My Word Souffle Fell Flat

Exhibit 1: Colored pencil illustration for my entry in the "Lust" in Katydid's Seven Deadly Sins competition.  The post, thought by me to be the best one I'd done in the contest didn't even make it to the finals.  The drawing scored yawns from readers.
Exhibit 1: Colored pencil illustration for my entry in the “Lust” chapter in K8edid’s Seven Deadly Sins competition. The post, thought by me to be the best one I’d done in the contest, didn’t even make it to the finals. The drawing scored yawns from readers.  If you decide to click the links at the end, you may want to go back to the gluttony one first and read them in order.

I thought my last post was pretty good.  It had lots of great ingredients including a bubble-headed newscaster, Lady Gaga, Academy Awards and racial slurs.  In my book, that’s a can’t-lose recipe.  I tossed that crap in my handy WordPress Lazy Blogger Crock Pot®, set the timer and toddled off to work.  Eight hours later, I’d open the front door and be greeted by the savory aroma of delicious comments and a bountiful platter of steaming “likes”.  I knew better than to hope for any Freshly Pressed action – this post was discomfort food, not French-Asian fusion cuisine featuring fair-trade organic lemongrass and sustainable free-range snails [Food analogies inserted to whet the readers’ appetites and make blog writing seem as effortless for me as slow cooking.  Analogy of Freshly Pressed as some sort of trendy, politically-correct restaurant is due to my being a bitter man who can’t get a reservation]

In some people's eyes, these are nothing but miniature cabbages, but in the hands of a master chef, they can be steamed over simmering rice wine, garnished with a chiffonade of Thai basil and served in groups of 3 for $17.
In some people’s eyes, these are nothing but miniature cabbages, but in the hands of a master chef, they can be steamed over herbed rice wine, garnished with a chiffonade of Thai basil and served in groups of 3 for $17.

I followed the instructions to the letter, adding a little extra salt and a pinch of cayenne, then left for my day of toiling making the world a better place for special-needs youngsters [Shameless self-promotion inserted to make people feel crappy for not reading my last post]

Shameless self promotional shot of me helping my post-stroke, ass-paralyzed dog.  Disclaimer: I am not a licensed dog physical therapist and may have only done this to keep the pooch frm crapping in the house.  Good news, she's recovered the use of her ass, and is back to being ignored by me.
Shameless self-promotional shot of me helping my post-stroke, ass-paralyzed dog. Disclaimer: I am not a licensed dog physical therapist and may have only done this to keep the pooch from crapping in the house. Good news, she’s recovered the use of her ass end, and is back to annoying the daylights out of me.

I trudged through the door that night and rushed to turn on the laptop.  I was greeted with a mere four likes and a handful of comments from a few of my more ardent supporters.  Four likes?!  A fifth like showed up later, but it was clearly a “sympathy like” at best.  I responded to each and every comment, and waited patiently for the momentum to pick back up.  I jiggled the cord to make sure it was plugged in and touched the side to see if it had warmed up [Appliance malfunction analogy inserted to hint at my disappointment and grumbling stomach.  Grumbling stomach analogy inserted into aside to imply that I’ll starve without positive reinforcement.  Rushing to my laptop involved ignoring the greetings of both my long-suffering wife and gimpy-but-faithful dog]

It’s been too long now, there may be more likes trickling in and possibly a comment or two, but by this point, the post is buried and the expiration date on the topics has come and gone.  My post before that one was over at The Nudge Wink Report.  It had just a few words and was mostly comprised of cut-n-paste images of Kim Kardashian and her ample tushy being put in a bunch of silly places.  It was far from my best work and I was fully prepared to be accused of having “smart-phoned it in”.  Despite my doubts about the quality, the post got a butt-load of likes and a bumper crop of comments!  Mrs. Kanye West’s ass pasted onto my dog’s nose is apparently blog gold. [Kim and Kanye reference inserted to allow me to put them in my tags for this post with a clear conscience – thus increasing my hits exponentially.  Choice of using the words “butt load” and “bumper crop” in reference to ass-themed post responses was entirely intentional]

Kim's keister perched on a snifter of imperial stout?  Is this what it takes to get blog hits?
Kim’s keister perched on a snifter of imperial stout? Is this what it takes to get blog hits?

