robohemian

Gender, Social Conditioning and Sexuality

robohemian

I’ve been talking a lot about sex and intimacy lately. This recent outlet of thoughts and feelings is a reflection of my personal account with my gender: the society-dubbed female, and this construct’s relationship to sexuality.

I’m at a point where I can look back on the scope of my life, and clearly see where things were damaging. There were probably several aspects that were equal culprits, but for this passage I’m diving into my experience as a female: an animal born by chance with one style of reproductive organs, placed in a pink blanket, and given dolls when I was clearly able to communicate that I’d rather play with dinosaurs.

I was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s pretty awesome in a lot of ways. I stick around because I genuinely like it. As I grew here, one can also bare witness to the soil which fed me.

It’s probably unnecessary to say this, but my city is more or less dripping with sexuality. The concept of sex, the coveted forbidden fruit, is plastered on every facet and so over-hyped, that it becomes blasé to its locals. So, I’ve been numb to all that shit since I was seven or eight.

From there, it is important to note that in 99% of the things I was exposed to in the city, sexual or otherwise, were being marketed to a male audience, with the traditional female archetype used as the tool of persuasion. Females were and are still all over the place. From my perspective as a kid, women were clearly a powerful icon indeed, yet I could also feel that something was off about this. Even as a child, I knew this was a false power.

The female form was the undisputed champion in representing sexuality. Women are sexualized EVERYWHERE here. The reality that I can’t unsee now, is that in truth, no one gives a shit about the female relation to this sexual headspace… or their experience of it. It isn’t spoken, but it is felt none-the-less, that whatever is being sold, isn’t being sold to us. It’s being sold by us… and therefore, isn’t ours. In the realm of sex, I grew up silently believing that I was the product.

Throughout my early years of sexual activity I assumed a performative roll in intimate situations, as though my experience of the account was inconsequential. I site this in my post from a few weeks ago [The Tell of Arousal], where I started piecing together my own head space regarding my current body of work (the sex stuff).

After thinking a lot about why I defaulted to this strange role in regard to intimacy, I see that it had a lot to do with social norms and the expectations of the society around me. On a deep bedrock level, I now realize I was sold that sex wasn’t for me, it was about me. What’s crazy, is that I didn’t even realize that I had this relationship with my own intimacy. My upbringing defined my perspective so completely it took me most of my life to zoom out and see around it.

While responding to this weight from my past, I’ve started writing (like I’m doing right now). My relationship with sexuality is less rage inciting and traumatic if I can at least try to make it relatable through the things I create. So, with art acting as the tried and true ointment its always been, I’m creating SHE BON among other things.

The SHE BON project is about the expectation vs the reality of arousal. This, which I’ve just told you about is at its epicenter.

In the past, my arousal was merely an abstraction. It was a concept that again, was created for the sake of my partner to heighten their enjoyment of sex. Creating big obvious electronic and mechanical indicators of my excitement is my way of making a joke out of this truth from my past. Yes, it is somewhat mocking. It’s suppose to be. But I’m mocking myself.

I’ve encountered dudes who have worn my arousal on their sleeve like its theirs to own- so I’m taking it back. My arousal is mine. Even if you had some part in it, I am feeling it for me, not for you. <3

I don’t want to put anyone on the defensive, but I do want to get people thinking… and more important, talking to one another. Social conditioning gives us a whole shit circus of false preconceptions, many of which are never checked because they’re things no one talks about. Just like the forbidden fruit: no one bothers telling you it was never an apple.

robohemian

THE TELL OF AROUSAL

she bon robohemian

I was hurriedly walking back to my family’s tiny cruise-ship cabin with a tight V-shaped smirk stretched across my lips. Like a quick and dirty grab and go, I had just made out with a boy for the first time. I had met him just that week. We were crammed in the confessional of the ship’s chapel. We weren’t suppose to be there, but so went the tune of that entire week; we were rebellious 16-year-olds doing everything we weren’t supposed to.

I had never kissed a boy I barely knew before, so my heart was racing, my head was spinning, and I was lit from head to toe like a fuse… although not in the way you’d expect.

When I returned to our room, my mom was in the bathroom taking curlers out from her hair. She smiled at me in the reflection of the mirror, knowing immediately by the look on my face what I had just done.

“Did you kiss him?” She asked.

I narrowed my eyes and nodded. She bowed her head approvingly and then continued to inquire, “Did it make you excited?”

As an adult now, I know this was a perfectly legitimate question, but as a sophomore in high school then and there, I honestly had no clue what she was asking about.

“What?”

“You know…” she turned around and looked me in the eye, “…Do you feel warm and tingly all over?”

