More specifically, I am a fire drake born under the sign of Aries.
Do not forget that!
Today is my 44th birthday. The whole world is in quarantine because of the COVID-19 virus. My wife is at work because she is a nurse. It's raining and kinda cold outside. I have been "working from home" the past 2 weeks and will be for the next 5 weeks.
I AM REALLY STRUGGLING. I laid in the floor and cried today. I can't stand it. Everything you see in me is a farce, a lie. I have to get myself together just to answer the phone. Most of the time, I don't. I'm not sure how long I can keep the fake smile on. This is the time of year that I should be coming out of the winter blues and we are all locked up and can't go anywhere. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I'm not even doing a good job hiding it anymore.
Eventually, I will run out of episodes to watch. This day in the near future haunts me. I don't want to be left alone with my thoughts.
It's been a rough couple of weeks. 11 days ago would have been my mom's 65th birthday. The family got together at our favorite Chinese restaurant like we tend to do for family gatherings. Dad was obviously drunk and could barely say what he felt he needed to say to the family, a slurred, depressing, toast to mom and thanks for everyone coming. We all knew dad had been drinking more since mom's passing. We just didn't know how much. This past week, I went to check on him and it was bad. Total shit. He couldn't walk down the hall without bouncing off each side. What the hell?! Dad has not been a lifetime drinker, just a slightly above social drinking. Since he is anti-social, it's hard to tell what his level of above social drinking really was. He'd usually have a beer in the fridge but nothing crazy.
I got him to tell me the truth. He's been knocking out about a liter of bourbon a day. Every day since last summer when our CO trip went to shit because of my dumb-ass sister. On top of this, he's been on Ambien for more than 2 years. A drug that is highly addictive after about 2 weeks and causes blackouts with sleep actions when mixed with a small amount of alcohol. He's not sure what he was doing at night but he'd wake up with bruises from falling.
I have never had this kind of relationship with my dad, one where I was having to be the parent. This is a guy that usually has his stuff together, for the most part. I took the Ambien away that night and suggested he try to take his melatonin to sleep. The next two days I got call after call for me to bring it back. "I have to have it!" "You just need to bring it back to me." Holy shit, my dad is an addict!
I find it amazing how difficult it is to find help for an addict in this city. I called his primary care doctor and never got a call back. I called the START program for the hospital group that his primary care doc works at. They wanted to set an appointment for sometime next week to do an evaluation.They said, "We don't want you to take him in through the ER, we need to do an evaluation." I said "No, he needs help tonight." I was not going to take him back to his house. I called the VA since he is a veteran. They said since he's never used the VA system before, he needed to go through an eligibility office before he could even go to the ER. At the eligibility office, we sat for about an hour before they called for patient # E314. We were #E338. This was a total waste of time. Luckily, we have a friend that works at the VA and he told us to just go straight to the ER and they would do his eligibility there. Great! After a quick 5 minute info discussion, we were told he is not eligible. They did have a great case manager though that said to ignore what his hospital group had said and just take him straight to the ER at the hospital - now.
We drove a mile down the street to his hospital and they got him in right away. Why was this so damn hard. It took a couple of hours for insurance info to come through but he was being cared for in the mean time instead of running around. We finally got him checked into detox at 4:30 pm after starting our mission at 8AM. He's been there 2 days now. I have talked to him and he is already getting clearer.
I felt really guilty coming home after that long day and just wanting a beer and to crash on the couch. I did not indulge.
I watched another episode.
In OKC, we have this arts district called The Paseo. On the surface the Paseo looks like a great little artist community. Cute buildings on a crooked little street with galleries, shops and restaurants. But this local, successful, award-winning artist can see through the bullshit facade. If you go through the galleries, they are filled with mainly the works of retirees that look like they are showing off what they painted in class this week. There are a few gems amongst the poorly painted barns and flowers, but you have to really look for them. The galleries are all little co-ops with an assortment of crap from whomever is part of the in crowd and willing to pay there piece of the gallery fees. I understand that is how co-ops work, but these are mainly a bunch of retirees that don't want to see any change.
I have thought about getting my own place within the Paseo and occasionally a space opens up. However, over half of the buildings and spaces are owned by one person and she controls all of Paseo. What this means is, if she says that you can't put a sandwich board out in front of your space, then you can't. I have seen galleries open and barely make it through a year because the restrictions are strangling and its hard for a new shop to get its word out to people walking down the street without a sign of some sort. Add to that, the OKC art market seems to buy on event nights only, like first Friday. The rest of the month can be like a ghost town, and that's ok for retirees just doing this to have something to do.
OKC has basically has 2 big art festivals every year. One is the massive Festival of the Arts in downtown OKC. These are not local artists. They are professionals at the highest level of the festival market from all over the country. You have to be best of the best and I think someone has to die to give up their spot for someone new to get in. With that, I pretty much write off that festival. I'm not there yet. The 2nd one is the Paseo Art's Festival. This is much more local and approachable, if you are part of the in crowd.
I find it amazing that I can be accepted in festivals all over the state, have won multiple awards at these fests, and get denied into the Paseo Fest. This is not just a sore loser, poor me rant. The crap art that will be accepted is the thing that gets me riled up. There will be good and even great art showing, but there will be a lot of crap too. It's the same every year. What's frustrating is that this is a show that could make a lot of sales for me, something desperately needed to be able to keep doing art for a living. I will keep doing the other shows, but it's frustrating to be continually denied by the local art community. Paseo can shove off!
I have been playing with another new editing program I found at Plotaverse. Within the Plotaverse, there are several apps to play with, but I have really had fun with Plotagraph. It allows you to take a single still image and edit motion into it. The app takes some practice to get smooth images, but with less than a day of playing I have some up with some pretty cool results. Being a photographer, I'm not sure what I plan on doing with these mp4 movie files other than post them on all my social media outlets, but are really interesting and fun to play with. Here is a short video by the talented Trey Ratcliff with Kelby One showing what is possible with Plotagraph. Kelby one is great place to learn all things photography. I have found it is very much worth paying the monthly fee for Kelby, at least long enough to learn what you need.
Here are a couple of my Plotagraphs, along with the original photos. There is no sound with these since they were not recorded as a video but as a single image. One could certainly add a soundtrack through different software though.
Enjoy, and if you decide to make some of your own Plotagraphs, share them with me. I'd like to see your creativity.