Category: awesomeness


I had a pretty big day planned Wednesday. First I was going to go down to the Humane Society and start on my volunteer work. Then I planned on doing a little job-hunting and going to Zapow to pay my bill. So naturally, I walk out to my car and see a flat tire.

The good news is I’ve had my car for nearly ten years, and this is the first flat tire I’ve ever had. The bad news is that my car had some fancy rims on it when I bought it. They have these weird little “wheel locks” that require a special key. I only know this because every time I bring it in to the shop for anything that requires taking off the wheels they ask where the key is. But having never had a flat, I couldn’t figure out how to get the damn wheel off to change it. So I ended up having to get it towed to the shop…

The shop I go to is a pretty small operation, with only one tow truck. They were doing something for the city and had to tow a vehicle from a construction site. Unfortunately the guy didn’t leave the keys in it, so they had to try to get ahold of him. This took about three hours for some reason. I kept calling and he kept saying they were still waiting. Fun times. At least when I finally got to the shop they didn’t charge me for plugging the tire, only the towing. But by the time I got home it was after 5:00, so my day was effectively ruined. I attempted to salvage it by touching up my resume and starting a painting, but that was about all I got accomplished.

Little did I know that the very next day would be a complete turn-around. I started ironing my dress pants so I could resume my job-hunting when the phone rang. It was the pawn shop I interviewed at calling to tell me I got the job. With no need to go around looking for a job, I decided to take care of a few other things. I went to the unemployment office to tell them I got a job and then did a little grocery shopping.

I eventually did make it to the Humane Society, and my first hour of volunteer work went pretty well. You have to log three hours of “bed, bath, and beyond” (laundry and dishes) before you can do anything else. Everyone I met there seems really cool, and the vibe is really relaxed and fun. I can’t wait until I get to actually work with the animals. After that I went out to buy some new pants to meet the dress code of my new job, then came home and finished my painting and cooked some dinner.

That brings us to today. This weekend is my last weekend of being unemployed, but I’m not exactly making the most of it yet. I planned on going on a hike today, but last night I got sick to my stomach and didn’t get much sleep. When I woke up I just didn’t feel up to anything more strenuous than walking around the lake a few times. I did a little more shopping, watched a movie, and started on a new painting. I’m finally getting around to using the gigantic canvases I got for free months ago. I’m going to try to limit myself to only house paint and india ink, and all of the pieces will be rather loose and abstracted. I haven’t figured out what I’m doing tomorrow, but my date for the evening cancelled, so perhaps I’ll get that hike in after all. Then on Sunday I have two more hours of volunteer work, in addition to my usual laundry day. Then Monday it’s finally back to the daily grind, after a month of sleeping late and bumming around.

 

A few interesting things have happened in the past week or so…

Shortly after writing my last entry, I found out that I was approved for food stamps, and that I’ll be getting way more money than I typically spend on groceries. So I guess I’ll be living large. Except that over a week later, my card still hasn’t come in the mail. I keep putting off grocery shopping, because why spend a bunch of money on food when you have a card full of money on the way? Today I finally had to break down and buy a few things so I could make a meal or two. Hopefully before I run out of leftovers my card will come and I can do a real shopping. Fingers crossed.

I spent most of the day this past Sunday watching the new season of Arrested Development, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not as laugh-out-loud funny as previous seasons, but the plot is so dense and everything is so interconnected. It’s probably going to take several re-watches to catch everything, there are just so many little details and references. I was a bit worn out after a nearly all-day marathon, so I spent most of Monday trying to be productive, going on little walks and trying to get fresh air and exercise.