I detected she was asking about something personal… even if I wasn’t quite sure what. I assumed she meant the dizziness I was experiencing due to all the adrenaline my body produced while navigating the awkward social encounter. I was after all flushed, aghast, and somewhat giddy.

“Yeah, I’m definitely excited,” I answered. -but, I wasn’t. Not in the manner she was eluding to.

“Good.” She said. Although I wasn’t sure why. Good? Okay, I guess?

Obviously, my mom was asking me if making out with the boy made me feel aroused. Nature dictates that such an act should elicit certain biological responses. Making out in the chapel launched me into fight or flight mode, but nothing close to hot and bothered.

I’ll cut to the chase and tell you now, I honestly didn’t experience legitimate arousal until some time in my mid-twenties. This isn’t to say I was ignorant to sexuality, or the concept of being turned on. It’s just that now, as an adult having experienced the throes of desire and lust, I look back and can confirm that young Sarah did not experience those things in that way at those times. Young Sarah knew of sex and intimacy the way a person who is color-blind knows about red.

For many years through several “serious” relationships, I was a sexual being without any inclination of what it was like to feel my own primal urges, because I had none. I wanted for nothing. I’ve spoken about this in one of my other posts, where I speculate as to why this was. Explainable or not, the fact of the matter is that for a good, long time… a number of guys would confidently boast about satisfying me when they had no idea what the hell was going on with Sarah, inside and out. I mean, neither did Sarah.

The Mating Game:

Similar to most animals, there is a protocol for us humans. We indicate and respond to cues of sexual interest in layers. This begins with the “clothes on” phase, and eventually leads to the more serious “clothes off” phase. Don’t laugh. While this sounds obvious and needless to state, this is important to point out because the physical indicators of sexual interest aren’t equally distributed in each of these phases amongst men and women.

Physically, men have more obvious signals during the “clothes on” stage of courtship than women do. Female humans appear virtually unchanged- leaving the decision to proceed up to an interpretation of behavior.

AROUSAL FOR MALE-TYPE GUYS

Matters of behavior aside, guys get erections. Regardless of how a male might act, the trouser tent is a telltale sign that some part of their consciousness is fixated on the fucking. Regardless of what triggered the erection, a hard-on is a signal of sexual desire.

AROUSAL FOR FEMALE-TYPE GALS

In a less immediate “clothes on” sense, it’s more difficult to detect that a female wants sum fuk. Off the top of my head, there is really only one visual cue that might signal female arousal: a flushed face. Of course, this is amply noted and capitalized upon in modern culture with makeup and cosmetics. However, the use of “rouge” is so strongly associated with the enhancement of beauty, it’s completely departed from the original intent. Long ago, smearing pigment on the face had less to do with beautification… and more to do with signaling to nearby males that the wearer was locked and loaded (even if they weren’t).

In addition to misleading cosmetics that dampen a mate’s ability to accurately respond to physical cues, having a flushed face isn’t an exclusive response to arousal. There are tons of other things that might cause your face, forehead, neck, and lips to flush. Working out, having a coughing attack, allergies, illness, and alcohol consumption will all do this to some degree as well.

In the end, due to the wide use of facial pigments and plutonic activities that may raise your heart rate, viewing the act of blushing as a sign of arousal is less reliable than you’d think.

In the more intimate “clothes off” sense, there is lady juice. Females produce their own lubrication when their bodies want to be entered by something. It’s a thing you can feel that, like the erection, is a signal which generally means one thing and one thing alone. By the time a mate is even able to pick up on this cue however, it’s already late in the game. Getting wet is less a guy spinning a sign on the street corner, and more a hand shake in the office of the dealership.

WHAT THE DIFFERENCES MEANS

So, a female can visually see a male’s hard-on at an early “clothes on” stage of courtship, but a male has to be at the gates knocking to really tell whether or not a female actually wants to grant access. This means, at the early stages of human courtship, a female has to indicate verbally, or through action that she desires sexual attention. This is something to think about.

With much of the early stage of sexual interaction pending on physical and verbal negotiation, there is a lot of room for acting.

I’ve said this already, my early sex life was performative. I wasn’t actually getting anything out of it; that is, if the point is pleasure. Relevant to my point about communication: this means that for years, I sold to all of my partners that I was an eager and turned on female specimen, when I totally was not. I wasn’t aroused, and I had no point of reference to know it.

Adult Sarah looks back on her developing self and chuckles a little every time. At every stage of our growth, we think what we know is absolute, because the boundaries of our ‘known universe’ have only stretched so far. Now that I know myself a little better, I wish to shine a bit of light on the reality of my past… with all due silliness.

