TUNESDAY: “Toast” by Streetband

 

I promised I would put this song on #Tunesday when I posted Reasons to Be Cheerful Pt 3. I was introduced to this song in high school and have loved it ever since. Like “Reasons to Be Cheerful Pt. 3” it is a nonsense song talk-sung by a British guy. And I do love those.

This one is about toast. How many songs do you know about toast? Not many, huh? If I hadn’t been introduced to this song by a friend many moons ago in high school, I wouldn’t be able to name one, either!

“The upper crust was not for me,
I could tell that”

Geddit? Don’t you just love toast puns?

Go take a listen, what have you go to lose?

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Do you know of other toast related songs? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

I Failed Sketchbook Summer

I failed #SketchbookSummer.

I started the month ready and prepared. In a feat of Einsteinian mathematics, I counted the number of pages in my sketchbook (110), divided those up by the number of days in July (31) and came to the grand conclusion that I would need to complete 3.5 double spreads every day in order to fill my sketchbook by the end of the month. That didn’t seem so bad.

Week one, my momentum was really strong. Believe it or not, I even went over my weekly quota and drew more pages than I should have! I was feeling great.

Then what happened? I got into my head. I made excuses. I was “too tired” to draw. I let days go by without drawing anything at all. I told myself that I would catch up on the weekend, when I would magically be in the mood to draw. As anyone knows, that magical day when you wake up and have suddenly become a perfect version of yourself, full of motivation and discipline with magically acquired level of talent to match, never actually comes… and so the weekend would come and go and I’d be just as behind as ever.

That being said, today is July 31st (Happy Birthday Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling) and I have filled the large majority of a sketchbook! I am quite proud of that. My goal for #sketchbookSummer was not simply to put marks on paper, but instead to create a habit where I spent time every day with my sketchbook, and I did! I was writing, drawing, and experimenting within those 110 pages… I tried to stop treating the paper as a special object that should be saved for masterpieces. Instead, I viewed my sketchbook as a private playground uniquely designed for me, and it felt great! It is a practice I fully intend to keep up. Besides, masterpieces only emerge from sloppy, messy, ugly idea play, so go ahead “waste” a page in your sketchbook, see how it feels! After some time, chances are, it won’t feel like it was a wasted page after all because it, in some indefinable way, helped you get to where you are now. 

———————–

Here are some of my favourite recent pages from my sketchbook:

TUNESDAY: “Powerplay” by HOLYCHILD ft. RAC

 

And when I think of time past
And wasting body tightness
I cry for all the babies
Their beauty quickly fading

Something about this music video makes me think of Arthur’s little sister, DW. Like, HOLYCHILD is DW all grown up, going to the mall with her friends, growing aware of societal pressures on women’s bodies. But, like, in a fun, catchy way that is not at all sad as it suggests.

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

TUNESDAY: “Rebirth” by Nina Diaz

 

 

I am a sucker for girl punk, especially when it has a Tarantino, western rock and roll feel.

Nina Diaz is fierce. NPR’s Felix Contreras agrees with me. Or, namely, I agree with Felix. I gotta check out the rest of this album. If I believed in god, I’d ask that Nina Diaz’ voice would come out when I sang. And if her backup band could follow me around and make me look and sound cool as I walk around, that’d be cool to. Thanks.

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

 

“Make it work!” Mondays: … How do I animate?

I wanted my videos to have animation in them. Animation was something I’ve always wanted to learn how to do, and it would give my videos a much more surreal quality to them if I hand made every inch of the frame. It would also be much, much, much more time consuming. Was I ready to commit to a project like that? Did I even know how to realize a project like that?


I had messed around with a green screen in a class once, and found it surprisingly easy to use. This was encouraging. Maybe I could act in front of a green screen and then add in animated backgrounds?

All I know is I’ve got a lot of work to do…

That Creative Life: Getting back on the horse!

The past  couple of weeks have been unfortunately busier than anticipated. I felt quite drained a lot of the time. My morning routine went all to shit, and I definitely felt the negative effects. My online course was wrapping up and so there were assignments and final reflections to write. At the same time, my teaching job was starting up, so I had lesson plans to create. I suddenly had a bunch of things on my plate that I didn’t want to do. I wanted to keep working on my art and my blog, but the idea of doing so felt irresponsible. I kept telling myself, just get those nagging tasks done and then you can go back to creating. The problem is, my brain is really good at telling me I should do nothing at all instead of getting my homework done. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had spent the time doing work that I loved, for fun, while procrastinating… but no, instead I just wasted time with nothingness. I don’t know about you, but when I procrastinate, because I feel the weight of my to-do list looming over me, I can’t even ENJOY the internet junk food I consume when procrastinating. I’m too stressed and flit from social media site to social media site, searching for the rush I want but am incapable of feeling. It really is a negative cycle, and one that can only be broken by actually doing the work.

