Monday, November 28, 2011

Gone Fishin'

(All pics. snapped on 11/27/11)

Uhhhh...yeah. Soooo...after nearly two weeks without making so much as a peep, here on The Big Ugly - you might possibly be wondering why in heaven's name - have I been been m.i.a., out to lunch, away from my desk for so long...and I guess the best excuse that I can offer you guys, for my sudden, extended sabbatical from blogging - is that I've basically been burning the candle at both ends for the entire last half of the month of November.

It was in no way a conscious decision on my part - to put self-portraiture at the bottom of an enormous heap of more pressing (and sometimes more titillating)'s more that I've woken up each morning for the last coupla weeks, with every intention of updating my blog - but mere hours into that day, and the next and the next - it became glaringly apparent that it'weren't gonna happen.  

Although I can legitimately blame the unscheduled hiatus on parental duties, the holidays, work, and all that - I'd be lying if I said that I haven't let my social life supersede my art, these last weeks. In between the parties, and bar-hopping and clandestine trysts (*woot*) particularly during this past whirlwind week - I've somehow managed to drag my weary arse to work, on an average of four hours sleep, return home, shower up, try to make myself look not-dead - and then go out and do it all over again....

Along the way, I've gotten myself tangled up in myriad, mixed-up situations with multiple men...and it's been so overwhelming that I haven't had the courage to divulge the dirty deets with anyone - not even my most trusted friend. It definitely feels weird to be walking around knowing that only I am privy to so many secrets...but there is something about it that I do kinda like...

But a serious issue came to light, just this morning...and as uncomfortable as it makes me - I would be more of an asshole than I've already been - if I didn't come clean about this matter...

You may remember The Big Chill entry in which I assumed and alleged that "my date" had handed me my walking papers so that he could run off to shag an old sweetheart. Well...I have since learned from a reliable source, that this never in fact actually happened. As soon as I found out, I can honestly say that I felt like the biggest, most psycho freaking bitch who could possibly be walking the earth...and even though I'm not exactly sure what I can do to effectively clear the names of "my date" and "the accused", I guess I should start by offering my sincerest apologies for dragging them both through the mud, like I did. I am truly sorry, I hope you believe that. And while I'm at it, I need to also apologize for getting my readers fired up and rallying for me, over an incident that I wrote about in earnest - but which was based on conjecture and circumstantial evidence. 

I literally feel about this big right was shitty what I did and I am deeply remorseful.

When I first started writing it, I'd thought that this post would serve as some sort of grand reentry into self-portraiture after having been absent for so long...a commitment to being a more present blogger, and a pledge to not wander off again, anytime soon. But after the recent turn of events forced me to use it instead as a platform on which to publicly (and rightfully) eat crow - I don't feel like doing much else at all, right now...accept cowering in a corner, in my shame. 

Speeding up the shift in mood of this post - was my overall disappointment with these stupid, fly fishing pics., from this - my first photo shoot in two weeks. Not mincing words here, it was a pain in the butt...pretty much from beginning to end. The damned fishing line got hung up in the trees a million times, the lighting was surprisingly difficult to tackle, my composition was regrettably ineffective, and adding insult to injury - I was creeped out by how certain parts of my body looked, upon uploading the pics. on my Mac...grrrrr!

After all this, I've decided that the best thing for me right now, might be to leave that "Gone Fishin'" sign in the window awhile longer...maybe a week, maybe two...hell - maybe a whole month! I mean for starters, it's gonna take some time to wipe this egg off my face...but more importantly than that - it's imperative that I shake up my approach to self-portraiture. I have to get back to spending adequate time planning and preparing for my shoots, like I used to...instead of simply squeezing them into empty slots in my schedule. Furthermore, I'm not stoked about the gossipy tone in the text of so many recent posts, and rounding out my tidy list of grievances and complaints (and probably paramount to all of the other issues that desperately need addressing) my pictures for the most part - have grown stale, and safe...and The Big Ugly deserves better than that...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Lizzie Borden Story (A Loose Interpretation)

I finished up at work a little bit early, on Monday - and treated myself to a spur-of-the-moment shopping spree - right across the street at my favorite, neighborhood thrift store. Some days I go in there and scour the entire store, but not a single garment jumps off the racks at me. Monday however, was not one of those days...matter of fact, I fairly well hit the dang jackpot! Someone had recently donated the most fabulous collection of sick gowns and dresses, (circa 1970 - '85), and after methodically weighing the balance to determine which ones I should add to my wardrobe (or not), and then checking the balance in my bank account on my phone - I settled on the four frocks that I liked the best (and...that were priced so that they fit within my budget).

The lavender, striped and flocked dress (seen here in this entry) wasn't necessarily my favorite outta the bunch, but it was definitely the one that made the most sense for the shoot that I'd planned to stage later that day. It was the very picture of pure, sappy-sweet, country charm - complete with calico ruffles and a long, flowy sash - which I bargained might make it the perfect compliment to a backdrop replete with cows, and a silo, and a honey of a barn...

