Sunday, January 31, 2010

Variant, my nexus of consolation

The original phrase makes more sense with the illustration, I hope you will read it on this post at A Room of One's Own.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hommage to Grrl + Dog*

If you haven't met the guerrilla knitter at grrl+ dog, click on the title and scroll down to her original "Joy" knitup. I saw this piece of street wrack (may be a drying rack for laundry, I'm not sure) and couldn't resist decorating it. I'll be posting more on Monday about the unexpected, most of the post will be courtesy of one of my commenters, and there WILL be a prompt.

*A cephalopod-free post


The authorities:

– Sigmund Freud

Eigentlich ein Mandala
– Carl Jung

Is there dental hygiene after death?
–William James

The photographer:
It's not rude, it's scientific

Friday, January 29, 2010


The illustration friday prompt is focus, something in short supply around here. Everything is just so interesting...not to mention the dream I woke from this morning in which another blogger had a helpful suggestion about another idea for a book project. One of you will be getting an email later today with thanks.

I'm thinking of posting the Hollywood version of this in an edit later today, then maybe I can give this movie obsession a rest. As for existential, do worms have butts to scratch?

The Hollywood version, except it would require more $$$$$.

If any of my talented commenters has an idea for the indie version, don't hesitate to leave it in comments - no pressure, though. Alternatively, you could check out If you don't want me to destroy you.

Fooling the robbers

So, what do you think? Will the next bunch of heist-happy hooligans pass on my Honda? It's not easy to think this stuff up, people. Even if Magritte got there first.

If you want to see actual red cars, I understand there are shoals of them here, and a peripatetic interview with poet Nual Ní Chonchúir.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


The solution, with a link, in 8 hours (this should fool the robbers, heh.).

Flying shirts and Falling Bodies

The other night I rented and watched some glum independent film about people living in Manhattan. The male director and male scriptwriter put together a story in which the very attractive lead actress found redemption through a degrading sexual act, which reminded me of Veronica Geng's hysterical "Ten Movies that take Women Seriously", with synopses of fictitious feminist films by male directors such as "Annie get your Shogun" in which "an aggressive young girl...asserts her independence by by sailing to Kyoto and horsewhipping a samurai because she doesn't like the cut of his jib. She falls in love with the American Consul...but fails to marry him because she is ornery".

Anyway, cleared my brain by watching the wonderful film "Thirteen Conversations about one thing", unfortunately released within a few days of 911. A number of characters consider what it is that makes for a good life (hint: it's not chasing happiness). John Turturro plays an emotionally distant but passionately self-absorbed professor, Clea Duvall plays a sunny housecleaner who wants to go to Greece. She's the character with the escaping white shirt. The two characters never meet, but all the stories are connected.

Edit: If you've read this far, and if you have a DVD player that can accommodate an old school video tape, and if you're in the U.S., let me know if you'd like me to send tape on to you after Mina at the flower store finishes watching it -

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Manachaeism: an idea whose time has passed?

Manachaeism – Dualistic cosmology proposing the earth is a battleground for the war between good (spiritual) versus evil (material).

Am I alone here in thinking it's time to give up the mind/body split and realize we are fragile animals? In other apocalyptic movie news, Denzel (No, No! Not Denzel!) is playing a guy who wanders around quoting scripture and offing evil dudes (such as Gary Oldman - I've never trusted that guy since he played Count Dracula) in Book of Eli, the advertisements for which counsel us to "Believe in Hope". Maybe hope is like a really big gun. And vaguely related, I find it piquant that Mel Gibson is appearing in a film called "Edge of Darkness", cause dude, I think you're soaking in it.

Frequently I like what this passionately reasonable man has to say about extremes of righteousness and the embrace of same.

Is it Safe?

It's not always clear. The formidable (she has schooled me) Ariella P. of the enihsnusymerasouy blog pictured in the center photo. Posted recently on the Kyklops blog was a video questioning whether the United States has become safer as a result of airport security. Here is a lovely memory of safety on Bloggertropolis.

More related ranting later today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tis Love

'"Tis love, tis love that makes the world go round"' [said by the Duchess]. 'Somebody said ,' whispered Alice, 'that it is done by everyone minding their own business.'

I've put this up as a shirt on redbubble, and here is a card version that Mina will be selling at the flower store.

Tomorrow looks like ranty weather here.


A neighbor who was moving out gave me three silk damask curtains which I put through the wash (the curtains were in my car when it was stolen and I wanted to wash the robbers' cigarette smoke smell out). Only one of them frayed in this amazing way - that is, the bird is from the Antique Centre, but don't you love those ravels?

