GJ Willis' Art Notes

The Adventures and Misadventures of a Neer Do Well Artist Living in Baltimore.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

I am a visual artist and writer living in Baltimore. I don't have any artist friends. Frankly, artists scare me, there so darn flaky. The above picture is either of me or proof that I'm a pretty decent artist. My goal is to be a self sufficient artist, whereas I wouldn't have to do something else in the day in order to eke out an existence. I also like to attend various cultural events around town. I go to plays, the symphony, etc. Also, I have Asperger's Syndrome. I found this out recently and it has explained a heck of a lot as to why I am as I am.

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Sunday, January 18, 2004

It appears it snowed last night. I had no idea. I was basically half conscious yesterday knocked out on cold medicine. In between consciousness I managed to upload things to my blog. I still feel sick as a dog. My nose is runny. I can’t smell a thing. I’m not sure if I was wearing too much perfume last week. I’m constantly sneezing. I even missed seeing the Miser yesterday at Center Stage. I guess I’ll have to reschedule for another Saturday matinee.

Oh yes, I saw Lord of the Rings, Return of the King a couple of weeks ago. It was fantastic. I went out and bought two Lord of The Rings calendars instead of my usual mini Elvis calendar which I got from K-mart which I can’t buy anymore because the K-Mart closest to me has closed down and is now a discount clothing store called Forman’s Warehouse. True I could have picked up an Elvis calendar anywhere but I loved the ones that were exclusive to K-Mart because they were always in colour. I’m not really into black and white calendars. When Elvis was around colour movies and film was around. I feel that they do the black and white stuff to force the look of nostalgia which never really existed when he was alive. The only thing that was black and white then was the television and the newspaper. Every last one of those phony black and white photos I can find its colour counterpart to. I hate the forced nostalgic look.

Back to My Lord of the Rings calendars. I love them because there are plenty of glossy photos of Viggo Mortensen and Orlando Bloom. Yes, I’m obvious as hell although I doubt anyone really knows it. However, I’ve never bought any of those extremely obvious in your face beefcake calendars because I would feel too embarrassed to leave the store with them. Anyway, I can’t wait for February, the back of Viggo’s crowned head. March, Orlando on his horse. June, Viggo dressed in black. August, Orlando with his bow ready to strike. . October, Viggo’s face. November, Orlando’s face. December, has Viggo on his horse with his army behind him ready to attack. I think I may smile uncontrollably when October and November come as I glance upon the calendar. The people who assembled this calendar did a great job of giving women what they want. Lots of photos of Viggo and Orlando. Last year’s calendar was more diplomatic and boring. Basically, Viggo was featured in only one month. This year I was lucky to have found a larger and smaller version of the same calendar at Towson Town Center. So for the first time ever my home calendar and office calendars are in synch. My usual office calendar was the K-Mart full colour mini-Elvis Calendar. Calendar’s I’ve had up at home have included the 2003 Lord of the Rings Calendar, 2002 Llewellyn’s Witches Calendar, 2001 Ferret Calendar, 1999-2000 Teddy Bears Calendar. So I suppose I have a thing for long haired men in medieval wear and teddy bears.

The cd’s I bought in from home that I played all this week at work were The Best of the BoDeans - Slash and Burn, The Best of Etta James - 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection, U2 - Rattle and Hum, Frank Sinatra -The Collectors Series, Music from the Television Series Northern Exposure, and More Music From Northern Exposure.

This Weeks cd Commentary

I bought in the Bodeans because their an old standby I love this cd!! Etta James I got because I found it in the discount bin at some record store in Owings Mills. The only song on it I was familiar with at the time was her classic hit which I’m sure everyone has heard even though you may not be aware of the name of the song, At Last. I really have become fond of this cd. She can really belt it out. However song after song it seems like she’s always being left at the altar or the man she loves is marrying another. Overall, great soulful 50’s sound. It like something that Allen Lee would play on Forgotten 45’s on WQSR on Sunday evening. Who knows maybe Alan Lee has played it on his show. It’s been a while since I’ve tuned in.

U2’s Rattle and Hum is obvious at least for me. I love it because it’s like reliving a U2 concert. I also like it because it has my all time favourite U2 song on it, All I Want is You. If ever I should marry. Which I seriuosly doubt will ever happen. I would like to dance with the groom who I suppose would be my husband to All I Want is You. And that ladies and gentlemen has been my perfect imaginary wedding moment.....”sigh”....To dance on my wedding day to U2’s All I Want is You.

I bought in Frank Sinatra because I wanted to play him side by side with Dino. I don’t know I still like the Dean Martin’s That’s Amore: The Best of Dean Martin cd the best. I think what I don’t like about the Sinatra cd is very nitpicky, it starts off with a ballad, I’m Walking Behind You. If I were in charge of production I would have kicked off the cd with something a little more up tempo like I’ve Got The World on a String or South of the Border. Next I’ll see if I can find a Sammy Davis Jr. cd on eBay so that I can reunite the Rat Pack on my cd player.

