Full of Complex Carbohydrates and MicroNutrients

I am a novelty to many (and I'm fine with that).
I have a very silly sense of humor usually riddled with malapropisms (and I'm fine with that, too).
I ask too many questions of Life and I expect all the answers.
I trust people too easily when I shouldn't; however, I respect everyone regardless…unless they do something to make me think twice.
I don't cheat. I am tactful yet will give the truth up front (and never mean to hurt anyone's feelings with it).
I like to help the people who have helped me, and even those who have not.
I never forget... but sometimes I misplace things.
I never lose hope.
I am awesomely blessed for the people who have come into my life, and I am blessed for the people who have left because I realize I didn't need them anyway.
I honestly feel that laughter is the best medicine you can have.
I believe in being strong when everything else seems to be going wrong.
I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. In other words, I'm human, and definitely not perfect.
But tomorrow is another day, and there's so much cheese to be had...
(thank you to Ranae S. for this bit of inspiration!)

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Everyone, get up and dance now!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I want your Skull...

Figuratively speaking, of course, and I quote this line from the old Misfits song.

But seriously, I have always found skulls to be interesting beyond words. They house not only our brains and major senses, they're also the very container of where our consciousness resides. They could be horrifically scary or quite funny, depending on how you looked at them. Growing up in Los Angeles, I was close to the Hispanic community, and fondly recall school field trips to the downtown area known as Olvera Street, which is one the oldest sections of the city. I became particularly enthralled with the "El Dia De Los Muertos" celebration, where the dead are lovingly honored each year on November 1. The gaily-colored sugar skulls and scenes scared but captivated me... and I was forever hooked.

Yet what truly set me on a steady course for my life-long love affair with all things cranial was the nearby La Brea Tar Pits museum. Thousands of Ice Age animal skeletons were discovered in the gooey pitch that bubbled up from what were once streams carving through the wild landscape, but is now an urban jungle of concrete and skyscrapers on Wilshire Boulevard. The cache was unbelievable: dire wolves, short-faced bears, giant ground sloths, and - WOW! - saber-toothed cat skulls! I wanted one of those like mad! I'd be the envy of my block, nay - my entire school! 

I took to collecting skulls of all sorts, beginning as a pre-teen exploring in and around the sage brush-covered hills near my childhood home, which was where I found many hawk and owl pellets: the remains of a mouse or rat, consisting of the undigested bones and fur, all packed into a nice, tight little regurgitated package. At the time, I was a budding naturalist with a bent for bugs, birds and reptiles, so discovering these odd alimentary cast offs took my quirky imagination by storm.

I had a bright orange plastic bucket I collected them in. Some were pulled apart so that my young analytical brain could earnestly examine the contents; others, more magnificent in their overall composition, were left intact and admired from afar. I secured them on a block of wood I found in our woodpile, and displayed them proudly on my dresser. The thing that enchanted me the most were ... why, the skulls, of course! Scapulas were cool, true, as were the pelvis (pelvii?) and sternum and ribs and numerous vertebrae. Even the occasional large beetle pinchers and grasshopper legs were kind of cool. But they all seemed ... I dunno, pedestrian, boring, perhaps. What got me going was the SKULL, most with intact teeth and jaw, with the hollow eyes staring back infinitely through me. I'd move the mandible up and down, make funny little animated character voices and noises and have a jolly good time alone in my room. My shrine of noggins grew exponentially as time wore on. Poor Mom thought I was a bit strange for this macabre collection, but encouraged my inquisitive nature overall.

Years later, after having given up my skull addiction (having been told by many a well-meaning friend and family member that it was "unladylike" and downright "gross" to do such things - can you imagine that!? Hmmpff!) I met and later married a man who shared my eccentric fancy. During our time together, we decorated our home with various manner of bodily paraphernalia, all things Halloween, rock 'n roll and horror-movie, and yes, many fine specimens of skulls, skeletons and fossilized wonders from every sort of creature we could find. We even collaborated together on a work of 3-D art we entitled "Rat Messiah." It was composed of an old box of mouse trap glue boards we'd found in the garbage out back behind our apartment in Hollywood, utilizing one of them by upon which a large skull (from Stiv, a much-loved pet rat that lived a long, happy life and died of natural causes) was affixed. Around the skull we festooned ten-penny nails, a rusty metal washer as a halo, dried baby's breath flowers and fake dribbles of blood. It was more an homage to our dearly departed pet than any sort of social statement, to be honest.

This piece was displayed in a gallery of local artist's work in Hollywood back in the early 1990s. Our work was vandalized one night by some assholes who deemed it offensive, and took it upon themselves to righteously deny others their right to objectively view it by ripping the skull off the board, and tossing it onto the floor, breaking it in the process and effectively destroying our work of artistic expression. They were probably young rightwingers in the making. So much for our First Amendment Rights being observed. If I can dig up an old photo of Rat Messiah, I'll post it.

Anyhoo. Today's skullarific post is dedicated to a Blog site that I happened upon and am enamored with. It's called "Skull-A-Day" and it's totally coooooool. Me likey! The artist pledged to create a skull a day for a year straight and did just that. Go visit their Blog by clicking the link below.

Have you had any good skull lately?

Photo of 'Grandiose Blue Skull on Perch' at top by Me, 2009. 

Photo of Tyrannosaurus Rex skull cast by Me, 2006. Taken at Adventure Science Center, Nashville TN.