On Wednesday I had not one, but two job interviews. First up was Alan’s Pawn – they’re looking for a “musical instrument specialist.” I saw an ad on Craigslist but they never mentioned the business. I sent a resume and a cover letter talking about all of my music experience and knowledge. The interview went pretty well – they seemed to like me and gave me every indication that they plan on hiring me. They had me do a criminal background check and a drug test, and said that when the results are in we can go from there. It will be about 42-45 hours a week, with Sunday counting as an overtime day. They asked what my minimum salary expectation would be, and I said I could probably be comfortable with $9 an hour. They told me they would be able to beat that, and after the drug test and background check they would be able to make me an exact offer. After 90 days I would be eligible for commission on any sales, so that plus 5-10 hours of time-and-a-half would mean a pretty sweet paycheck. It’s not exactly my ideal job, but I have enough knowledge of musical instruments to sell them, and for that kind of money I can’t really refuse.

My other interview was at Pet Supermarket. It’s the kind of job that could help me in the long run with becoming a veterinary assistant, because it would give me more experience with and working knowledge of things like pet foods, medicines, and basic pet care. But on the other hand, it’s your basic shitty retail job. Chances are it wouldn’t pay much above minimum, and there probably wouldn’t be any incentive to advance. The final part of the interview was one of those self evaluations, which I never seem to do very well on, so chances are they won’t offer me a job anyway. But at least I know that all of my applying and dropping off resumes hasn’t been in vain.

So basically now I just wait to hear back from Alan’s and hope this is a move that pays off. In the meantime, I signed up to volunteer at the Humane Society. I have my volunteer orientation this Saturday. Also on Saturday is an opening at Zapow. Even though I don’t have any pieces for the show, it would be the first opening that I can attend as a member artist, so I’ll definitely go. I’m also just about finished with my online class – one lesson and the final exam left. I’ve been kinda procrastinating, but I have nothing at all to do tomorrow so I’ll probably finish it up then. And that’s basically what’s going on in the life of me. The End.

 

My piece “Galvanized Electronic Zapping Apparatus (the floating robot head formerly known as ‘Disconnect’)” will be featured on the blog Handmadefuzzy for their Spotlight Friday, which this week will be featuring drawings.

I was contacted via my page on Zibbet.com by who I’m assuming is the author of the blog. They said the link will be live around 6:30 am, which is way before I will be awake. The blog itself seems to be mostly focused on crafts, but there’s a lot of variety on there. I’m pretty interested to see what other styles of drawings will be featured alongside my piece.
If nothing else, this could give me some visibility and introduce my art to people who might not have seen it otherwise. So yay. Be sure to go check out Handmadefuzzy tomorrow (although you don’t really have to do it at the crack of dawn.) The end.

 

My Art @ Zapow!

GREAT NEWS EVERYONE!!! (and I seriously hope you read that in Professor Farnsworth’s voice)

My space at Zapow is up! As careful observation of the photo below will reveal, the space includes a handful of original pieces, along with two hanging racks of prints and greeting cards (all very reasonably priced)

For those of you who don’t know, Zapow is a gallery of fun and funky pop culture art and illustration. It’s located on Battery Park Ave. in downtown Asheville.

Be sure to come on by and check out my stuff… and if you’re feeling generous, buy some prints or original artwork. Support local artists! Specifically me, your dear friend who could use a little extra cash 😉

 

Zapow wall

 

Enjoy the rest of this rainy Sunday evening. The end.
Sincerely,
Your Pal, Chris

 

Last night I went to the Grey Eagle to see a personal musical hero of mine, Ken Stringfellow. You might know him as the co-leader of The Posies, my favorite band of all time. Or perhaps you know him as That Guy Who Played Keyboards On Tour With REM. Or maybe you know him from his time with a reunited Big Star. Or with his garage rock  side band The Disciplines. Or from all the albums he’s produced. Or maybe you don’t know him at all. But you should. His solo stuff has leaned heavily on piano-rock and experimental jams, all with super-catchy hooks. Good stuff.

The show was a seated event, so I made sure to get there early. Evidently I didn’t need to do, because there were barely more than twenty people who showed up. I was a little bummed out at that, but oh well. As he would later point out, this was his first time playing Asheville, and you have to build your audience somehow. Better to have a passionate and enthusiastic few than a huge crowd of people who don’t care. But I digress.

