Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Culture

Dear Diary,

Tonight I cut myself while shaving my face. I did not bleed as I had not eaten yet. I realized that if I did eat I would start to bleed. That would be a problem as I had put on a white shirt. I had rolled up the sleeves to right below my elbow. Modern women find that “hot.” I am not sure what they mean by “hot” except maybe they are so excited that they age a dozen years in their excitement and stop having children but I know that is not what hot means. I also know that my lover Gillian would slap me if she knew such a thought had come into my mind. What do they call it? Hot flash? A hot flash. I would cause a hot flash. I do not think that is what women mean by hot when they see my sleeves rolled up.

I am a Vampire. Hot is not a good description for me. I once heard a woman say I was smoking hot. I went into the restroom to find a mirror. There was no smoke coming out of me or my clothing. I was going to ask her to explain but ended up going to her house and drinking her blood instead. If a woman wants me to be hot then I shall be hot.

In order to make my cut go away I put my finger on the wound and said a few ancient Vampire words in order to heal myself. Then I left my house. As I drove I wondered if a hot flash was anything like a flash mob, then I thought of something else.

After going out to a local club for a quick bite I noticed a spot on my shirt. I was bleeding. I covered my cut with a paper napkin until the bleeding stopped. I hate it when I leak. It has been what some call one of those days.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today I met my friend Constantine at the art museum. When I was Vampire King of my own Vampire Kingdom there were no museums. I had paintings, and sculpture, and skulls, tapestries, and strange bones on shelves. I would let people into my castle to see the objects. We did not have churches in the Vampire Kingdom so I displayed interesting things people brought me from far away places.

While I was locked in a crypt for the 18th – 20th Centuries museums came into vogue. Constantine told me that museum comes from the word muse, or as a shrine of the muses. This museum phenomenon is all new to me. I do not think I have a muse. I only have an um.

Constantine was late. I walked into the vast building, connected to an older vast building. Herds of children followed old people called docents out of the lobby, up stairwells, and elevators. I walked the halls alone finding myself surrounded by strange things.

I find almost all things strange in the 21st Century but the museum seemed to be a repository of strangeness. The strange galleries were filling up with children who seemed to love the random splashes of color, and disturbing sculptures. I could hear someone asking the children about the purpose of the horizontal lines. I had to leave before I was caught up in the frantic excitement.

Down a hall I found myself alone, surrounded by paintings of mostly outdoor places. I stood in front of a painting of singular beauty. The scene was that of a marsh, or field on a foggy morning, with a group of trees in the background. It was simple, yet drew me in unlike any other piece I had seen.

A hand settled on my shoulder and a voice spoke quietly next to me. “I knew the artist well. He painted that right before he left California. It was because of a woman. She was cheating on him. I miss him.”

“That is a sad story my friend,” I said. “What happened to him?”

“I was going to go back to the East Coast where he’d set up a studio, but he’d died. I should have changed him into a Vampire when I had the opportunity, while he was still here. I think he would have done well as one of us,” said Constantine.

Constantine spends a lot of time at the art museum. He is there on Thursday nights and other adult events. He said there were lectures and films to see. He says it is his favorite place to dine because he likes the crowd of art lovers. He says art makes their blood sweeter.

As we walked around, he told me stories about the artists and the artworks. He explained the different art movements, even with art that does not move. Yes indeed, there is art that moves.

At one point two lovely young women stood near us. All young women are lovely are they not?

I glanced over at them and smiled. Constantine did the same.

“Are you two models? Actors maybe?” One asked while the other just smiled.

We told them no. They smiled and walked on, talking to each other about how handsome and cute we were.

“What do those charming women mean by cute? Is it different in a museum setting? Either way I have yet to understand exactly what they mean. A kitten is cute. A baby is cute. We are not kittens or babies.” I said to my friend.

Constantine just laughed but failed to answer my questions.

