A classic Riker from 2011
John Allison is my hero for so many reasons. But this is pretty high on the list.
A classic Riker from 2011
John Allison is my hero for so many reasons. But this is pretty high on the list.
The strongest relationships spring out of a real and often earned connection felt by both sides.
053.0: The pros.
This morning I woke up late and contemplated pinstripe suits.
Not by choice, I am wearing a pinstripe suit for Selma’s wedding. Her fiance is wearing a pinstripe suit and wanted me to match. I got lucky because the store that I went to had the exact same suit. It didn’t cost as much as I thought it would. Selma’s fiance hooked me up with a good deal. I owe him a few bucks, but all I had to pay out of pocket was the tailoring fee, about 80 bucks.
Th definition of waking up late for me is waking up at 8 in the morning instead of 5:30. The definition of sleeping in for me is rising from bed at ten on a Sunday morning, which is something I haven’t done in a long, long time. There’s nothing on my calendar for tomorrow but in typical fashion I expect my internal alarm clock to outpace my actual alarm clock. I’ll probably get up somewhere in the vicinity of 7 in the morning and find something to do. With my trip to Selma’s wedding commencing on Tuesday, I’ll probably try and do as much homework as I can so that I don’t have to worry about that stuff while I’m away. I don’t feel like I deserve much of a vacation, even though there is a part of me that also really feels I could use the downtime. When it comes to work, I have a hard time realizing my limits. Sometimes I have to burn out and be lectured into taking a break. Luckily, if I am lacking in many areas of my life, one area in which I excel is a burgeoning sense of self-discipline — the lecturing has come mostly from myself.
I spent my “late” morning lazing around the inter-webs, as they say. I was reading about a guy named Scott Storch. He’s a talented music producer who demonstrated his precocious skills as early as 12-years old, when he started getting his first paid gigs. He went on to have a multimillion dollar career that resulted in cocaine addiction and disrespecting his mom. He also dated American culture’s most visible socialites (which I don’t really mean as much of a compliment). I really respect professional musicians of all kinds, from rappers to producers. I think that music producing is a very legitimate job and that Scott Storch has a very legitimate job. But the fact that he squandered his money, and squandered it — and his health — on drugs, puts a bad taste in my mouth that I could otherwise just spit out. When I put his name into Google, a photo result came up with him wearing a pinstripe suit and I asked myself, “Why?”
Why was he wearing a pinstripe suit? Why was he dolling himself up to look like he was a businessman? He’s not. He’s a guy who provides a valuable artistic contribution to a profitable industry. But did he go to business school? What are his degrees and certifications? What kind of experience does he have besides fashioning good beats within half an hour? Other than the millions of dollars that he lavished on his girlfriends — the three most prominent of which, by the way, have moved on to parenthood, rehab, or another relationship, respectively — did he build meaningful relationships? To whom did he contribute besides himself? He is not a businessman.
For some reason, I singularly zeroed in on this one photo of him in a pinstripe suit, which really upset me. I was not upset to the point where I wanted to author quickfire amateur social commentary so typical of today’s hyper-present internet culture, but just enough that I squirmed in my seat while looking at the glamorous photo and thinking how uncool it is — which is not to say that I’m not a poseur myself. As nice as the suit that I’m wearing for the wedding is, I am going to be walking around in that thing feeling utterly inauthentic at the same time that my heart will be soaring for Selma. The day before the wedding, me and some of her girlfriends are going to get together at a spa, and I’m going to put up my feet and have a good time knowing that in a few days I will return to a rat race in which I am perpetually lagging in fortune and in love. So it goes.
At the opposite end of the clothing spectrum, last night I posed semi-nude for an art project.
Yes. That’s right, Linc. Semi. Nude. All of me, almost.
A couple of weeks ago, I heard from a photographer who is married to one of my old roommates. He asked me if I’d be interested in helping him with a photography project that he vaguely described as an examination of natural human form. “I want bodies that you see in every day life,” he wrote. “I want professional human beings.”
I was game to help him because my roommate had been a nice girl, and the photographer was and is a nice guy. It had been years since we’d been in touch but I took all of that into account and decided that not only would this be a good excuse to reconnect, but I’d be helping an artist. The issue of semi-nudity took some getting used to, and thank goodness that these days everyone seems to have the kinds of busy calendars that require advanced outlooks of several weeks. I committed to the project but also had enough time to give some thought to what I was about to do. I had to think about how comfortable I would really be taking off my clothes for someone other than myself and the one time I was ever with someone else intimately. I also had to talk with my pastor. What would this mean for our church if someone saw my face in a photograph where I was half naked even if it were for a legitimate artistic endeavor?
"Art and religion have a long history together," my pastor told me when I reached out to her. "I’m sure it will be fine."
My experience last night at my first photo shoot probably deserves an entirely separate letter than what I can write right now; lately I have felt like I am in such a constant time crunch that I have to cram multiple overviews of my life and my feelings about my life into a single posting without the introspection and meaningful communication that I am so accustomed to authoring. In short, life has been getting in the way, though in the best ways possible.
