Sunday, July 13, 2008

The history of Diacanu part 1.

Well, I have some fuzzy memories of being in a crib, and a playpen, but my first clear memories start at two, with receiving my first Star Wars action figures.

A bunch of other stuff happened, I'm sure, but the next clear memory that's left is of Dad handing me my first comic, Batman issue 307.

My next memory, and where my memory record finally gets perfectly clear, is of the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno Incredible Hulk series.

Then bam, next comes Superman The Movie.

That's it, no going back, geekdom had taken hold. :)

Then, bam, along comes Empire Strikes Back.
(Although, I never dug the Dengar figure).

Damn, those were some good years.
And as a kid, years feel like decades, so I got to savor that shit.
What an awesome first 5 years those were.

Yeah, yeah, and I had all the other kid shit too, Mickey, Donald, Big Bird, Cookie, Grover, Oscar, Mr. Rogers, Kermit, Fozzie, Scooby Doo, and Fat Albert.

Man, I miss Fat Albert, none of my crappy basic cable channels rerun it.
I mean, they retroactively made Scooby Doo the big deal "remember this??", Generation-X thing, but I remember merely tolerating Scooby Doo, but I LOVED Fat Albert.

Late 70's, early 80's, that was literally the best cartoon on.
For me, that was THE cartoon.

For a kid my age in that time, there was Hulk, Sesame Street, Muppet Show, and Fat Albert.
Those were your shows.
And there was an ocean of news and soaps to get through to get 'em.
And weeks felt like months when you were little, so that wait was Chinese water torture.

Well, along this time, my school days start.
Kindergarten set the tone.
I immediately realized I didn't like authority.
And I also immediately realized school is full of a lot of mindless meaningless structure to numb your mind, and keep you quiet.
I didn't have the vocabulary to convey this yet, but, those were my sentiments.
I knew I was in for a lot of jive bullshit.
If someone had told me there were 12 more years of it ahead, I would've collapsed in despair right there.

Anyway, skip ahead, first grade, more of the same, drilling, repetition, but, they tried to sugar coat it with a pseudo-Sesame Street sauce, but I knew better.
Well, least I learned to add.
I learned to read in there somewhere.
That's strange, I don't remember learning to read.
Just suddenly I could.
I can't hit the moment when it clicked in my memory, it's not nailed down.
Y'know, I think the basics came to me watching Sesame Street.
The part with the two headed monster, and he/they had two halves of a word that slowly inched together.
That kinda taught you how to sound a word out.
I think that was it. It didn't happen in school.
I just watched a jillion episodes of the two headed monster, and all of a sudden, I was reading, and not really knowing it.
S'why I can't hit the exact moment, it was during Sesame Street, and Sesame Street is a blur.

Anyway, I got out of first grade able to read single words, and able to count, and add 1+1 and 2+2, and.. 4+4..not too sure about that one...
As I recall, it was scary going higher than ones, so I broke everything down into ones first, then used fingers.
I think that was a signal to someone that something was wrong with me.
Because that's when the special ed shit started.
Just cuz I wouldn't risk 4s.
Musta been something else, I dunno.
I wasn't torturing bugs or anything.
Who knows? I'll never get a straight answer on that shit.

All I know, is second grade, half way through, Mister Rhodes shows up.
He was this chubby little dude, funny high voice, had a Santa Clause energy about him.
He takes me aside during play period, becomes my buddy for the next couple days or so, asks questions I can't remember, next thing I know, I'm going to a different school, and I think I've won a prize or something, because that's how they act about it.
Indeed it was a bigger school, so hey, cool, but I notice that several of my classmates on Mister Rhodes class talk funny, and drool, and one of them poops himself.
And these kids only seemed to be in Mister Rhodes class.

Anyway, apart from that, it felt like a normal class.
My addition got better, as did my reading.
It wasn't a creepy class, there was no abuse or nothing.
Anyway, they figure I'm smart, so for third grade, I go to Mrs. O'Donnel's class, the normal 3rd grade class.