My first instinct, as a born pleaser, was to try to figure out what I’d done wrong.  Surely there were errors in my less successful post and some sort of mysterious appeal to the more popular one.  This is far from the first time I’d wondered what I’d done to displease the masses. [Self-reflection reference inserted to paint the author as being a little deeper than someone with an apparent fascination with Kim’s sizeable fanny might otherwise appear]

The bigger question eventually rises to the surface and sits there waiting to be acknowledged, like a turd in the punch bowl which can’t be ignored any longer.  Here it is; Who exactly am I writing for? [Rhetorical question inserted in hopes of eliciting cries of “Me, Dave! You’re writing for me – I simply can’t get enough of your snarky brilliance!”.  Turd in the punch bowl analogy inserted because, you know…poop humor]

I’ll be the first to admit that most of my blog posts are not exactly the stuff of literary artistry.  I have written a handful of serious posts and some marginally humorous fiction in the past, but my blog identity is largely that of a smart-ass commenting on the news and/or the idiocy of the world.  I enjoy making people laugh or even just smile.  I like the thought of being the sarcastic voice of people who are annoyed or amused by the goofiness of our world. [As if to imply that most folk simply can’t read news stories and shake their heads in amazement without checking for my two cents first.  You really should be insulted]

Insert photo of braying donkey here.  Great teeth, you jack-ass!
Insert photo of braying donkey here. Great teeth, you jack-ass!

If I’ve learned nothing else from drawing and writing, it’s that people are going to like what they like, and not necessarily what I find appealing.  The differing tastes and opinions of people is part of what makes the world go ’round. [Reference to my occasional drawing inserted to portray myself as something of a renaissance man, albeit one who had to try three times before finally spelling “renaissance” correctly.  Reference to “making the world go ’round” is a bold-faced lie – we all know damn well that people with poor taste should not be tolerated, and couldn’t have less to do with the rotation of a planet]

Bet you thought I was going to put the picture of the pig in the dress in here again, didn't you?  I'm not just a one trick pony, you know.
Bet you thought I was going to put the picture of the pig in the dress in here again, didn’t you? I’m not just a one trick pony, you know.  On a side note, I noticed some awful issues with this drawing, so I’ll probably never use it again.

Please don’t think this is some kind of a “Read my blog or I’m gonna quit” threat-fest. [Actually, that’s exactly what this is – you damn people better start coddling me a little or I’m going to take my mad writing skills over to the “Rants and Raves” section of the local Craigslist and hang out with the illiterate crowd.  They’ll appreciate me even less, but there’s no like button there, so I won’t know]

Here are a few links to some of the posts I mentioned – no obligation, I’m just happy you actually got to the end of the post:


Deadly Sins #1 Gluttony

DS #2 Envy

DS #3 Sloth

DS #4 Lust

Gaga-boo Music

Nudge Wink Kardashian cut-n-paste post




Top NSFW Searches – Valentine’s Edition

Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day quite like some unsolicited smut.  Don’t ask me how I managed to get this into a heart shaped box, but now that you’ve opened it…

If you haven't read my "47 Shades of Pink" then you just don't love me.  Illustration by the author
If you haven’t read my “47 Shades of Pink” then you just don’t love me. This drawing has no relevance to the topic, but gives me a reason to “Shades of” “pink” and “Barnyard” in my tags and draw even more pervs. Illustration by the author

Over the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, the search topic which has sent the most people to my blog is “detailed penis drawing“.  Apparently drawing hearts isn’t how everyone decorates their cards.  Either that, or they’re hell bent on rendering Cupid just right.  I’m fairly confident that those faceless web surfers out there have been disappointed by having their search land them smack dab ( umm okay – bad choice of analogies) in the middle of my award-winning blog post* which featured an interview with politician/e- exhibitionist Anthony Weiner’s weiner.

