vertical graphic

small cyan square Today at work was rather a drag. One other guy is on my specific task, a talented programmer with far more experience than I. Both of us have been given the job of redesigning certain control parameter panels for our application. I just finished my first a week ago; he's on the verge of completing his first, however his is far more complex. Suddenly, he's been called away to fight fires elsewhere, but since his code is almost done it's up to me to perform the final cosmetic touches - supposedly "just" adding comments required by the coding standards. Other than that, it was "done" (or so he said - yet today I discovered that it doesn't work!) Until yesterday I wasn't at all familiar with his panel's functionality within our application, so he gave me that information all at once, along with how it works, in what's sometimes referred to as "brain dump": he scrolled through his code on-screen, explaining what it does (and then he left). In this type of situation I'm a good receiver for five or ten minutes, then my buffers fill up and I just nod my head, making the agreeable conversational noises - the acronym MEGO is relevant here. So now they're expecting all this stuff in a few days, both looking pretty and working, and I have that drowning, apathetic sensation that's somewhat anti-motivational - I'm doomed, why bother? And with the other guy gone, there's nobody to watch me, so my tendency to procrastinate and goof off <1> is stronger than ever.

small violet square Whenever someone is reciting a bunch of new information I'm supposed to somehow retain, I think of this panel in an R. Crumb story called "Dumb" (from Zap #13, 1994). It shows Bob in an office with a suit, a tax accountant type saying "Now, if we take a depreciation over the next five years and amortise the interest that should put you just under the 30% follow me?", and he's nodding and saying "Uhh... I guess so...", while question marks are swimming around his head. The caption says "Still, I think I'm some sort of an 'idiot' because of L.S.D. (that's right, blame it on the drugs!)" This is one of his self-examination-type stories, quite a good one but a little disingenuous, since its thrust is regret of his druggie past. But his acid experiments were probably the catalyst for his artistic greatness - for many acid casualties that's obviously not true, but R.Crumb's case was different - check this segment from his 1988 Comics Journal interview with Gary Groth:
CRUMB: All that stuff from the late '60s was inspired by LSD. The visions and attitudes I got out of taking that drug definitely altered my work drastically.
GROTH: You told a story about how you took one very bad trip...
CRUMB: One, or two, or three, or four...
GROTH: No, this was one where someone actually warned you about this particular hit, but you took it anyway, and you described yourself as being in some "weird electric fog," which you had some difficulty getting out of.
CRUMB: Yeah, I took the drug in New York [in 1965], and I left New York and went to Chicago and stayed with my friend Marty Pahls. That's when I thought up all those characters that dominated my comics from that period: Mr. Natural, Shuman the Human, the Snoids, Flakey Foont... I was seeing Snoids everywhere. It was really weird. It was a state of grace in a way. I couldn't talk. Whenever I was riding a bus or sitting around my mind would just start to drift into this uncontrollable state. I would see ladies dancing, electronic figures in my brain, with no control over it. It was a kind of delirium, but it was visionary and kind of nice. I remember when it ended I thought, "Well, here I am, I'm back down to Earth now. Too bad."
GROTH: How long did that delirium last?
CRUMB: For a couple of months. I would just drift in and out of it. But I was completely non-functional. I couldn't do anything. I could draw, but I could hardly talk to people, let alone hold down a job or anything.
GROTH: So, you feel that you wouldn't have been able to create what you did without the drug?
CRUMB: It would've been different, it definitely would've been different without that. Something happened in there. I could show you in my sketchbooks where that period starts, when I was in that fuzzy state, and how my art suddenly went through this change, this transformation in that couple of months. I don't know if it would've happened without that or not.

MEGO - My Eyes Glaze Over

<<Previous | Next>>
Email to Home         

<1> Either writing (this) or reading Usenet or web pages - what some call "surfing" or cyberloafing, but I think of it as 'falling into the web'. Back