Friday, September 30, 2016

Blues Run The Game

Coming of age, I've grappled with the thought that a lot of what I am to experience in this world, I would experience alone, on life's terms. I don't consider myself sheltered, although much of the world's ugliness was kept at bay at the behest of my mother and family; a testament, truly, to what it takes to be a parent, especially to a child born in a rapidly changing world where even just a generation prior, a lot, if not all there was to know, fell to obsolescence faster than the child could age.

Raised in a religious household, more foundationally congruent than congestive as it was not prohibitive of me to think for myself, there were many aspects that govern the ebb and flow of man and it's means to an end that I wouldn't learn of until I was in it. Deep within it. Having to cope for oneself, scathed but fervently fending off turmoil and self deprecating facets slowly burrowing within your subconscious; a quote I use largely out of place, but nonetheless apropos: Just survive somehow.

Raised in a familially abundant household, there was always an exhaustible supply of income, never of love. Grounded, caring, and always there for one another; I've often told friends that based on my own observations of what some folk endure during their upbringings, I indeed was a wealthy child. My economic stature during my upbringing may be described as "third world" were one so inclined, but we certainly spared no expense in love, and humanity.

What exists out there for some, the very few struck with ghastly turn of events, and forced to endure, differ so drastically from my own experiences that, when I come across it haphazardly, I am once again back at home, long ago and far away from it all. Just me, and my family. And I find myself asking that age old adage: what if it were me?

A tragedy, as descried: an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress. You read about these all the time, everywhere, some so otherworldly it weakens the integrity of your faith. It can be dangerous to compare two distinct tragedies from each other, its toll afflicted upon survivors, each unique to the individual that lived to speak of it; the ghosts to which only they must toil. But it is when an entire picture is painted, from birth to death, when the entirety of the story can be told could we then more vividly grasp the current of burden this individual or individuals had to carry for their entire life.

There was a man, many years ago, an early 60s folk singer by the name of Jackson C. Frank. A mellow, unassuming man from Buffalo, born in a time where his soul, like those of many forthcoming artists and musicians alike, was more than intended, it felt destined; imbued within the fabric of their existence at the time. His form contemporary, his style smooth but worn down; he existed at a time exactly where he needed to be, and albeit relatively unknown, even to this day, his contribution to the form has indeed become a staple, the source for all that play that song.

There exists like no other the tragedy that is this man: Jackson C. Frank. I will let this article precisely outline the woes befallen of this man, what I hope to touch on with this post is the otherwise less than favorable outcome of someone who, by all means have done nothing wrong, as best as we could tell.

In 1954, a furnace exploded at the elementary school he attended that would later be called the Cleveland Hill fire; 15 of Jackson's fellow classmates were killed, including his then girlfriend Marlene Du Pont. Jackson was 11. The explosion damaged him, suffering burns over 50% of his body, and other injuries that would not present itself until later in life. But even after all of this, he pursued his craft; a love for the guitar he garnered while he was recuperating.

His time in the scene was brief, at best, but engaged right alongside some of the greats of the time like Art Garfunkel, Nick Drake, Paul Simon, Sandy Denny, and so on. However, after long his career fell to a standstill, and he moved back to the states from the UK, married, and had two children, one of whom, his son, would later pass from cystic fibrosis at a young age. Bouts of depression and ptsd from the explosion, psychiatric hospitalization, institutionalization, Jackson's notoriety fell into obscurity, lost to the world, except for the few that would still sing his songs. His prudent, genre defining music heard only by so few. His last days on Earth, although not spent alone, Jackson was less than a shell of his former self, he was the animated remains of a child that died 40 years before.

Jackson was 11, arguably his mark on folk music may never have occurred had he not endured the traumatic event, or even more so, his life would have been completely different had that event not occur at all. In a time in this nature where research into traumatic stress related affliction was in its infancy, it's safe to say Jackson fell prey to the nuances of a maturing science; his medications potent, disorientating, causing more distress than he was already dealing with. I have, time and again, placed myself in his shoes, and asked with the advantageous poison of hindsight: would I be able to manage? Would anyone?

Jackson's tragedy mirrors the successes of other artists that share the same light as him; drastic, all encompassing, the only part of the story that gets told if ever the subject is brought up. But Jackson's tragedy is his story. It is his attribution to existence. The pain, the long, arduous minutes, and hours, and days, and weeks, and months, and years; over and over and over. It was all he knew, it is all there is known about him.

