Monthly Archives: December 2010

Art Entry with LONG photos, and a Resolution

I’m gonna slip this entry in before the end of 2010 so that I can make a resolution for 2011. When I was in the hospital, I had a lot of time to think. More than enough time, and with so little to distract me it was enough to get knocked just a little off my grasp of outside world reality, I spent quite a bit of it assessing my place in the world and what I want to say to the world. Anyway, while I’m not at all unhappy with the pop art stuff that I’ve spent the last couple years painting, I also became quite disillusioned that it’s trite. Devoid of any value or meaning beyond the aesthetic and perhaps a cheap joke or gag.

Let me drag out the very last painting in this increasingly shallow series. I’ll touch it up a little still but here you go. I had to patch it together from three photos because my 3D camera is pretty lame quality other than it’s ability to shatter zero-depth. Sorry that you’re going to have to wear out the scroll wheel on your mouse, but the canvas was a weird (read: deeply discounted) shape.

I have a couple of big canvases and pieces of wood sitting here waiting to be worked on. I did the rough sketches while I was in the hospital so I’m eager to get started when I can find the time. I’m going to rewind myself and pretend this whole pop art “phase” never happened, so you’re going to see some very different things from me painting-wise this upcoming year.

You may notice a few more skulls sitting on the speaker there. In the picture below from left to right, that’s natural beeswax, bleached beeswax, and white soy wax. As I said, I’m going to set up an Etsy-or-equivalent store soon and will be expanding this project as I take molds off more skulls. I’ll probably do some skull soaps as well with the smaller animal and infant skulls.

Finally, with her permission, I wanted to share the paintings that Nefarious and I did for Caitlin for Christmas. I made the frames by carving them out of a single piece of pine which I then stained and repeatedly varnished. While the varnish was wet, I lit it on fire (easy since it was technically an aerosol clear coat) and then let that burn out, and repeated that process a number of times before giving it a few thick coats of unburned glazing to soak into and smooth the charred zones. The images themselves are based on happy times that we’ve had together as a family (I think they’re both from our Costa Rica trip), and were first sketched by me, and then coloured with markers by Nefarious, and then touched up with paints by me. I’m not the best portraiture artist but I hope they bring her joy to look at.

Anyway, I am looking forward to 2011 being a much easier year than 2010, and I hope that being in less pain will allow me to tackle all the zillion projects I dream of undertaking and completing. I wish the best to everyone reading this, and I hope that you as well will fill every moment with what brings you joy and richness. I think Ghandi said something to the effect of “live as if you were to die tomorrow, and learn as if you were to live forever.” I’m going to try and keep on doing that.

Out of the frying pan, back into the fire

I’m finally out in the free world again after an all-too-long stay in the hospital. I’m quite certain that I could have been released after three or four days, but got stuck there for a week and a half largely because of the holidays — the relevant specialist doctors were on vacation, in addition to the pharmacies running on limited hours and limited staff making it difficult to get my frustrating narcotic regulation-crippled prescription set in motion. I have a nice pile of stories to tell and comments to make, but I’m going to sit on the majority of them for a little while because they’re still unfolding and I need to give them more thought to figure out what the “moral of the story” may be, and also I feel I need to respect the privacy of the other people in the stories (primarily my fellow patients) making me vague on some stuff anyway.