Here are some beautiful locations on the internet:

The uses of unravelling on SpiritCloth

Unravelling a riddle elsewhere

Cystalline ravels on Ruhezone

and on Spirithelpers

Unravelled at the recital on Oort Cloud

Unravelling beliefs at how to be god

Ravels as container on collagecantoand soon

Binding nature's ravels on art that's felt

For Lost fans, some mysteries unravelled on scott c

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rained Out/That's what we have pencils for

The last face card of the recent series was left in the Fragrance Garden at Golden Gate Park. The weather was not conducive to drawing, so I only got what is below . Below was done without putting in a pencil outline, and is more successful as to textures than proportions. Anyway, I though it might be interesting to compare the two.
O tempora! O mores! Edit: Just returned from the post office, where I observed a young man with two almost face-sized faces silkscreened on the posterior of his jeans (this brought a very rude Monty Python song to mind) , a very fit looking woman with a remarkably clear-eyed gaze who had just returned from Antrarctica, and a man who told the clerk that he had attached a stamp to one of his envelopes through an accident. Humanity, go figure.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obsession or...

Spark from Heaven?

Again, hard to know.

The next couple of days, less thinky here. Promise!


If anyone has a confessional urge, be my guest. I've been trying to draw women more, because my tendency is to draw men, this one kind of turned out to be a self-portrait except I have more wrinkles. Out most of today, a sketchwalk in the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Hmmm, wonder what movie characters I might run into in the Japanese Tea Garden?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Journeying cards

More cards have been placed. I need to upload the set on TinyTheatre and link, will do so later. This one was placed outside of Trader Joe's, a nearby store. I experimented with cutting and then folding up the face cards after collaging them. Inside Trader Joe's recently:

A 4-year-old coolly informing his mother she was "not his friend". After I had purchased my groceries I observed him swinging, giddy with joy, around a pole while waiting for this same mother to finish her purchases. Today, a sales clerk adding up groceries while incorporating a bit of song and a dance move.

Still hoping to get more people to participate in the Valentine's Day prompt - just leave Valentine's Day wishes for a stranger, as a collage, card, or poem in a place where someone will find it, take a photo of your placement, and I'll link to you February 14. Let me know here or in the comments for the original post if you have done so.

P is for the Boring Virtue

Kind of a melodramatic drawing of life's undramatic moments...trying to keep emotions in suspension. I drew this while I was waiting for my camera to be delivered - thank you, Sony, it appears to fixed.

It's a good muscle to develop...John Keats thought a necessary quality for creative achievement was "Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without reaching after fact & reason". Here's a collage on the same subject on coffeemessiah.

This is an odd song - I think it's a bolero, can someone more musically sophisticated than me tell me if it is? It's a terribly lush romantic song with lyrics countering the romantic/dramatic agenda. Heh.

Don't let me borrow, don't let me bring
Don't let me wallow, don't make me sing
Let me see just who I will become.

---I am Kloot, Avenue of Hope

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Wicked Fairies/Static Electricity

Reactivity theme continuing...the post tomorrow is on the reverse.

Bread Bed

First let me say that the above was inspired by this delightful video on Tony Zimnoch's Bench documenting a visit to the old country.

I had already become smitten with the letter B - why does this letter seem so benign? Here it says that the letter derives from Egyptian hieroglyph for shelter. A book can be a kind of shelter, as can a breast, or breasts. Certainly a posterior shaped like this would make a more comfortable seat than one shaped like a capitol "I". There's the smiling, or laughing, Bodhisattva. Then again there's my friend Ben, who has already informed me that his name stands for benevolent, and I believe him.

Sorry, I don't actually know the way to Sesame Street.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Go now, my little book, to every place
Where my first pilgrim has but shown his face

– John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress

It's hard to send one's art out into the world...but there comes a time to be introduced to the public, ready or not. I realized I'm running this prompt the same day as Theme Thursdays, so I may change the day for it in future.

Some of the most exquisite poetry books I know have been written by Laynie Browne, here is a link to an excerpt from her Daily Sonnets

At Drobtinice, pages from an old children's book, a lucky find.

At l'astronave, a short study of the nuts and bolts part of the process.

At eyetrouble, a marvellous new invention for producing books and a sample excerpt from a most unusual novel

At Razored Zen, some helpful rules for those planning to write books (or shorter works)

At Jack and Buddha, scroll for online enlightenment from this virtual book

At Poet in Residence, a prize-winning book

At Stony River, help for those who aspire to make a book some day.