The opening act was a guy named Greg Cartwright, who plays in a local band called Reining Sound. It was just him solo on electric guitar. He was a good guitarist, and definitely had talent, but it just wasn’t my thing at all. His voice was a little on the nasal side, and he didn’t have much concept of melody. He said that he was so used to playing with a rock band that he had to shout over, and it showed. His songs didn’t hold my attention at all, but the little bits of lyrics I was able to catch here and there sounded pretty cool. Perhaps his songwriting works better in the context of a rock band, but solo he just didn’t grab me. It didn’t help that he played for almost an hour, didn’t speak much in between songs, and spent most of the night walking back and forth between the microphone and his set list sitting on a stool some ten feet away. Maybe his style works for others, but it didn’t for me, so I was kinda glad when he walked off the stage.

After a brief intermission, Ken Stringfellow took the stage. He spent the evening alternating between guitar and a baby grand piano, which evidently belonged to The Grey Eagle. He remarked how he usually has a digital piano with him, but that you just can’t pass up an opportunity like this. In between songs he talked a lot, about anything and everything. Things got off to a rocky start with a groaner of a joke about all of The Eagles being grey, but he somehow made it work. But anyway, about the music…..

He mostly played selections from his newest album, Danzig In The Moonlight. By my count there were three songs not from that album, including two from 2004’s The Soft Commands and one from 2001’s Touched. He didn’t play any Posies songs, because as he explained, he wanted to show people what he did when he wasn’t playing with others. Most of the newer songs worked naturally on just guitar or piano, which forced the listener to focus even more on his always intelligent lyrics. Some songs, like “Superwise,” sounded radically different from their album forms, but most stayed pretty much the same. For the most part he chose to completely forgo the use of the microphone, and when he played guitar he spent more time standing on the ground in front of the audience than up on the stage. It genuinely felt like he was just hanging out playing for some friends in their living room, rather than being a paid performer at a venue. He took the friendly vibe to its logical conclusion with a plea for someone to put him up for the night. This was, as he put it, a “cultural event,” and part of enriching the cultural landscape of a town is to ensure that culture does not freeze to death in its van.

On Danzig In The Moonlight there is a song, “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something,” that is a slow, countryish duet with Charity Rose Thielen of The Head And The Heart. For this song, he was joined by an audience member, a girl named Vickie who is in a local band called Warm The Bell. I haven’t gotten a chance to check out their stuff, but they have a CD release party coming up in a few months, and based on their descriptions I think I’d probably like them. I’m really only writing this paragraph to remind myself to check them out. If you’re not interested, feel free to ignore it. But I really need to give them a listen, sounds like it might be my kind of thing.

You really couldn’t have asked for a stronger performance. His songs are well written, melodic, and catchy as hell. His passion for music shines through every word and every note. And when he’s not playing, he’s pretty good at soliciting laughter. After about an hour and a half of music and banter, Ken announced that he was finished and would be heading to the merchandise table. He commented about how much he loved Asheville, and that even though the crowd was small, this was a great gig.

He hung out for a good half hour, making it a point to meet everyone and shake their hands. There was no one running his table, so he personally sold everything. I snagged a show poster and got him to sign it. He asked what my name was, then proceeded to give me an Irish sounding suffix, signing it “Chris O’Moon.” Right on the picture of the moon. Well played, Stringfellow, well played. He fielded a lot of questions, cracked a few jokes, asked for coffee-house recommendations, and eventually had to call it a night. I got a strong impression of sincerity from talking to him. This is someone who doesn’t fake anything – when he seems like he’s enjoying himself, that’s because he actually is. His personality shone through no matter what he was doing – he seemed like the kind of guy you’d want as a friend. Oh, and he makes music too. Awesome music. You should check it out.

 

This just in from the art world of yours truly…

You can now see four pieces of my artwork on display at The Updraft Gallery in downtown Asheville. The four pieces in question are the Tree Rings series (here, here, and here) and The Tree Of Life.