Except that Jackson, at his best, where it counts, reflects a greater example of who we are in the grand scheme of things. We all experience life in our own ways, but weather or not you're a victim or accountable for the tragedy, you ramble on. The blues run the game, but you play.

You play, until the end.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

So Why, Then?

You live in kindness. You live in love. You live in compassion. You live in gratitude. You live in faith. You live in patience.

It abides by nothing.

It attains nothing.

Left alone, yet again. So why, then?

You bestow kindness. You bestow love. You bestow compassion. You bestow gratitude. You bestow faith. You bestow patience.

It rewards nothing.

It pacifies nothing.

Left alone, yet again. So why, then?

I showed her kindness. I showed her love. I showed her compassion. I showed her gratitude. I showed her faith. I showed her patience.

It accounts for nothing.

It amounts to nothing.

Left alone, yet again. So why, then?

So why, then?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

You Remain Irrevocably Human...

So, I'm up late, dabbling about the interwebs, as being unemployed has allotted me quite a bit of time to not only do a huge tonne of work, but get lost in my imagination like I used to back in college. My peeps will attest to the fact that I am a huge Matrix fan, and have been for many years. I've re-watched each film enough times to simply indulge myself into formulating an original screenplay (attempted, but second guessed myself after the fact, I'll discuss that at a later point). Nonetheless, here I am, having just finished Reloaded, and I've found myself some 4 hours after the movie's completion, skimming the surface of what will ultimately become one of the most profound narratives in movie history.

And here's where I found my first new clue in as many years:

The Matrix: Reloaded, as well as Revolutions, was not well panned in the U.S.. Some saw it as essentially "reaching", however falling short of the catastrophically monumental achievement that was the first movie (in what it's done for the industry as a whole more so than the prowess of the Wachowski's as filmmakers). I never understood the skepticism people held toward the final two films; they were exactly where a franchise of this caliber could have gone, but, that's beside the point.

Within Reloaded there is the infamous Architect scene, where our main protagonist, Neo, must face the grand designer of the very prison he was born into, and allude answers as to his next moves. This scene, a confounded, densely assorted diatribe of collegiate level verbiage largely went unappreciated and mocked in many various forms for it's implied intent, but missing the mark. But not me.

I've watched that scene over and over, visited various "theory based" sites and the hand-me-down "Matrix Wiki" pages, absorbing the many, although farfetched at times, but soundly described theorems that fans across the world have complied, and I must say I think I've stumbled upon one of THE most missed points throughout this entire franchise which, if I'm correct, will most certainly validate my projection for this film's importance.

Please, feel free to watch it here, in case you don't care to read the transcribe.

Let's begin:


[Before we continue, let me point out for the sake of rhetoric that the Architect has been watching Neo for a long time, since the first film. As a matter of fact, if you recall the interrogation scene from the first movie, just after Mr. Anderson commits himself to the police and is escorted away in handcuffs, there is a scene where you're in a room full of monitors, resembling, briefly, what appears to be just the monitors for the interrogation room at the police station where the Agents took him. This is not so, it is in fact the Architect watching as his path unfolds before him.]

NEO: Who are you?

ARCHITECT: I am the Architect-I created the Matrix. I've been waiting for you.

ARCHITECT Cont.: You have many questions, and although the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human. Ergo, some of my answers you will understand and some of them you will not. Concurrently, while your first question will be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize that it is also the most irrelevant:

NEO: Why am I here?

It is only in these first shared moments that THE single most concise piece of theorem I believe has ever been haphazardly discovered exists, while simultaneous THE most cleverly disguised. Allow me to explain:

There is a prevailing theory that Neo is still alive at the end of Revolutions, this is in accordance with the blindingly illuminating aura he exhibits after his fight with Smith, and is carted away by the... I guess Reaper Beetle of 01 (the name of the Machine City where Neo faces Dues Ex and pleads for peace in lieu of taking on Smith). Why is this important? 2 simple factors:

Further into their dialog, the Architect states that:

ARCHITECT: The function of the One is now to return to the source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the Prime Program...

The second factor? C.O.N.T.E.X.T

Ladies and gentlemen, I have carried with me for many years this standard, and it very well may be carved into my headstone (should I keep one), along side "Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen-He Was #1":
Context. Is. Everything. You can hide the truth in plain sight, and no one, especially those that do not pay attention, would be the wiser.

