[VIDEO BLOG] Pay Attention

Baby steps.

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Thursday night, I made my best friend Al a CRAPPY birthday cake! I had Steve bring the cake to a small gathering hosted by Lance, and surprise him.

Crappy Birthday Cake

Crappy Birthday Cake

Crappy Birthday Cake

He loved it, and ATE THE POOP! which was crumbled chocolate cake.

As I shared in this week’s vlog, I was diagnosed Monday morning as having a combined-type ADHD (Mayo Clinic) (NIMH) (Wikipedia). I have an appointment with a psychiatrist later this month to discuss medications and, with luck, find something that will help lift the fog that my head is stuck in much of the time. I have also set up monthly sessions with the ADHD therapist to get feedback, and help continue developing strategies to improve my executive function.

The knowledge that I have been attempting to run a marathon with both my shoelaces tied together for most of my life, is both simultaneously frustrating and encouraging. Aside from visual art, I showed promise as a student with the viola, violin, trumpet, and piano, but I quit playing music once I reached higher skill levels that required long sessions of practice I could not maintain. I vaguely remember taking the SAT test in middle school. It was probably this program? “Duke” something was all I could recall. I do remember completely blowing it because I was unable to focus on the preparatory materials at all. I studied French for three and a half years in high school, but as the need to study increased right at the point I started to become conversationally fluent, I gave it up. I attended community college for about six weeks at my parents’ insistence. But outside of high school, I could not even reliably go to class on time, or at all, much less pay attention or complete reading assignments.

As a young child, I was able to coast by and get excellent grades, in spite of all my doodling and daydreaming. That all came crashing down by the time I was a teenager. I will never know what I might have accomplished or done if there had been more awareness of ADHD in girls, and in general, in the early 1980s. I needed compassion and understanding. Instead my parents chose to discipline me, ineffectively, with violence and screaming when I was small, and name-calling, judgement, massive invasions of my privacy and trust, and threats as I got older. They praised with one hand, and struck with the other. It has taken me thirty-nine years to break this addictive cycle, and undo the self-loathing they instilled in me. I am not allowing other people to define me or undermine my sense of self-worth any longer. Now that I have dug to the root problem, I am ready to work with my therapist and psychiatrist to unlock my full potential. I have come far already, with my shoes tied together.


Piece of Cake

“The icing on the cake is when other people enjoy your
vision and support what you do.” – Cise Star

For my birthday this year, I took a break from my struggles with drawing right now to make myself a Queen of Assholes-themed birthday cake. I really need to drag my ass into a Wilton cake-decorating class one of these days to learn proper frosting techniques, instead of constantly winging it, but the finished cake is close to my original vision. The crown is representative of the poster-board and glitter crown I made for my Queen of Assholes video, the grass and flowers are representative of Como Park (where I make much of my footage) and the BLOOM video, and the top hat is obvious, but also representative of the JENNY video. If you are wondering what became of the cake afterward, I ate so much extra cookies, cake, and frosting during the process of making it, that after my documentation was done I cut and gave most of it away.

Queen of Assholes Birthday Cake

Almost every time I work on a video feature, I learn something new, which I find incredibly addictive. In this instance, I finally got the hang of the subtitles function. I have also been experimenting more with multiple layers and tracks of audio and video. I know there are ongoing issues with the capture quality, but especially in my kitchen, space is limited and the lighting is very poor.

My birthday cake took approximately thirty hours to make over the course of three nights, including prep work. I recorded the whole process, and edited it down to slightly over one hour, with some portions of playback up to 5x-15x actual speed. The full video, below, also includes my failed attempt at making hard candy, during which I earned myself a (potentially second-degree) burn on my drawing hand when I dripped 300°F hot melted sugar on it. Once the cooked skin sloughed off, the wound was nearly a full 1/16th of an inch deep, with a perfect edge. My inner child found that to be cool and interesting.

I also edited a “highlights” copy to show the progression of the cake creation with only music, for the benefit of anyone that wants to see the construction and individual components without watching the long, detailed version.

You can see more of my edible creations at JinsKitchen.com.