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Monthly Archives: December 2013

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This drawing started out as an exercise in steady-handedness. First there was a rectangle the approximate shape of American currency. It was sectioned into thirds with parallel close-set lines. Subrectangles of 15×15 grids were then drawn within those thirds. It was easy to imagine the encapsulated gridboard as a backdrop, and not too hard to imagine a guitarist in front of it, and erase out the parts of the gridboard the guitarist would occlude. The space became more palpable with the addition of side panels, and a stool wanted to exist beside the guitarist, and erased its superimposed backdrop and then drew itself with bottle and glass resting on its seat.

Long story short: it does not take much to define a space using grids and/or rectangles, and a defined space makes it easy to visualize figures or other objects within it. Try it and tell me what happened, and you’ll make my day. [smiles]

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Here is a remake in pencil of a page I did more than six years ago using an ultrafine Sharpie and Faber-Castell colored pens. You will see when comparing to the below original page that I changed a few of the words, and that I distilled the design elements to the essential and magic-realismed the girl into self-illumination.

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I THINK the remake is a significant improvement, but since I finished it less than an hour ago I might be too close to it to be objective enough to judge. I KNOW I can do better, and would have had I more time. Can’t wait to retire! [smiles]

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The Further Adventures of Denise and Gary has been going on for some months, taking the form of a Facebook status update. Some of the Adventures cleave fairly closely to the truth; some are more fanciful; some bear only the faintest echo of the reality that inspired them.

This one, the first illustrated version of FAOD&G, is what I am pretty sure would have happened if I’d provided my half of the proceedings. It is also a delivery system for two Groaner-grade puns.

I could not post it without showing it to Denise and getting her go-ahead. I am glad to report that she deemed it cute and gave her gracious permission.

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Here as promised is a better spoon than the spoon I posted and promised to do a better one than. As for the double word acrostic, I decided on single-word lines for simplicity’s sake and then went shopping in the enormous dictionary near the front desk where I work at work. I’d never encountered the word “supposititious” before, and was delighted to find it could mean either Fraudulent or Hypothetical. Once I had Supposititious, I knew I wanted more words that were spooky-special. The last, Necronomicon, is a tip of the hat to H.P. Lovecraft and his disciples.

“Onomatopoetical” yields a squiggly red line when typed, but “Onomatopoetic” does not. Chalk it up to poetical license, and another hat-tip to a literary gent, this one Charles Dickens, who wrote “The Poetical Young Gentleman.”

“Obbligato” according to the dictionary is that part of a musical performance that is absolutely essential and must not be omitted.

“Phenomena” is the plural of Phenomenon. It is amazing how many newscasters think “phenomena” is singular. –Actually, it IS singular in the sense of Uniqueness; that it can be both Singular and Plural heterodynes its singularity.

These, then, are five of the most numinous words I could find. As for “Numinous,” it means “having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.”

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My sweet and sweets-concocting Girlfriend, Denise, baked up the above batch of gnarly-looking goodies that she calls “reindeer poop.” (The calligraphy above is mine.)  I have not tried this delicacy, and will not till the 23rd owing to diet commitment, but I did invent a joke:
FLO: Pass the Reindeer Poop, please.
MOE: Can’t do that. The Reindeer beat me to it. But I’ll REpass it, if you want.

Is that an awful joke? Maybe–but it’s an original joke of my own invention. And as Mark Twain tells us, “The remarkable thing about a dog walking on its hind legs is not how well he does it, but simply that he does it at all.”

I was hoping it would be the first Reindeer Poop joke on record, but an Internet search reveals 7 hits for “reindeer poop jokes.” Is this the Age of Specialization, or what?

Happy Holidays, Friends!

Yesterday I was cleaning up the “bonus room” where I do my drawing and blogging, in preparation for Denise’s relatives gathering at our place near Christmastime, and I found this picture:

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This was the last footrace I was in that I did any running in. The picture was probably taken close to the finish line. More than an hour and a half had elapsed from the opening horn, and my lower legs were in agony, and I was telling them that relief was soon at hand and please don’t wilt on me. My fellow runner and friend’s boyfriend John was waiting at the finish line, and his car was parked mercifully near. When I got out of his car I could not walk the 50 feet or so to the restaurant we’d agreed to eat at after, so John took me home, where I literally crawled around for the next day from the bedroom to the bathroom, of necessity. Thus the runner in me died. Knee surgery in 1999 merely nailed the coffin’s lid more firmly.

Now, however, I am starting to feel the strength and the urge returning. This week I treadmilled briskly, though not runningly, for a solid hour one session. I’m heading south toward Sub-200-Poundville, and am on track to get there by April. If I do, I’ll start running again, sensibly and modestly. Wish me luck!

I wrote this review for my daughter, who is my favorite movie-going companion but who, alas, lives a hundred miles away.