Classic dick drawings never go out of style.   (Illustration by the author - no, I'm not proud)
Classic dick drawings never go out of style. (Illustration by the author – no, I’m not proud)

It’s funny if you think about it.  I mean, the internet has no shortage, so to speak, of pictures of naughty bits.  If you want to see what a schwantz, some knockers, a va-jay-jay, or a booty looks like, you’re in the right place.  There are many folks who would testify that even if you don’t wish to see any such anatomy, the internet will be more than happy to show you anyway.

Someone who is actively searching for detailed drawings of a ding-a-ling is probably not expecting to find one with a jaunty cap, cigarette holder and an ascot.  A quick creative aside, I had considered drawing Anthony’s pecker wearing a “dickey” instead of an ascot, but as it happens dickey is funny to say but not all that amusing to look at.  Besides, an ascot gives an air haughty sophistication, and goes incredibly well with a tufted smoking jacket.

I’m not particularly choosey about who reads my blog, in fact, I don’t even care if readers speak English.  I get the occasional notifications of new followers and I’m happy to have each and every one of them.  That being said, I’d like to take a moment to welcome the latest ones, including pp-looker, durtydurtydude, mindifistare?, holdstillwhileIgetmysktechpadandcharcoal, and of course package-chekker34.

I’d write more, but I’ve got a card to make for my wife.

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m pretty sure that post didn’t win any awards, which was unfortunate, because I had one hell of an acceptance speech written.  I also had a snazzy smoking jacket picked out to wear the the ceremony!

Art school psychology

Sure it’s a dark and eerie looking drawing. What did you expect, a clown portrait?   (Drawing by the author, a long damn time ago)

As an undergrad, just a million years ago or so, I majored in fine arts.  My concentration was in printmaking.  While my friends with “real” majors had exams and quizzes, I mostly had “crits” which is cool, art student slang for critiques.  On crit day, we’d all hunker down in the printmaking studio with a proof or two of our works in progress tacked up on the wall.  Just to give you business and nursing majors a general understanding, art majors don’t all have talent.  Some of us were just weird and didn’t fit in anywhere else.  The people with incredible talent made beautiful prints and drawings and paintings, while the talentless made ugly junk.  In the spirit of full disclosure,  my talent level was closer to talented than not, my motivational level was pretty close to “none”.

The woman who taught most of the printmaking courses may have been a frustrated psychologist.  She’d look at a student’s print and ask things like “What is this about?” or “What are you trying to say?“.  My unspoken answer was “You told us we were having a crit today, so I had to hang something up“.   My actual answer was usually not a hell of a lot better and was generally along the lines of, “I dunno, it’s just people in a subway“.

This photo of one of my etchings isn’t the greatest, but if it was, it would just be that much more disturbing anyway. Count your blessings that my cell phone takes such crappy pics.

The Sigmund Freud wannabe was never satisfied with my answers, and the resulting criticism of my work was usually harsher than it was for other students who had better back stories.

None of these students were foolish enough to go with the really broad, basic issues as their chosen topic.  “Man’s inhumanity to man” and “The horrors of war” had already been pretty well used up by Picasso, Francisco Goya and Andy Warhol.  This one kid used to put these pointless pieces of crap on the wall, which looked like he had left his paper on the bottom of a puppy cage in the Pet Pavilion at the local mall for a few days.  The images were that bad, but then he’d tell these incredible stories of what the piece was about.  The teacher and her lemmings would all furrow their brows and nod and make sounds like they were savoring a fine cognac while having foot massages.

