goodness, martial arts, work

Creepy and awesome

Kids are amazing.  The stuff that comes out of their minds is so free form and astonishing sometimes.  I recently got a drawing from a girl I teach at Karate Job of a T-rex on a blimp.  That’s right: a dinosaur riding on a blimp, which also had teeth and eyes, and fire coming out the back of it.

I pointed out the amazing art of David Devries, who turned children’s drawings of nightmares into horrible, incredible works of art.  Now there’s a company doing something similar, but far more friendly (and profitable, I hope): they’re taking children’s drawings and turning them into toys.  What a fantastic idea!  It also serves as a reminder of the kind of nightmare fuel that kids think of all my themselves.  Creepy and awesome.

my favorite


Healthy and horrified

basically a weekly visitation from this guy

When I spent a month in the jungles of Belize doing archaeology, digging an ancient Maya ballcourt, I had to get all kinds of vaccines and take malaria medication once per week for a few weeks before and after, and every week during my stay there.  When the doctor told me of the side effects (dizziness, upset stomach, etc.) he neglected the one that would have caught my attention: nightmares.  It also happens to be the most common side effect, so common, in fact, that almost every other member of the archaeology team who was on this medication experienced them.

These nightmares were exceptionally graphic, bloody and violent, and everyone had them.  Once we realized what was happening, we instinctively made little support groups.  The people who took their malaria pills on Tuesdays would wake up on Wednesday morning and huddle together at breakfast comparing horrors, and so on throughout the week.  I can only remember two, and they both include my family doing horrible things.

Kitchen knives
My mother and sister have me cornered in the kitchen in the house I grew up in (near the toaster).  Whenever I try to slip out of the corner, they calmly slash at me to keep me there.  They’re smiling and laughing at my futile escape attempts.

Pool of Parts
I’m in a swimming pool that has been dyed red with the blood of freshly hacked-up body parts that have been put there (or maybe they’re swimmers who got chopped up before they could escape).  I’m attempting to get out of the pool, but my mom, sister and dad keep pushing me back in with long wooden poles.

badness, life

The childhood fear in my backyard

he knows me by sight, and hunts without rest

I’m mostly pleased with my imagination; its power to entertain me when I’m bored could power a small yacht.  Like most kids, I had the occasional super horrifying nightmare.  One has stuck with me, popping into my head occasionally for no good reason.

I’m running away, but have run straight into a very narrow, dark alley.  It’s perfectly clean.  This is one of my very few black and white dreams.  I back against the back wall of the alley, and squat down against the floor, attempting to become as small as possible.  I shut my mouth so they won’t see my teeth, and I want to shut my eyes, but that way I won’t be able to see them coming.  At the open end of the alley, the population walks by purposefully, going to work, going home, running errands.  They are all identical (see picture).  One of them stops and its head snaps toward me, and the panic sets in.  He’s the one who’s been looking for me.  He’s after me in a second and I have nowhere to run.  I start to get up from my crouch, my hands touch the walls behind me, searching for an escape.  I only have seconds, and I know I’m trapped.  I wake up before he can reach me, feeling like a cornered animal.

Today I took La Cienega home, and reached a revelation.  There was construction that forced three lanes down to one, allowing (forcing) me to appreciate the view, and there they were: pumpjacks (oil pumps).

I slow to a stop and gawk.  My mouth hangs open as I stare out the open window of my tiny, shiny car at one of the worst nightmares from my childhood.  My eyes drag across the landscape.  There were more of them, dozens, peppered across the small dry hills I’d driven past hundreds (thousands?) of times.  My dad used to take this exact route to drive my mom to LAX for business trips, and sometimes Sister and I came along for the ride.  What else do children do but stare out the window?  The memory comes back to me with enough force to stop my breath.  I force myself to exhale and examine the rest of them.

we'll be overrun by sunset

They ignore me like they always have (I hope), and keep hard at work, bowing and saying, “Yes, very nice to meet you, thank you very much, yes indeed.”  But for once my imagination is silent, and they say nothing at all.  They are no longer amusing.  I am frozen in my seat when the blue and yellow taxi that’s been tailgating me lets out an unhealthy blast from its horn.  I let off the brake slowly, watching the machines at work, waiting for them to spring to life and finally catch me.

badness, goodness, life

Nightmare on paper

There’s an artist named David Devries who takes children’s drawings of monsters and redraws them to look more realistic.  It’s a super cool idea, and I like the execution.  I almost feel like he’s too true to the kids’ drawings, though.  Kids draw ideas, representations of what they see in their minds.  They can’t draw exactly what they see, but when something is tall, they draw it thin and long, that kind of thing.  I think a little artistic license would be fun for this guy’s project.

