Saturday, December 22, 2012

Alien Invasion (2006)

Here is the Christmas poem I penned for 2006:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christ Has Come (2005)

Here is the Christmas poem I wrote back in 2005.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Incarnation (2004)

Here is the next in my series of Christmas poems.  The subject of this one is the way in which God, in the Incarnation, though possessing unlimited freedom of choice, limited himself to one particular set of human characteristics to give his son Jesus.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christ the Meteor (2003)

I'm not going to get a new Christmas poem composed this year, so I'm going through my old files and digging out some older ones.  This is the one I wrote for Christmas, 2003.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Homeless Pastor

Why does this guy threaten me so much?

Why does Vincent Pannizzo get under my skin?

Answer:  Because he makes my own life and witness look incredibly wimpy by comparison.

Here is another article on Vincent and his ministry.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Finished Tattoo

I blogged here and here about the tattoo I was getting.

Well, it is finally finished!

Props to Adam Brooks at Suicide Kings Tattoo in Canton, Michigan, for this fine work!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"St. Adam" - Simulated Stained Glass Painting

This is a totally new kind of painting for me.  It doesn't take me as long as a traditional portrait in oils would.  This one was very experimental, and should I do more paintings in this style, I will know what pitfalls to avoid.

The medium is acrylic ink on panel.  The size is 16" wide by 20" high.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ever Love - Best of Show!

I am thrilled to report that my recently completed oil painting, "Ever Love", won the Best of Show Award at the SOAA "Art at the Museum" show! 

This show runs through October 27th, and includes a wide range of excellent art from many different artists, so if you are local, come on out and have a look!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Michigan Artist Candy Draper!

I have met more great visual artists this year than in my entire previous life combined.  I am not sure of all the reasons for this, but it is a huge blessing to me!

The latest artist I've met is Candy Draper, a fellow Metro Detroit painter.  I found out about her because of an art show we are both entering in nearby Hazel Park, Michigan.

Candy is influenced by the art of Jackson Pollock.  But she has her own style.  Several different styles, in fact.  I was smitten by her work when I first saw it, and am happy to say that I now have a few of her paintings in my collection!

Here is the first work I ever saw of Candy's, which I bought yesterday.  It is 24" x 36", and I entitled, Monster Under My Bed:

I also bought this one, which is called Wish:

Candy has many more such paintings for sale, as well as less expensive 8" x 10" paintings in a similar style.  She is currently needing to sell a large number of paintings quickly, to raise funds, so if you have any interest in collecting her art, please contact me and I will help you find out how to buy her art!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fit Girl - New Song Demo

I wrote this song really quickly today.  I wrote two lines of it in the gym this morning, and the rest of it while stuck in traffic on the way home from work this evening.

Fit Girl (P. Erlandson)

I was in the gym when she walked in off the street.
With the kind of body to knock you off your feet.
She got down to work, and she started to lift.
Muscles moving like a continental drift.
Looking at her I turned white as a sheet.

She was punishing her delts by the Smith Machine,
Like the love child of Judy Jetson and Mr. Clean.
Over in the corner I’m about to faint.
She’s the kind of girl that I would love to paint.
She was the baddest jacked up chick that I had ever seen.

Chorus:  Fit girl, fit girl, look my way!
If I catch your eye, I’ll have to look away.
If I cannot have you I will live in misery.

Now I’m no schmoe, but my knees were getting weak.
I was afraid she’d think I was a pencil-neck geek.
In between sets, I’d try to catch her eye;
I’m trying to look cooler than the other guys.
I am hypnotized by her physique.  (Chorus)

I can’t describe the effect that she has on me.
I don’t need no coffee, no 5-Hour Energy!
She’s got me bouncing off the walls.
She’s racing my heart like clenbuterol.
She’s got me buzzing to the Nth degree.  (Chorus)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tattoo Poem -

Here is a poem I wrote about getting my tattoo.  In case you missed it, this is the art I'm having done on my back:

My friend Adam is the man doing the tattoo.  I dedicate this poem to him.

Three Adams - for Adam Brooks

Dali paintings, skulls and monsters, particolored wings,
Cards and dice and portraits line the walls of Suicide Kings.