BECOMING HUMAN BY EMBRACING THE MACHINE

the inspiration:

The frontier of sex and sexuality has been an expanse of solitude that I’ve explored slowly and had no one to tell about its majesty. Maybe this is normal, but it’s not the sort of normal I like. Such as it is, the Sarah of now is going to use this feeling that I’ve attempted to convey as a point of departure for some art.

the vision:

I’m creating a series of wearables called “she bon”; which are exactly what they sound like. The various augmentations will sense aspects of a female wearer’s biological state, and then communicate to nearby others when the user might possibly be aroused. These augments are effectively “VAGINA boners”.

the parameters:

As functioning objects, the wearable augments should be beautiful and enticing to those who aren’t sure of their purpose. Until activated, they should appear relatively innocuous. Once triggered, the indicators should manifest with some level of playful absurdity that is relatable and honest, even if somewhat uncomfortable for onlookers.

the stipulations:

The main purpose of the wearables is to indicate the user’s status of arousal. The electronic and mechanical “tells” that communicate this state should do so in a way that further stimulates the wearer as a byproduct… but only as a byproduct. The wearables should not become tools used to trigger the aroused state.

When everything is said and done, I’m hoping this project opens up a good discussion about the human experience. Sex and sexuality is a big can of worms… big sticky worms… that are strange and difficult to look at. Lets talk about them. =)

my thoughts on...

My Other Face

I was once an art student at SAIC in Chicago. Back then, I had never been on my own before, and found myself living in a swank studio apartment dorm. It was an exciting “leaving the nest” experience, but what I remember most of the time wasn’t the rose-tinted luxuries, rather the white overcast sky and the fog hugging the tops of the sky-scrapers.

What my eyes saw each day was pretty bleak, and not just due to the lake effect weather. My fellow “avant-garde” as well as the homeless wanderers on the street that I saw each and every day when I commuted to class, set the tone for a weird internal interlude of my life that I now loosely refer to as “back when I was in college”.

I went to the community college in Las Vegas for three years prior to being accepted to Chicago. My desert life was comfortable, social, and somewhat balanced… so as any proper creative person would do in that situation, I started looking for a way out. I could hardly imagine leaving my beloved mentors to pursue my desires elsewhere, but I knew it was what I had to do.

I quickly realized only a couple of weeks into my first semester, that the prestigious art school was not the place for me. In fact, there were many aspects of it that I loathed. It glorified many things I detest, and the students there were like monks to a religion I was at war with: contemporary art.

Due to this sudden and drastic unease with my surroundings, I withdrew and kept to myself. The silence allowed my mind plenty of room to stretch out and process things: primarily thoughts about what I was doing and who I was.

That weirdly acidic, white, cold, and generally uninviting setting is also where I found myself in my first machine shop and met the person I would grow to become today. Even if I had no way of knowing it at the time, I was finally on a course to becoming who I wanted to be. In this unlikely place, I felt like a sapling growing in spite of layers of concrete and bricks towards sunlight.

Some time at the beginning of 2011, the maybe-roboticist Sarah woke one morning and seemingly from nowhere decided she really, really aught to make a mask. I had never done so before, and prior to that day hadn’t any interest in doing so… but alas, on a wild whim, did the research, bought the materials, and prepared to cast my own face in the bathroom of my dorm.

Over two weeks of casting, sculpting, and scavenging, I built what I now call “Merca” – which is a crude-looking thing that has a significant amount of meaning to me. Now many years later, I understand why I woke that morning and so urgently decided to do what I did.

Masks are curious things. We wear them for reasons that are almost contradictory. They are symbolic of hiding, but they are also tied to the concept of acting, or assuming a role. When someone puts on a mask, they aren’t just concealing themselves, they’re also becoming something different entirely.

It’s more than that though. Masks effect us profoundly. If someone puts on the mask of a wolf, without realizing it… they start to subtly enact their perception of what a wolf is like. If someone puts on the mask of a devil, they become devious. When we witness ourselves in a new face, we begin acting as what we see ourselves as. We role-play. The funny thing however, is once the mask is removed, the identity that was borrowed doesn’t magically get taken away along with it. It becomes a part of you. It sticks with you forever… whether you have the mask on anymore or not.

The mask asks a question of us that we answer through our actions. By answering, we welcome the consideration of something other than who we are, and as a result expand our definition of self to include the answer we devise of. By putting it on, we give the mask permission to infuse us with whatever it suggests we might otherwise be.

I made Merca that day because I subconsciously recognized a change happening within me. The change had to do with adaption; how I was morphing or masquerading as something else in order to survive in my new home. It was also in recognition that what I was pretending to be was not natural to me. It wasn’t a welcomed response, but one that happened out of necessity, in light of being thrust into a new life in a new place.

My mentor told me I would move away from Vegas one day. Maybe I’d come back, maybe I wouldn’t… but in either case, if I did… I wouldn’t be the same person. This sounded dramatic and ominous- but of course he was right.