Officially I was in the part of the hospital that specializes in “medical de-tox”, but I was the only patient (of six on my floor and maybe a dozen and a half total) who had arrived via the pain management channels and was thus there to stabilize and then increase the amount of medication in my system. Everyone else was there because of difficulty with addiction and abuse, mostly some form of opiate but also a few who were struggling with heavy-duty alcoholism. Of course there was more than enough anxiety and thin nerves to go around, but everyone was very nice and we all got along great, with the exception of one complete scumbag user — as in user of people — who I’m pretty sure was just there for a free place to crash after she got in a fight with her [perhaps imaginary] girlfriend and got kicked out after being irrationally rude to everyone (especially after we all turned down her begging us to hook her up with heroin) and being high the whole time she was there. She’d snuck in a stack of fentanyl patches, which are a powerful opiate pain killer — or in her case, narcotic — that work sort of like nicotine patches. They are supposed to release 100µg/hr over 72 hours, but instead of leaving them on her shoulder where the nurses had put them she was tearing them off and chewing them. This can release as much as 7,200 µg into your system in a short period which is enough to kill many people. She didn’t drop dead, but she was nodding off the whole time, falling over, dropping face first into her food, and walking into walls. This might sound funny, but it’s actually very unpleasant to be around, profoundly ugly behaviour, and I’m guessing that it was quite upsetting to those patients who were recovering from opiate abuse.

When she eventually got kicked out — and it took a week of complaining about her even though she’d broken pretty much every rule she was capable of breaking — it took the nurses a good six hours to get her packed and out the door. She spent the last hour asking everyone if she could borrow a towel, and when everyone told her no, using the excuse that our towels were dirty, she pushed to borrow our dirty linens. Still met with refusal, she eventually found the cleaning staff’s supplies and I saw her walking into her room clutching some fresh bedsheets and towels. I’m sure that it will come as no surprise when I tell you that when the nurses walked her down to her cab that her beer belly had somehow morphed into a cubic shape. A few minutes later they returned and she’d mutated back to her scrawny trucker body with a round gut and the nurse was not-so-inexplicably carrying a stack of linens as our nemesis angrily whined, “they’re for my friend Bruce!”

Eventually they got her into the cab, and we watched out the window as it drove off the hospital grounds. To our amusement and horror it stopped half way down the driveway and she got out, and we suddenly feared we weren’t rid of her. She went and popped open the trunk of the cab and spent a couple minutes rummaging around until — surprise, surprise — she’d found her fentanyl. She couldn’t even wait to get off the hospital grounds before getting high again. For all I know she’s dead of an overdose now. It wouldn’t surprise me. I hope she gets help, and I understand that being an addict is a terrible illness because everyone — including yourself — blames it on you and you get very little sympathy, but wow, of all the ill people I’ve met, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who it’s harder to wish well for.

But other than her, everyone on our floor was very nice, and very genuine about whatever healing they were there for. We all got along and — with the place being so boring to be in with so little to do — spent a lot of time talking and watching movies and a few of the nights ordered food. Stating the obvious, the hospital food was insanely horrible. I mean, I don’t think I could cook food that bad if I was trying to. Just awful stuff that I’m sure has a detrimental effect on recovery, so as I’m sure you can imagine, ordering comfort food like pizza was truly sunshine from heaven. Naturally, on the day we ordered pizza, the above-mentioned scumbag — who of course hadn’t offered to chip in for the pizza, but we were still naïvely willing to share it to try and help her through a rough time — walked over, picked up a piece, spit out “it’s fucking cold” and threw it back down on top of the rest of the pizza and stormed off. Real nice. A few days later when we got Thai food at least she didn’t contaminate our dinner, but upon seeing us finding a moment of happiness as we enjoyed it, she yelled “if you like it here so much why don’t you just move in” before slamming her door.

I’m off shortly to get Nefarious at the airport, which I’m very much looking forward to, so let me begin wrapping up here. I scheduled the hospital stay while she was off visiting her mom for the holidays. I do however want to briefly add a public thank you to all the nurses and doctors at the hospital. I was treated with respect and kindness the whole time, and even flattered by a few who treated me like a celebrity (and knew quite a bit about me after some googling I guess), and even though I was completely dreading the experience of being “locked up”, other than the first few days where my pain level was very high (thankfully though I never went through even a moment of withdrawal as the medications changed), it was a good experience. I got a mountain of reading done, and in addition to television and socializing, I fiddled with the limited art supplies they had there to pass the time.