I asked him if any of his art was in the museum. “Not yet,” he said. “Maybe I’ll donate one of my 17th Century pieces, but I have to admit my early 20th Century landscapes are more popular.”

Constantine has always been an artist. He has also always been sly and quick to take advantage of easy situations. He is an extremely successful Vampire.

I will come back to the art museum. Maybe I will get a membership.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Five years ago I was rescued from my entombment. Trapped in a crypt for three hundred years left me completely in the dark. Maybe that is not the correct expression to use since I am a Vampire and being in the dark is not that bad of a thing.

I am 675 years year old yet my points of reference and my appearance is that of a Millennial.

I have experience but my technology is too old.

Once I even told someone that I was raised in a religious cult in an isolated mountain town and home schooled by coyotes and squirrels. I could not tell them that my isolation was due to being locked in a crypt with five dead bodies, and with a wooden stake through my heart.

I know that my style is such that my friends need not call the five Queer Eye men to make me over.

I know that my hesitation and naivety can charm both men and women. I know my good looks can do the same.

But when someone asks me if I am straight and I check my posture that is embarrassing. It was two years before someone told me that “straight” was someone who is attracted to the opposite sex. I do not know these new words.

I do not want to act like an old man. On the other hand I have met old men who would be considered “exceptionally cool” by a Mellinnial, or anyone else who is alive and not a Vampire.

My head is spinning. It is time to sleep. Good night Diary. Close up. Go to sleep. The cats are waiting on the foot of the bed and wish for me to join them.

~Vlad

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

Click HERE to see all of Vlad’s Vampire Diary entries. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood Oranges: Doodles #1

My husband and I were watching a movie and, well, I’m got bored. There was a pencil and paper handy, so I started to doodle.

This is Friday, so I’m wondering what to do for the next 50 Saturdays.

Blood Oranges: Doodles with Juliette

So here we go. Blood Oranges #1

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If you have a doodle to share let me know at juliettevampiremom@ gmail.com

In the meantime I’m going to whip up some silly doodles for no good reason, for the next 50 weeks. Maybe I’ll even add in a poll or two.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Inspire (it isn’t a dirty word)

In my home I have a wall of bookshelves. Don’t we all. There are also more books scattered all over the house on other shelves as well. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from film maker John Waters, ““If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!”

John Waters also said, “It wasn’t until I started reading and found books they wouldn’t let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.”

But back to what I was looking for. I was looking for a book about California art, but ended up on the other side of the wall looking at poetry and literature.

Then something in my mind just shattered. It was my current WIP (work in progress.) The structure is there but there had to be more. The characters need to care more about each other.

So there you have it.

Over the years, and I’ve been over quite a few, we adults find that things like work (jobs), school, judgmental friends and relatives, and society in general has totally beaten any inspiration and creativity out of us. Or at least they try damned hard to.

I never understood the disdain some people have for creativity, change, innovation, and inspiration. The artist is revered but damned if anyone wants to study art. The writer is mocked as a quaint hobbiest. The inventor is mocked with the mythical idea of the man who would rather spend his life inventing a better apple peeler, or mouse trap than feeding his children.

My advice to my children, and anyone else who finds everyone around them is trying to suck every bit of inspiration out of them, is don’t listen to them. Shut out those who say no. Shut out those who make condescending remarks. Shut out those who say your creativity, be in art, music, writing, or even science, is a waste of time. Shut them out. Make them more of a pariah than they want to make you.

Inspiration isn’t just some stupid workplace poster that usually insults rather than inspires.

Inspiration can come in any form. It can be love. It can be acorns that have fallen on your car. One idea inspires an entirely different idea out of nowhere. Just go with it. Don’t think about it too much. Just don’t listen to the assholes. They don’t want you to be inspired. Being inspired makes you dangerous. That is a good thing.

I also tell my kids that if they’re around those who are boorish and lack imagination, and lack empathy, and want to be jerks, to just keep their ideas to themselves. You don’t have to share your world with assholes.

Creativity doesn’t have to be monetized either. Don’t ever forget that. 