Steve Loya's splotch monsters book available here

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book Posts for Thursday

This is one of my assemblages from some years ago, made in the old-fashioned equivalent of a laptop, a portable writing desk. It's a book of sorts, a meditation on illusion (or is it inspiration, or both?), the breaking up of same, and the cycle starting again. To see the whole story, Here's a link to TinyTheatre. Here's a link also to my sister Aleph, who has a related post today.

Tomorrow I'm going to link to posts about books - let me know if you have posted something before the end of the day tomorrow, your own book or a book you liked, or bookmaking, and I will link in tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ladder Tree

There's some (things) hidden in the tree - I will reveal all in an edit later today. The paragraph below is about the genesis of this image - that is, I'm probably not the first person ever to come up with this idea, but here's how it happened for me.

My extremely unsentimental father is on his own now, my mother died last year. He is concerned with getting their house in perfect shape for the heirs to sell. I dreamed last night that he was improving the house by taking out the stairs to the basement, what was left was very precipitous - as in completely vertical and three or four stories' worth of height. In his enthusiasm he had trapped me in the attic with some small flowers, resembling one of my mother's pots of African violets, which were dying and which I needed to get to water. My sister (AKA "The Rock") was deputized to climb up the skeletal structure which was left and persuade me to climb down, which she did. I descended, clutching the flowers, and stated that "It wasn't as hard as it looked".

It probably connects with yesterday's green technology post also. I'm putting it up as a t-shirt on redbubble.

Did you guess?

In news related to the explanatory paragraph, I've been making dinner for my father a couple of times a week. When asked if I'd be making dinner tonight, he replied he'd be happy to do so if I wanted Safeway pizza and french fries for dinner. Guess who's making dinner...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Steampunk in Berkeley

My friend Ariella and I headed out to Shipyard Labs yesterday, Ariella to get technical input for a game she's designing and I to see what was behind the mysterious gates passed many times over the years. Here you see genial Project Manager (and Master Carpenter) Shannon O'Hare describing the journey of the lovely Never Was Haul, a sort of ship/house on wheels, to Burning Man.
Shannon explains the operation of this gasifier, a prototype for a carbon-neutral source of heat and energy. See all power labs if you want to build your own. All Power labs is also working with Engineers Without Borders , among the international groups responding to the Haitian earthquake, to make carbon-neutral brick ovens which can be built in poor countries.

If you want to see more of this urban excursion, I've uploaded a set on flickr.

Edit: Just walked next door and placed the Engineers without Borders info in Carlos' Door. Heh, that will teach him to ask me questions.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

Well, I guess I'm dedicating this one to Barbara Ehrenreich, whose latest book The Bright Side I have not read. Yes, there are worse problems in the world.

Edit: I just had quite an adventure, was going to post it now, but as I am getting some interesting comments on this post I think I will wait . So, tomorrow I'll be posting about a local Steampunk Enterprise. I've decided to make the link word for Thursday "book", so any post before end of the day on Thursday that includes a book review or recommendation (can be a book you've written) I'll link on Thursday. I'll do a reminder post on Wednesday as well. Let me know in the comments Wednesday or Thursday if you post something.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rough around the Edges

Did I mention I liked Tom Waits? Rough around the edges could describe his voice...the sweetness is inside.It's just the opposite of Monty Python's crunchy frog candy in which a thin layer of chocolate covers a presumably gelid amphibian.

And the opposite of the Ancient Mariner neighbor Carlos, who stopped in the street to ask me why he couldn't understand everything, all at once, so he could do the right thing to make the world better. Did I mention I liked my neighborhood?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wilderness Within

The Illustration Friday prompt is wilderness, a wonderfully inspiring prompt. I'm putting in a bit a hand-wringing below – if you came for the illustration, no need to read it.

I'm a reactive person by nature, something I had been feeling I was making progress with. Recently there was some very odd spam-like stuff going on with numerous links to one blog appearing after the comments section (no, you won't see it now, I've removed them). I got very pumped up and left some outraged comments (a moderated comment blog). The administrator was slow to respond and it happened several times. Turns out that it was probably one of those google things and I was (virtually) yelling at some poor innocent soul. Anyway, the connection to the drawing is simply that there's always something primitive most of us try to protect and defend, sometimes inappropriately...or maybe it's the forest and the trees. Has anyone else had this particular (google induced?) experience? Not about the losing your temper part, I mean a huge stream of links in the comment section.

Feedback from readers on the multiple links:

According to Tony and Subby, the problem was caused by a virus contained in a widget of the blog leaving the comments on mine. Apparently many blogger widgets have embedded viruses. In Tony's case, his was the offending blog, but it only happened once. Time to give my tech expert a call...and the tech expert says, essentially no worries - Thanks, Terry.