Unfortunately the place is radically understocked in all ways, not just food. I’ve already dropped off a couple cases of soda and other treats for the patients, and I’m going to think about some other ways that I can help the place out (other than donating cash to the hospital’s foundation which is lower on my charity list than direct action).

But before I get rambling on other stories or politics, I must report that although it’s a little early to say too much, from a medical point of view the visit was worth it. It was only to get my pain management on a new path and didn’t do anything for the underlying disease, but now I’m on methadone which the doctors tell me is the very best medication at their disposal for the type of chronic pain that I have. For those that don’t know, I have a rare genetic disorder that’s causing a grid of tubular shards of calcium to slowly shred and destroy my skeletal muscles, leaving useless junk tissue in their place. In addition to eventually leaving me completely paralyzed (and possibly blind), it’s extremely painful, and the pain is constant, relatively consistent, and never goes away. The pain gets worse and the condition accelerates the more I use the muscles, so I can probably minimize it (but not reduce it) if I spend most of my time in a wheelchair, but the reality of my life is that I prefer to be as active as possible, which may not be so good for me but is a trade I’m willing to make. I’m currently on a medium dose of methadone, and I’m expecting that it will still double or triple from where it’s at now (it behaves very differently from person to person, and I tend to be extremely drug tolerant), but it’s already more effective than Oxycodone, Dilaudid, and any other opiates I’ve been on with the exception of diamorphine/diacetylmorphine by a significant margin. For the first time I’m hopeful about this medication’s ability to help me, and I’m looking forward to being able to start focusing on treating the disease rather than just its symptoms. It’s not going to be easy but the future is definitely a little brighter.

By the way, let me make a standing offer to anyone reading this in the future who’s considering similar treatment (methadone pain management) or has a similar disorder (tubular aggregate myopathy) that you’re welcome to email me if you want advice from someone who’s been through it. I’m at and if you don’t get a reply, just email me again. I get a load of email and sometimes stuff gets missed in the bulk or falsely auto-filed as spam.

Follow the yellow-ish brick road

Tomorrow morning, real early for someone who would love to sleep in, I’ll be checking into the hospital for an indeterminate stay — until they can stabilize my pain medication — which will likely be about a week long on total paranoia-inducing the-outside-world-doesn’t-exist lockdown. There’s no point in hoping for less time, because I’ve been in on thirty day forms twice before, the first time “voluntary” and when I wanted to leave early on my own terms they made it real clear that they could step in and switch my status to “involuntary” and explained the draconian and completely implausible procedures for debating their abuse of my illusory freedom. Nonetheless, it could be as short as three days, and most people are there for five. So I’m scheduling for a week. Nefarious went to visit her mother in Virginia today for Kwanza or whatever it is that they celebrate down there, and will return just before New Year’s, which is when our little family here will be celebrating our “sort-of Christmas”. I’m sure I’ll be out by then, and I can’t even being to tell you how hopeful I am about this experience bringing me to a better place than the expensive and unpredictable pain roller-coaster that I’m currently being tormented with.

When I look at my life, I’m not sure that I have ever experienced physical pleasure, like the sort that one might get from doing drugs, or preferably, yoga and a really, really good massage. This seems sad and unfair and maybe even cruel, but you can’t dwell on bad hands like that, because you have what you have and there’s no changing that. Unfortunately I despise massage because it’s so painful for my skin to be touched, but I hear it can be awesome even without the artform-degrading happy ending. I think perhaps I did feel physical pleasure a several decades ago, the “simple joy” kind, not the complex “Bob Flanagan transforming agony into extasy” kind that I get if I trigger just the right nerves in just the wrong way, say by pour boiling water on myself (the brain-body-malfunction that probably helped make me run BME so well), but the past few years of living the worst sort of apathetic morose agony — a constantly throbbing never-ending torture — have completely erased from my memory the idea that your body does anything but bring you misery or at best, if you’re loaded with opiates, nothing at all.