As a result of persisting through concrete and stone, the sapling develops unusual roots and a twisted form. This was me now. The mask represented my pseudo self. It was the ingenuine me I assumed in Chicago that stuck around even after I took the mask off and moved away. But it also represented the part of me that pretended to be stronger than I was, until I was stronger. Like my mentor predicted, I came home different, but I came home better.

Sarah has always loved machines, but now she knew she could machine them. She was awed by technology, but now had an open invitation to create her own. Contemporary art had always left a sour taste in her mouth, but now she understood the shape of the fruit she was tasting, and could appreciate the bitterness for the beautiful form it came from. That’s growth, y’all.

I moved back home to Las Vegas, Summer of 2011, just a hand-full of months after I smeared petroleum jelly all over my face and laid strips of plaster-gauze all over it. I had this mask in tow to show for it. When I put it on back then, whether I realized it or not, I was becoming the person I am right now. My other face was the new me.

my thoughts on...

Our Most Basic

We should all talk about sex. Guys… gals… guys with gals. Everyone should feel comfortable talking with one another casually about sex and sexuality. Not out of perversion. Not out of lack of morality. Not in abandonment of social tact or the construct of “class”, but because our inability and unwillingness to normalize our most basic human right as animals is damaging to our relationship with one another.- and with ourselves.

Damaging. Yes. When I grew up, no one talked to me about fucking. The only cue I received from the world was that I should avoid engaging in sexual relations with guys. The world insinuated that if I did let another person enter my body, I was losing some loosely defined game; I was giving something up, or rather… that something was being taken from me by the other person. It was impressed upon me that my role in regard to sex and sexuality was that of victim. So I avoided it.

This underdeveloped concept of intimacy and sex eventually lead me into a slew of highly abusive, and outright heinous relationships with other men. I found myself with them, accepting their way of relating to me because I didn’t know any better. How could I? Their way of treating me became my base-line… one that has slowly been dragged into a better place over time. But you can still see the marks in the sand as a clear indicator of where it was dragged from.

It needs to be said. I never enjoyed sex physically until I was 24-years-old, the day I accidentally had my first orgasm in the bathroom of my college dorm while using a tiny bullet vibrator. When it happened, I had no clue what had happened. I was completely confused but pleasantly excited for the rest of the day because I had finally discovered what all the fuss was about.

Up until that fateful day with my “Adam and Eve” vibrator (that I only brought with me to college because my boyfriend expressed an interest in watching me use it), I believed that when I became aroused, this meant I was climaxing. I thought I was getting off, when in reality… I was just getting on; for the vast, disgusting percentage of it all, I didn’t even experience as much as that. Sex was primarily performative. Expressing enjoyment was not for myself, it was for the other party. It was to heighten their experience of me… like I were a ride at a theme park. I did this because I was afraid of the truth only I was aware of: That when I was being fucked, I felt nothing, it came to mean nothing, and that I hated it. I hated sex.

So there and then, at the humble age of 24, I begun my journey. I started to slowly understand who and what I was as a sexual being. I’m not that much older now, and I see that I have a long way to go until I feel better. “Better” being a vague term, used purposely.

A byproduct of this unengaged relationship with sex has been an almost radical denial of my biology; as if I were a mind-brain functioning in a vat of fluid, rather than a human. This is something that has flipped almost entirely 180 degrees in the past five years. I have a new wonder for my body and its desires; the ones I notice that I can’t control, and the ones I feel but can’t understand. They are my new favorite qualities about my self.

A 30-year-old woman now, as much as I despise babies and the concept of motherhood, I feel this overwhelming need to choose the right mate to produce a genetic flesh cocktail with. I see the men in my life differently, and this is good. Where as young Sarah chose her boyfriends and lovers for their intellectual merit alone, adult Sarah seems to gravitate towards the guy that smells good in just the right way, and causes the right neurons to fire when they touch me (I realize this is usually the opposite for most).

I have to point out that my current position isn’t all bad. Coming into my own sexual awareness so late in the game feels as though I’m binge watch a really good TV series that everyone else had to experience one episode at a time, once a week. This clearly defined and vibrant energy is something I can harness and use as inspiration to create things… and do things. It’s an awakening and it feels wonderful, if only in the same way we enjoy a rainbow after, and because of a storm.

I do think that if society, people, humans knew themselves enough to normalize an open discourse with one another regarding sex, I would have found myself in a better place when I was young. Since I can’t change anything about the past, the most I can do right now is enact the change I would like to see take place.

