Monday, April 27, 2009

Oink Oink

(Much in the same way you didn't have bird flu, SARS, smallpox, ebola,
or anthrax when those were the diseases of the moment.)
Just because you drove past a Taco Bell on the way home, that doesn't mean you have swine flu. Just because you once thought Ricky Martin was really cool, that doesn't mean you have swine flu. Just because you were out all last night drinking tequila, that doesn't mean you have swine flu. Just because you were craving a burrito with extra guacamole, that doesn't mean you have swine flu. Just because you hired a mariachi band to play at your uncle's funeral, that doesn't mean you have swine flu. A huge lack of good taste perhaps, but not swine flu. Just because your kids watch Dora the Explorer from sunup to sundown, that doesn't mean you have swine flu. If you still remember the Macarena, you may want to consider getting swine flu, just so people will have some sympathy for you.
If none of the situations above apply to you, you still probably don't have swine flu. Take your time and read that last line again. OK, now once more. Got it? Good. Now stay the hell out of my damn ED!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dusty Work

I am greatly enjoying working with pastels. Not necessarily the color tones commonly known as pastels, but the media known as pastels. Which, I always called chalk. Guess you can charge more for them if you call tem pastels. Anyway, I seem to be finding my greatest degree of success with them currently. Not sure if it's this specific project, or the indications of a greater preference in the arc of my artistic career (don't that sound cool??). Looking back, I have done quite a bit of work with chalk in the past, second only in quantity to colored pencil. Think one of the things I really enjoy about it is being able to do the blending with my hands. The way I've been using it, it's a very physical media. Not that I couldn't do that with acrylics, I just haven't yet. The oil pastels I'm not so crazy about. Kinda reminds me of an overly soft crayon. May be that my choice of substrate isn't right, but at the moment, something about that media doesn't quite ring with me. Having a hard time blending it, even with stumps. I think the next thing I have to do is address how to seal the chalk pieces I've been doing. I'm thinking of using a spray fixative, but I have to find one that doesn't change the color of the piece, or make the substrate warp. Of course, if I hard mounted my substrate before working with it, I wouldn't have to worry about warpage (that's just a fun word to say). Yet another consideration to throw into the mix. Gesso is another consideration. I'm thinking that may give the surface a bit too much tooth, and make blending overly difficult. The medium texture paper works pretty well for holding the chalk and still letting me move it around some when I want to. So, tomorrow I will possibly sacrifice one of the earlier versions of the 'Kitchen' series to the art gods in hopes of finding a way to seal the chalk onto the paper. Alternately, I could just never physically touch any of my chalk pieces ever again. At this point in time, I don't know which would be better.

Arcs of Gelatinous Lemon Refrigerators

17. That could be the number. I'm not quite sure. If it isn't is soooo damn close. The more I look at it, the more I think it might be the one. 16 was OK, and I really don't think 18 will end up being that good. But 17. That speaks to me. Not sure if it's the right language. But it does speak to me. Could be French, I don't know for sure. But, if 17 isn't it, I don't know how much closer I'm gonna get.

**Prolonged Squishyness
Rain, rain, rain, rain, more rain, some sprinkles, then some more rain. Thunder, lightning. Whoop-te-freakin-do. If things don't dry out around here, I guess they'll just stay wet. I'm thinking the mosquitoes this season will be about the size of small goats.

**Teeny Tiny Orange Things
I think I'm gonna make one last attempt at getting the tank back on-line. My prime motivator for doing so was the discovery last night of at least two baby platys.

**The End Of The Project
Just about 2 weeks till Eve gets that MBA placed in her tiny brown fist. Sorry I can't be there, but I am looking forward to seeing the new place.

**Missing: Kittyluv
Donde esta Kittyluv? Yo no se.

**No Chips Off The Block
I can almost hear the mumblings and rumblings growing louder down in central IL. I understand that I have gotten quite a ways off schedule regarding a certain carving I had meant to have completed by about a month ago. Ooops. No, not really oops. Just running with the artistic fuel of the moment, and it isn't wood carving. But with the potential return of warm weather, I'll move the carving station back outside and renew my efforts. I mean, you can't just bail on someone you've known since the fourth grade...