The Updraft is a fairly new gallery, run by artists. They have a lot of variety – many different styles of painting, decorative stuff, jewelry, pottery, glass, you name it. The location is great – in addition to being downtown, they’re right across the street from an expensive tapas restaurant. The guy who runs it is pretty cool, and he also runs Art In The Park and has some good connections in the community. There’s really no telling whether or not my stuff will sell, but it’s definitely good exposure, and it could lead to even bigger things.

So if you happen to be passing through downtown Asheville, come check out my stuff, (and the other work there). And if you’re nowhere near Asheville, then by all means go to my shop. Yay!

 

Merry New Year!

We’re now about four hours into 2013 here on the east coast. If these first few hours are any indication, this will be quite the year. But a super quick recap of the past week is needed…

Christmas was okay. Nothing out of the ordinary, good nor bad. We went to my sister’s house to watch my niece and nephew open presents, then came back to my parents’ house to open our own. The rest of the day was spent sleeping, hanging out with the family, watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and eating food I shouldn’t have eaten. The day after Christmas we headed to Best Buy so I could buy a new external hard drive, Target to return a shirt, the auto shop so I could buy  new wiper blades, and a few other random places. After dinner I headed home, stopping a few times for gas, food, and bathroom usage. By the time I got to Black Mountain it had started snowing, and when I arrived home there was a light dusting of snow, to go along with 70 mph winds. A tree fell on a power line minutes after I started unpacking and I was in the dark. The power came back on at some point during the night, but I have no idea when. The next day I went to work, still half asleep. The entire rest of the week was pretty uneventful.

So that brings us to the current holiday. I made a dinner date with a girl named Katie (yet another one!) who lives in my apartment complex. We had met quite some time ago when we were both waiting for the bus. She has bluish-greenish streaks in her hair and I complimented her on them. We chatted a little but that was pretty much it. A few weeks ago she came into the art supply store and we realized we knew each other and started chatting. We exchanged numbers and decided to get together sometime. I saw her at the bus stop again a few days ago and we talked about how neither of us had plans for New Year’s Eve.

She suggested Nine Mile for dinner, but when we got there it was standing room only, so we gave up and went somewhere far from downtown. We settled on Elena’s, which is probably the best Mexican restaurant in town. After dinner we came back to my place because hers was messy. We had some drinks, watched an episode of Fawlty Towers, and did a little snuggling. The rest of the evening I won’t go into detail about, but it’s safe to say this was the most successful first date I’ve had in a while. Not sure when or what the second date will be, but there most definitely will be one.

So I didn’t watch the ball drop. I didn’t go to any parties or festivities. I spent the evening with someone I barely know while my friends were off doing god knows what. All in all it was a pretty low-key New Year’s, but it was quite possibly the best one I’ve ever had. Now I’m exhausted and sleep calls. In the coming days I’ll attempt to write some sort of grand philosophical review of 2012, along with my annual best-of music list. But for now, sleep.

 

This whole two-jobs-classes-and-a-social-life thing is taking its toll on me. I feel like I never get enough sleep, and I’m way behind on my reading for my classes. What I really need is a bit more self-discipline so I can force myself to catch back up, both on homework and sleep.

I’ve been hanging out with my neighbors a lot, after a brief period of locking myself up in my room. I haven’t really seen much of anyone else, however. I haven’t heard from Kat in a while; I’m guessing she’s even more busy than I am, so who knows where that might be going. I’ll be seeing Sarah on Monday – we’re going to see Andrew Bird at the Peel. One last concert before she leaves the country for two years. Fun.

As far as the whole art career thing goes, I’ve been selected to be part of a three person show at the Blend Gallery in November. It’s probably better known as the Blend Lounge or “that place where you can smoke hookah,” but recently they’ve tried to remake themselves as a gallery first and everything else second. It will definitely be good exposure. Also in November we’ll be having our staff show at True Blue, so I’ll have some stuff there too. I’m not sure why I haven’t been more diligent about posting things like this. I guess I’ve just decided that this is my “personal” blog and my Tumblr is more for art related things. So yeah.