There I just kinda totally fucked off.
Drew a lot though.
Mrs. O'Donnell wasn't a bad broad.
For some reason, at the time, I thought she was.
I dunno why.
My reading and writing were pretty good.
Had a bitch with multiplication though.
I remember, everyone blasted past me there, and for math, after a time, they sent me to the regular second grade class to try to catch up.
And it was like with my fours, except instead of breaking things down to ones, I was breaking things down to pluses so I could process it, then reassembling the answer out the other end.
I couldn't get that X to magically do it all at once in my head.
I did it out on scrap paper, and the teacher flipped out, and tore it up, and wouldn't let me have scrap paper, so I started doodling it out under my desk, and that REALLY pissed her the fuck off, and she started shouting, and I started bawling, and ugh, what a fucking mess, and I think that planted my hatred of numbers right there.

Yep, why I was never a scientist or engineer.

But fuck it, I knew I had cartoons to do.

So, that sorta plugged along like that, and I remember Mrs. O'Donnel giving me a speech about how I didn't fool her, she knew I was smart, and I just needed to apply myself, and believe in myself, and yadda, yadda, and lo and behold, I got shot off to regular 4th grade.

Well, I fucked off there too.
I'm good at fucking off.

Cartoons, smuggling in toys, passing notes, slacking on homework in favor of pleasure reading, y'know, the all time classics.

So, halfway through, they boot me into special ed again.

But, this time, it wasn't retarded/hyperactive special ed, it was "Welcome Back Kotter", special ed for fuckoffs.
It was a new class headed by Mr. Walker.
Funny guy.
Ginger haired guy, always had ballcap wings in his hair, never saw him with a ballcap though.
Funny guy, everyone's pal, kinda like being taught by Dave Coullier from Full House.
And the work was fuckoff easy.
Or, at least it seemed so.
But, somehow, I absorbed my times tables there.
And I was reading real books by then.
So, yeah.

And may I sidetrack for a second to say, man, I loved the 80's.
I mean, yeah, Reagan was an idjit, and there was all that threat of nuclear armageddon shit in the media, and the economic class my dad belonged to got reamed up the asshole with a spinning corkscrew...but as a kid, it was a blast. He-Man, Voltron, Transformers, Garbage Pail Kids, Madballs, Weird Al, it was happy times.
Did a little skit about it.

Anyway, I'm in Mr. walkers class for 4th and 5th grades, then, Mr. Walker gets fired, and we get Ms. Tinkham.
Ugh, what a witch.
I can't even find it in me to think to myself in hindsight that she meant well. She was just awful.
Did not know how to handle us kids.
Out of her depth. I think they sent her to us as a punishment for being a fuckup somewhere else.
I could write tons of stories, but this is the summarized version, so let's not linger any more here.

So, anyway, I think Tinkham is bad, but then, I find out I'm going to Sweetser.
Sweetser was/is a special ed school where kids who were really fucked up went to LIVE.
They threatened you with that fucking place in the regular classes.
"Keep fucking up, they'll send you to SWEETSER!!".
"Finish your geography map, or you'll go to SWEETSER!!".
So, I saw the Sweetser pamphlet on the table when I came home one day, and started to bawl.
But, I learned I was just going there for school, not to live there, and that...took the edge off, but it was still humiliating.

So, thus began the Sweetser years.

Saw a lot of familiar faces there.

And more joined me after Tinkham was finally fired.

Mark Logan, who was my best buddy on the bus, and who later joined me in Tinkham's class, came to Sweetser, and told me this awesome story that I always dearly wished was true.

He said that one of the kids was sick, and puking all over the place, so they got a bucket for him to puke into, and while he was puking in the bucket, Tinkham went to clean up the puddle on the floor, and she slipped, fell, pulled the bucket down on herself, and then puked all over herself even more, and then swore her everliving head off, and the teacher in the next room heard all the swearing, and squealed, and that's how she got fired.

That sounds too good to be true, maybe Mark made that up to make me feel good.
Fuck it, I choose to believe it.

Well, anyway, as everywhere, I did a lot of cartoons to keep me sane at Sweetser.
And, it was here that I created Harry Hembock.

So, it wasn't a total loss.

But, it wasn't too bad, really, for the most part.
I mastered multiplication, and moved on to division, my vocabulary and spelling got better, I got to use computers, my first teacher there, Mrs. Benham was really cool, she was an anglophile, and thus a big British history buff, and I learned a lot about that.