**I'm Just A Night Owl
Mornings are just too full of distractions to be good productive times for me in the studio. The dogs want in, the dogs want out, the phone is ringing, Sheri wants me to do this and she wants me to do that, grass needs to be moved, errands need to be run, and flowers need to be watered. Blech. Can't concentrate with all that going on around me and constantly trying to suck me in. So it looks like I'm going to be doing the late shift in the studio. On the days that I work, that ends up being an end time of about 2 in the morning. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later, depending on how it's going. Sheri does not like this idea. Her primary argument against it was that the later I stay up, the later I will be getting up in the morning, thus missing out on one of the things I need most when the weather is warm: sunlight. While I can't argue with that, I also presented the fact that even when it's sunny out, I don't tend to go outside until the heat has had a chance to build up. Either way, I'm up and functional by 1030-1100.
Of course this is all conditional on the idea that the momentum I currently have going on indoor type artistic projects can be maintained. I do have quite the stock of logs and other types of wood in the garage. And they have shown a huge lack of motivation when it comes to carving themselves. Given the general amount of mess involved, carving is the kind of thing I prefer to do outside. But right now, my energy is running quite smoothly in other directions, and I'd rather not muck that up.

**O U 8 IT 2
Once again I find myself tossing around the idea of getting either a vanity or personalized license plate. Check out the possibilities in the sidebar survey, and cast a vote for your favorite. Go ahead and vote for more than one if you want.

**Hanging Out
My bike hasn't made it down from it's winter spot on the ceiling of the garage yet. Not helping matters is the great pile of boxes stacked in that corner of the garage that Sheri has yet to go through.

**I'm really not convinced that it's safe for me to run the rest of the gas out of the snow blower yet. In much the same way that I'm not convinced that it's safe yet to uncover my banana plants, or plant my morning glory seeds. And, as usual, I find myself willingly behind the curve on lawn care. I'm pretty sure that probably three of my neighbors have mowed their yards at least once already. I think one last snow may just be possible. Or that could just be wishful thinking. But then again I hate snow.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Abrasive Robotic Pudding

**Once Again...I Pronounce You....
OK, we've all had those things that we say we 'have' to go to for one reason or another (even though we understand this statement to be untrue). Weddings are one of the things that frequently fall into this category. Not so much the reception, but the whole church part can be a bit off-putting. At least for me. Now, the further out the relationship goes, the more begrudging your attendance often becomes. And here's where my story enters.
I was informed of my impending attendance to this Saturday's event quite a while ago, and even then I wasn't too happy. Why? Because it was the reception (we weren't going to fly to Hawaii for the actual wedding) of the daughter of a good friend of Sheri's. This is someone I wouldn't know should she stop me on the street and start beating me with a bag of flaming marmosets. And we had already been to one of her weddings a few years ago. So all in all, I wasn't too keen on going.
But we went. And got a good meal out of it. And pretty much came right home. Still, if I had my way, I would like to say that would have been all studio time. It's far more likely that I would have just played around on the computer for most of the day. So, I guess it was a good thing we got some jelly beans out of the deal.