I want you to reread that first paragraph from the Architect:

You have many questions, and although the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human. Ergo, some of my answers you will understand and some of them you will not. Concurrently, while your first question will be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize that it is also the most irrelevant:

The Architect has been watching Neo for some time, but the context behind the bold and underline text is indicative of someone he's spoken to before, on MANY occasions.

Neo inhibits what is called the Anomaly, it is a purposefully generated "bug", allocated by the Architect as he works with the Oracle in writing the programming for the 3rd iteration of the Matrix. Why this Matrix, the Matrix we're experiencing now, is so important is that this is the first time since the first two attempts that there has not been a cataclysmic loss, only a systemic restart, comparable to updating apps on your phone, rather than downloading an entirely new Operating System. Each of these systemic restarts come as a result of this anomaly, or code, the resulting sum of combined programming between both writers. At the end of each Anomaly's run, as the Architect THEN states:

 The function of the One is now to return to the source, allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the Prime Program...

Each restart allocates the return of this source code, which inherently becomes the "Patch", for the newly restarted Matrix: The One, IS code! It's always just code that randomly appears in a new person born inside the Matrix, and every time it inhibits itself within the system, a counterbalance always appears. Prior antagonists are never mentioned, but we know for our boy Mr. Anderson, it was Smith.

When Neo dies in the first film, Mr. Anderson is DEAD!
[ July 2016 UPDATE: I can corroborate this theory even further by outline the conversation The Oracle has with Neo during their first meeting, inside her kitchen:

The Oracle: That's the way these things go. (Neo snickers) What's funny?
Neo: Morpheus. He uh... he almost had me convinced.
The Oracle: I know; poor Morpheus. Without him, we're lost...
Neo: What do you mean "without him"?
The Oracle: Are you sure you want to hear this? (Neo nods) Morpheus believes in you, Neo. And no one, not you, not even me, can convince him otherwise. He believes it so blindly, he's willing to sacrifice his life to save yours.
Neo: What?
The Oracle: You're going to have to make a choice: in the one hand, you'll have Morpheus' life, and in the other, you'll have your own.
The Oracle (cont.): One of you is going to die. Which one, will be up to you. ]

That resurrection we witnessed was the code substantiating itself into a human being, AS DID SMITH in Reloaded when he took over Bane's body!

"although the process has altered your consciousness," every time this sequence transpires, a piece of the original code becomes conflicted or changed, and in the case of Neo, his assimilation of Mr. Anderson was such an extensively (speculation) different undertaking, that the root nature of his purpose (choose the salvation of Zion with the freed 23 individuals he has to choose from the Matrix prior to the restart), was greatly affected; the resulting causality of his decision to save Trinity instead of Zion resulted in a hugely disproportionate fluctuation in his coding, which inherently makes Smith more powerful, while simultaneous being the first genuine change in the cycle!

The Architect is well aware of this, and was in no way speaking to what we presumed to be Mr. Anderson, he was merely speaking to the same line of code that has existed since they wrote the 3rd Matrix iteration (The Architect quite literally has repeated this speech 5 times prior to Neo)! And upon Neo's demise after the fight with Smith, the code is once again returned to the source, were a temporary dissemination was allowed (the spreading of his core code parameters that essentially, at the end of Revolution, gives everyone the choice to be free of the Matrix, or stay), thereby reinserting the Prime Program! HIS program! The Program!

This shit is fucking bananas to me! It completely restructures the beauty of this franchise's narrative. There are plenty still loop holes that I can't make sense of, but I believe as this story unfolded, so too did the integrity of the underlying premise behind creating purpose for this new, super powerful entity.

The One is inevitable, only this time, no one saw Neo coming. I guess love is a powerful thing indeed.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Here At Last, We Stand...


My friends, it has most certainly been a long time coming. But tonight, I relate before you a proud individual, and honored individual, this has obtained a title onto which no undertaking before can identify with.

This book, this Issue Three; third in a planned series of 8, a nominal 36 pages, has seen two states, two coffee shops, and has made new friends. This book thus far was the toughest accomplishment of mine to date, creatively speaking. Within this book itself, I set out to outdo everything that came before it, obliterate my prior capabilities, push the envelope on each aspect of the creative process; I feel that I've done this.

I am proud of this book. I am proud of its completion. I am, more so now than ever before, honored.

For those of you that have waited, for those of you that have forgotten, for those of you that are only now hearing about it, know, that I am honored.