Breathing shallow, still as rock, I’m trying not to blink.
Virgin plains of ruddy skin imbibing jet black ink.
Adam leans against my back and scribes a fearful face:
An image of an image of the saviour of our race.

Then, as the needle does its work, three Adams fill my mind.
One, the ancient orchard thief and ruiner of mankind.
Two, redeemer of the first, who back to Eden beckoned.
Three, the artist at my back, illumining the second.

For as by Adam Number One the world was filled with sin,
So Adam Two took sin away for One and all his kin.
And as the Second took on flesh to save One from the brink,
So shall the hand of Adam Three incarnate Two in ink.

The artist’s hand creates bold lines of energy and vigor,
Which on my back, in turn, create a large and startling figure.
“It is finished!” groans the Second Adam from the tree.
“I’m all finished!” quotes the joyful Adam Number Three.

I don my shirt, and like Saint Veronica’s veil, it’s blessed
With visage of the dying Christ miraculously impressed.

© 2012, Paul Erlandson

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hot Rod Anglican Gets Inked

So I got, or rather am in the process of getting, my first tattoo ever.

It is based on this stained-glass window (Ecce Homo, 1913), by Johan Thorn Prikker.

In choosing both the image (above) and location (upper middle back) for this tattoo, I was heavily influenced by Flannery O'Connor's short story, Parker's Back.

So far, only the line work has been done.  The pain was not bad at all ... it was completely bearable.  I still have two session to go, to have the color applied.  I'm really excited about having this.

"Sic Deus Dilexit Mundum" translates to:  God so delighted in the world ... which is from the beginning of John 3:16.

Here are a few shots of the tattoo, taken the day it was done:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Old Animated Film of Mine

Here is a short film that I made in high school with my friend, Scott McLarty.  It is an animated super hero film whose main character, Kaptain Devore, is based on Mr. Devore, the teacher who taught Scott and me high school German.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A New Poem - The Forever Friend

The Forever Friend

So often I have wildly missed the mark,    
And dialed down the volume on God’s voice.     
I’ve seen another soul and made the choice
To hide, until he passes, in the dark.

But you left no dark place for me to hide.
Your brilliance, when I met you, left no shade.
You burst into my life like a grenade.
And quickened part of me I thought had died.

You knew me from the first, I know not how.
By some bright magic you could read my mind,
And I knew all your reasoning in kind. 
To be forever friends we took a vow.

But then came tedium, trouble, time, and tears.
The cords that bound us seemed to stretch and strain.
Your name, which once meant pleasure, now means pain.
How will our vow survive the coming years?

“You’ve changed!”  I think, and voice to you my charge.
“It’s like you’re someone else!”  you sadly say.
“You’ve lost your faith in God;  you never pray!”
“Your politics are bad;  your head’s grown large!”

But you will not so easily break free!
As if that Roman torture should revive
Of fastening a corpse to one alive,
My corpus haunts you yet, and you haunt me.

I picture you explaining this to friends:
“Oh that’s just poor old Paul, pay him no mind!
You’ll find the stench diminishes with time."
The horror of this bondage never ends.

“What happened that this curse became your lot?”
“I met him years ago, we struck a spark.
I touched him, and he left me with a mark.
But now this rotten corpse is all I’ve got.”

And I, in turn, must bear your corpse about,
And answer those same questions about you.
“To this old friend I once vowed to be true.
I’ll bear him to the end, I shouldn’t doubt.”

“But can’t you simply cut him loose?” they ask.
“As well cut out my heart!” is my reply.
"God’s truth, though keeping him should make me die,
My courage is unequal to the task.”

All the things you ever taught, I ponder.
All my teachings still your mind inspire.
All our sins cannot displace the wonder
Of a friendship forged in heaven’s fire.

Running, singing, chiming ever;
Praying, gasping, resting never;
World, flesh, devil cannot sever
You, my friend, from me.

Speaking, cursing, laughing, eating;
Sharing secrets, mourning, meeting;
Our poor, love-torn hearts are beating,
Waiting for the dawn.

Tethered corpses, long afflicted;
From eternity elected;
Dancing, kissing, resurrected;
Walking into light.

© 2012 - Paul W. Erlandson

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bodybuilder Sherri Gray Turns Pro!

One of my favourite bodybuilders, Sherri Gray, earned her IFBB Pro card last night at the Masters Nationals in Pittsburgh!!