SEX. I talk about it. With people I know. With people I don’t know. During the night. During the day. In private. On my streams. If it comes up in conversation, I wont dance around it or talk in code. I think this is doing the younger generation a better service than to insinuate through uncomfortable silence that our most basic right as animals is a tabu.

robohemian

Meditation 1 : bloom in a petri dish

I stated last week that I’m writing a neo-bohemian manifesto… yeah? I must point out that I’m not attempting to rewrite the old ways, rather I’d like to draw parallels between periods from the past and today, in order to reflect on how things might be different, the same, or better. I’m doing this to understand what makes neo-Bohemians unique, so that those of us who identify as such can celebrate this common identity.

The periods of time in question are those which provided a fertile environment for creative folk to thrive, enabling an overlap of disciplines that resulted in high concentrations of revolutionary innovation [ ! ]

Why does this sporadic burst of new ideas happen? I believe that the intersection of professions, skill sets and cultures concentrated in a consistent public forum during unique social circumstances (like a war or regime change) results in action backed by fresh thinking.

Is this happening now?…………… Yes! But where??

CROSS-POLINATION OF EVERYTHING

I don’t have to argue this idea much; when different people meet who have the common desire to make stuff, creative dialogues occur… ideas are exchanged… influence takes hold… and you end up with a bunch of new things that are a sum of the added components.

At the heart of every bohemian movement was a slurry of inputs that resulted in an infinite potential for unique outputs.

LOCATION

As necessary, some level of migration occurred in order for people to participate in these movements. To meet and mingle with those stirring the waters, you had to stand on the boat they were rocking (a hundred years ago this pilgrimage would land you in Paris, a thousand years ago it may have led you to Alexandria). You simply had to be where the stuff was happening.

Due to the relocation of people from many different areas of the world to one city or region, there was a byproduct of cultural overlap. The cross-pollination of ethnicities, cultures, and religions manifested in all forms of creative expression.

Now is just another one of many similar points in history, however it’s different and remarkable in that today’s creative epicenter has no physical location. The bohemian heart of today is the internet. With blogs, forums and youtube channels acting as caravans and stages that feed us the content we are influenced by, social media functions as the coffee shops and bars where we meet to discuss how and why we’ve been effected by these exposures.

UNIQUE SOCIAL CIRCUMSTANCE

Wherever you’re from, the current and trending flavor of the world is freshly licked butthole. Whatever your beliefs, there is something in the media attempting to incite an emotional response from you. You are bombarded by this daily. It’s slowly chipping away at your otherwise *relatively-stable* emotional foundation; distorting you into a paranoid, pissed off person (at least it is to me, so I figure I’m not alone). At the end of some days, you’re completely exhausted and you aren’t sure why.

It might be local politics, mass shootings, the shit show running the government, the unnecessary reminder that your race, gender, or sexual orientation is still mistreated and unequally regarded in society, the fact that religion is still a thing, tax reform, net neutrality, dogs and cats, lions and tigers: – because we are so connected we are that much more aware of everything, even the stuff that might be bullshit trying to get the best of us.

While this sucks… and I agree wholeheartedly that it is a tremendous emotional burden and does make for a constant distinct butt-flavor in your mouth, it can also be seen as catalyst.

Those with the most adversity to overcome typically end up achieving the most. Without something to push you, animals tend to stay comfortably in place. So maybe all the inflammatory garbage in our face is a blessing in disguise?

To conclude this meditation, 

In a funny sense, Reddit is the Montparnasse of now. Twitter is the shitty coffee shop on the corner that we keep going to even though the people who work there suck, and the coffee kinda sucks too.

We, humans of now, aren’t limited by our geographic location as were the movers and shakers of the past. Everything is happening everywhere and we are intrinsically tethered to all of it as participants, due to accessibility. If you want something, you have it (and because of Amizon, typically next day). If you want to know something, you’ll learn it (because we are all students of youtube). If you want to meet someone, you can with little effort, usually without having to leave your desk. Even if some things going on in the world are toxic, we aren’t helpless to fight them. If we want to speak out, our voices can reach farther than ever before and are immutable. Every one of us are potential all-knowing, all-seeing, influential vehicles of change. So what are we going to do with the power?

I think in my next meditation, I will discuss the bohemian principles a little more:

TRUTH, BEAUTY, FREEDOM, LOVE… that old bag.

I’ve come to realize that the principles shouldn’t change just because we humans have… but there is still much to discuss.

As always, if you have input, or just think I’m full of shit… I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All is full of love,

-Sarah

noodle says

where do toes come from?

Thanksgiving was a couple of days ago. My family is one of those that gather together at grandma’s place for a massive socially challenging feast. There is chaos in the kitchen, as much booze available for consumption as courses on the table, and that table is practically a mile long because everyone brings an additional someone who doesn’t have anywhere else to go (which is kinda nice). If you’ve ever seen Christmas Vacation, you’re familiar with the format.