And when you’re young, and even if you’re not, it is OK to just move on.

Let yourself shine, even if it is just on the inside. Have satisfaction knowing that you aren’t like them.

Then share with those who care, and understand, and those who feel safe sharing their ideas with you as well. Yes, know you can always be inspired by listing to others. Your story is wonderful, but it isn’t the only story. Don’t shut others out.

In the meantime, since I’ve turned this post into a vent rather than what I was going to write (don’t mind me, I have other things to share so just move on to the items below.)

I recommend you check out the books below. These are four of the books that distracted me and got me thinking about other things. They are by two authors I admire and respect. I am honored to consider both friends.

They both have a reverence for words, and actually see the world around them. They’re observers of life, and love, and everything.

You might be inspired. You never know.

Sack Nasty
Prison Poetry by Ra Avis

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Dinosaur Hearted
By Ra Avis

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Centripetal Force and Other Stories
By Jon Obermeyer

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Wingspan
By John Obermeyer

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One last quote. This is something we don’t say often enough to each other.

You are loved.
~ Ra Avis

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For those looking more for the Vampire side of things, I understand Vlad will be back soon with mire diary entries.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winding River – A Mystery

 

While going through a pile of old artwork I found this large format photo. It is about 16 x 18 inches and printed on heavy paper. It was printed in the 19th – early 20th Century. I don’t know who the photographer was, or who printed the photo. It is an original photograph.

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About a month ago I saw a photo of a painting of the exact same scene. The photo was from the late 19th Century. The scene is in the Rocky Mountains, maybe in Colorado. I don’t remember the what/where/who of that painting.

I’m putting the following questions out to my readers, and art/photo/Western historians. I don’t know the answers to these questions so any help would be WONDERFUL and I’d be grateful to you forever:

Who was the photographer?

Was this the Winding River and are the mountains in the background the Rockies?

Who painted this scene?

What is the painting and where is it located? Is it in a museum?

If you know any of the answers let me know. Yes, this is a mystery. Let’s solve it together.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

96 Colors

96 Colors

Yesterday my new set of 96 Firm Pastel Color Sticks (Prismacolor Nupastel) landed on my front porch along with pastel paper to draw on.

I am so excited.

NINETY SIX COLORS! AND PAPER 18 x 24 INCH PAPER!

It has been years since I’ve created any serious fine artwork. Sure I doodle and still occasionally do graphic design shit but I’m ready to start working on a grander scale again.

So what are YOUR goals for today?

  • Do something creative (even if it is fixing something without instructions.)
  • Seek out color.
  • Keep away from bad blood (for both Vampires and non-Vampires.)
  • Laugh.
  • Look at the moon (Werewolves – that is up to your discretion.)
  • Talk to your kids. Hug them. Listen to them. Encourage them.
  • Go to a museum (I will be there.)
  • Banish Demons (especially the ones with the big leathery wings and yellow eyes.)
  • Have fun.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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At the Crocker Art Museum

My heart is in this place. The Crocker Art Museum, in Sacramento California, is such an amazing, beautiful, wonderful museum. Put it on your MUST SEE list.

I’m just posting images today. No words necessary. If you have any questions just ask and I will answer. Or go to crockerart.org for more information.

I can’t always explain the wonder and awe and feeling of being so complete and one with the universe when I’m in the presence of art. It is time travel for the soul. It is the essence of being. It was something that transports.  It is like a high that no drug can match. It is magic. ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Enjoy. Oh, one more thing. I’ll post a story inspired (sort of) by the museum. It is also about dogs and full moons and maybe a little romance…maybe.

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California.

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Night Dogs (A Short Story)

Constantine Jones sat on the bottom of the museum steps wondering what just happened.

Earlier that evening he’d put on his best Armani suit, a Hermes silk tie, and was feeling good about the outcome of the evening. It was to be a charity event. Beautiful people would be there dressed up. Everyone would be relaxed, and happy, and it would be delightfully fun.