The idea that this living hell may end is pure heaven to me. My disease can not be cured, but perhaps the pain can be stopped. I have the feeling the clinic I’ll be at (because it does methadone and detox among other crazier “less obvious” things) is going to be full of street junkies, so I’m looking forward to loads of Burroughsian, Van Zandtian, or even pollution-loving Bukowskian stories that make me very jealous as at least their depravity occasionally feels good. I’ve tried nearly every drug under the sun to make my pain go away, including extremes like mainlining heroin, and it didn’t do a damn nice thing to me. Not one hint of a high. Sure, I was able to walk without wanting to die at every step for a change as my legs weren’t feeling as internally mangled, but I definitely didn’t feel “good”. For all I know euphoria is some sort of placebo urban legend. It makes me so jealous to see these unfortunate enemies of gentrification be able to find a moment of bliss, even if it destroys their piss-soaked destitute “I’ll suck your cock for some smack” life. I just wish there was some way to for me to have a taste of not being surrounded by an ambient drone of slow torture, and I’m holding out hope that at least at the end of this hospital stay I will be a little closer to “normal” and will be able to live my life without every action being misery.

Fingers crossed.

For now I’m going to go pack a backpack, a nice sturdy green parachute bag my military brother gave me when I was barely in my twenties. I am bringing a nice stack of books and borrowed Nefarious’s movie and MP3 player so that I have plenty of entertainment while I’m locked up. I wish I could bring a computer to write on but it doesn’t seem to be permitted. That said, it’s so rare for me to have the enforced solitude to read beyond what I do at Nefarious’s bedtime that I should be and will be very thankful. Beyond the slow stabilization and titration of my drugs, I really don’t know what to expect will be filling my time, whether I’ll have to participate in “talk about our problems” groups and such or if it really will mostly be medication adjustments and blood tests. I also don’t know what the split will be between drug addicts and pain patients like me. Most of all I’m looking forward to peace and quiet to do lots of reading, so hopefully I don’t have a horrible roommate that screams during evenings of nightmares or farts or jacks off incessantly or something. I have a million good stories from the people who I lived with in psyche ward decades ago, so I’m sure it won’t be that bad and that I will leave with a new chapter for my biography. At least horrible circumstances to tend to draw interesting characters.

Before I go in there are a few people I have to thank, most of all my daughter who gave me the strength and motivation to survive this long, and equally to Caitlin whose warm and unquestioning support and love has built a stronger foundation than I could have imagined possible, and finally to my old friend Dave, who was always there to help me and get me through the difficult stretches. There are many others who were there for me that I am eternally grateful to — my father who was there for me as a loving family, Saira who always was there to listen if I needed it, the many friends here in the online world, some known to me in-person and some near-strangers who showered me with love and support that made me feel very special and someone who owed it to the world to make it and to keep fighting. Thank you all so much, and I’ll see you soon. Sadly visitors are not permitted at this facility, and I won’t even be able to check my email but none of that will change that I love you all and will miss you dearly.

Getting ready to set up an Etsy store

You can uncensor the wax genitalia below if you click the photo, but instead or additionally you can read the rest of this entry and see some more of the recent candle work I’ve been doing. I’m slowly creating more molds and slowly creating more final stock as well so that in the new year I can finally put them up for sale (although a couple of lucky early adopters have already bought pieces from me).

Yeah bring on the dickhead jokes. It’s just sitting up there for the picture though. Don’t tell me you’ve never rested someone’s junk on your head for the right photo.


A nice full day

Let be begin with a “pre-script” and say that the nice snowfall on a somewhat icy base let me have the most fun that I can have in a winter parking lot — donuts. Woo woo and yee-haw, I love hillbilly fun!

Setting a bad example perhaps, but I really am safe, and not only that, explain the safety issues when I drive, so I’m not too worried about planting the seeds to a future hooning idiocy accident.