Congratulations, Sherri!

Here is an interview I did with Sherri back in 2009.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hot Rod Monstrance

Since becoming (relatively) Anglo-Catholic, I've always wanted a monstrance.  Once, I posted a question in an online religious forum asking whether it would be appropriate to personally own a monstrance and to display it in my home.  Reactions were mixed, but most of the people I respected seemed nervous about it, feeling at the very least that it would have to be deconsecrated first.  Some went so far as to say that I would bring myself under the condemnation of Exodus 30, where there is a prohibition against emplying the holy incense for personal use:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you.  Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord.  Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people.”

So, I decided not to go shopping on ebay for monstrances.  I don't want to be cut off from God's people.  That was 5 or 6 years ago.  Lately, however, I have been re-thinking this.  Yesterday, I started working on this "hot rod monstrance" ... a monstrance built entirely out of spare car parts from my garage.  I used a fan clutch, a distributor, a headlight bucket, a sprag clutch outer race, and an instrument panel bezel.

My daughter thought it was an evil thing to do.  Her objection was one I had not heard before:  that it was simply too dirty.  But is any monstrance, crafted as it is by the hands of sinful men, "clean" enough to house the body and blood of our Lord?  I think not.

My defense of this monstrance it two-fold.  The first argument involves what this is not:  it is not consecrated for use in a Benediction (or Adoration) service.  In that sense, it is not an actual monstrance, but the image of one.  

The second argument is more positive and, to me, more forceful:

My view of the world is that we should seek clues to the invisible, to the holy, to the sacred, and to the eternal.  In part, at least, we seek these clues in the worldly, the profane, the dirty, the fallen, and the temporal.  We seek signs and glimpses of the next, perfect world in exactly this present, imperfect one.

Even if this were to be actually used as a monstrance, does any of you truly believe that something sinful, common, or unclean cannot house the perfect body and blood of Christ.  If so, I advise you not to receive the elements of the Eucharist, either by hand or on the tongue.  Because your hands and your tongue (and mine!) are at least as unclean in God's sight as the car parts used to create this Hot Rod Monstrance.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Power of Validation

In high school, I had a few very influential teachers.  These were true mentors, people who shaped and guided the course of my life, who encouraged me to go on and pursue things that I might otherwise not have had the courage to pursue.

I have recently interacted with one of these great teachers on facebook.  No matter what negative things we may say about facebook, it has done some marvelous things.  If we forget about all the trite motivational posters, the thousandfold sharing of cute puppy photos, and the political vitriol, we are still left with the fact that it has almost miraculously brought us together with friends we thought were lost to us forever.

My interaction with my 10th Grade English teacher caused me to go back and re-read the words she had written in my high school yearbook in 1976, the year I graduated.  I almost didn't need to look at them because I nearly have them memorized.  Over the years, I have read and re-read these words many times.  If I have ever in my life received a more powerful validation from someone whom I so greatly respect and admire, I don't know when that could have been.  These words have guided me my entire adult life.

Dear Paul,

You are without a doubt one of the most talented and creative people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  I hope that your talents will continue to find expression in many varied forms.  It would be a crime to limit an imagination such as yours.  I hope to read about you in the future.  Do something fabulous, so I can say, "I knew him when!"

----- ---------

I don't know if I've yet done anything fabulous, but the wish in the second sentence seems to have been fulfilled.  I am so grateful to have had this teacher, and her words to guide me.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bobby Freeman - "C'mon and Swim" (1964)

Just a few nights ago, my son introduced me to this song.  (Funny, I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.)  I cannot comprehend how I have not heard this song before.  I will make a bold and only mildly hyperbolic statement:

If you want to understand the essence of 1960s pop music in its entirety, you only need to hear and absorb one song:  Bobby Freeman's 1964 masterpiece, "C'mon and Swim".

This song is incredible.  It has as its foundation a driving surf beat.  In fact, parts of this track sound very much like surf music.  But, hark!  What is that I hear?  Sam & Dave style soul horns?  Okay, groovy combo.

The singer seems to be coming from a soul genre, too.  And he is telling us how to do a dance move, just as you'd expect from Chubby Checker or Freddy Garrity (Freddie & the Dreamers).

