Rants

The Writing On The Walls

Some weekends are designed catch up on work. Some are designed to help you relax. Others are designed to help you rediscover old roots. This weekend fell into category three.

Marathon was a hardcore band that played a ton around CNY in the early 2000s. I only caught them a few times but their catchy pop-hardcore riffs and poetic lyrics spun in my car CD player many a time. They disbanded in 2006 as members moved to all parts of the country and started other bands. This weekend they played for the first time in eight years which resulted in me driving to NYC and Rochester, NY to catch up with old friends, scream my lungs out, and have a blast.

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The punk and hardcore community has the ability to teach people to examine their surroundings and find ways to utilize and improve them. This simple skill set results in a slew of punk and hardcore kids who transition from screamers and yellers to cafe owners, non-profit workers, fathers and mothers, etc. The older I get the more I see the transition of my peers and I could not be happier for them. They have changed neighborhoods, started initiatives for social change, and developed livelihoods that they never expected. The reverse side of the coin is that face to face time becomes limited. Seeing someone at a show is a rare occurrence and the main narrative of your life puts you in directions you never expected to face.

This weekend, though, gave me a chance to see people I hadn’t seen in years. Those community members that are doing such great things outside of the scene came out of the woodwork for the weekend. I reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen in 10 years. It was great to catch up and join together in the strange camaraderie that only a hardcore show can develop. By the end of the weekend my lungs were shot and my comprehension of sleep deprivation set it.

I traveled with a friend from Syracuse to Brooklyn then back to Syracuse on Friday. We slept a few hours then drove to Rochester where we had dinner with a cartoonist friends, Ken Wheaton of Popeye fame, and then settled at the show. I may have come close to falling asleep during the third band of the night, oops.

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A friend was kind enough to let us stay at his house. We arrived there after the show and my energies were all over the place. It was this melancholy feeling as I became aware that I would not see these people again for quite sometime but I am so thankful to know them. I had trouble sleeping as I wanted to jump out of my skin, duplicate, and conquer all the tasks I daydream about. I wanted to edit my film, write a novel, draw a comic, start a band, learn piano, become fluent in another language, etc. all at once and even as I write this I feel closer to all of those things than I have in quite some time.

The next morning, groggy and weak, we went to The Pita Pit in Henrietta, NY for an early lunch. It was vegan friendly and delicious as always but this time it captured my heart.

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It seems to be construction season and the restaurant was in the midst of putting up a new wall. Markers lay around encouraging people to write a message on the “time capsule wall.” I couldn’t help myself. Drawing in public spaces is where I settle down and focus on my childish work. You will rarely find me at a restaurant where I haven’t defiled a placemat. I set to work and started to draw. First the eyes, nose, mouth, head, then neck, shirt, arms, shorts, shoes, and so on. It felt great to create. The first step of many to work creatively on a regular basis even if it is on a wall that will no longer be visible in the weeks to come.

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Make Art Everywhere. That’s An Order.

Before I start my rant, please be advise that I will be a guest at the Hero Bot Con in Elmira, NY on October 8th. If you would like more information please click HERE and read all about it!

And Now For Our Irregularly Schedule Rant

Larry Brennan is a local ventriloquist that I was recently introduced to. He is a registered nurse that has been using his ventriloquistic talents to educate different populations about healthy ways of living. His life-long motto “Only Clean Jokes Are Healthy” can clearly be seen within his acts as he and his different dummies interact with one another.

He has a newsletter that he sends out weekly which consists of three separate elements:
1) A video of him and his dummies singing
2) A “clean and healthy” joke
3) A healthy thought

This past week my email greeted me with one of his newsletters which I quickly gazed through. I was halted at the “Healthy Thought” which contained the following quote:

“Time is free and yet it’s priceless. You can’t own it but you can use it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey Mackay

As someone who is constantly concerned about the different temporal aspects of my life I was relieved to see something that put constraints on time in a way that gives me a different method of explaining my artistic beliefs. If time is a limited currency I want to make sure that I spend it efficiently and properly. I want to squeeze every cent and ensure that I’m not wasting any amount no matter how large or small.

When I’m placed in a situation in which time could conceivably be thrown away I like to analyze my resources and determine the best way that my time can be spent. While in a pizza shop a few nights ago I couldn’t handle the thought of wasting anything while waiting for my food. I pulled out my lovely V5 pen that I always carry and hunted for something to draw on (thank god for the extra quantities of promotional business cards of a web developer that were sitting next to the table). From the instant I ordered my vegan calzone, to just before I ate the sucker, I did everything in my power to create something that I could be proud of.

This goofy image may seem like nothing more than a slightly smudged child’s drawing but to me it encapsulates everything I love about art and existence. Despite limited resources, limited fine art skill sets, and the heat from the pizzeria furnace blasting behind me I was still capable of creating something that helps me feel whole. It may not be Van Gogh quality (perhaps it even makes you want to chop off your own body parts) but it’s something that I created and learned from which are the only two things that I seem to be able truly harness.

I encourage you to start to consider your life in terms of wasted moments. Look at your daily existence and see at what points you can fit in something that will help you feel more productive and content. Use these instances to draw a picture, have an eloquent conversation, read a short story, write a haiku, express your love for someone in the form of something you create entirely on your own, bake cookies, high five a strange, or venture into territory that you previously found intimidating. By doing this I’ve been able to better spend my time and I like to think I’m not an isolated case.

Life is short, make art and make your mark.

Stay Productive,
Ryan Zlomek

P.S. Though the Harvey Mackay quote that Larry sent me stirred up a lot of the content in this post I am a collector of different ideas, quotes, and stories about temporal understanding and education. If you’re interested in this subject matter consider investigating the following sources:

1) “The only point at which you need to stop learning is about ten minutes after you’re dead”
-Written by Dennis O’Neil in issue 2 of The Question comic book series from 1986

2) The short story “Repent Harlequin, Said The Ticktock Man” by Harlan Ellison.

Both of these reads will keep you thinking like a zen Buddhist monk for at least a month.

My Birthday Was Made Of 100 Percent Pure Vibranium

Today marks the halfway point to my first midlife crisis. Thankfully that is not at the forefront of my brain as I was treated to an awesome gathering of friends, a Vegan Vibranium cake (baked and decorated by Katie E. Newcomb), people yelling birthday wishes down the hall at work, and later my first Bane show in quite some time.

Now it’s time to get published and distributed before I turn 30. Let a new decade of bucket lists begin.

Stay Optimistic Into Older Ages,
Ryan Zlomek