I like both of the Northern Exposure cd’s because there very eclectic and I’m into eclectic mixes. On those cd’s you have instrumentals that David Schwartz produced exclusively for the tv show as well as little known hits like Don Quichotte by Magazine 60. I’m probably the only person who remembers listening to that quirky song in the 80’s. Both cd’s feature artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd (oddly, one of my blue’s loving dad’s favourite rock bands), Nat King Cole, Miriam Makeba, Etta James (I have 2 copies of At Last!!), Ruth Brown, Brian Eno with John Cale, Big Joe and His Washboard Band, Johnny Nash, Vinx, Basin Brothers, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Simon Bonney, Chic Street Man (who had a show at Center Stage many moons ago), Booker T and the MG’s (my dad has one of there albums on vinyl), and super duper producer Daniel Lanois. There’s also two songs performed by Native American women, Georgia Wettlin-Larsen performing an Ojibway Square Dance (Love Song) and Joanne Shenandoah singing I May Want a Man. Of the two I really love Shenandoah’s clear vocals she kind of reminds me of Judy Collins.

link | posted by gail at 6:28 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Right now the east coast of North America is going through a record breaking cold front. I have a miserable cold which I know is the result of being outside in the cold waiting for the bus and light rail which all have been suspiciously late this week. I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate people who wear short sleeve shirts when it’s freezing cold outside. What the hell is wrong with them? Do they have ice water running in their veins? So they have cars do they have to flaunt it with their blatant disregard to the temperature. I hate all you winter short sleeve wearing people! It’s winter, wear long sleeve shirts and sweaters like normal decent human beings! Yes, I have a cold and I’m feeling testy!! I also suspect I won’t be in for work on Monday.

On another note I now have all the Paul McGann Big Finish Dr. Who audios including Zagreus and Scherzo. Listening to Zagreus I feel like I now know what it’s like to be on drugs. I guess I’ll have to give it another listen to. I liked Scherzo for the reasons that other fans hated it. They complained that it was too soap operish and delving into Buffy the Vampire Slayer territory. I for one loved hearing that Charley loves the Doctor and the Doctor loves Charley. Finally, a Doctor Who love story!!!

Yesterday, I was cheering in the bitter afternoon cold with my nose dripping like a faucet while waiting for my train to arrive. I was cheering because I was spot on about who killed Rose on As The World Turns. It was revealed that Will killed the much beloved and equally despised Rose. Will is the teenage brother of Paul. Paul was going to marry Rose then move to Paris. Looks like he can’t do that anymore since his kid brother bumped her off. I knew there was something a little weird about that kid. He seemed overly attached to his big brother and just a tad bit overly jealous of Rose. In case your wondering how I found out. I happen to have a walkman radio that can get tv stations as well as regular radio stations.

Since my favorite soap opera message board, MediaDomain appears to be permanently in update mode I’ve been lurking and posting on Soap City. This is great because I’ve noticed that other former posters of MediaDomain have migrated over there.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

My Ioan Gruffudd Film festival is almost over. Ever since I got Netflix all I do is watch Ioan (pronounced Yo-wan) movies. Yes, this could and will quickly devolve into a he’s so fine, he blows my mind piece.

I started watching his movies because the Horatio Hornblower films have been getting raves over at Outpost Gallifrey. I’ve become a fan because he’s a very good actor and he’s not afraid to take off his shirt or expose his very fine ass. He really is a very good actor I swear! It’s not just the thrill of seeing an extremely good looking guy half naked. Anyway, as far as Hornblower is concerned I’ve seen almost all of them except for the ones that ran in December on A&E. I hope to see the Jerry Bruckheimer mega production of King Arthur when it opens in July of 2004. Ioan will be playing Lancelot. One thing I can say is that they definitely cast the right guy for that role. Since my days of Ioan will soon be over soon and my Netflix movie queue empty I asked the fine folks over at Outpost Gallifrey to suggest what I should add to my queue of DVD’s. I have added all their suggestions that were available at Netflix. I can’t wait to see the wild hodgepodge of films they suggested. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter.

My birthday was yesterday. Little David called to say Happy Birthday. I had no idea he knew when my birthday was. For my birthday I made my self Creme Brulee. I have never made it before nor have I tasted it before. I’m only interested in it because I saw a movie called Amelie and in the movie she made a Creme Brulee and I always wondered what it tasted like. I suppose it turned out all right.