I had a recurring nightmare growing up in which I would hide at the end of a narrow outdoor hallway.  There’s nowhere to hide though, so I just crouched down on the floor and made myself as small as possible while keeping my feet under me and my eyes up in case I needed to run (to where?  I was trapped).  I usually dreamed vividly, so the fact that this dream was always in black and white is probably why it stuck with me.  At the end of this hall/alleyway, is a street where people are walking by, going about their day.  But of course, they’re not really people.  They’re long, gangly, black figures with long snout-faces.  They were indistinguishable from each other.

Being a Communist state or whatever, everyone had to conform.  I was clearly not conforming, because I wasn’t a Snout-Face, which is why I had to hide.  Naturally one of them spotted me and came after me.  And he brought friends.  They came marching down the alley with a swift, chilling grace that made panic set fire to my insides, and woke me up.

There really is no way to describe how purely fear is felt in a nightmare.  It’s just terrifying.  Luckily, we’ve all had that experience, so we don’t need to find the words to explain it.

badness, life

Losing my mind

I’m occasionally attacked by giant, imaginary bugs.

At first I thought it was a recurring nightmare.  Then I thought it was a night terror, but I have vivid memories of them every time.
I’m also usually awake.  Which makes them hallucinations.  Right?
I’ve experienced this about… no more than 8 times I guess.  The first time was more than a year ago, and I can’t remember when the last time was.

because neon chairs exist, and neon bugs don't

Here’s how it goes, every time: I’m lying in bed on my back.  I’ve been asleep at least a couple hours.  I look up at the ceiling, and there’s a huge, spindly bug with black and neon coloring (red, yellow, or green) descending slowly toward me.  It’s not more conscious than other bugs, but its intent is to land on me and do something (I’m not sure what, I just don’t want this thing landing on my fucking face, which is exactly where it’s always heading).
The first few times I saw one, I just hid under the blanket, terrified.  After a minute of cowering, I would venture a glance and it would be gone.  Or I would wake up Boyfriend and frantically ask if there was a bug.  Of course, there wasn’t.
My first encounter with these, I saw about three in a month, maybe more.  Those were the most terrifying.  All I could do was hide and pray each one would go away.
Later, as I got frustrated by my terror and hiding like a baby, I tried swatting at them.  This didn’t actually produce any change; they were always out of reach, even if I waited a second or two for them to get closer (which I only remember doing once, because who the fuck would  let this thing get any closer than it already was?).  It was getting closer, just never within reach somehow.  After the futile swatting, the hiding commences.
Naturally, all this thrashing would scare the shit out of Boyfriend who would wake up expecting me to be on fire.
That brings us to another part of this: Boyfriend.  He’s always there when this happens.  This has never happened without him sleeping next to me.  He knows now to immediately comfort me and tell me there are no bugs, they’re not real, it was just a dream.
I have no idea what causes these hallucinations.  I wasn’t taking any drugs, not even birth control at the time.  And why bugs?  I don’t have any phobias… at all.  I mean, no one likes bugs, but not everyone has hallucinations about them, so… wtf?
I’m gonna have to draw one at some point, if I can.  They don’t make any noise, so I don’t know how I know when one’s there, nor how they move so slowly through the air (no batting wings, no threads).  They just drift, and that’s part of what makes them so scary.

honestly, this picture is just about life size

Edit: Aaaaaand of course, what’s spinning its invisible threads just above the surface of my bathroom sink this morning?  A HUGE fucking daddy long legs.  Literally the largest I’ve ever seen.  Its legs hit the wall at least two inches apart.  That fucker was enormous.