Like any mother, I bring my child to all of our family gatherings. As my baby is a robot, this was strange to everyone at first, but three years of events later, NoodleFeet’s presence has been normalized as part of the family tapestry.

While at grandmother’s last week, Noodle perched in the corner of the room to stay safely away from the fourteen people stomping around the house.

Within his view was the traditional Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvre platter of radishes, carrots, mutant pickles and olives. Noodle quite literally stared them down all night…

To Noodle, nibbles are perfectly scaled tasting shapes, so he was disappointed that no one offered him a sampling. Since all he could do was gaze longingly in their direction, he became curious about the red piece inside the olive.

What were these shy pieces poking out? They looked so much like a part of his own anatomy, it was uncanny.

Noodle wondered: did the olives have a retractable toe like him? Or was the olive maybe a tiny womb where toes are grown…

Was this where his toes came from?

Maybe somewhere there were fields of little green growing chambers, each bearing a tiny developing pimentoe; a toe farm. He imagined hundreds of brine-filled sacks synthesizing infant toes within their supple flesh; the ground caked with those which had grown to maturity and pushed free of their fleshy sheaths through the exit hole… The implications were devastating.

What if every olive consumed by cousin Kevin was a potential toe that would never get to grip or knead the pliant texture of lint?

And we wonder why machines will overthrow humanity…

save the pimentoes.

robohemian

Life Pie

find the key to lime pie! Avant-garde cooking edition

“Things are going to change,” I decided.

“I have the power to forge my own reality!”

“Life will get better from here.”

I woke some time last week with the clarity to realize I needed to grab the steering wheel and aggressively guide the vehicle (myself) back on corse. Naturally, this meant I had to make a pie.

Pie is an essential part of life… and healing. When I desire it most, I won’t cheat and acquire crappy store-made pie. No no, I must create my pie the way I make my mechanisms: from raw materials.

So Friday became Pie Day. With everyone I hold dear bearing witness, I committed to producing my favorite type of pie, a key lime pie, to the best of my abilities.

I should note, the point of this cooking exercise wasn’t to eat a pie. The pie was a symbol, and the act of making it would become a metaphor for my life, one which I could observe in action as it played out indisputably before my eyes. I wanted to learn something, so I planned to pay close attention.

I would state my intentions, and then without any further intervention, allow the task to unfold:

“Tonight I am making a pie. I’m going to do it by myself. I wish to enjoy the process, so just keep me company and help only if I specifically ask for it.” I’m paraphrasing, but this is more or less what I announced before the cooking began.

My boyfriend, Mark, and my best friends, Matt and Tony were present. I hadn’t picked a recipe, nor bought ingredients yet… the “pie” was effectively a Tabula Rossa.

Here is what happened:

I was going to write a poem about the pie, but decided it was best to give a play-by-play.

-The grocery store did not have “key limes” and Mark urged me not to attempt making my own crust from scratch, so we bought a bottle of lime juice and a pre-made crust.

-Mark was starving and couldn’t wait for me to finish my methodical process, so he decided to prepare his dinner of hotdogs over and around my cooking space.

-At some point Matt had to pass a bowl of sweetened condensed milk through a sieve because I may or may not have gotten glass in it after accidentally dropping a ramekin on Mark’s pint glass, shattering it into a million tiny projectile shards.

-Where the glass didn’t actually end up in the pie filling, some did manage to bounce into the cheese Mark was grating for his hotdog. He found it with his mouth.

-Matt and Tony had a lime squeezing contest.

-Tony otherwise sat at the kitchen table and drank beer, spitting out snide remarks for his own amusement.

-Matt drank three Irish Car Bombs. While removing the pie from the oven, he accidentally let the flimsy pie plate collapse in half. It fell and partially inverted.

-Even after returning the pie to the oven three times to cook it a little longer, the filling wouldn’t set. We later found out this was because we needed to place the flimsy foil pie plate that came with the pre-made crust into an actual pie plate.

The pie couldn’t hold itself together, however still managed to taste pretty good (and it didn’t cause anyone internal bleeding!).

The state of Sarah: can barely hold itself together. More or less a complete mess… but is still somehow pretty good in spite of itself… also hasn’t killed anyone yet.

All and all this was a fun exercise. The strong personalities in the room did what they normally do when left to their own devices, but I was able to assume control over the making of my pie. Everyone wanted to help, and with or without it… the outcome was inevitably a big mess that everyone enjoyed the process of… as much as the result. Pie is pie. Life is life… and even in the darkest times, is worth celebrating… with pie.

robohemian

I’m Writing a Manifesto

robohemian - feeling strange? you might be a new strain of bohemian with an insatiable lust for technology!

