so I'm sort of thinking of this as his birthday celebration too. And my birthday is in three weeks, but I don't feel like celebrating life. I know I should, I'm working on it, but the general feeling is 'what's there to celebrate', and I wouldn't know what to do to celebrate it, anyway.

But I got daddy gifts and I'm excited to see him enjoying them. I got him the book he asked for, but then I got some surprises: A Legacy of Spies, the latest John Le Carre book, because Lucky thought he'd enjoy it;  The Storyteller dvds, because I know they'd make him happy and they're still amazing; The new Blade Runner because he's not likely to see it in the cinema and even if it's shit (I don't know if it is, I haven't seen it yet) it needs watching in salute to the classic; and the first Deadpool, because the dad that gives me a thumbs up and an impressed 'respect!' when I tell him of the one night stands of my youth, the man that taught me every filthy word in the book before I was nine, will certainly enjoy that.

And daddy's birthday is mum's birthday, too; but I try not to think about that. And I'm grateful I don't have to visit the grave on that day.

But I think the strangest thing of all is this, this friendship with daddy. I was wrapping the gifts today and suddenly realized that it's the first time in years, so many that I can't remember, that I bought him something out of love and not out of fear.

Brother is getting my spare copy of Three Hearts and Three Lions, in the lovely Hebrew Emmanuel Lotem translation, and that, too, feels like giving him a piece of my heart. It's one of my top three favourite books, and he never read it. I hope he'll enjoy it, and I'm happy I had a copy to spare because they're bloody hard to find.

I'm looking forward to spending two days with dad and bro, only the three of us; and that, too, is a miracle too grand to grasp. That's really, really nice.

Monday, 30 April 2018

It was never my expectation for the hardest thing about sitting in a cafe every day to be seeing babies. I guess there's not battling the biological clock; I see them and melt and want one, regardless of all my past opinions.

I love this new habit. Staying cooped up in the house all day every day wasn't healthy. Now it's sunlight, and people, and complimenting the waitress who looks and moves like a Tolkien elf, and forgives me my embarrassing outbreaks of random bummer.

...There's so many babies around. It's crazy. There's one drooling at me right now, in the table right across from me, held in his beautiful mother's arms. She's got some post-labour padding which makes her look like the poster woman for a renaissance fair farmer girl; a dusting of freckles, untidy hair, wide mouth, bright eyes and the general air of being as fresh as a spring apple. She's so nice looking I wish I could paint her, or at least tell her that, but I don't want to embarrasse her.

...Yeah, okay, I went and told her and she was very pleased. The baby is a girl, she's three months old, and her mother isn't complimented often enough. Up close she was even sweeter. I wish I could paint her and show what I see.

This is usually my Blender practice time, where I watch tutorials and try them out to fill up the two hours I'm meant to spend outside; but I have stuff to finish before tonight which requires my desktop. I wish I could stay here, though; sun and people and music and babies and nice coffee, so much better than the crawling stagnation I feel there lately. Maybe it was there all along; maybe it's just the contrast to the outside, now that I got to see it a bit.

...Is that a whiff of the smell of daffodills? In May? I must be imagining. It's so nice.

It's nice to just sit and see things. I turned to look at the flowers behind me and found an army of fat, metallic-looking flies on it, some five or six. Flies are revolting, but somehow here - perhaps away from my own computer and thoughts - I remember everything is interesting. Why are they all on that flower? The way they perch, the descending angle of the back of their body, the proportions and way they alternate between rubbing the back or front legs.

(And I remember that huge spider in Thailand, or the cockroach I saw lazily wandering down the street in full daylight, and how I stopped to inspect them - and the orchids - and the architecture - I miss observing. I miss... tropics and... I think it's the studying I did for Dynamic Sketching class. There was quiet in it).

But I should go home, I should. There's no flies to study there, but that's really likely more of an upside.

I think things are a little better. Some few percent better. Here's careful optimism.

...My gods, that woman is so pretty.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Laptop, cafe, fossil

Magical Coach of Awesome said 'your homework is to get out of the house, every single day, for two hours. Sun, people, whatever'. I love homework, and 80% of what she let me try did wonders, so here I am - and it's really weird. Because I'm the generation that grew up without internet, and I still refuse to have it on my phone; so sitting in a cafe with a laptop and doing Blender, or researching how to solve technical stuff, or sending guildies life hack tips I think they might find useful - that's so weird. I feel like an absolute fossil, reveling at this; but I suppose the more constructive attitude would be to say 'whoah, I love this new world. I love living in such times'. 