Minty Green Goodness

This was supposed to go to the (highly recommended for Those Who Like That Sort of Thing) Bad Spock blog, but then it turned into something else. If Spock is more recognizable than Kirk, I will just say that when he was young, William Shatner looked like one of those old composite photos of 20 Movie stars. Facial features...tiny. Well, that's my excuse.

This post is dedicated to Fresca and Susan. Live long and prosper!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Love the Color

...and the delicacy of the leaves, but I don't want to eat one. The dolly from below has jumped up into this frame.

Green links:

Wearing green on Birdwoman

The Ground beneath her feet on femminismo

Green (felt) Alice on Nature's Whispers

The very green Pacific Northwest beautifully painted on Celeste Bergin

Green haiku (English and Scottish versions) on zenspeung via bard on the run

A rebellious green crocodile on Eric Barclay

Dyeing fabric green on ixchel art

Green used for emphasis on Errantry

Green Tea plantation on Indiaphragme

Some green suggestions on renaissance little green book (a recent post is very detailed about feeding birds in winter)

It's part animal, part plant and all green on Xenophilia

Spaceman Bobox's girlfriend's mother on eyetrouble

I've had a good response to this idea, so I think I'm going to be posting a word every Wednesday for a list of links on Thursday. Since I've focused on the visual folks this time, next week I'll try to find a word for the writers. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Green Links Tomorrow!

Apparently I'm on a green spree. Now, tomorrow - tomorrow I'd like to link to green posts. If there is something green in a visual you've posted, or if you use the word "green" in your post tomorrow, let me know and I will link you in the post. I have already spied with my little eye a couple that I want to list.

Until tomorrow...Green is the color of renewal. Chirstopher Eccleston is a Very Respected Actor in general, but looking at this...please watch till the end...he never has to do anything else to convince me of his stature as an actor. As if one of those gaunt marble figures on a 13th century tomb suddenly began to glow with light from within (It's got a green background...).

The rant about the hero thing

For those of you not in the U.S., today has brought North Americans the edifying spectacle of baseball star Mark McGuire weeping in an interview in which he bemoans his use of steroids. Sheldon Kopp said (in If you meet the Buddha on the Road, kill him) "If you have a hero, look again; you have diminished yourself in some way". All human relations start in projection, a feeling of recognition of something in oneself in another. If taken to an extreme, though, projection not only elides power from the hero worshipper, but also from the person being made to fit the mold of the needs and expectations of that worshipper. Perhaps it's a need for something solid in a world that changes? But solid people...they would have to be statues, wouldn't they?

No, neither of these two look much like Mark McGwire –nor much like me, although I've been both characters at different times.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Valentine's Day Challenge

You may recall this sequence of cards I put out for people to find. I thought it might be nice to offer these for collage to those who would like to do the same for February 14. One per customer, I don't know why the queen of hearts is missing, she must have gone into some art project, and I find the suicide king insufficiently cheery (I may alter that one considerably myself and place it). Or~~~you can collage your own card, of this or any kind, and leave it out for someone to find. If you put it in place on, or slightly before February 14 and take a picture of it that you post on your blog, I will link to you.

If you choose one of these cards, I'll send some materials in the envelope with the card, which you are free to use, or not, in collaging. Just keep it clean, okay? Let me know in comments if you are interested, I have removed my email address after too many as solicitations.

Some fun, huh, kids?

The Green Children of Woolpit

Jenny of the Somewhere in Time blog left a memory in comments of visiting Woolpit in Suffolk, where the green brother and sister appeared in the Twelfth Century. The boy died, The girl's color faded with time, and she learned to speak English - she claimed they came from St. Martin's Land, underground. Jenny's book The Mystery of Lewis Carroll will be published in The U.S. February 2, and in the U.K. March 1. Jayne Harnett-Hargrove has a series of portraits painted on musical notation which probably suggested my painting on these pages. The little bits of fabric are shavings from the borders of the Christmas present.

I have painted this on the pages of a disintegrating book I got at a garage sale, no cover and much stained, but illustrated withe beautiful engravings. Here is one with a little text.

What a wonderful world, to have green children appear, or a man named Mr. Green, at sunset, in a balloon.

Monday, January 11, 2010

That ain't natural

Cats don't belong in nests! The doll is changing...there is a hint in what Bosco is sitting in. More mystification later.