**Condolences to the Saucedos on Meenah's passing.

**Can I Get A Do-Over??
Friday was gorgeous outside. Of course it was, I had to work. Not only did I have to work, I actually had to be in an hour early for a refresher on the new BB methodology. So, I got to head into work, into the basement, excuse me, garden level, of doom, right as it was sunny and about 74 degrees. I was not happy about this. I held a slight hope that the weathermen would be wrong, and the gorgeousness would spill over into the weekend, but I knew it wasn't realistic. When I got up on Saturday morning and it was somewhat sunny out, I was pleasantly surprised. But with every passing minute form the time I actually got out of the bed, the clouds started to thicken. Go figure. By lunchtime, the sun had completed it's disappearing act and the sky was the color of a newspaper that had been left out in the rain. This did nothing to improve my mood. Sheri had changed her position yet again, so we were going to the reception, which also did little to improve my mood. Game In A Bottle had released the sequel to GemCraft, which I enjoyed playing, but as it continued to gnaw away at my free time, this also helped to keep my mood in check. Then it was off to the reception, after a brief period of negotiations regarding my clothing.
By the time we were approaching DeKalb on our way back, it had started to rain. This was, of course, followed by her getting a headache. That was about the point I gave up on Saturday.
Sunday was nothing but a continuation of the rain from Saturday. I gave up on Sunday after coming back from running an errand exhausted and with a headache. A middle-of-the-day 2 hour nap allowed me to become mostly functional for the rest of the day. By 1 AM I was once again running on fumes and headed for bed, another weekend gone.

**Early or Late?
I can't decide if I want to try and make my studio time at night or in the morning. At night there would be far fewer interruptions, but you can't exactly run out for supplies if you find yourself short. I am also unsure about the practical aspects of coming home from a full day of work, and then spending another 2 hours in the studio. And, on the other side, it would take an equivalently large chunk out of my mornings. Of course, the idea of having uninterrupted studio time in the morning proves to be ludicrous. Between the wife, the dogs, and the general list of things to get done, mornings and early afternoons are about impossible to carve blocks of uninterrupted time out of. So, it seems to be perfectly logical to have my usual studio time at night. Can't wait to see the reaction when I pitch this idea to the critic I live with....

Note to self: sitting down with 75% of a red velvet cake and a fork is not really the best way to spend the night of your birthday. Better than repeatedly falling down in a drunken stupor, but still not the best of ideas.

**'Kitchen' Progress
15 versions of this work are complete, and I'm finally starting to see what elements I want to have in the final composition. How much longer it'll take for me to get there, I have no idea.

**"My Name Is Bruce"
If you are any type or sort of fan of B-movie action hero Bruce Campbell, rent this movie. Immediately. Otherwise your fan status may be revoked. If you have no idea who Bruce Campbell is, just pretend we never had this conversation and go about your normal business.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another Year Gone??

The thing I will remember most about turning 39:


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Appropriate Rodent Earmuff Waxes

**I'm not sure if I'm being teased with the possibility that I may not have to go to the wedding reception on Saturday or not. Guess I'll have to wait and see.

**Not Bad For A Tuesday
I can always tell when I've had a good day off. Instead of a nagging sense of annoyance that I've wasted yet another day of my life, I get the feeling that it seems like a long time since I've been to work. It doesn't seem that I moved any mountains or anything yesterday, but it felt like a pleasantly full day. Made some art, took a walk, watched part of one movie, watched all of another movie, had a nice smoke break, spent more money at Michael's, couldn't fall asleep, chatted late into the night, had lime flavored tortilla chips for dinner, took out the garbage, and had a nice nap. Not necessarily all in that order, but what more could you want out of a day off? Besides nudity, I mean.

**"Hamlet 2"
Rent it. Rent it. Rent it. Rent it. Be confused, be amused, be offended-just rent it. And then watch it, of course. After which you will most likely be confused, amused, and offended. Kinda like spending time with me.

**Yet another round of the waiting game is currently in process...

**Pretty Damn Simple
In all my years of dealing with rules in various settings and applications, I have found that the things with the most depth and interest for me also have the smallest possible rule set attached (i.e. board games and art). When you get it down to having just 2 rules, then you have the potential for something amazing to happen.

**I currently find myself identifying with IRS agent Harold Crick. And his wristwatch.

**Not Quite Right...
One thing I have found out in reading a number of books by people who have excelled in various artistic fields is that in order to do any type of art well, you have to actually do the art. A lot. That is something I have consistently lacked in my approach to anything I've tried. Just sitting down and doing the work, over and over again, until you get it right. But for some reason, I have recently worked on 12 versions of a particular image and see no end in sight, because I just can't get it right. And I'm not at all bothered by this. Must be the source material. Anyway, if the paper is right, the media is wrong. If the media is right the palette is wrong. If the palette is right, the lines are wrong. If the lines are right, then the scale is wrong. But at least I'm starting to get an idea of what works for me in this particular image. And, by looking at the span of all the images together, I can start to narrow down what works and what doesn't even more. And if I can get this one image nailed down (hopefully before I hit triple digits on the versions), then it's back to the sketchbook where there are a slew more ideas waiting to be realized.