I needed another round of Coach because stuff accumulated and surfaced; but even now when things are a tiny bit less shiny than usual, I notice the change - the fact I can genuinely forgive myself the fossilness rather than be only embarrassed with it; the fact I do what I'm told to make things better; and the fact I'm actually really enjoying knowing that I have to get up, put on normal clothes rather than the comfy house tatters, and get out to the sun and society. I wouldn't have expected it. 

It's also fun to just be able to solve technical problems on the go. Blender suddenly not working on laptop? Quick google, some fiddling, bam. Insta-feeling capable and resourceful and happy.

I've been on a Blender spree for the past two years, but this past month has been explosive because we had the funmost roleplay expedition ever - our guild of archaeologists got to the jungles of Stranglethorn Vale and I think husband came up with an awesome plot that made me feel as if I'm in a proper Indiana Jones adventure; combined with really, really great people - the best guild combination I've ever been in, I think, in eleven years - mostly thanks to the Graces girls, but not only - I just couldn't stop making pictures, even more than normal. I hope to wrap up this round of crazy inspiration within two days and then possibly splurge some excitement about it here. 

But for now I'm in the cafe and I don't think my laptop can handle video editing; I'll therefore go and do my homework for the day, which is modeling some random asset in Blender. Aaaaaand getting another cup of coffee and smiling at the waitress again and relaxing and enjoying; this is the life.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Visiting Daddy #03

It's my third visit to daddy in as many months. I almost can't remember how bad this used to be before, in those ancient days before January 2018. It's  many things now, but all of them are pleasant, and none of them is frustration or fear. And that... makes all the difference.

We enjoy each other's  company. We enjoy the similar level of intellect, and our shared absolute fascination with nature, history, archaeology, science - We sit hand in hand, watching the National Geographic channel and stopping every few minutes to discuss it, share awe or reflections; we enjoy music together. He's  not a very good listener, my dad - that is, I know he used to be amazing at it with his patients, but with me, or maybe with the years and the ADHD, he's less so. Still - for the fee days I'm here I can handle the frustration, I think, and besides - I feel how much he's trying with every sentence; with the respectful way he apologizes and stops when I say something about it. I'm no longer treated as a voiceless child; my feelings and thiughts matter here, now. it's... invaluable.

I wouldn't  be able to enjoy this if I didn't have the tablet though, the option to take a break for an hour or so and just be alone a bit - or be not-daughter me, gamer-artist-wife me, Adonis a different person with a different set of priorities. I never thought a tablet would mean liberty, but it does. It is.

He was really depressed when I arrived. I don't  know how to handle it; he raised me to think of him as all powerful and absolute everything; a god. What do you do when your god is sad, or scared, or growing dad up with a body too damaged to use and a mind that might start faltering? If I think about it I'll end up useless. So I don't; I just came here to be with him a bit, and that seems to cheer him up quite a bit. That feels so nice.

I know there's the inevitable coming, at some point. It's  been my biggest fear for the past 12 years. But it's inevitable, and I'll have to survive it, and we speak of it openly, without drama, guilt or impractical feelings,  and I'm proud we can talk about it this way, but I'm alsopetrified of the day I'll look back on those talks and the tragedy will feel as if it's too much to bear.

They say nothing's too painful to bear; that fear is worse than the thing itself, that when then shit hits the fsn we always have the emotional and mental resources to survive it. I disagree with that; what good is surviving a trauma if you end up too damaged? Clinically depressed, perpetually triggered, socially incapable? Is that even called surviving, if the traumatic reaction doesn't fade? And what I'd we find out that no, the pain is too great  to bear and you'd sincerely prefer to make he choice to end all pain rather than keep living? Those are unavoidable questions if you're a sane, intelligent adult. It doesn't  do any good to delve and dig them, though, I think; I thinks I'll just find out by living, and hope that I don't end up on the unbearable depression  side of statistics.  And until then, I think sits best to enjoy whatever time we have together, now that we found each other again, and simply focus on the improbable wonder of that.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Two friends  - about 50% of the people who read this journal, I think - told me I almost only ever write about Blender. It's true, and I feel a little bad about it. But it's silly for obvious reasons. And this blog having turned into Bell's Blender Blunder really represents how my life transformed, and anyone regularly reading here knows how crazy excited and happy I am about doing what I do with Blender. I suppose it fits.