In the past year I have relocated to New York, drove the east coast corridor with my homeboy Prescod for the first time, made friends with some ridiculously talented blokes, got a taste of what it's like to be cold... constantly, while experiencing my first winter season, got fired from my job, and conquered my fear of driving in New York. Suffice to say, I've been busy. This book took an unprecedented amount of time to finish, well over a year from beginning to end. There aren't enough excuses to illustrate why this is, but only one that sticks out: I almost gave up.

While employed, my job required a roughly 2 hour drive each way, resulting in little to no invested time during the week to do just about anything. I tried dating, I tried exploring, I tried being outgoing, but after a 12 hour day, a third of which on the road in New York city, once I'd gotten home, nothing mattered.

The weekends where scarcely optimized, trying as hard as possible to be productive, or proactive, most times simply wanting sleep. I maintained this for as long as I could, because this is an expensive city, even when you're living at home with momdukes and you've to do your part to help financially.

As the months crawled on, progress diminished, if not outright ceased, and there was certainly a point where things were not looking forthright for my career.

I almost gave up.

I pressed onward, taking some time to myself here and there, keeping an eye on new employment opportunities, anticipating change. And so it came.

In the form of an interested recruiter from a creative agency.

The best news I've heard in 5 years.

In the coming weeks, I begin a new chapter in my life, one that promises to be a healthy shift in perspective, an opportunity like no other. And so, I leave New York, bound for the Northwest, my place of rest yet to be established, as this is all a step by step process. In the mean time, I present to you Periphery, issue number 3.

I plan to attempt a fourth issue, as it was originally meant to drive the narrative further, answer a few yearning questions about this thing I'm sure you all have! It is very much possible, but I have an idea for another story I want to start that may take precedence over Periphery until its first issue is completed.

I usually abstain from putting a new issue online so soon as to accommodate sales for prints, give readers a chance to enjoy the book before it's made available to the universe. But, as of right now, prints are not a priority, hell, I'm not even sure I'll be seeing Supercon this year, or any other convention for that matter. Nevertheless, I want that in its completion, I get to share my exuberance immediately!

An innumerable amount of thanks are in order, to each and every one of you.

I am honored.

I am humbled.

I am happy.

As I close this book, with it, the closing of the hardest book I've ever purposefully drawn.

The work never ceases, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

To You: from New York, with Love...

The other day, while coloring a new page for Periphery, I came upon something rather interesting; infectious, truly.

My weekends are now devoted to painting these pages since, whilst some may say unfortunately, demand a considerable amount of time each, upward of 6 hours per page. What helps to keep me focused are podcasts of different shows, some of whom I may know of but never invested any time into, others I've long since promised myself that I would.

Among these is a segment on WNYC called Radiolab, it's a phenomenally well choreographed one-hour segment that delves into some of life's many intrinsic topics, and can really cut deep into them, provide sound insight, the likes of which I'd never heard of before, nor since. Within that, there was a particularly new artist that was brought to my attention, he goes by the name of William Basinski.

Now, Mr. Basinski's work isn't new, as a matter of fact he's been at this for quite some time, however what was brought to my attention may just as well have existed for hundreds of years. At the turn of the century he stumbled upon a technique in audio recording that within itself embodied a genre of its own. The irony of this process, as it's title being apropos, is called disintegration looping.

There's much about this process that the helpful Wikipedia link provided in the text could do a far better job than I at explaining, what I want to stress about my "discovery" is my subjective insight on this atypical genre.

These loops are essentially a cataclysmic result of the destruction and erosion of prerecorded data from an obsolete medium being transferred to and captured on another medium. With each pass, a little piece of this element of history is lost forever, the ferrite ink on the tape being chipped away little by little until...

These are not songs, recorded with traditional intent with common aspects representing it's respective beginning, middle, and end; and yet, that indeed they were.

What Basinki has accomplished here, as far as I am able to identify, is the perennial death of a song; just a small 15 to 20 second segment looping eternally until the very essence of its own existence erodes to nothingness.

You listen, continuously; you listen until the song dies.

I still am unable to fully comprehend what these loops were able to signify, especially considering when Basinki first came up with this method of art.

People have always know that the preservation of data over time is shadowy, uncertain, why the very materials they're emblazoned on are not meant to last forever even in the most ideal environments. But this? This goes beyond preservation. This to me encompasses the same methodology as the narrative in The Fountain; a means to come to terms with one's own mortality, to embrace that even music, sound, generated wavelengths of sound that are cohesively and purposefully aligned to create a concise volume of melodies, are capable of death; I honestly do not believe anyone before this man has actually captured this.