And speaking of work, with one employee gone to Penland for two months and another moving soon, we did some hiring. I’ve worked two shifts with one of the new girls, and she seems alright. I’m not really sure why, seeing as how she’s not really anything I usually go for, but I find her quite sexy. But I know better than to even attempt something with a coworker, that pretty much never works. But a customer, well that’s a different story…

This girl came in today and asked if I remembered her. She’s a student and used to come in all the time last year, and she’s absolutely gorgeous, so there’s no way I’d forget her. Out of nowhere she just starts talking my ear off. Not that I minded. She told me about her classes, her art, her roommates, her family, being broke, not having a car, never getting any sleep, quitting smoking, her boyfriend……. Yeah, I was totally on board until that last one. She mentioned him about three times, even telling me that he has the same name that I do. But based on what she was saying and her body language, it seemed like she was totally flirting with me. Even my coworker thought so. And our conversation ended up lasting around 45 minutes, which is probably more than all of our other conversations added together.

To further my theory that she was flirting, she told me about how she was a model on the side for the figure drawing classes at UNCA. She said that all up and down the hall are drawings of her nude. She said that pretty much everyone in the art department has at some point in time drawn her. Her boyfriend, while not an art major, has his department in the same building, so he’s seen the pictures too. I commented that it sounded like things could get pretty awkward. She denied it, but at the same time was turning bright red. I told her I didn’t believe her, because she was blushing just telling me about it. She said she wasn’t, that it was just really hot in here. I was at a pretty comfortable temperature. The high today barely hit 70 degrees, and most of the day it was rainy and way below that. And we had the air conditioning running. So either she’s extremely sensitive to warm temperatures, or she was in fact blushing while telling me about posing nude for her entire department.

There were a few other exchanges that were like that, although none quite as awkward. I got the vibe that the whole time she was trying to put forth the best possible image of herself, like she was trying to impress me or something. She giggled a lot, often stammered, and went off on long tangents that weren’t really related to whatever we had been talking about before. I’m convinced that she showed all the signs of flirting with me. Which makes me wonder why she would go out of her way to mention that she had a boyfriend. Perhaps she’s sizing me up as a potential replacement for whenever they happen to break up? A guy can dream! If that was the case I certainly wouldn’t complain. As I said before, this girl is gorgeous, and she really has a wonderful personality. She seems very intelligent, and we obviously have a lot of common interests. Basically, she’s the kind of girl I could fall for in a heartbeat. She said she wanted to see my art, so I gave her my card, and specifically told her to go like my Facebook page. Ever since then that’s pretty much all I’ve thought about, hoping that at some point in the near future I’ll log on and see that she liked my page and I can add her as a friend and send her a message. Who knows, maybe it will happen. But if nothing ever comes of it, I got in some good quality flirting with an amazing girl, and that’s pretty much its own reward, right?

I’m sure there are other interesting things that have happened recently in my life, but I’m kinda blanking on what they might be. I guess that’s my cue to end this thing already…

 

Busy busy busy…

Life has been crazy lately. Two jobs, two online classes, actively trying to get my artwork into galleries, three concerts in the span of a week, trying to get caught up on How I Met Your Mother before the new season starts, and still finding time to hang out with my neighbors…

Sleep pretty much hasn’t been an option. And I keep slacking on things I should do, like finish that commission I got forever ago. Or paint on the gigantic canvas and pieces of wood that have been in my living room for over a month. But instead, here I am doodling silly little pictures.

Like this one…..

 

 

 

So yeah… that happened. As a side note, I’m not at all Irish. But I am one-quarter clever on my mom’s side and one-eighth hilarious on my dad’s side. And now it’s time for bed…..

 

…..but I really don’t feel like it. I’ve felt rather blah today and I don’t want to dwell on things. So instead, how about a picture?

I got the idea to use my junk mail in a creative fashion, rather than just tossing it in the recycling bin. The other day I got something from the Romney campaign (why???) and something about a biblical prophecy seminar. I thought this gag was too good to pass up…..

 

Now if I can only think of something to do with all the rest of my junk mail…..