Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Graveyard of Light

Above is my favorite comic strip of all time. Charles Schulz' Peanuts is easily the biggest inspiration for Precocious and with all my recent health issues I've had the time to reacquaint myself with my archives. I've also been reading Schulz' biography - although it's much harder to read that than four-panel strips when doped up - so you can say the man's taken over my life.

The reason I share today is to curse the darkness like my favorite character of all time, Lucy Van Pelt.

Following up on the reemerging inspiration of yesterday, I decided to try and get some cartooning done. Then I remembered that I LIVE IN DARKNESS! Now, my natural habitat is one not unlike that of a vampire's - but the key is that I *could* obtain light when needed before. It's one of the benefits of electricity. Those times are over. I thought electricity was my friend! Then, just like it was one of my friends, it had to become unreliable for me; helping me only when it chose to, before finally leaving me helpless and alone.

First the stands of Christmas lights I'd hung around began to die. In what was surely a healthy set-up, the Christmas lights provided enough ambient light for me to function during the day and sleep at night - a perfect situation for the pale and lazy! In an electrician's nightmare, I had them strung all around the room in one big loop. As one could expect from cheap lights purchased at dollar stores after holiday seasons, these lights were not meant to last. First the lights at the corner went. Well, the only reason I'm over there is to use to the light table, so that's no biggie. Then went the ones above the doors. Fine, I still have enough light. Then went the strands over my bed. Welcome to darkness town! Half my room was now officially dark.

As an artist, one of course needs more light than holiday novelties can provide; so I would bring in unused lamps from around the house. Man, they did *not* last long. One had one of those non-standard light bulbs, so fuck that extra hassle once it exploded. The next was so old, the bulb and lamp had fused together. Once it died, there was nothing I could do to save that ancient bastard.

So then it was on to the unreliable flood lighting. I've long known the wiring of this place was screwy, but that's why I had brought in all those extra lights! Now I was at the mercy of the cheap jerk who build this house.

Despite using energy-efficient, long-lasting bulbs, my ceiling would consume them with alarming frequency. For the most part, I tried to move the lights around so the non-burnt out would light useful areas, but this compromise was not to be. One light would die. I'd replace it. It would die a day later. I'd plug in more Christmas lights. It was the natural order of the room, y'know?

As the wiring got more and more messed up, I'd notice the lights would burn out in order. My guess was the power was being distributed unevenly between the live and the dead, overloading the temporarily-living. (Electricity probably does not work this way, but I don't *really* care to know one way or the other.) The solution seemed clear: replace EVERYTHING! It seemed to work!

Things were going well until everyone died.

Entering the room, I'd flick the light switch and head a sickening electrical buzzing sound. The lights would flicker and go dark. Flicking the switch off and on again would fix that. For a while. Like pancreatic cancer in my ceiling, the time between diagnosis and death was short and painful. The switch no longer works. My lamps are dead. My eternal Christmas has gone the way of the belief in Santa.

This makes it exceedingly hard to, oh, work on art. My lone lighting hold out was this fluorescent desk lamp thing I had rigged above my bed for reading. You can guess what happened to that. It didn't *die* like the rest - it's just dying in the way fluorescent bulbs die... with that sickly strobe effect.

So now I am either living in darkness or the WORST TECHNO CLUB EVER. I eat by the light of my old piano lamp. I work by the strobe of the relocated lamp. (In theory, as I have yet to do any work thanks to this situation.) I read by a tiny light that I had used to light the fold-out shelves in a kitchen cabinet. It provides the strength of four candles, but *also* has the added annoyance of being above my head, looking like an alien invasion. (Or that much-mocked Star Trek: TNG episode. "THERE! ARE! FOUR! LIGHTS!")

You know, maybe those karma-obsessed, chakra-loving moonbeam huggers are right after all. This room's health is uncannily related to my own physical and mental state. Look, universe, I'm all for controlling my environment, but I want that control to be in the form of TOTAL DOMINATION! If it gets broken when I do, we're going to have problems. It's one thing to be the universe's scratching post - you get to blame it for all of your problems! BUT, if my environmental breakdown is entirely tied to my actions, that is JUST NOT COOL!


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