**Maybe Thursday would be a good night to go out again...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rusted Velvet Turnip Shavings ala Clooney

**Why Bother?
It has been an absolutely crappy day, weather-wise. Cloudy, cold, with near constant precipitation varying between pouring rain and misty drizzle that seems to soak you no matter what you do.

**Working Blues
There are times when it's quite frustrating to be at work. Either there's too much to do, or too little, or the whole day just doesn't go right. One of the most irritating combinations of factors I have experienced hit me yesterday night. It wasn't really busy, and there are times when that bothers me because I find it really hard to get into the flow of what needs to be done. Those are the days when I just feel like I'm tripping over myself all night. Yesterday was one of those kinds of days, as far as work went. The other factor was something that started as one thing and morphed in to another. Since it was slow, I was trying to put some energy into the creative process to see what I could come up with. The energy to do that was there, but it was hideously unfocused. I bounced between doing light sketches, trying to write some poetry, and reading a book. In none of these areas was I making any great headway, which just served to contribute further to my sense of aggravation. So, I abandoned all of my efforts at creativity in favor of surfing the 'net. Go figure.

While on the surface this may have seemed to be just another means of taking the easy way out of things, it actually ended up being quite necessary. First off, it was absolutely necessary for me to send another move to Mr. Koch, since I had already held up the game for the entire time I was on vacation. Then, it was amusing for me to hear about Kittyluv's bathroom woes (damn gremlins!). In the midst of those two things I was also checking in with Freckles. Early on in that conversation (if sending email back and forth is considered conversation), an idea was imbedded that would prove to be most fruitful. Then after making a request for an inspirational nugget, I got one. I mulled it over for a bit and then just decided to go after it in the sketch book. Get the general feel for how the lines would go and all. Find a general composition that I liked and worry about cleaning it all up later. So, that's what I did.

In the course of that rapid sketching where I was just trying to get down as many ideas as I could, I covered a decent bit of ground, as well as a decent bit of paper. I had stopped for some reason I can't remember, when the light went off. Not to say that it went physically dark. So I guess it would be better to say that the light went on. In my head, that is. It really did seem to be an idea that just crystallized out of nowhere. Empty brain one minute, then BANG, almost completely developed idea. Can't explain it, and don't care to try. But there it was. Five simple lines. That's it. But five lines with potential. And meaning. And impact. And a side of slaw.

I'm not a huge believer in the 'bolt out of the blue' method of art creation, but this was damn close. True, all the pieces were already there in my head, but what in particular it was that made them all come together, I can't begin to say. I'll just give Freckles all the credit and move on to the business of creating art. So here's the pissy part-at this point in time it was maybe 1930 or so, which left me with half a shift to go. Four hours is a near impossible stretch of time to try and sit on an idea that's burning a hole in your brain because it's just that damn good. So I fidgeted. And paced. And most likely displayed all the other behaviors that I tend to display when I'm agitated. All because I had an idea that I had absolutely no way to act on because I was stuck at work. Well, not just an idea. A fucking awesome idea. With a side of slaw.

So, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I bolted out the door and made a beeline for home. Once there, I still had to go through the appropriate amount of family time before I was allowed to disappear into my studio. But with a cup of tea in hand and Miles Davis on the stereo, I did indeed make it there. After two hours had gone by, I found myself with five completed pieces. I used crayons, I used markers, I used oil pastels, I used different kinds of paper and I used different sizes of paper. I was just starting to eye the colored pencils and had taken some of the acrylic paints off the shelf when the voice of reason (you know who you are....) broke in and reminded me of my TB and fit test. Shortly after 2 AM, I turned off the studio lights and made my way to bed. Not that it was easy to get to sleep.