In other news, you may be seeing more drawing here for the next little while, my camera's shutter has the hiccups. It's under warranty though, I was thrilled to find out. I swear it's taking the pictures of teeny tiny things that caused it to blow up.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Alice In wonderland/Beyond the Wall

Cláudia is a frequent commenter on this blog, she recalls trying to dig through her bedroom wall (in a rented apartment) as a child because she was convinced some other world beckoned beyond. Both Alice books imagine their heroine passing through into someplace else - in the first, she struggles to get into the tiny garden but for a good long while she is too big, or the key is too far off, for her to succeed. For a related glimpse of a world beyond (yes, the sychronicity of the web is certainly something), please (especially those of you with small daughters) see this post on Drobtinice.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Local Cloud-Capped Palace

The Grand Lake Theatre was shown in a previous post - as a movie theatre, it's held its share of dreams, you may be sure.

I love this other photo of looking beyond on ruhezone

Friday, January 8, 2010

Confined* by Words

Above, I have copied an excerpt from an early, gorgeous piece of propaganda, the St. Crispian's Day speech from Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth, more easily read below:

...He that hath no stomach for this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse.
We would not die in that man's company...

Of course, nobody does depart, any more than they do in modern-day war films. Words can free or confine a listener. These make a virtue of death. I got so obsessed with this speech, and so taken over by this little tin soldier (leather jerkin, tiny shield), that I have also posted as a photos on TinyTheatre and redbubble, and of course I did a t-shirt. I'll be continuing a Shakespeare series with the lead soldiers on TinyTheatre, too many ideas + Zeiss lens on my little digital camera. Posting later in the day tomorrow, I feel like Mr. Toad after the run-in with the motor-car.

*The Illustration Friday prompt is "confined".

The late Christmas present, completed

My sister's Christmas present is finished, in all its irregular glory. Learn from my example if you ever do two facing profiles: make sure the eyes are on the same level. She seems to be somewhat taller than him. Here is how this started out. His collar is a little piece of fabric I found on the ground. Her flower is an antique frog from the antiques center (the closure kind of frog, not the amphibian).

Edit: ooh, I'm so excited. I figured out how to fasten it to the wall - glue a tack to the interior side of a snap (use silicon glue, I use the brand E6000), then sew the snap "socket" to the fabric. This is without a doubt the most brilliant thing I have ever done! Okay, maybe somebody thought of this before - please don't tell me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Stephen's Story about Thuxton Racetrack

My sister's husband Stephen was at one time a mechanic, working on Formula Ford 2000 race cars. This required his presence at tracks where the cars were being raced, and sometimes he and other mechanics would camp out in the center of the racetrack, which was used as a paddock for horses when there were no races scheduled. The presence of the horses in the field produced wonderful matter for the growth of fungi, and the morning of the race the field was filled with a delicious aroma of mushrooms frying on camp stoves. This is where the scent of frying mushrooms takes him today (Eat your hear out, Marcel Proust).

Eva, are these edible?

If anyone is up for it, leave me a short anecdote (three or four sentences) about memory in the comments. If there's one I think I can illustrate, I'll post the illustration with the story and a link to your blog. Let me make that easier - alternatively, let me know if you have a recent post relating to memory and I'll see if it's one I can illustrate.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Joke About the Suit

I first heard this joke several decades ago as a teenager, recounted by a business associate of my father's who was having dinner with us. It made a vivid impression.

A man who is flush with cash decides to buy himself his first tailored suit and takes himself to a bespoke tailor, where he is carefully measured and picks out a beautiful tweed. A date is set for him to reappear to claim his beautiful new possession, and he presents himself at the assigned date. When he puts the suit on and looks in the mirror, he protests that one arm is too short, one leg seems to be twisted backwards, and the torso is bent to one side. The tailor reassures him, saying "just hunch your shoulder, bend to one side, and drag your leg behind will look like the suit fits perfectly!" The guy does as instructed, and the suit looks pretty good. He pays and leaves. Dragging himself down the street he hears a guy say to his friend "Look at that poor crippled guy." His friend replies, "But doesn't he have a great tailor!"

Fight the suit, is I all I can say.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Birnam Wood

Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until
Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him.

- MacBeth, William Shakespeare

Is it 20/20 hindsight that makes me think Monty Python is somehow foreshadowed in this passage? I'm thinking of all those lively legs shuffling forward while the top halves are held very still.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Okay, Jane Austen had a better sense of humor, I'll grant you that. But isn't Charlotte Bronte something, the sheer stubborn persistence in her literary aspirations, mirrored in her quiet, plain, insignificant heroine's refusal to knuckle under to the blows of fate?

She's on a t-shirt on redbubble.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It is no such thing...

Connected with yesterday's post. I like this old song, but hadn't previously listened to the lyrics enough to know it could be half full/half empty kind of rumination. Or maybe she just wants her back warmed a bit longer...