Five Ways MAN OF STEEL Stinks To High Heaven

1) Some of the casting is awful. Diane Lane as Martha Kent?! The little girl-woman of A LITTLE ROMANCE as the adoptive mother of Kal, son of El? That’s going to make Baby Boomers feel about a hundred years old. (Sidebar: sure, farm people got leathery-skinned–fifty years ago–but now there’s sunscreen. It looks like the makeup crew put Lane and Kevin Costner in a toaster oven.) –Amy Adams as Lois Lane?! Lois Lane needs to be greasepaint, not watercolor with too much water and not enough color. If only they’d used Rachel McAdams. She’s got the kind of sass and feist that Margot Kidder had. –Laurence FISHBURNE as Perry White?! Perry White is supposed to say stuff like “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” and “Don’t call me Chief!” Morpheus would never say stuff like that.

2) There are so many cringeworthy moments. a) When Lois and Kal-El kiss, it’s got ZERO chemistry. b) When Kal-El and Zod beat the Super-Crap out of each other, they tear up streets and make buildings collapse. The collateral damage would make 9/11 look like a fender bender. Any hero with an ounce of Super-Sense would have moved the fight to the Moon, or Mars, or, if it had to be Earth, Siberia or the Sahara. But collapsing buildings are what the late, great Roger Ebert called “Blowing up stuff real good.” c) That Kansas tornado? “Go to the…underpass!” shouted Pa Kent, much like Optimus Prime shouted “Go to…the Building!” Let’s see: 15mph running speed vs. 150mph tornado. Rigghhht. d) The lesson Pa tried to teach Clark about not revealing his power, even to save lives? Then Clark goes and skewers a 40-foot semi on some phone poles, just to give payback to a jerk. Figure the damage at at least $50K, plus use of city/county/state resources to get the truck down from where it’s recklessly endangering everyone. Tsk tsk.

3) Ripoffs galore. Anyone notice that the sounds of Zod’s crew’s energy weapons are identical to the sounds of the Star Wars Empire’s energy weapons? Anyone notice the parallels to the Jesus Christ story? Anyone notice the similarity of the Kryptonian flying beasts to those of AVATAR? Or the bullying Clark Kent as a kid got to Flash Thompson’s of Peter Parker in the first Tobey Maguire SPIDER-MAN? Or the “uploaded” Jor-El to the mousebrained captain in Cordwainer Smith’s “Think Blue, Count Two?” –Okay, maybe not so many noticed that one.

4) Sensory Overload. The first time Zod made a skidmark using Kal-El it was exciting. The sixth or seventh time, not so much. Ditto with collapsing buildings, head-on Kryptonian collisions, face-punches, and all the other much-repeated mayhem.

5) Rampant Senselessness. The Kryptonian civilization is over a hundred thousand years old, we’re told. So why is there a General Zod at all? How could they have survived if they didn’t evolve beyond warmongering? And–use of their planet’s core as an energy source, when they could hyperdrive their way to yellow-starred planets? And–putting convicted murderers in the Phantom Zone, rather than leaving them on the dying planet and hustling the GOOD people into the Phantom Zone, where they’d be safe; wouldn’t that be a no-brainer? And–Lois Lane going out in the forty-below without anything covering her face?  And–Pa Kent not teaching Clark to use his powers more discreetly, so he COULD save lives without being caught? (Example: when the bus went into the drink, why didn’t young Clark just hook his super-feet under the seat in front of him, and levitate the bus to safety? –Okay, maybe he didn’t know how at the time. But then, why didn’t he get UNDER the bus, where he wouldn’t be seen, get the bus safe, then emerge gasping, as if he’d almost drowned?)

And–what are the odds of two human-sized combatants, hurtling into space, hitting an orbiting satellite? Excuse the pun: astronomical.

I could go on and on–why wasn’t Lara uploadably there for Kal, as Jor-El was, for instance?–but my head hurts, reliving it.

I’m not sorry I saw the movie. I liked some of the ideas that seemed taken from the MAN OF STEEL limited-series comic book by John Byrne done in the mid-80s. (Anyone notice the LexCorp truck?) I liked that Kal-El looked like he’d been penciled by George Pérez and inked by Romeo Tanghal. I liked that his symbol meant “Hope” and not “S.” And some of the special effects, like the platinummy 3D projections, were eye candy of the highest magnitude. But MAN OF STEEL suffers to the extent that it insults the viewer’s intelligence–and that’s a planet-sized extent.

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Here is a detail from an original clay sculpture of mine that I have offered as a raffle item for the 5th Anniversary Holiday Celebration of the Village Gallery in the Village of Oak Creek. A maniacal bird of no particular species doubles as a prison within which a crowned and hollow-headed Kirk Douglas languishes.

Here is the piece entire:

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This picture was taken in March of 2008, in the back yard of a house I once co-owned. I was still married, still living in Phoenix, still unpublished except in college literary magazines and the editorial pages of the local newspaper. So much has changed.

Here is the invitation to the Holiday Celebration, which takes place tomorrow, December 15, 2013, from 1 to 5 PM.

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I won’t be there the whole time, since I’ll have to get some shuteye prior to my 11PM-7AM shift at work and do a 40-plus mile to&from. But I hope to see my creation go to a good home, and I hope to hear some good music, and I hope to meet at least one person whom I’ve never met who follows this blog…