When the alarm went off at 0830, I didn't exactly spring out of bed, but I found myself to be surprisingly well rested for only having gotten 6 hours of sleep. Alas, my direct return to the studio was prevented. I first made my way to my appointment, then to Best Buy, and then to Michael's (not a lot you can do when you find yourself short of art supplies at 1 on the morning). Once back home, I managed to complete one more piece and at the same time break in my new pastel set (Oooooo... Pretty colors....). Then off to HR and then off to work. Which is where I still find myself. With over two hours to go. Fortunately, I'm off tomorrow. Then the art will continue. There are just too many ideas that need to be explored and too much wasted time behind me.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Day At The End

**A groggy Saturday morning. It's really sunny outside. I'm hoping the coffee gets me going.
**A handful of hours separates me from my return to work after a week off. I'm thinking that this may be the way to approach taking vacation time in the future. Rather than jumping back into things on a hectic Monday, starting back on a Saturday when it could be a little slower may be the way to go. Although, I'm not entirely sure just who all I'm working with tonight.
**I'm resisting having leftover nachos from Taxco for breakfast.
**The first I hear from Dhawk in like, forever, and it concerns tampons!?!?
**I don't know why, but yesterday thru this coming Monday are proving to be the busiest days on my schedule. Yesterday was lunch and presents with the folks (got leftover Thai food and an iPod from that one) along with dinner with Lem and Gerry (the origin of the nachos). Today I have been informed that we're going to the neighbor's for some type of Easter brunch thing, and then I have to go to work. Sunday I was further informed that not only would I be attending church (WHAAAAAAT???), after that will be yet another family meal, and an evening of work to cap it all off. Monday I have to go to Employee Health in the AM, Sheri goes to HR in the afternoon, and I work in the evening. What the fuck? No, seriously, what the fuck?? Is this my cosmic punishment for taking a little time off? I see about ZERO studio time in the midst of all that mess and I am not liking that notion. I am thinking that it could also end up bringing some others down as well. Hoping tonight goes smoothly, so I at least get a good start to making my way through all this crap.
**The idea tank seems to be running a bit low. Hopefully I can get a recharge here pretty soon.
**Why the hell has it decided to get sunny now?? I had one, count it again, one, nice sunny day while I was off. Mind you, it was indeed a most KICK ASS day, but still it would have been nice to have more than one of those in my vacation. And before you say anything, Freckles, I am strictly referring to the daytime period. Nights/evenings are not included in that mini-rant.
**Got the studio dressed up a bit more over the past week. Now the space is more reflective of me, but I'm trying to keep my actual work space from becoming too distracting. Which reminds me that I have a piece I need to finish inking as soon as I can so I can start laying in the color.
**Sounds like Kittyluv enjoyed her time on vacation as well. Even in the midst of mass appliance casualties.
**Damn. One cup of coffee aint quite cutting it this morning. Maybe a dose of treadmill time will help get the motor running.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Short Plastic Clouds

**In amongst the relentlessly reproducing piles of papers on my desk, I have rediscovered the one telling me that I need to go in for my annual TB test and respirator check. I have also unearthed the second notice of the importance and upcoming deadline for said same events. Guess I'll have to get on the horn tomorrow and make some arrangements.

**Breathing Again
I was almost to the point in the past month or so of being nearly frantic in the thought that whatever artistic spark I had was dead. Not just resting, or under the weather, but dead dead. Just before what would have been my true descent into despondency, I find myself the fortunate recipient of a shitload of unexpected inspiration. The floodgates have been thrown wide open and I have been knocked off my feet. So, it's kinda like a tsunami shitload of inspiration. I'm not digging that particular image, but I think it may sell the point. I feel better than I have in years, and that's saying a lot. It's like the creative part of my brain has woken up from hibernation, or something like that. The whole thing is something I never would have hoped for, since it was right in front of my face the whole time. Fatty's and Freckles is a combination I wouldn't have thought of. Is it just that simple? Could be. I hope so. But of course, simple aint easy. But the payoff is unbelievable. It's good to feel alive again. No, no- it's fucking good to feel alive again. And this time I don't so much mind being in someone else's debt.

