Monday, March 29, 2010

Not Since I Was 15

It's official. I am now in the longest stretch of unemployment since I was a teenager.

My father believed that once you were legally able, you should get a job. Never mind if it interfered with school. School was nonessential. Work was the important thing!

In Rhode Island one could get a work permit allowing part-time employment between certain hours starting at the age of 15. I was pushed constantly from the day I turned that age to find a job.

My father finally found out through Ruth, his sister, that the restaurant Bob worked at was looking for a dishwasher. (Bob was the widower of Leona (Nuena), my father's other sister who died a few years before. Bob was hated by my father for alleged acts of marital infidelity back while Nuena lay on her death bed. In many families it would have been water under the bridge (or at least the elephant in the room no one dared mention), but not for Kid Chase!)

Carefully avoiding contact with Bob, my father approached the owners of the restaurant, Bijou's, and before I knew it, I'd been drafted. Hired sight unseen by my father's "good word". I wasn't grateful.

I knew the late restaurant hours and culture would be a detriment to my education. "Book learnin'", as my father would put it.

Oh, but I learned many other, much more "practical" skills during my stint there. Like how to burn your hands with lye soap, get cut by sharp knives, get yelled at by your uncle, the head cook. How to sweat in a 100 degree kitchen. How to be covered in grease and grime from head to toe every night. But also "after hours" skills...Like how to drink hard liquor. How to smoke pot. How to puke and still keep partying. Yeah, good hearty useful skills!

Mostly, I came to learn one great truth...

I hate work.

I slaved in this job for about 5 months. As much as I could endure. I was missing school since they made me work weeknights (illegal) and 'till 3 am (also illegal), and plied me with booze. They paid me less than minimum wage (yet again illegal) and if I broke any dishes or glasses they docked my pay. At least it was under the table so no taxes were deducted, but my parents took the bulk of my income in the form of room and board.

That's right, they charged me room and board at the age of 15. "After all," my father bemoaned, "didn't I want to help out the family?"

I quit in early October 1979 and got a replacement parttime job in January 1980 after months of pressure from my parents to do so. Roughly 4 months.

Currently, I've been out of work since November 15, 2009. Just over 4 months.

And still I feel pressured to work. To do my part for society. To toil and slave for meager wages and just grin and bear it. "Suck it up and be a man!" says the world!

But I say I'm still age-inappropriate for this!

Only now I'm too old.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

SIMS CREATION: The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

This "house", populated by Harry and gang, is actually Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts Castle, modeled on the soon-to-open new "island" at Islands of Adventure.






Here Dumbledore and Hagrid are waiting for dinner to be served in the Great Hall.


Oh Harry, you crafty wizard! What adventure awaits you next?

SIMS CREATION: The Strip

Another exciting commercial destination for my sims...The Strip offers the finest in gaming and other adult entertainment inspired by none other than Sin City - Las Vegas!

I call this swanky joint "Nero's Palace Hotel and Casino". There are rooms available by the hour upstairs.


This is the Fire and Water attraction in front of "The Zenith Hotel and Casino"


Is that Old Man Goth headin' over to the Little Cupid Wedding Chapel, or perhaps he'll be plunkin' some coin into the slots? Well, luckily for him, what happens on The Strip stays on The Strip!

SIMS CREATION: The Quarter

Let the good times roll, baby!

Here I've built a themed commercial property evoking the look and feel (and perhaps the smells?) of the French Quarter in New Orleans.


Jackson Square and St. Louis Catherdral.


And, of course, my version of Bourbon Street.



SIMS CREATION: The Rich And The Poor

I built this enormous mansion and the game started getting laggy well before I'd finished furnishing it. I must have used the "motherlode" cheat at least twenty times and I'm still not done (that's over 200,000 simoleons). The occupants: none other than Charles Foster Kane and his jigsaw puzzle addicted wife.


But Pleasntview isn't only for the rich, here are the Threadbare Projects. I put quite a unique amalgam of old whores, leather bikers, gang members and welfare moms with their rug rats in the few apartments I furnished in these tenement high-rises. Good times!

SIMS CREATION: I Love Lucy

Last year's Brady Bunch creation couldn't actually be played very well since, even with 2 Gig of RAM, Mildred couldn't keep up with the sprawling two-story split-level 6 bedroom ranch and an 8 member family. Talk about lag!

So this time when thinking about a TV family creation, I decided to go with a much smaller household.

Meet my version of the Ricardos. Here they're standing in front of their New York City brownstone.


And here they are in their iconic living room. Do I hear the Mertz's walking up the stairs?


Maybe it looks more familiar in black and white?

SIMS CREATION: The Little Apple

Aside from residences, the game allows you to create commercial properties as well. This is where your sims meet up and socialize with their neighbors at a venue like a nightclub, restaurant, bowling alley, store, etc.

Here, I created a walk-thru Miniature Replica Park, dedicated to the greatest city in the world, New York. As you can see, it features an intact World Trade center as a tribute.

Daytime:


and night:


Here, to give you a sense of scale, we see Bella standing in the south side of Central Park.


Lady Liberty...or as close as I could get to representing her with the tools I had ;)

SIMS CREATION: Tumbleweed

Here's a quickie I whipped out. An homage to the classic Westerns.


In the saloon there's a mighty fierce game of poker between some mean hombres. Hope no one decides to settle any loses with their six-shooter.


If so, they may end up in the pokey!

SIMS CREATION: Twilight

Though I'm not drawn up in the teen girl craze that is the Twilight Saga, I did finally rent the first movie a few weeks ago and thought it was much better than I expected.