But wait, that's not all!  Over the surf drums and the horn section, is the wild, serpentine line of a double-time blues-derived lead guitar line that would become the mainstay of ... psychedelic music!

This track literally has the entire 1960s music scene packed into a single track.  And Bobby Freeman did it ... in 1964!!

Oh yes ... in case you have trouble imagining the Swim dance step, just watch this:

Monday, June 25, 2012

My 1975 Film: Mind Games

This is a Super 8mm film that I made in 1975, at the age of 17, but only recently converted to digital format so that I could share it with the world.

It is basically the story of a little stick man who is seduced by the promise of quick joy and happiness through drugs.  Essentially, it is my imagination of an acid trip, created about 3 years before I first experimented with LSD.

Some of it still impresses me; other parts underwhelm me.  All in all, I am pleased with what I achieved in this film, given the primitive equipment I had to work with.  The camera was a non-zooming, non-adjustable focus plastic camera that my dad bought me as Sears for $10.  It was a gift to me for Christmas, 1971.  Animation was a challenge, because it did not have a single-frame feature.  Rather, I had to quickly press and release the trigger, like a drag racer side-stepping the clutch.  Sometimes this ended up shooting 2 or 3 frames.  So, the results were not consistent.

For sound, I had available two cheap cassette tape recorders and a "record lathe" (a cheap, hand-me-down portable phonograph from my uncle).  For the parts in which I have 2 songs playing together, I first recorded Song 1 from the phonograph onto the first tape recorder.  Then I played Song 1 on the tape recorder while playing Song 2 on the phonograph.  To fade the songs in and out, I controlled the tape recorder volume with my left hand and the phonograph volume with my right.  Primitive stuff.

Perhaps the most interesting parts of this film are the trippy, psychedelic colors, which an artist friend described as being "like a live Kandinsky painting".  I produced them by various techniques.  For some of the footage, I began by using my mom's Clorox bleach to strip off all the color from a section of scrap film.  I then used every technique I could think of to mark the film:  I burned it with a match, colored on it with colored Sharpie markers, used India ink on it (the black India ink soon cracked, making beautiful hexagonal crystal patterns), poked holes in the film with needles, scratched the film.  For other sections, the base image was created by filming a projected slide image while continuously changing the focus on the slide projector.  It then added color and other effects over this manually.

Here are some still frames from the film:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Miss Galaxy

Here is yet another poem I've written for my wife:

Miss Galaxy

(for Cynthia Lou Erlandson)

Some three cubed years ago, I felt your pull:
The heartward tugging of a heart most full.
The law of Isaac Newton bade me enter,
Falling through your gates, to find your center.

To know your inner depths, I chose my goal,
And rocket toward the center of your soul.
I’m eight-point-two-eight parsecs closer now,
From speeding quick as Einstein will allow.

Your bright and fiery acts of love, your suns,
Go blazing past me as if shot from guns.
Though some are dim and in periph’ral vision,
Others, closer, scorch and risk collision.

My world, my heart, my Apostolic See,
My burning love, my own Miss Galaxy.

© 2012, Paul Erlandson

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Episcopal Church Prays for AIDS to spread?

From here and other places:

Early reports indicate that the proposed changes to the liturgy that The Episcopal Church will consider at its General Convention this summer will include a "Litany for the Planet" that contains this prayer:
On eukaryotes and prokaryotes, archaea and viruses; on microbes of endless variety, the complex and the simple, Creator have mercy.

I thought that The Episcopal church had lost its ability to surprise me.  I have grown so used to its godless innovations and overturning of sound doctrine and worship, that I thought I'd "seen everything", as the phrase goes.

But the proposed inclusion of a blessing on viruses (not on those who suffer the ravages of viruses, but on the tiny creatures themselves) has proven me wrong.  There is no limit to the insanity of The Episcopal church. 

One can only assume that this is a petition which asks God, among other things, to bless and propagate the common cold and the AIDS virus.  Most interesting.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Weight Training for Women over 40.

If this video is not able to convince women over 40 to train with weights, then I don't think anything really can.

At right in this still from the video is Cynthia Bridges, who was the model for one of my paintings (below):

And here is the short YouTube video.  Time to visit the gym, ladies!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

You Verbing Noun-of-a-Noun!

Dark Benedition, a collection of science fiction stories by Walter M. Miller, Jr., has a great deal to commend it.  I am nearly through reading the collection, which has many great stories.