**Shit. I just realized I have no idea what my next move is going to be, and I think Mr. Koch has me in check to boot.

**Congrats to Trekeve on the now confirmed purchase of her first home! And I still think the hot tub should be clothing optional.

**I have been on vacation. And for once, I have actually managed, with great help from beyond myself, to do what I had planned to do: spend some quality time in the studio. Thus far, this has been a great vacation.

**But Is It Art?
I finally just ponied up some dough and got myself a decent suite of photo editing software, which is something I've had my eye on for a while. Aside from the fact that I love what I can do with it, I find myself left with an interesting question: Is it art if you Photoshop it? Here's the situation-in the midst of this creative frenzy I find myself in, I have managed to not only start, but complete, a pretty decent mixed media piece. I'll still probably redo it, but for a first effort, it came out decently. Anyway, I needed a way to get it out to someone so I could get a preliminary
review. Logically, the way to do this was to scan it, and send it as an attachment, right? Of course. Once I had gotten the image into the computer, I decided to tinker with it in my new program before I sent it, and see if I could tweak the few odd things I wasn't really happy with. Sure enough, I was able to make some decent improvements to it (in my opinion). So, is it still art? Is manipulating an image in the computer considered a legitimate form of artistic expression? Just wondering...

**"Quantum Of Solace"
After getting all excited by the classic Bond film beginning, I spent the next two hours waiting for something to happen. As the credits rolled, I was still waiting. I think the intent to kind of Batmanize the James Bond character isn't really working for me. So, definitely watch the opening chase scene. The title song gets a big solid 'Meh' as well, but if you have five minutes to kill, go ahead. Beyond that, proceed at your own risk of boredom.

**Relax, Mr Crow. Work is still progressing on your project, even though I have been exploring other artistic tangents. I'll get some new pics posted by Saturday.

**The aquarium is leaving my premises. Anyone want it?

**Sominex, Anyone?
Once again, my sleep cycles have gone off the rails. A solid eight hours has become a long forgotten event for me. Just fitful little chunks of three or four hours, punctuated by more strange, vibrant dreams. Like right now, I may be yawning, but if I were to go to bed, I'd just lay there with my mind running in high gear until it pulls a Thelma and Louise and runs off the cliff. Then there's just blackness. Nothing at all I can remember. Then I toss and turn. Then the dreams come. I know this is most likely a side effect of the restarted creative process, but I don't have a really good idea of how to manage it yet. I was up past 3 AM the other day (working under the influence of a most splendid inspiration, I must say) and when I finally went to bed, my brain would have none of it. Images, phrases, colors-all kinds of variations of these things apart and together just rambled around in my head. When it was all done, I had gotten some great ideas, and maybe three or so hours of sleep. So, I guess it really doesn't bother me all that much. I think I'd rather be a bit tired, but inspired (I just made a rhyme!), than to be well rested and totally flat in the art department.

**I find it strange that Sheri's folks would think that my idea of a pleasant birthday dinner would ever include Sheri's aunt Gayle. Naked Brazilian swimsuit models, and all of Trader Vic's to myself (stunning hostess included), perhaps, but not aunt Gayle.

**"Bedtime Stories"
WAAAAAAAAY to sweet for my tastes. Harmless, but too sweet. And it's a shame to see that the Evil Kingdom has managed to get their claws into Adam Sandler. Rob Schneider they can have.

Friday, April 3, 2009


As if
My hands didn't already shake enough
Around her

As if
My knees weren't already wobbly enough
Around her

As if
My thoughts weren't already scattered enough
Around her

She was there
With a whisper
She was gone

I trembled
And thought
As if...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


For a second
She stunned me
For a minute
All my thoughts ran wild
For an hour
I got lost looking in her eyes
For a day
She played in my mind, moved through my dreams
For an hour
I tried to get the words right
For a minute
I dreamt of her kiss
For a second
My heart stopped