I was humbled that night, I listened for hours to the various recordings he put together, and shivered at the first instant that that one piece, that one note, that one wavelength was gone from the loop forever. And just on and on and on, one by one, each little part that was at one point so important, so necessary to the collective that was this prerecorded entity, would be lost to existence for all eternity.

These notions are without a doubt intrinsic within life itself, I just never thought it so existential as to be applied to music.

I was humbled, and reminded of life's fleeting nature, oxymoronic though it may sound. So much so that this entry is actually meant to encompass an earlier one that I wanted to utilize to stress the current state of mind at the time:

"Fucking Christ, this is becoming taxing.

I really don't even know what to put on this any more, I've never appreciated blogs nor blog sites, they're just a trite means to bitch about stupid shit that has no merit or purpose to enlighten others around you; I guess except for those that do.

So yeah, I'll be the former right now; painted giant fucking hypocrite.

I hate being a fucking artist. I hate that this shit is so much of a goddamned struggle with no help or aide or fucks to give. I hate that I lacked the foreknowledge of not going to an overpriced shit-for-profit institution like my fucking school. I hate that I'm consumed by debt with no means of escape. I hate the fact that I've lost 5 years of my life NOT fucking being employed in the industry that validates my debt, thereby granting me the means of garnering experience, thereby granting me an opportunity to ACTUALLY FUCKING WORK in my industry.

I fucking hate all of this.

I really do."

And on and on it went, just like the loops. My weeks ebb and flow in this trivial battle of not knowing, but wanting. So I press on.

I've told my friends this, when they've come to me while under that looming cloud; just press on.

I sometimes have a hard time practicing what I preach, but I know I mean well.

I'm adamant of Issue 3's completion, I know what it will mean for my personal endeavors, however, I'm slightly frightened of what it may mean otherwise; a topic I'm currently not at liberty to share since anything can happen between now and this book's completion. All I know is that I've invested 2 of the most insanely active years of my life into this series, and I've enjoyed every second of seeing this thing come to life.

All things, are to and must, return to the Earth from which they arose, but sometimes, if you're fortunate enough, you can instill a pattern that describes you, emanates you in all possible ways; relive and reintroduce this into your existence day after day after day. And then you, too, will disintegrate, no more capable of fully capturing the essence of what was formally yours. But you'll have come from something so worthwhile, so magnificent, that perhaps maybe, somewhere, there's a record of you to be replayed on a different medium.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Count Your Blessings...

With roughly a stone's throw away from 2014's Florida Supercon, I've found myself seemingly breathless for the forthcoming excitement. It will have been exactly a year since I've started this campaign with the help and support of close friends and fledgling followers; a year of twists and turns, a great majority of which were not planned for (as it is with most in life).

I'm anxious for what the future holds, but I should probably start paying greater attention to the now; imagine how much trouble one can find themselves in when you do nothing and expect no repercussions. Issue 3 of Periphery is going strong, getting really close to wrapping inking, and very much on schedule for Fall's release. No dates yet, don't really want to rush it.

I'll be pushing FLSC on my own this year, which is kinda overwhelming but I think I ought to be able to handle it.

NYCC definitely isn't happening (got rejected), but I'm gonna keep my eyes open for other conventions to do one last HOORAH for Periphery.

I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I'll continue to pursue being an indie comic artist once Volume One is done, so whatever convention I go to later in the year really may just be the end of it. Time will tell I guess.

Volume One is that short term culmination goal of mine that I'm ever so itching to smell, holding that book will, and I'm kind of giving away the page count for Issue 3, amount to what will be damn near 100 sequential pages of artwork! The highest I've EVER produced in my entire tenure as an artist. It really isn't anything to gloat about when put into perspective on an Industrial basis, but on my own, it's a goddamned milestone if I ever saw one.

I've had my hand in digital illustrations for a few months now, refining my skills and getting a lot of practice in to reach a small goal I've set for myself to become badass at it (I wanna get on Roxie's level but damn it'll take some work yo). Hopefully after a few more months of training I should be able to make a convincing portfolio that can open better offers for industry jobs.

Outside of all of this, it's all been another day in the fight, making the best of and adamantly pushing for greater things

Hope to see some of if not all of your dope faces at the convention!