Is it a man on a subway with a jaunty cap, or is it something deeper, more troubling? (Detail of an etching by the author, done a long damn time ago)

I decided that my images wouldn’t change, but that my stories would.  A day or two before my next crit, I sat down with one of my prints and a few beers.  I looked at the piece and tried to decide what it was going to be about.  I came up with a few wild yarns and committed to one of them.  The problem was going to be my lack of anything resembling a poker face.  I decided to compensate by holding my hand over my lower face in shame.

Crit day came and we all posted our prints.  In defense of my printmaking instructor and classmates, my etchings were typically rather dark and strange.  Looking back, they may have wanted to know what they were about because they feared for their safety or mine.  Of course, they were totally wrong; John Wayne Gacy was the one painting clown portraits, not me.  I slunked back to my seat and waited.

The first student told us all about her etching.  She was a pretty girl who had no business being in art classes.  She had had a wonderful dog named Skippy or some such name, back in her childhood, which was really only a few years earlier (It’s funny to think of nostalgic 19 year olds).  Skippy had run away or was hit by a garbage truck or something, and the girl missed him.  Her print was a poorly drawn picture of a dog.  It’s face was asymetrical and the fur looked kind of like it belonged on a sea lion.  It was only marginally less trite than the sunset piece she had shown us at the last crit.  The instructor had to be wondering why she had pursued an MFA, that maybe she should’ve listened to her father and majored in accounting.  None of the criticism the girl received addressed the fact that her dog’s face looked like it was melting or that even if it was incredibly well drawn, it still would only be a picture of a seal-dog.  Instead, people talked about how to express the love and the empty pain of loss.

I sat there listening and silently rehearsing my story over and over again in my mind – praying for a poker face.

One of the really talented kids went next and it was hard for anyone to come up with anything to say beyond praising his talent and bravery for addressing his recent problems with bed wetting in such a graphically poetic manner.

The spotlight shifted to me.  Great!  You never want to directly follow one of the talented ones, because everyone has all kinds of pent up criticism at that point.  My saving grace was that my story trumped bed wetting, big time.

Dave,” the instructor said, “that’s a very intriguing image.  What’s the idea behind it?

Well, ” I began, unsure if I’d actually be able to get through it.  “When I was a kid, there was this lady.  She was kind of  strange, but my parents are in the theater, so we have some odd people hanging around a lot.”  It’s always good to pepper your far-fetched stories with some truth – my parents really were theater folk, but the strangest people I met usually had nothing to do with the summer stock cast of “The King and I”.

I soldiered bravely on after a dramatic pause,  “Anyway, this lady always paid more attention to me than to my brothers.  She had kind of big hands and her neck was weird.  One day, when my parents weren’t around…she..umm…

I couldn’t go on, I was trying so hard not to smile, that I actually looked like I was holding back tears.  The instructor jumped into the fray and started talking about the image and making sure that I didn’t have any more pressure to say anything.  The other students were sneaking nervous glances at me then quickly looking back at the print.   My long, complicated story about being molested by a transvestite could stay right where it was in my silly head.  My classmates took the teacher’s lead and all started talking about the image, and the haunting qualities and spirit of conflict in my lines. The pretty girl with the dead seal-dog even reached over and gently touched my arm as she commented.

I couldn’t believe my ploy had worked so brilliantly!  Amateur shrinks love nothing more than having one of their “patients” have a “breakthrough”.  My printmaking instructor was beside herself with the power of art and her apparent abilities to help troubled youth confront the demons in their lives with paper and ink.  The pretty girl probably thought better of anything more than an arm pat, as I was clearly damaged goods.

I still had to do lots of work creating and refining my prints as I pursued my degree, but I was excused from having to go into detail as to discussing the motives for my images.  I was allowed to just talk about the composition and other purely graphic qualities of my stuff.  Some newer classmates were undoubtedly quietly briefed by the few who were witness to my truncated tranny story.

I have to admit though, once in a while I’ll glance at one of those old prints and wonder what the hell I really was thinking of when I made it.  I’ve settled on the thought that whatever it was, it was likely so horrific that I should keep the memories repressed.