If I had to choose one takeaway from the photo shoot to write about, Linc, then it would be that rather than giving in to awkwardness and self-consciousness as I very likely would have some years earlier, I was unexpectedly comfortable and fine — even approving, and accepting. It certainly helped that my friend was generous with wine, but I very deliberately moderated my intake because I wanted to maintain that precarious balance between awareness and taking the edge off. As my friend instructed me on various poses, I became more and more relaxed. When the photo shoot was over, he offered me the opportunity to review the results with him and to pick which pictures I liked best.
"I’m never going to have a good opinion of my body," I told him, laughing perhaps unnecessarily, to conceal my self-defeating nature. "I trust your eye."
Still, somehow we ended up at his computer, and even my old roommate got into the act. Now, Linc, keep in mind that years ago, having this many pairs of eyes on my semi-naked body would have been disastrously unnerving. I may have collapsed in a fit of laughter and, yes, even run out entirely while begging for the project to not go forward. (I was shameless in my youth, so shameless that I could make a huge commitment like this and then back out on the spot, hoping that tears and rambling quasi-explanations would eventually make the other side cave in. I ruined a couple of relationships this way.)
But whether it’s age or experience, I was overcome with a feeling of settlement as we reviewed the images. Sure, I still don’t have the highest opinion of my body: as we all stood looking at my exposed body, in the privacy of my own thoughts, words like doughy and man boobs were jabbing without restraint. And yet… I was fine with what I saw. Maybe I even liked it, though it will probably take some more time, maybe even a few years, to feel comfortable enough to really declare that I liked it.
While I wouldn’t call this experience transformative, it was still important to me in the sense that it was a significant milepost of an ongoing journey of 30 or so years. Contrary to how social media has polluted the word, in life there are still all kinds of meaningful relationships: lifelong friendships; burgeoning friendships; mentors; marriage equality; divorced couples who are still friends; colleagues; and, of course, the relationship you have with yourself. Each of these presents their own unique challenges and no one can be good at all of them but that doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t try tackling at least one of them. For all the things that I feel I’m lacking in my life, I feel that I’m lucky to have gotten away with cultivating and maintaining just enough relationships to keep my in the loop of life. And last night, while I don’t think I’ve really caught up with myself, I think I can say that I feel that much closer to finally seeing that guy on the horizon.
I heard that you stuck it out for seven innings last night. My ex-roommate said that she wanted to put on the game in the background but decided that it would be a bummer after she first checked the score on her phone. To tell you the truth, it didn’t take much to put me at ease during the photo shoot. Instead of the game, there was some good music playing in the background, and it helped me imagine myself less as Joe the doughy guy taking a brazen artistic risk what the hell am I doing?! and think more like,
Hey, this is kinda cool.
198.0: Someone posted this photo.
So I admired his body for a moment or two before I bypassed it entirely to see what books and magazines he was reading.
EXCLUSIVE: TEXAS CHAINSAW ♥s TUMBLR
Listen up horror fans… It’s #TerrifyTumblr time! To help kick off Lionsgate’s official Tumblr, we want you to feast your eyes on this exclusive new poster featuring the art of Vice’s ‘Gallery of Horrors’.
Want to see your own Chainsaw artwork turned into a poster? Submit it with #TerrifyTumblr and show us your best Leatherface - Our top ten favorites will see their work printed, with the rest of the best featured right here on #Lionsgate!
Think that’s all? YOU’RE WRONG!! Check back tomorrow for a BIG new announcement. (Hint: You’ll get to see the movie before everyone else does…)
A commercial for this movie appeared between songs on my Pandora playlist last night. I was impressed in all the wrong ways. Firstly, I couldn’t believe that yet another spinoff of the original classic was being unleashed. But what I found myself laughing at the most was the dark-haired girl whose scenes of terrified running around were most prominently previewed. The girl did not look like someone running in actual distress, but rather movie-directed distress. When she finally found shelter by leaping into a grave (!), the scene cut to a shot of her just as the killer’s chainsaw is (of course) about to find her. The girl is screaming her lungs out and all I could think was, “Her hair looks really nice for someone who was running away from a chainsaw-wielding killer and then took shelter by leaping into a grave.” (I suspect that this not deliberate in an ironic way like Joss Whedon would do for Buffy, but prove me wrong. I would like my suspicions about this movie to be proved wrong.)
Now we have an entire Tumblr from the studio that is releasing that dud of a movie and frankly I am distressed. Tumblr has emerged as a legitimate artistic medium, and recently they have understandably had to incorporate paid content in order to maintain this service for free. That is how I ended up commenting on this posting, because the image above appeared on the so-called Tumblr Radar as a sponsored ad. And I was incredulous: on a medium where real artistic talent is daily uploaded, we have this paid shit masquerading as something worthwhile. This brings new meaning to the expression “sifting wheat from the chaff” — although at the same time, the fact that I’ve chosen to reblog this posting, despite the addition of my commentary, perhaps fulfills the original marketing objective anyway.