I attended a magnet school for the arts called Las Vegas Academy back when I was in highschool. All I’ll say is, every sort of nonsense occurred here during my teenage years. It was my spawning ground, and an integral part of me becoming me.

At some point I walked into my core art class and written on the white-board was the prompt: “Invent Your Own Cult!”. This was our in class project for the day.

Since I was a wee fledgling, my weirdness gland wasn’t pumping at full strength yet, and this experiment in creativity was somewhat lost on me. I didn’t come up with anything meaningful, or clever, or funny (nor did I have the charisma to make up for it).

This memory was on my mind for a couple of reasons while driving home from SuperCon this past weekend:

I self identify as an artist, writer, hack, hacker, mechanical designer who pretends in her imagination to be a machinist… OH and a philosopher. This is a confusing and convoluted list, which usually gets abbreviated into “artist” when talking to other people (as it did at SuperCon this past weekend). The problem is that when you tell perfect strangers you’re an artist, for whatever reason, in spite of this being the year 2017, folks instantly get the mental image that you stand in a field somewhere with an easel and paint sunsets… or something.

So, for fun I will begin calling myself something slightly absurd from now on that might facilitate in creating a more accurate mental picture of the type of person I am and what I do with my life. (don’t worry, I know I shouldn’t care what others think, this is for fun =F)

TECHNO-BOHEMIAN. BOOM.

Or Robohemian in my case…. I could go with either. The term is nice because it is descriptive of the art side as well as the technologically capable side.

When I was a hatchling, one of my clutch’s mantra movies was Moulin Rouge, which is famous for its quintessential depiction of the “bohemian” life style. My friends and I longed to be part of the era where creativity and overlap of disciplines was booming in a streets of Paris back in the 1900s.

It is defined in the big internet book of defining things that:

Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may or may not be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.

This use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the nineteenth century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities.[1]

Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which often were expressed through free love, frugality, and—in some cases—voluntary poverty. A more economically privileged, wealthy, or even aristocratic bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as haute bohème[2] (literally “high Bohemia”).[3]

It occurs to me that this culture and lifestyle cited in early century Paris exists today in a modern sense all over the world. Today’s Montparnasse is simply the internet. The coffee shops of then are effectively what hackerspaces are to us now.

… Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love

These are the four principles of bohemian mindfulness; the things they lived by in the world of Moulin Rouge. Theirs isn’t so much a manifesto, as it is a mandate of common values that sets the tone for a proper bohemian head-space and heart.

Truth: Always be genuine vs. fake. Gravitate towards that which is real, honest and just, instead of people who are misleading or purposely withholding.

Beauty: All that we put into the world, as energy or physical manifestation is to make it a better place to exist within.

Freedom: (gonna quote Ayn Rand here) I will not live for the sake of any man, nor will I expect any man to live for the sake of me. Never be afraid to freely express yourself or who you are. Never be afraid to fight to defend that right.

Love: The undefinable thing that pulls us like gravity towards that which we desire most in life. May our love of things and people bring out the best in us. May all of our actions and words be spoken out of love vs. negativity. (to quote Bjork, All is full of love!)

While those ideals are good enough to float your boat on, I wonder if they need to be tweaked in any way to better suite today’s techno-bohemians.

I intend to meditate on this over the weekend and compile a description of what it is to be what we are, this particular flavor of human with these frustrations, feelings, needs and desires. If you have any input at all, let me know! If you feel that the term “techno-bohemian” applies to you, what would your four principles be?

Ex: Creativity, Innovation, Passion and Coffee

In a sense, I’m revisiting that in-class project from high school just for fun. Maybe also because I feel a need right now to reflect on who I am and why I am this way. 🙂

I will post my conclusion shortly.

my thoughts on...

An open letter to those in the ocean

It’s been an interesting year, hasn’t it?

I’m writing this because it’s my nature to disclose pretty much anything and everything that skirts through my mind. I find that the seemingly unmanageable monsters of my life are deflated, simply by saying their names out loud. So, that is what I’m doing right now. Also, by sharing my feelings, I’m more likely to find others who relate to what I’m going through. So if you’re one of them, hello!

Things are different now. I’m entering a new decade of my life and my self-image has changed drastically without my own permission. Ten years ago, when I first shouted “CHARGE!” And ran head first into battle, I thought of myself as a smart, sexy, young thing that couldn’t help but be liked by everyone and as a result was strong and unstoppable. The world was mine. The present was my time. I had all the energy I needed backing me up.

But you know where this is going. We climb our mountains and eventually find ourselves questioning the stamina we were once certain we had. I suppose I’m there.