One little unexpected gem was from a story called The Lineman, in which one character insults another with this most genericized insult of all time:

You Verbing Noun-of-a-Noun!

I thought that was mighty clever.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Collect Against Identity Theft

I tend to worry about a lot of things.  Prayer helps me not to worry so much.  

And, to be honest, the Book of Common Prayer has most of the worries of life pretty well covered.  But in cases where modern life has spawned new fears, troubles, and dangers, I sometimes compose new Collect prayers.

Here is one, which beseeches God to deliver us from identity theftI humbly submit this for consideration for inclusion whenever the next legitimate BCP revision occurs!

O Almighty Father, who didst identify with mankind in the Incarnation of thy blessed son Jesus, vouchsafe to keep us from the trouble of identity theft; and, that we may spend our days in tranquility, grant to the perpetrators of the same repentance and the grace to find their true identity in thee. Amen.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chevrolet = Volt Cheer

As I was getting ready to exit westbound I-696 at Southfield Road this morning, the van in front of me suddenly started blazing amber warning lights.  As I tapped the brakes, I saw that it was one of those rescue vans, such as gets sent out by AAA to rescue stranded motorists.  The driver was slowing down the vehicle and pulling it over to the curb.

What I saw next filled me with cheer, for the stranded vehicle was none other than a Chevrolet Volt with a dead battery!  The first of many such dead Volt sightings I hope to make.

My reasons for hating electric vehicles (and hybrids) are many, and I don't intend to document them in this blog entry.  But I wanted to document my first sighting of a Volt owner who tried to go just a little too far on his battery, and got stranded.

One wonders if the buyers of the Volt and of BEVs in general take into account all the towing expenses they will face, when making their cost-benefit analyses in advance of the purchase?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Saving the Stick Shift, One Driver at a Time

Here is an article about a gentleman on a crusade to save the manual transmission.  I like this guy!  In a day when drivers are lazier and lazier, and want the car to do more and more of the driving for them, manual transmission drivers are a breed apart.
Eddie Alterman is the top editor at Car and Driver magazine. He doesn't mind being called a gearhead. His whole career, he’s watched the sales of cars with stick shifts decline. And when Ferrari failed to offer a manual option for the new 458 Italia, he said, enough’s enough. Basta.

Alterman is going to do something about it, even if he has to convert people one by one.
On a warm and windy day in mid-March, he meets Julia Espinosa in a high school parking lot in Ann Arbor, to give the University of Michigan student her first lesson in driving a manual transmission.
Espinosa says, ever since her uncle regaled her with tales of touring the back roads of England as a young man, she’s wanted to learn how to drive a real car. You know, one with a stick.

Espinosa: "So the clutch pedal needs to be depressed completely before it’s going to engage? or you said half way." Alterman: "About halfway and you will feel that engagement point."

Then, like millions of new drivers before her, Espinosa stalls the car. A second time. And a third.

Alterman doesn't get upset - at all. After all, the car that's being used for the lesson is a company fleet car, a new Focus, driven in for this lesson by Ford's Chris Terry.

"Put a little more gas in," Alterman coaches gently.

And, lo and behold on the fourth try, the angels of the road sing. Espinosa starts the car and begins moving slowly down the parking lot.

Alterman whoops, "You did it! Now to get into second gear…"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

A casual word from the Deacon after Palm Sunday services at the Anglican parish we were visiting led to our discovery of the Crystal Bridges Museum of Modern Art in nearby Bentonville, Arkansas.

According to this Wikipedia article, the museum officially opened its doors to the public on November 11, 2011.  As I remarked to my family, it still has that "new museum smell".   It has gained its permanent collection quite quickly and, according to the Wikipedia article, must now be ranked among the top half dozen art museums in the United States.  It was built largely with donations from Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, who has reportedly donated $317 million to the project.

The architecture of Crystal Springs, by Moshe Safdie, is pleasing, with a very modern feel.  The grounds, though I only saw a small fraction, seem immaculately kept, and their are 7 or 8 walking trails that visitors may use.  Admission to the museum is currently free!

I was very impressed with the permanent collection, and to give you a small flavor of that, I will share some of the photos I took.  Photography is allowed in the museum as long as it is without using a flash or a tripod.