Then, Mrs. Benham got replaced with Mrs. didn't like her, she wasn't awful..but..ehh..
Another one of these shoulder pad wearing, short hair, athletic, sporty, 80's chicks.
And I'd grown to distrust that type after Ms. Tinkham.
We never hit it off.
Don't think I got over my superstition against that kind of women until I saw Nana Visitor on DS9.
My mind is just a fuckin' mess, ain't it?

Well, it felt like a normal school most times, but, there was that creepy special ed/prison side to it.

I was mostly protected from it.
But, every now and then, you'd see some teenager get wrestled own, and locked up in the "time out room".
And a girl got raped on the grounds once.
They did a lot to hush that mess up, but the rumor mill there was second to none.

Oh, and my asthma started up there, so there was surely some constant stress in the air.
In retrospect, my first attack was set off by a fit of suppressed boiling rage-a-hol at another student.

Wyeeell, just before I got out of there, I experienced the creepy side full on, got put with the really traumatized/messed up kids.
Poor bastids.
Ever see "A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors"? Kinda like that.
Probably why I dig that movie so much, I relate to it.

Well, finally, after 3 years, they randomly must've decided I was "cured", and off to normal high school they sent me.

What a fucking disaster.
Oh, it wasn't a crashing disaster.
No one ever beat me up, or shit in my locker, I think I was fairly well liked.
My jokes and cartoons helped me carve out my niche.
But, after Sweetser, my self esteem was scarred, I avoided people, chicks didn't like me, I never had a date the whole time there, I didn't have any actual friends 'til senior year, and I slacked off with Harry comics, and skated by on Cs & Ds.
I excelled in film history though.
Only class I got a high B in ever.
Would've been an A, but one sloppy answer on one test dragged me down.
Dad mocked it as "TV watching class", but fuck, the A student nerds in there had a hard time with it....

I'm a movie nut, I toyed with the idea of being a film critic for awhile, but...forget that mess, that field is full of horrible lemon pussed bitter little poseurs.
Gen-x only churned out more of the rotten little shits.
Yeah, I ain't gotta be like them, but I don't wanna be Atlas holding that particular fucking globe up, thanks.

Anyway, did a skit about high school, once, goes like this.

Oh, yeah, and I found out second-hand in my sophomore year that my old friend, Mark Logan died. :(
Heart attack of all things.
A 16 year old with a heart attack, never heard of such a thing...

Oh, and Tony Terroni, another friend from Sweetser died of a drug overdose.

Hmm, dunno why I thought to include those...

So, anyway, eventually, I graduated.

Hung out with my senior year buddies, Hyla and Spencer for a couple years.
That was great. They taught me a lot about alternative comics, and novels, and we watched a lot of cult films together. Grew a lot from that.
But, they drifted away.
Last I heard of 'em, I did a Google search, and they had a Myspace page, and they're wandering cartoonists out in Seattle.
Then, the Myspace page vanished.
Ah, well.
If you guys are out there *waves* hey.

Had a bunch of shitty little jobs, and I can tell stories about all them, but that's for another chapter.

Anyway, that's when we creep up on 1996, and the internet, and you all know the rest.

EDIT- Added link to the work stories.


Billy the Duder said...

"Sweetser" hahahahahah. SWEETSER!

Never been there.

Mark_W said...

Diacanu – Good evening!

Found you via Quetz and Billy – both of whom have been splendid enough to tolerate my unedifying comments, bless them…


My next memory, and where my memory record finally gets perfectly clear, is of the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno Incredible Hulk series.

Then bam, next comes Superman The Movie.

That's it, no going back, geekdom had taken hold. :)

Me too! Though, like you, I had vague memories of things before then (e.g. the first Star Wars, and though the later catalysts may be slightly different (e.g. what really turned me into a “geek” (though I remembered it from Tom Baker onwards) was the Davison and later era series of Doctor Who)) the first programme that made me feel (or think of myself) as a fan rather than a viewer, was undoubtedly the Bixby/Ferringo Hulk...I’m sure the theme tune was partly what made me keep up with piano lessons too…

Great blog, will come back when I’ve read and digested more…



Elias said...

Neat blog, btw.

Yes, I too miss the television of yesteryears, and hope more of your friends show up.

Anonymous said...

Hiya Diac,

Been stopping by from time to time.

Seems like you're a victim of good intentions. Looking forward to History part II.


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