It also doesn't change much; I find a challenge, I spend some time on it, and if I manage to break through I get explosively excited, write a wall of text about it, then do exactly the same next time it happens, and it's all so very technical and I wish, I wish I could get excited about it with someone like minded. But since that girl fucked me up, I haven't been able to bring myself to trust people anymore. I tried - even with Lucky, who is my best friend, the one lesson I gave him was so hard. I didn't enjoy any of it; I just kept feeling tense and a little sick and I was impatient and - no, I just can't. 

But I miss rambling about it, so much. And she's copying so many elements from me - whenever I come up with a new cool feature or visual idea, I see it in her stuff a few days later. Copying really is a form of flattery, but when it's done to you by someone who intentionally deceived you and used your kindness, you just end up feeling used again.

It wasn't like that before what she did; I had this student whom I called at four in the morning because I realized he could make a bit of direly-needed money on the side if he made wow pictures, and for a while he was my Blender buddy and I'd excitedly tell him everything every time I made a discovery. And now... I tried, but I simply can't anymore. It just makes me sad and anxious.

And when I'm exploding with excitement like I am now, I really want to write it all here like I used to; explain and splurge, why I'm so excited - and it's usually because I'm proud, because I managed to come up with a working solution for some challenge. I'm saying 'come up with' because it's no longer a question of googling it - that was the basic stuff - now it's combining and tweaking a few techniques into something that works uniquely for what I do, or even - and those are the best ones - experimenting in Blender and coming up with a method, or a fix, which is entirely my own; not anything I could find on google. Those make me feel the happiest; capable. 

All those workaround solutions; control particle hair with a rig even thought I was specifically told it's impossible; stains, tattoos and spells done in a crazy impractical, convoluted manner - but they are done, I manage it; just like, before I could import the Warcraft rigs, I found a solution to make facial expressions after all - I used to freeze the character in a close-enough expression during a Blizzard-made emote, then bring that into blender and stitch only the face unto the body I had manually rigged. It's unorthodox but it works, and that kind of thinking is what I enjoy most. It's as if managed to kick Blender (or ignorance) in the nuts against all odds, despite its best attempts to dishearten me. That; that feeling - it's a wonderful thing to get up in the morning to.

So on a less QQy note, the last ten days or so have been a blurry bliss of frantic Blendering. I made a few huge breakthroughs which enable me freedom I needed; I can make clothes and new parts from scratch, without relying on anything Blizzard-made; I can tweak body shapes quickly and easily and I finally figured out the old rig problem and the solution to it, rather than the workaround I used for the past year; I got a better grasp on hair (again) and can make it look far more natural now, and found a solution enabling me to pretty much rig it; I re-made my thinner human and it took 15 minutes and looked far better than before, and I'm looking forward to an excuse to making more such thing; Having fixed the female goblin model, I want to extrapolate on that - in short, I'm bursting with ideas and eager to see what challenges Blender brings and if I can solve them; the challenge really is the best part. 

So, to finish with a high note, three happy thoughts of the day:
  1. I'm grateful we might have found the source of husband's current allergy spree!
  2. I'm grateful daddy and I are so close and on good terms now.
  3. I'm grateful it's so bright and sunny outside. 
There, done. Also done rendering; I might post it here and go nuts with excited explanations later. 

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Too much inspiration gwhakjhskdfjh

I can whine about so many things - the childhood friend who turned out to have real shit happened to them, the current friend with the same, the mold that grew on all our cloths (and damn that was one expensive laundry round), husband's scary allergy, the argument we had the other day - those are severely lacking in catharsis since I stopped yelling some three years ago, so we sit there and have a reasonable, loving, respectful discussion at the end of which I just want to sleep for two weeks - or about plagiarizing backstabbing liar bitch central, I can't believe it's been almost a year and I still can't teach because of that - but, but, I'm still exploding with so much inspiration it literally makes my heart race (no, really; it feels like a panic attack, only a good one) - and there's never even enough time a day to make all the art I have gushing in my head, and I'm like that 85% of the time. It's awesome; I love having grown to be a proper crazy obsessed artist by the book; I just wish I had a time turner or Ritalin or whatever the drug that makes you crazy focused and crazy fast is, because my brain is on self-produced heroin half the time now and chasing that all the time is kind-of-really-frustrating-never-get-it-all-done-chase-chase-chase and those are really rich people problems. I'm amazingly lucky? Yes? Yes.