I decided to create my own Sims 2 Twilight Saga:

Here is the rather modest house I built for them. I stayed away from the cliche Dracula's Castle look or even the post-modern glass walled house the vampire family had in the movie. (Oh, I'm sure Twilight fans would know the family name now, wouldn't they? Cullen, I think, right?) Notice Bella's red truck?


In my version, Edward, Bella and Jacob all live together. No one's married and all have separate bedrooms, thank-you-very-much. The game allows you to set up their Turn Ons and Turn Offs when you create them and it actually has selectable affinities or aversions to either Vampirism or Lyconophy. So guess who's liking what and who's hating what?



Should be some sparks one way or another in this household!

Lost In Sims 2 Land

Since I have so much free time, I'm enjoying my dollhouses. Digital Age dollhouses that is. Yes, I've whipped up some new creations with the game "Sims 2" again. All my old ones are in Binary Heaven now since the reformat of Mildred last year. The Clintons, the Brady Bunch, the Miami Vice guys, Uncle Pervy and his Boys, and the Obamas in their elaborately designed White House replete with "Oval Office", Situation Room, East Room, etc. All gone now. How sad.

So the reinstalled game needed some new happy habitants and that's what I've been producing for the past couple weeks.

In the next few posts, I hereby introduce you to my little menagerie of characters:

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Nightsong Of The Lake Creatures

Closeby:
"Chirp, chirp, chirp"
"Swittle, swittle-eeee!"

Farther Away:
"Bleet, bleet, bleet"
"Bur-up, Burrrrr-up!"
(very low)"grunt...grunt"
(occasional)"Twir-at, Twir-at"

Far Away and Faint:
"Woof, woof"
"Murmur, murmer"(human voices)
"Purrrr-put-put"(motorboat in barely-moving speed)

I wish you could hear the cacophony of sounds tonight here on the lake.

Today, we finally broke the prison-hold of Winter. Highs were in the upper 70s and the temp now, around 7:00 is about 65 degrees.

My windows are open and it's the first time they can remain so at night without it being too chilly in here. Of course, having a decade of acclimation under my belt, my blood is too Floridian to say it's warm. I still don't have any fans running or, gosh forbid, the A/C. But it's nice...really nice.

It's nice to hear my friends out on the lake, living their lives aquatic and all. Of course during the "real" weather in a month or two when even nighttime lows are in the 80s, the concert will have all its players blaring their nightsong much more robustly for all the lake denizens to hear.

Only then, their calls will sound more ominous joined by many more, much louder and more dangerous-sounding creatures.

Fortunately by then, these windows will be closed up tight and the non-stop buzz of the air conditioner tones them out, silencing them to my ears.

Except when I walk, into the pitch-dark humid soup of a moon-less night, out my door, swatting at all manner of flying bugs and jumping reptiles...

"Arrrrgh-arrrgh!!"
"Awwwk! Awwww-Ka-ka-ka!"
"Burrrrrr-OW!"
"Buzzzzz-Bu-ZZZZZZ!!"
"Thump! Thump! BANG!!"
"Ahhhhh-Ahhhhh-AHHHHHH!!!

Gotta love lakeside living in Florida.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Painter's Block Already

Only my second painting and I'm already staring at a blank canvas wondering what I'll paint. I read a fellow artist tints her whole canvas a color, even a color that might not even be used in the final painting, just to get rid of that imposing "white rectangle of death".

Since the creation of the other blog, I've been posting using the new Blogger editor. It's much better with respect to adding pictures especially. No more copying and pasting the code in the HTML editor to place your picture where you want it! Yay! Very important for the other blog since I want the pics to be placed uniformly throughout.

The big bad thing though: no spell check. That sucks. Now I gotta copy all my text and proof it in a word processor before I publish. Ugh! So if you see typos or blatant spelling errors, you know I got lazy and didn't do the necessary steps. (Like that word "necessary ", I always get it wrong and type "nessessary")

I've been posting less, I know, but it's only because my life is so damned unchanging. There's lots of good in that, like: what's stress? Hmmm, I think it was something I dealt with daily when I had a job. But there's also some bad points, like: what day is it? Friday? Already? And it's a new month too?

Finances are hangin' in there. Checks are coming in consistently and at the same time every two weeks. And I should be getting a good chunk o' cash from the IRS as my refund. No wild nights at Uno's, or Longhorn, or, especially, P-House! (Average costs for each: $60, $80, and $150 respectively!)

I don't know how long it'll take for me to be as good as I want to be in regards to my painting. I look at my first work and think it's not too bad...for a high school student! I may be too critical but I fear that without some coin being spent on classes to teach me more "tricks of the trade", I may not have a trade to begin with.

But then I think back so many years ago when I was in school to learn these skills, and how it seemed I learned nothing I didn't already know from my own research and practice. So I'll keep doing that and plodding on, churning out painting after painting 'till I get works that are actually great to look at and express real passion.

Then I'll sell them for as much as I can get!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Introducing My New Artworks Blog


After some 4 hours of tweaking I've finished initial formatting and I now unveil my newest blog focusing on my soon-to-be-produced artworks.

Here's the URL: http://cherrybrookfineart.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 01, 2010

A Baby Ate A Penny!

"Get out da way! A baby ate a penny! Oh my Gah-ahhhhhd?!"

While overall Saturday Night Live has been a dustbowl of failure over the last few years (okay, maybe decades) it does surprisingly produce an occassional oasis of laughs from time to time.

Here is one of my favorite new featured players, Jenny Slate, in one of the rare skits that Lorne lets her air.

I have no idea what nationailty this character is supposed to be, but she's hilarious! All I know is I gotta get Nugget one of these horns. Maybe mine would say:

Hey, Beep Beep!
I got no job!
My belly's growlin'...
Is that a liquor store?
Whaaaaat?!