I am happy as can be because I’m free at last!! Ever since we moved into the new building I did not have card access to our area. The area I work in is considered a secure area therefore you need special card access to enter. I did not have this despite working in the same department for 4-5 years. This happened because just before our big company move my badge became cracked and I had to get another. The badge that I got from HR was defective because their badge making machine was broken in the move. They had to have some guy from the badge making company come in and fix it. It took several weeks before it was fixed. In the meantime I could only enter my department by knocking very loudly on the door or flagging someone down in the hall who had a badge. It was very inconvenient for me and my co-workers. Now since the software for my badge has been downloaded I feel happy as can be. I’m Free at Last! Free At Last! Thank God Almighty, I’m Free At Last!!

link | posted by gail at 4:35 PM | 0 comments

Christmas 2003

Christmas was ok. This year I attended the Christmas party for the first time in all my years of employment. This year it was held at some hotel near our old office building. I only went there because it was mandatory this year. Arvada offered to drive me then later Jai offered to drive me. I never knew I was so popular. Anyway, I ended up leaving with Jai. I was surprised to find that she has chimes in her car. This is cool because it's a little known fact that I have wind chimes hanging up around my house. I collect them as well as wind mobiles and whirly gigs.

I have to say right off the bat that I didn't want to go to the Christmas party I would have preferred to have went home early like I do every year. So I sat there glumly at our table doing crossword puzzles praying that it would all be over soon. I’m not a sociable person by nature as I’ve probably said for the millionth time I have Asperger’s Syndrome. The turning point for me was when this fat guy got up and sang that holiday classic New York, New York. At first it was horrible then somehow he turned it around and it was incredible. He was surprisingly good. New York, New York has been stuck in my head throughout the entire Christmas break. Damn him!!!

On a high point I won a $50 gift certificate to Walmart! I’ve never won anything before. I went there expecting nothing and I got something. Also Melissa the girl that looks like former MTV VJ Kennedy won movie passes.

The most oddest thing that happened was that Jim the bosses son offered to drive me to the Christmas party. This was odd because Jim has never said word one to me for as long as I've worked at the company. Did I ever tell you I once had a dream where Jim.... It was nothing risque just a scratch your head the next day and say what the heck was that all about dream. Anyway, I once dreamt he was sitting on my cubicle shelf. No he wasn't miniaturized he was just regular adult sized fully clothed Jim sitting there on my shelf for no particular reason. Come to think of it he does look a little like a Hummel figurine come to life....

So to sum it up ladies and gentlemen I had not two but three people offering to drive little old silent Gail to the Christmas party. Who knows with this type of popularity I just might run for President or maybe even dog catcher!!

link | posted by gail at 10:17 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, December 07, 2003

The above picture is of the snow that fell on Friday. The view is from outside my bedroom window.

I took Friday off because I had an extra day since I worked the day after Thanksgiving. Besides, I hate snow...

Since being on Weight Watchers with a vegetarian slant I’ve lost 60 pounds. However, I gained 6 pounds since Thanksgiving. I need to get a new coat. The coat I wear now is three sizes too big for me but no one has said anything to me so I guess it doesn't look as big as I think it does.

I now have a region free DVD player which I bought so that I could view the 1996 Doctor Who movie. The movie is not available in North America so I had to buy it from a dealer in Europe. DVD’s that originate from other countries can not be played in the US unless you have a region free player. The movie wasn't as bad as they make it out to be on the Outpost Gallifrey Message board. Right now I have all the McGann Doctor Who Big Finish audios, save Zagreus. I hope to buy that one sometime this month.

New things I have from eBay is a Paul Pena cd. He was this musical genius who died before his time. He was featured in a documentary called Genghis Blues. The cd has great stuff including the original version of Jet Airliner which was covered by the Steve Miller Band.

I now bring a stack of cd’s to work from my collection. I keep them at my desk for a week then bring in another stack. A few I keep permanently at my desk. The permanent desk drawer collection are ones are; The Sex Pistols-Never Mind the Bullocks, Dean Martin’s Greatest Hits, The Best of Tony Bennett and No Way Out by Puffy. Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits, and 16 Most Requested Hits of Johnny Mathis. I think it’s safe to leave them there. Something tells me the cleaning staff are not into The Sex Pistols or Tony Bennett nor do I feel that my musical tastes are any of my co-workers cup of tea. I like to keep my stack eclectic so that I don’t get genre-itis. I can’t stand to listen to one type of music all day.

Currently, on my desk play list are: Frank Sinatra, the Capital Years, Billie Holiday’s Greatest Hits, The Phil Spector Christmas album, Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits, The Happy Mondays, US Singles Collection, XTC’s Skylarking, and a cd of classical musical called, 101 Greatest Classics vol. 1. I have all 5 cd’s from the collection.

All in all I think I like listening to singers like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra the best. I don’t know it puts me in a happy swinging mode. Maybe deep down inside I long to be a 50’s gangster moll. Maybe it’s the romance of the Rat Pack and that particular era sans the race riots and blatant racism, segregation, etc....

link | posted by gail at 9:48 AM | 0 comments

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