Anymore - although I do still give costumes the good, ole college try - I oftentimes find them creatively limiting, not to mention - somewhat physically restricting...and because of that, I usually shed 'em pretty quickly in favor of wearing the one costume that I feel gives me the utmost freedom of expression...and that is (not telling you anything you don't already know here) - absolutely nothing at all. Trouble is though, I've been worrying lately that the nudity schtick (especially when coupled with the abandoned house theme) could start (or already is) wearing thin with my readers. I mean, how many self-pics. can one person take - buck naked in one crumbling structure after another?

With all of that in mind, this time I kept away from the old houses to which I am so absurdly drawn - and believing that this shoot would certainly be a departure from that which is steadily becoming my "norm", I absentmindedly fell victim to a different sort of repetition, by staging my second "barn" shoot in a row...(what in the heck is my problem?!)

Once on site, and zipped up into the snug-fitting dress - I drew a complete blank on how to begin. I oscillated on the balls of my bare feet, my eyes panning the spectacular space - hopeful that my surroundings would trigger an idea...but all I kept thinking was, "Tha hell should I do?"

Realizing that the day was wending ever onward, and concerned that the farmer might interrupt my shoot should he show up to tend to the cows - I stopped asking questions and started snappin' pics....with nary a game plan, just a very vague notion of who the person (people, rather) was (were) that I thought I could pretend to become...and with the intention also of seeing if the lavender dress could convincingly assume its own different identities in each of the separate groups of pics.. 

The interesting part about all of this though, is that when I got back home and downloaded the pictures - the person (singular) that I saw there, was nothing like the people (plural) that I'd tried to portray...and for as much as I'd wanted to find versatility in the dress - it always only looked like itself. But the cool part about it was - I saw a character that I never even meant to emulate, but who was magically materializing right there on my Mac. She was this sort of modern(ish)-day take on the infamous Lizzie Borden (minus the blood and the gore, and all that)...and as I reviewed and edited each consecutive frame, her story unfolded right there before my eyes...

And so, if you'll kindly oblige me - I'd like very much to share the story that the pictures told me...

(All pics. snapped on 11/14/11)

...In the midst of yet another of their classic, incendiary screaming matches - Lizzie stormed out of the house, and away from Andrew and Abby (her iron-fisted father and money-grubbing step-mom) to take refuge from the tumult in the barn. A safe-haven of sorts, the barn had become the only place where Lizzie could go to escape Andrew's volatile tirades...and decompress in the company of far more gentle creatures...

...But on this particular day, Andrew and Abby made the ever-so-grave error of invading Lizzie's sacred, secret space - their sole purpose - to continue the bitter argument that had been abbreviated by Lizzie's abrupt departure from the house. The instant she heard her father approaching from behind her, all the while spitting and spewing a barrage of derisive, derogatory remarks  - Lizzie whipped her head around, and shot him a threatening look - as if to say, "You talkina me, muthuh fuckah?!"

Lizzie turned and marched with purpose towards the two barking aggressors, never quantifying their castigation with a response of her own. She just thought to herself, "Ya'll done messed with the wrong pre-menstrual bitch", then grabbed an ax that was leaning against the run-in stall wall, and with two very clean, swift, and accurate blows - she ended the argument for good...

Lizzie remorselessly stepped over the bodies of her expiring parents, and now brimming with a great sense of satisfaction and relief...she made her way to the silo where she reflected upon the episode under the neutral auspices of the pigeons that roosted in the catwalk high above...

Her meditation was cut short though, when she heard a car making its way along the winding, gravel driveway that led up to the Borden family's home.

"Hmmm...", Lizzie thought. "What to do? What to do..." She inspected the front of her lavender dress, expecting to see major blood spatter resultant from the duo of mortally wounding blows. Remarkably however, the damage was minimal, "Welllllll......that ain't so bad. Nothing a quick rinse in the water trough can't fix."

Lizzie returned to the grizzly murder scene, but averted her eyes so as to avoid seeing the bloody, bludgeoned bodies. She fetched the ax and carried it with her as she hurriedly scampered over to the trough in order to wash the dress and herself, before the visitors could catch sight of the telltale, trace evidence. On her way to the trough, she chucked the ax down into the seemingly bottomless well...speculating that surely no one would ever find it there...

Once there by the basin of chilly, refreshing water - she stepped out of the dress, washed, wrung and hung it out to dry...and then dunked herself, blithely behaving as if she hadn't a care in the world.

 Lizzie could see the people who had arrived in the car, walking towards her as she soaked in the trough. "Dude!" she shouted at them as they came closer and closer..."A little privacy please? Sheesh! I'll be done in a minute!"

The visitors (two women from Abby's garden club) stopped right where they were, and through cupped hands one hollered, "Hey Lizzie! Where's Abby? The three of us are supposed to go to lunch in town together" Feigning ignorance, Lizzie quipped, "I have no freaking clue"...and with that the two women shrugged and turned to walk away...