Today was such a full day. We got up early and then took Caitlin to the hospital to get her burn dressings changed after getting Nefarious off to school. After school we did a little work on Christmas presents and of course headed off to Brazilian Jujitsu where Nefarious did her belt test and to all our pride and enjoyment my tough little buttkicker is now the proud holder of a yellow belt. There was some other good news from the dojo as well, first that they’re thinking of running a “light” parents class that’ll run parallel to the children’s class, at the same time, in order to keep the big Larratt on the same page as the small Larratt. I’m not really sure whether my muscles can hadle it since exercise is one of the worst things I can do with my disease (basically the exercise breaks them apart and they can’t put themselves back together again) — to say nothing of the tolerable shame of Caitlin beating me up on a regular basis if she decides to come too. Second good news is that they’re likely adding children’s Muay Thai (ie. kickboxing) classes as well, which Nefarious is very much looking forward to if it happens. She really seems to have found something she enjoys, so I hope that keeps up because it’s such a good influence.

And then after a delicious supper — we’ve been eating well this week — Nefarious and I shot down to Lituania Park and went sledding. Well, she went sledding, as I can’t walk up the hill, but she had plenty of fun racing another kid that was there. Nighttime sledding has such a beauty about it, so late night and missed bedtimes be damned, it’s always worth it. We did read more of the last book of the Garth Nix series, and are going to be done it this week I think which is nice timing as she’s off shortly for a nice Christmas holiday with her mother in Virginia. After we finish this book we’re going to start reading some of the stories from the Bible. Even though we’re atheists, I figure that it’s both important to know your history and culture, and to know your enemy.

I know, I know, no more jiggle pictures is what I said, but it’s just so much fun. I shot a bunch of 3D video as well but have not yet figured out how to post it to YouTube since rather than side-by-side like thy seem to want, it’s interlaced I think.

Finally, I started another fun candle project today after receiving permission — a subincised cock candle, pissing fire I suppose. It’s from a mold taken from “J” (the very first “story of a subincision” interview that was posted on BME way back when and was the clear-spoken and sane inspiration that lauched a thousand scalpels), one of my and one of BME’s heroes. You can click the picture for the uncensored image of the master plug before I built the containment vessel and poured the silicone over everything. I’ve just made one so far, but if people like how it turns out I may continue the series. And of course I can pour this sort of thing in silicone rather than wax for those with more libido than darkness.

Tomorrow it’s back to the post office to ship out some more ModCon books. There are still a few left (look down a few entries if you’re scratching your head and slowly saying “huuuuuh?”), but you’re going to have to let me know real soon if you want it shipped before I go into the hospital for my much needed penis reduction surgery drug stabilization session.

Oh, and I know I already said “finally”, but I was asked to submit a headshot for a friend’s piercing history book which I’m very honored to be included in (more on that later when I know what I can mention and what I can’t), and I wanted to include a part of that picture to highlight something I really don’t like about the Fuji 3D camera — and if I remember right, this problem exists in other Fuji cameras as well. As you can see in the 100% version, they are doing some sort of “median value” type filter, probably to reduce noise, and I just hate what it looks like. It just screams cheap digital camera. It’s subtle, so hopefully it only bothers me.

Jeez I want to finish that tattoo!

Anyway, I wish manufactorers would just create a clean image that’s pretty close to what comes off the sensor. After all, the post-processing software is going to improve in the lifetime of the camera, whereas the camera hardware (and almost certainly the software since very few cameras allow, let alone promote, updates) is going to stay the same… so don’t do me any favors, camera. I don’t think there’s any way to turn this off. God, I must be half asleep, because I just deleted a sentance that said, “but at least I had a wonderful birthday party”. WTF is wrong with me? Oh yeah, I only got three hours of sleep because I stayed up reading a “tell-all” Alcor book. I’ll try and write a review soon but as of now I appear to be rapidly descending into sleep deprived madness.

So with that, I bid you a good night.