If you ask me what I “do for a living”, I will tell you that “I am an artist”. I’m also just as broke and aimless as the title suggests.  I knew long ago when I first put my chips on the table what I was signing up for. I’m not surprised by the grinding and chafing inflicted by the unpaved road I’ve been dragging myself along, but I am marred to the point that I can’t recognize myself anymore.

Additionally, who knew that this fresh era of my life would begin simultaneously with heaping gobs of social disillusionment. After eight years of relative optimism, I’m again parsing broken expectations as our country is led into shady uncertainty by a brand new shit storm. So this is the theme of now.

There is a metaphor in my comic, relating life to a stormy ocean. We either (a) drown, (b) wash out somewhere safely stranded on an island we can never escape, or (c) we fight and struggle to keep swimming.

At times we find chunks of debris to hold onto for a while and there happens to be someone else clinging along with us; cosmically at the same place at the same time.

The water is rough, but I know I’m not alone. That is why I’m writing today, and will continue to write from this point on. By continuing to call out the monster’s name, I want this little shitty piece of debris that I find myself on to become a raft. We don’t have to stay here forever, but it’s nice to catch your breath for a while before continuing to paddle on.

thinking about it too much

WTF Sheldon

As of late, my life has taken a turn down an unexpected avenue… that is covered wall to wall in paint. Last October, my friend and I adopted the hobby of sneaking around at night and exploding colorful fluid on flat surfaces in unconventional ways. Since then, we began crafting cannons for means of high velocity paint application, and maximum showmanship of course:

Around the same time that this practice was budding, I ran out and bought “Splatoon” since the vibrant ink sloshing nature of the game hit close to home. It would become my nightly mantra of Japanese bukakke-flavored vandalism from which I’d channel inspiration.

For those who aren’t familiar with the game, Splatoon is basically a paint-ball style shooter, where teams battle in mini turf wars to try and cover the most surface area with their color of ink. The game’s setting is in a nautical themed pseudo-Tokyo that is filled with teen-aged sea creatures and Japanese pop-culture. You and the other players of the world are squid kids (thus the ink squirting)… and you of course share the setting with jelly-fish, shrimp, sea urchins, and other evolved sea-kin…

The game’s characters have some darkness to them. If you’re a fan, you’d likely argue that the shady sea urchin sitting on the floor of the alleyway who mysteriously “acquires” the items you envy from the nearby squid kids, and also shucks the quivering pile of sea snails stacked next to him with a screw driver wins the award for most disturbing, hands down:

It’d argue however that Sheldon, the unassuming trilobite across the street, is by far leagues creepier that the pseudo-stoner sea urchin above. This kid’s got secrets.

So allow me to introduce you to the foremost of WTF…

When you log into the game, you appear in the middle of a busy cross-walk lined with skate-shops where you can buy clothing and other accessories. The most important of which is the storefront where you can purchase weapons and other ink slinging peripherals:

In here, you can find all sorts of fun toys made by the shop owner, a Boy Scout named, SHELDON.

He may look adorable standing there unassuming, but notice how he seems almost uncomfortably eager; with his hands folded quaintly. In the game he even bobs hurriedly back and forth like he is shy… or nervous. This might appear to be the hallmark of innocence, but I’m onto you Sheldon. Seriously. There is something slightly off here.

He is more than willing to offer a windy description of all his wares as you scroll through his list of weapons. Some of which he will mention were built from his grand-pappy’s blueprints (who was also a weapons monger himself).

If you happen to see something you like, Sheldon will gladly let you test any of his goods in a walled off area just behind his shop:

There’s nothing weird about it…

Just some high concrete walls, random patches of dirt and stuff. Totally normal.

I’ve wrecked this place dozens of times without any regard. But last night in my dazed and sleepy boredom… I started thinking about what was right in font of me.

…why mounds of dirt everywhere, Sheldon?

I’m not saying they were recently put there or anything… Every “back area” of an arms dealer’s lair has the right to be a little disheveled. What has me though is the obvious stipulation in regard to Sheldon and his family’s legacy of engineering ink weaponry:

Sheldon, though adorable, IS NOT A SQUID. He’s not even an ink producing cephalopod. Why is his shop called Ammo Knights when effectively, he has no way of creating any “ammo” to prototype his own weapons with?

Even if he doesn’t need ink in order to test his gear… doesn’t dedicating your life to the practice of building devices for another creatures fluid excretion border on the creepy?

just stuff to think about.

I use to come visit Sheldon after my nightly battles to say hi… maybe test out a new cannon or entertain the idea of sniping. He’s the type of cute I’d poke in the rib and say something vaguely inappropriate to as flirtation… but now every time I go into that back area with the high concrete walls, I can’t help but wonder if this is the time he doesn’t let me back out again. O_O