Eventually, my brain will snap out of it’s frantic internet squirrel mode and begrudgingly decide that it was finally time to get this stupid work out of the way. And then, while I hated every minute of it, I would complete my homework. Part of the reason why I dread homework so much is that it always seems to take way longer than I think it will. Maybe I’m just a slow worker, I don’t know.

One of Gretchen Rubens’ Happiness Project resolutions was to “Act the way you want to feel.” She didn’t want to be tired when her daughters wanted to play at the end of a long day, so she tried to act like she was full of energy and found that, by doing so, her tanks were refilled! I’ve been experimenting with this idea, and find that while it may not work all the time to trick myself into actually liking doing work I don’t like doing, it has been able to put me in an energetic creative mood when I was otherwise “too tired” to do so before. 

Once I start doing something creative, my whole mindset improves. It took a quarter century but I’ve discovered how important having creativity in my life. A creative outlook is vital.

The important part is that you start back up. Don’t beat yourself up for stopping, or falling off the horse as it were. Remember: Day one is better than one day, after all.

What always invigorates you? What is your favourite thing to do? What do you wish you did more of? What do you “not have time for?”

TUNESDAY: “I’ll make it worth your while” by Artificial Pleasure

 

Let me out, I really wanna dance so
Let me out, I’ll make it worth your while so

This song is dedicated to anybody currently sitting in a classroom, or an office space and would rather be out enjoying the sun. Bonus dedication if you are reading this midday on a Friday and would like the weekend to start.

Since it’s the 4th of July when I’m posting this, this song is also dedicated to all you Americans. As someone who cannot look away from the daily Trump-wrecks, I bet there are a lot of Americans who just want to escape the political nightmare.  I scheduled this post in May, but hopefully by the time July 4th rolls around, a miracle might have happened and the Whitehouse might be a little less orange… Fingers crossed, reader from the future.

Also, did I mention that the vocalist sounds a lot like David Bowie? That’s pretty awesome. All of the songs I’ve heard from Artificial Pleasure have a 70s classic rock/Bowie vibe, so I’m a big fan.

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

p.s. Happy belated Canada Day to all of my fellow Canadians! 150 years (give or take the many thousands of years the First Nations were on this land…)

WEEKLY UPDATE: June 25 – July 1st. Busy, Busy, Busy!

This week

Day 24: I drew this at 9:30 am today, not so patiently waiting for the finale to be posted on a streaming site, while simultaneously avoiding any social media site or other possible place where I might accidentally find out who had been crowned America’s next drag superstar. I drew this without a reference because I was terrified of googling @sashavelour and having the result spoiled. So, at 9:30 am, as I said, I drew this image out of pure hope and faith that Sasha would be the seasons winner. AND I WAS RIGHT!!! AND SHE KILLED THE LIPSYNCS! Amazing! So happy! Bravo Sasha! Well deserved title. You are the perfect combination of beauty and brains, creativity and oddity. I can’t wait to see what you do next! #teamsasha
Day 26: Three-headed boxer with the winning punch!
Day 27. Drama, highlighted.
Day 28: tired.
Day 29: sweet dreams are made of this. Looking forward to sleeping in and staying home on the weekend.
Day 30: finishing off this months challenge with yet another drawing of @sashavelour She has been a huge inspiration to me since I saw her on Drag Race, blown away by her combination of intellect, oddity, kindness and pure talent! If you haven’t seen her lipsync to “No More I Love Yous” look it up right now!!


Now that a month of 30 minute drawings has come to a close, I’ve challenged myself to participate in the #sketchbooksummer challenge, where you have to fill a sketchbook in a month. I did the math: That means 3.5 double wide spreads every day. Doesn’t seem too bad. I’m looking forward to getting back to traditional mediums. It will be nice to have a moment to unplug, especially after a busy day teaching, something to quiet the mind.

This has been a crazy busy week. Too busy!

ESL camp started. There are 50 Mexican fifth graders visiting this week. All are very sweet, and OBSESSED with “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi.  Not that I can blame them… it is catchy as hell!

It’s me!
These are the team names the students gave themselves. They came up with them all by themselves with no influence from me.
I pride myself in teaching only the most vital English phrases. (But for real, they loved this game)

 

Ontario’s provincial coat of arms


We took them on a tour of Queen’s Park, Ontario’s Parliament Building. Unrelated, but check out this cool old bike light that I saw on display there!

Cool antique bike light from my home town!
Look at how it attached to the handlebars!

A close friend of mine is an event planner and he gets invited to all kinds of cool open houses. On Monday I was lucky enough to get to go with him to a hella swanky event at the new Globe and Mail building. Lots of delicious food – AND VEGAN OPTIONS! Hooray!… on reusable plates no less! (As someone trying to reduce the amount of waste she produces, I try not to use disposable plates or straws).

Gorgeous views!

The venue had no walls, which means gorgeous 360 views of the Toronto skyline. The best part, hands down, was the cocktails. My god! Strawberry-Rhubarb syrup, rum, whiskey, orange twist, ginger beer, gin from Canada’s north…. I had a little bit (read: a lot) of everything. Mmmm!

Normally there is only wine and beer at the events I go to. This line up is much, MUCH more to my liking!
Maybe I was enjoying the free cocktails a little too much? Naaw!
For entertainment they had an electric violin player, harpist and flutist playing covers of pop hits. Was pretty cool! This guy really got into it!

 

Tuesday, we took the kids bowling. I am very rusty and my wrist was not very happy about having to hurl heavy balls again and again. Am I getting old?

July 1st is the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Canadian confederacy, so there was a lot of big celebrations going on. Friday I went to see a Canadian music staple, The Barenaked Ladies. They were a huge part of my childhood soundtrack. I remember listening to the Maroon album on repeat on my CD walkman in the backseat, as I third-wheeled a date night with my mom. It was mainly to drown out Rod Stewarts “Great American Songbook” playing in the card. That was the hottest record among 50 year olds at the time. Also, funny story: One Christmas, my Oma asked my mom what I wanted for a present, and my mom said “The newest Barenaked Ladies CD.” My Oma, mortified and embarrassed, had to go into the record store and ask where she could find the Barenaked Ladies. Sorry Oma, but thanks for the CD! 

 

 

The Barenaked Ladies were fantastic! So playful and engaging, with such control of the audience; I couldn’t help but think “wow, these guys are Professional musicians.” I would definitely pay a lot of money to see them perform again! First Nation folk singer and Canadian Icon Buffy St. Marie played that night too. I’m glad I got to see her perform. The fireworks were pretty great too!

Thing I learned this week: The power of facepaint. I painted rainbows on my friend’s faces because they were going to be part of the Pride parade, and they apparently got a lot of attention, which was awesome! On Thursday, the campers went to see a Blue Jays game, and I spent the afternoon painting the Jay’s logo onto 50 children’s faces. If anyone wants a Blue Jay on their cheek, come see me. I’m an expert at this point! Finally, for Canada Day, I painted a Canadian flags on the faces of my friends, and even made new friends with a super-sweet couple by offering to paint them! Facepaint: bringing people together!

How was your week? What did you get up to? While I enjoyed my busy week, I learned that it was too much. I need more downtime! That is my goal for next week!

What am I watching? (In five words or less)

  1. Preacher, season 2
    “Best comic book TV Adaptation
  2. Fireworks!
    CN tower and City Hall”      
  3. Sasha Velour LipSyncs
    Expressive reveals YAS QUEEN!”

What am I reading? (in five words of less)

  1. Make your own luck by Kate Morross
    “Relaxed attitude to graphic design”

TUNESDAY: “Wobbly” by Ezra Furman

 

 

Genders: my friends
I’ve just been changing genders, fluidly
cause they’ll never pin me
Down in the pages
Like a bug or bumblebeeEzra Furman has a great, grated voice. He also has a fantastic “about me” blurb that I am seriously thinking about stealing:


Ezra Furman is a guy you want to know all about. That’s why when the Internet was recently invented (ca. 2008?) Ezra snapped into action and began his two-year preparation of his blog. On this blog he will include every single thought that crosses his mind, all the songs he likes, all the bands he likes, all the songs he makes up, and everything he writes including poems prose and grunts.

Basically it’s just about music and poems. Probably just music actually.”

 

See? Doesn’t that capture Manic Neon Wasteland pretty well, too? I think so! Just substitute poems for visual art, and boom!

I love the humour in his videos (see the great stop motion adventure in his “Restless Year” music video below). I am also totally happy to send some love to genderfluid artists. His band name, when not performing solo, is super cute too:  Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends. I love it.

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!