Lizzie was tried for the murders later that year, but was ultimately acquitted - after no weapon, nor blood evidence was ever found...(MmmmmHmmmm...such a naughty, naughty girl!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A One Shot Deal

(Snapped on 11/11/11)

I can honestly say that this has been the best weekend I've had, in what feels like a very long time (*sigh*)...and to kick off the merrymaking on Friday afternoon, I got to do something that I love to do, but for a variety of reasons - I haven't been afforded the luxury of doing, in absolutely freaking eons...I got to go horseback riding with friends!

 My two chums, myself and our mounts, enjoyed a most pleasant jaunt along trails and over fields, throughout some of idyllic Clarke County's most scenic acreage...and after we returned to the barn and partook in a celebratory libation (or several) I felt the familiar urge to seize the moment (and the setting) by staging a series of self-pics. in the barn....

I was far more successful at traumatizing the poor feller who tends to the stalls and the horses (as I paraded up and down the aisle of the barn, naked and partially so), than I was at getting quality images...however - I still don't consider this shoot to be a failure, because when I look at the pictures I can't help but smile...for I am reminded of a superb afternoon which segued into a wonderful weekend, and I feel more thankful than ever to have such sincerely good people in my life...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Does it HAVta Make Sense?

(Snapped on 10/30/11)

It's the darndest thing, you guys...each time (and trust me, there've been many times since I snapped these pics.) that I've contemplated various strategies with which to construct this post - my mind starts to spin like some crazy whirling dervish. There's just so much that I'm simply dying to gab about...but unfortunately, none of it has anything to do with these snaps. Further complicating this inconvenient blog content conundrum - is the fact that even if I could come up with a way to convincingly combine this current group of pics. with the irrelevant details of all the latest gossip: from the bizarre yet amusing, to the surreptitiously romantic (and everything else in between), I wouldn't let myself...because to do so would betray the trust of certain key players, therefore I must keep the juiciest news - under my hat...that is - until (or if) I ever get (or give myself) clearance to open these "confidential files".

(Snapped on 10/30/11)

What I can tell you however, is this: 

#1). Although essentially I forfeited three valuable months, out of the precious last half of my life - to "my date", I am truly grateful for the one good thing that came from the otherwise complete and utter waste of my time...and that is - he got me a job that I love more each day. It doesn't even bother me that I still have to work with him, because unless he opens his big freakin' mouth to harangue me about something he oughtn't (or - is a leetle heavy-handed with the off-brand cologne) - he is (for all intents and purposes) a non-entity, invisible, one hunned po'cent dead to me, (or as my friends in the restaurant biz say)..."86'd".

But back to the good schtuff! So...on top of the regular duties that I'm expected to perform, my employers recently tacked a most exciting element onto my original job description. Not only do I feel honored to have been entrusted with the added responsibility, but I am over-the-moon ecstatic about the new position...yip

(What's this?! Could the pendulum be starting to swing in my favor?)

(Snapped on 10/30/11)

(To that - I answer cautiously, "Yes?"...cuz there's this too)

#2.) Two of my photos were recently selected to hang in "The Dark Side: Night Photography" exhibit, at 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles. This marks the very first time that any of my self-portraits have been displayed in a public venue, which is HUGE! And...even though neither print went home with a loving family - I am not even marginally bummed...why? Because. It means that I now have two self-pics. printed on paper, ready to be signed, framed and made available for purchase...(Looks like it's time to sweep the cobwebs outta The Big Ugly "Store")

(Snapped on 10/30/11)

Ok but do see what I mean about there being literally no correlation between the words in this post, and the pics....dontcha? And lemme just say that it's not because I didn't enjoy the shoots that I staged at this house on consecutive days...cuz I did! But the only snippets that come to mind, when I try to find something to pluck from outta the ole memory bank - are: On the first day, there was four inches of snow on the ground (you can kinda make it out beyond the doorway in the 2nd pic.). Now, a snowfall before Halloween hasn't happened around here, in fifty-odd years (or so I've heard) so that's weird...

(Snapped on 10/31/11)

...and on the second day, the air that was trapped in the house was SO cold - that I lost all sensation in my feet and consequently - I quit before my camera battery died...even weirder. that's what I call compelling journalism...*snore*

(Snapped on 10/31/11)

All right, I give up...I'm gonna walk away before I really start to embarrass myself. 

I guess my only excuse for dumping this dreadfully disjointed drivel upon you, is that I'm far too preoccupied with everything that's been happening outside of my blogosphere - to be able to concentrate on coalescing the text and the pics. in this post. And so, I dunno - I guess if it's all the same to you guys - I'm gonna chalk this week up as a "bye". With any luck by next week though, I'll have calmed down enough to siphon off some of the excitement and enthusiasm that continues to percolate in my personal life - and pour them more directly into the upcoming entry...and hope to god it makes better sense...