Saturday, April 30, 2011

Awake for 36 hours and covered in goo

I have a dogged determination to "make it on my own." Which is to say, I damn well refuse to give in to the general concepts surrounding adulthood. You know: get a 9am to 5pm job that you hate and saps you of all life and happiness, live alone until you get married, have kids that you resent, fall into alcoholism and violence, getting mauled by a mall Santa, that kind of thing. Instead I live with five other people, friends of mine, and I do my best to be self-employed.

Now to be fair, there are more factors to this then just a desire to never be a proper broken-spirited adult. I have an anxiety disorder, a sleep disorder, and depression, so maintaining someone else's hours is really difficult, not to mention the damage retail and I would do to one another. This lifestyle is a compromise of sorts, my brain chemistry is doing its best to make life hard, so I do my best to make life enjoyable. Sure, this means that my more business-minded friends look down on me, but they will die of alcoholism anyway.

This preamble is actually just a bit of background to this story. That's what this blog is about, by the way, stories. Terrible decisions I have made while under the influence of sleep deprivation and poor impulse control. Many of them will detail criminal and illegal activities, however, I assure you that those parts of the story are all fictional embellishments that the law need not concern itself with.

Anyway, I have been awake for 36 hours today, which is not too uncommon for me what with the circadian disorder sometimes slipping into insomnia. However, this was one of those situations where I COULD have slept, but managed to arrange poor life decisions in such a way as to ensure I wouldn't. I'm an artist, a sculptor specifically, and try to make a living this way and via some graphic design. Well, I recently decided that hollow Cthulhu chocolate idols were my next project, and then proceeded to ignore that decision. Easter came and went (the idol is a riff on hollow bunny chocolates) and I totally missed my self-imposed deadline, so I decided to aim for the following Sunday as it's celebrated as Cthulhu Night here in Western MA.

I then had the brilliant idea to make SURE I finished it in time. I promised as many people as I could that I would have them for sale that night, practically letting people pre-order the thing. Made me feel pretty good, still no idea how I will make rent for the month, but suddenly I had an anticipated income source. Of course once Friday rolled around and I realized I didn't make the mold yet, well, it was time to panic. I spent 24 hours sculpting with a brief break to help one of the house-mates bottle his home-brewed beers, and at one point in the delirious clay spree I realized the wings were upside down and knew I was approaching the point where thinking would be near impossible.

Regardless of the discomfort, I soldiered on, semi-watching countless movies and cartoons in the background as I worked. Soon it was complete! I even had a Triforce sculpted with the extra clay for additional chocolate treats. I dragged myself into my studio, put together a mold container for the idol, built up walls for the Triforce pour, and mixed my silicone. Finally, feeling the relief of soon being free, I poured the goo into the container.

The panic I felt when it didn't reach the upper two inches of of the figure was sudden and terrible, and I hadn't even poured the Triforce yet. What followed was a horrifically sticky nightmare of trying to build up displacement lumps which broke free and sank, of swapping containers, of spilling it everywhere, getting it on my clothes and hair, and considering the virtues of just cutting and running into the woods naked and screaming. Eventually I pulled the figure out of the mess and plopped it on the table, messily dug through my shelves until I found a thixotropic, and began the longest hour and a half of my life.

(a thixotropic is an additive that causes the silicone to thicken considerably so you can brush it on as opposed to pour. Add too much and you end up with a solid lump and a wasted $50 in materials.)

I poured the Triforce and enjoyed fifteen seconds of nothing going wrong and began guessing at the volume I had left for the thixo-drops. Once I realized that math was basically impossible in my current state I just added drops according to whatever number seemed nice at the time and hoped I wouldn't have to burn the house down in shame. Then the brushing. Remember Sisyphus? He was doomed to push a boulder up a mountain for all eternity. Well, thats what this is like, you brush the goo up, and it runs back down - you need to do this until the goo sets - and the goo is reluctant to set. You will think its all set, stretch and yawn, and when you look back the puddle has managed to grow. It is mind numbing, and after not sleeping I was convinced I was going to spontaneously vomit all over the thing at any moment.

Anyway, eventually it set and I was free! At least until the setup period is over, then I get to learn how to temper and flavor chocolate. Once I learn that I get to melt and pour chocolate until the madness takes me, and if the universe wants to keep up the joke, then no-one will want to buy any.

This is all immensely preferable to any sort of "real" job though, I work harder then I would if I had some shitty corporate gig and its on projects I choose. Things may go horribly wrong and I may end up poisoning myself with half the shit I work with, but its MINE.

I'll post the chocolate once I add it to my dumb Etsy, in the event anyone on the internet is interested.


  1. I also have insomia, truely fail :(

  2. i dont have insomnia i just suck at going to sleep when i need to

  3. Insomnia sucks! Although when I do sleep it's for like 12 hours or something ridiculous.

  4. i don't have insomnia ! muahahahahaha !!!
    suck on that dear other contributors :)

  5. This is an amazing story! I can totally relate to sleep deprived stretches of trying to get work done. Feels insane! I love your descriptions. Looking forward to more posts.

  6. Wow. I have to admit that I sympathize with you... And your blog looks great, I also like movies a lot.