After discussing art and drinking champagne he’d lured a few well-heeled patrons to remote galleries to see some unusual modern art. There he took a few pints of blood from wrists and left his donors with no memories, except those of a delightful conversation with a well dressed, nice looking young art expert. Well, a 165 year old art expert, but that was besides the point.

Then in the main gallery, the California Room, he saw her standing in front of the Thomas Hill grand painting of Yosemite Valley. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman in the room but she was attractive in a cute sort of California girl way, and had that delightful look of both shyness and playfulness. Her olive green dress shimmered along the neckline with iridescent beads. As she turned her head towards him it was like a lightning bolt had hit his heart. First sight.

Second sight as well. A smallish dog of unknown breed stood next to her with a service dog vest on. A service dog. Why did she need a service dog?

With his usual ease, Constantine approached the woman. He asked if he could pet the dog. She said yes. She told him she’d had a head injury when she was in Afghanistan. She’d been in the Army. He would never guessed. The dog could detect seizures.

They talked for an hour about art, and life, and it seemed as if he’d met his soul mate. It was the best hour he’d ever spent. Then she was gone. He hadn’t even asked her name.

So like Prince Charming, he sat at the bottom of the stairs wondering where Cinderella had gone. All he had of her was one of her earrings he’d found on the steps. It was a gold strand with a single diamond on the end. The diamond was real.

I might as well walk home he thought. It was just a couple of miles. He’d clear out his mind. The full moon, and lights from late night downtown bars and restaurants lit the way.

Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw a large dog wearing a back pack. A service dog? A smaller dog in a vest followed. Around the next corner, in an alley, he saw three more large dogs in the dark, all wearing packs.

Maybe it was a training exercise. The dogs could have been German Shepards looking for drugs or a missing person, or even bodies. It was weird, but at this point he didn’t care. He just wanted to go home. He was a Vampire so weird and unusual was over rated anyway.

Constantine thought about the woman he’d met. She’d been a nurse in a convoy, and there was a bomb. She didn’t say anything else except that her dog was named Tess. She liked Jazz music, indie films, and indie books. Of course she liked art too. She was a high school art teacher now, having moved on from nursing. But sometimes she helped out the school nurse. Weird how he got those details. He’d told her… what had he told her about himself? Not much. He was a Vampire so he never told much, at least not at first. He’d told her that he ran a philanthropic foundation that supported the arts, and other causes. He told her he had two cats and liked astronomy. She also was a watcher of the moon and stars. Then she kissed his cheek, excused herself, and a few minutes later he saw her walking out the front door of the museum.

As a Vampire he usually had a good feel for people but he couldn’t get a final read on her. Again, he thought about the fact that he didn’t even get her name. But the dog was named Tess. Tess the service dog.

Constantine thought about war. He could imagine the horrors she’d been through. He was a child during the Civil War or the War Between the States, whatever they wanted to call it. Those weren’t memories he cared to relive. He’d come out to California as soon as he was old enough to be on his own, as soon as he’d become a Vampire, and stayed there.

As he walked along the dogs with packs stayed in the alleys and shadows. Looking at the local news feeds and police scans from his iPhone he found nothing. One of his neighbors was a K-9 cop. Constantine would ask him about it tomorrow.

Arriving home at his craftsman style bungalow he noticed a few dogs in packs at the end of the street. This was getting weird. Odder, and a nice surprise, was that a woman in a slightly wrinkled olive green dress, and a single diamond and gold earring was standing on his front porch.

Tess the service dog stood beside her. Hanging off of her shoulder was a back pack.

No. It couldn’t be. She wasn’t Cinderella. She was a Werewolf.

They introduced themselves, again, but this time with names. Her name was Diana. Like the goddess of the moon.

“You have my earring,” she said smiling and holding out a hand.

“You have my heart,” he heard himself saying, much to his surprise.

Then he kissed her under the full moon, as Tess sat at attention and wagged her tail.

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman