Friday, August 29, 2008

New Toys

Blogger buddy Lost in CO kept bugging me to get a digital drawing tablet. She assured me I would love it. I believed her but money is tight right now and the smallest one costs over $100. Really nice ones with graphics software hit around the $800 mark. "Buy a used one!" she says. "I got mine at a yard sale!"

Well, since no store within a 300 mile radius sells these things, the chances of finding a used one were zero. "No problem!" says Lost, "I've got a friend who will sell you one cheap!"

Not only did the ever-bubbly Lost acquire a used tablet from the friend, she downloaded the drivers, found some graphics software, tested it out on two different computers, then packaged it up and sent it across the country.

My new toy! Woot! It came with an electronic pen and a six-button mouse that I haven't yet figured out what all the buttons are for.



I've become an electronic crackhead with this thing. I don't eat, I don't sleep; all I do is draw. Endorphins are spewing from the right side of my brain. Heaven!

The Obama-McCain political cartoons were all done using this and I was able to tidy up some old pen-n-ink drawings too. I've been experimenting with the settings trying to get the cleanest drawings possible. The Waiter Brought a Tray drawing came out nice and crisp. Woo Hoo!

The ever-bubbly Lost also included a surprise in the box...a GORGEOUS leather sketchbook.



When I opened the box and saw it, the digital tablet was temporarily forgotten. I held the sketchbook to my nose to inhale the rich smell of the leather, and fondled all over the thick, creamy pages. Ooohhhh....art supply orgasm. Then I sat in the middle of the floor, hugged it to my breast, and had myself a good weep.

Lost probably never imagined a chunk of cowhide and wood pulp would elicit such a response. Yes, I love the new digital tablet. It will be a useful tool for a good while, but eventually it will become obsolete and get replaced. The sketchbook however will be CHERISHED forever. I will drag it around with me until the day I die. It will hold all my little brain secrets and will never be obsolete or go out of style. It is a truly magnificent gift.

Thank you Lost for you thoughtfulness and generosity. You will never know how much this gift healed my tattered soul.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Waiter Brought A Tray



I had a kitchen pass this past weekend because Hubby went off to play with his brothers. I love these weekends alone because I can stay up all night and do whatever I want with all the lights on and the music up loud. Somewhere around 3:00 a.m. I end up surfing through my YouTube collection of songs from the sixties.

I eventually hit upon Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale." The lyrics have always made my brain twitch in an I-can't-quit-reconcile-it kind of way. I can imagine a bunch of hippies stoned out on acid in some swank gentleman's club. Slouched in deep leather club chairs, they trip away with little mushrooms and flowers floating above their musty, uncombed hair.

After the ceiling flies away to reveal a sky filled with stars, Jeeves the waiter, immaculately turned out in tux and tails, calmly brings them a martini as if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened. With a snobby British, "Sir, your drink" he proffers the glass.

The dichotomy of the hippie versus the waiter has always held a fascination for me. Would the waiter think it odd that there was a skanky hippie in his club? Would he chaff at having to serve him? Would he sneer? Was he the one who decided that the drink should be a martini? Is that all they serve at this club?

Would the hippie think it strange to be offered a martini by a waiter in a tux? Would he flip out thinking he had gotten some bad acid? Would he be paranoid that he was high in a fancy gentleman's club? Wouldn't red wine go better with acid?

I wonder about the secret lives of my imaginary characters. What do they think? What makes them tick? Are they stuck in an endless loop of my imaginary fantasies while I sleep at night?

Who stole my Xanax?

Anyway, as I was listening to the song I was inspired to draw this scribble of the waiter. It has swirled around in my brain every time I've heard the song over the last four decades.

Now that he's been drawn (read: pooped out of my head), perhaps the immaculate Jeeves will be excused from any further Procol Harum fantasies and can finally get out of that tux and get comfortable.

He would probably appreciate that after 40 years of service.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Drawing McCain

When I was stuck on McCain's caricature I looked at McCain cartoons drawn by the nationally syndicated guys. Lots of weird looking McCains out there, lemme tell ya.

There was one I found that was head-n-shoulders above the rest. It most closely resembled McCain and was drawn in a nice, clean style.

By Mike Keefe of The Denver Post:



There's some wrinkles for ya Willym.

I was tickled to find Keefe on the ABC Nightly News tonight, reflecting and drawing about life in Denver.

I love watching the process of the creation of artwork, and Keefe gave 1.5 minutes of sketch process. Woot! I'm gonna wear the grooves out on this video.

Love ya Mike!

White Bread

OK all you folks who would classify McCain as white bread, this is for you.



I'm sure this is about 44 kinds of politically incorrect, but there it is.

I've had an Oreo fixation on the brain for a few days now, and Hubby gave me Oreos for lunch today along with a PB&J. He's so sweet. So I had to draw me some Oreos. They have a very interesting pattern to them by the way. I've never studied an Oreo in depth before.

Anycookie, when folks started dubbing McCain as white bread, I had to ponder on what easily recognizable food product (that is easy to draw) Obama would be. The only thing I could come up with was a burrito (hot & spicy) but that didn't seem to fit and wouldn't be instantly recognizable. I think my brain is tired.

SAT question for the day:
McCain is to white bread as Obama is to ________________.

So Obama got to be the Oreo 'cuz I already had it drawn. Now that I've drawn it out of my system, I'll take wittier suggestions from the audience. Phone lines are open.

I've been trying some file jiggling techniques where I can get my drawings to come out sharper, cleaner and less pixelated. I think I've got something, but man is it a pain. I liked how the Oreo and bread came out. They're a touch fuzzy here because I saved them as jpegs for quicker downloads, but the bitmap images are FABulous. (Click cartoon to embiggen to see fab details)

Digital Doodle, Part 2

I figured out my problem drawing McCain. I was trying too hard.

Tried a simpler approach and was pleased with the result.

Whaddaya think? Better? More recognizable?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Digital Doodles

I've been trying out my hand at political cartooning using a nifty new digital drawing tablet thingy. (More about that later.)

What do you think???







I really struggled with McCain. I'm not sure if this looks like him or not.

Would you readily identify this guy as McCain???



I think the guy I drew looks like the corrupt, drunken mayor of some small town in Mississippi. All he needs is a white suit, Panama hat, and an idiot nephew.

I'm unhappy that the two sketches don't look as if they were drawn by the same person. How could my style change so radically in just under an hour???? I wanted the heads to be a matched set for future use.

Obama was easy-breezy to draw and just climbed right on to the page. I'm tickled how his caricature came out.

I redrew McCain three times and I'm still not happy. Besides his jowls and nearly bald head, the guy is just plain looking.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Teefas

Yesterday I spent two hours in the dentist's chair while he ground down my SIX front teeth...canine to canine inclusive.

I felt like I had been in a back alley mugging after it was all finished.

I am currently sporting a plastic grill until the permanent crowns can be made. I can't take a bite of anything because the plastic thingy with break. I tried eating a ripe banana last night and ended up having to cut it into bite-sized pieces. I gnawed at each piece with the back molars but my back molars don't touch now so even that was tricky business.

I wish I could say that I was getting all new front teeth simply for vanity, but alas, that is not the case. If it was I would have no room to bitch. My front teeth were paper thin and chipping away at an alarming rate due to a weird jaw dysfunction. If I hadn't taken this step now, I would have been forced to in a couple of years when my tooth(s) finally broke away at the gum line. Ugh.

The plastic grill is REALLY bothering me. I've had many removable plastic dental contraptions over the years (retainers, splints, trays, etc.) and this feels just like one of those. I have to be careful because I might absentmindedly reach up and try pop it out. If I did I would have six raw toothy nerves exposed to the air. EEEEKKKKKKKK!!!!! That makes me cringe just thinking about it.

I am stuck with my plastic smile for two weeks. No biting and very careful chewing for that time.

I feel like an old lady with no teefas on a soft mushy diet.

Where's my walker?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Clown Costume

Wheeeee! Genitalia and hotdogs all in one!

I couldn't help myself; had to go there.

Inspired by Hubby's snide comment made during a raging case of PMS. You can guess the rest of *that* conversation.





Ribbed clown pants - For her safe clowning pleasure.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Take a trip and never leave the farm

I have been entertaining myself in the far reaches of the Internets. Actually, it was just on Google, but it took me places I would have never imagined I could go.

First, Google Earth. It's a fun little program where you can spy into people's backyards, but the real thrill comes when you click the little planet icon. That switches to a view of outer space. Wowza!

Here's a screen shot of what it first looks like:



But if you double click anywhere out there, it will take you zooming into the stars of a constellation. Here is the close-up of Cancer, the constellation in the middle of the first shot:



Warning: Do not double click if partaking of recreational drugs. You will fall into your computer and be lost forever.


Told ya. Didn't believe me did ya?

I got lost in space for about six hours the other day. I clicked away like a madwoman tripping out amongst the stars and I was stone cold sober.

If you have ever pooh-poohed the notion that there was intelligent life out there, playing with this for a while will change your mind. Odds are there is somebody out there looking at me just like I am looking at them.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to find a black monolith floating around out there somewhere.

If you switch back to Earth view you can spy on people, but actually the plain ol' Google Maps is more user friendly and much easier to navigate.

Type in any address in a major city (over 100,000 roughly) and it will take you to a street level view. This is something recent on Google Maps, because I don't think it was there a month or two ago. This is not the highly pixelated satellite view that's been made to look 3D, it's an actual photo of the location.

Anyway, the usual little red blood drop will appear close to the address. Then in a pop-up word balloon looking thingie, it will show a street level view. Click on that.

A little orange guy will appear and the green thing under him will point towards the view shown. You can grab him and fly him around to get to the next block or even across town. He just has to stay on the furry blue streets.



I chose to eyeball Uncle Buck's Marina Towers in Chicago. Here's his front door:



Then I skootched up the view to look at the skyline.



SWEET.

This will be a boon to Internet stalkers, international terrorists, and Dog the Bounty Hunter. Now Dog can see if your car is parked in the driveway.

Whooda thunk it that some little ol' girl in the backwoods of Arkansas could take a trip to Chicago, New York, Niagara Falls, and Sagittarius without ever leaving the comfort of her computer chair?

I love technology.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Waiting

Hummm.....back from the dead for a little while at least. Haven't blogged in almost two weeks. May not again for a while.

My creative energies are drained. I've gotten a few things accomplished, but I'm ashamed to say not much. I've played a lot of Spider Solitaire. I'm sick of Spider Solitaire.

My life right now is in a holding pattern with no forward motion. I am waiting, waiting, waiting.... Waiting for what I don't know. It feels the same as the waiting when I was waiting for my mother and my father to die. The change is imminent, but the exact date is unknown. Until then there is just the endless waiting and waiting and waiting.

I don't know what I'm waiting for but it's going to be a major life change. I don't like major life changes when I didn't orchestrate the change. I'm a major control freak. I don't like not having control. At least when I decide to change I can make preparations for it. Since I don't know what the change is yet, I'm just stuck; waiting.

A thunderstorm woke me up this morning at 5:30 am. It has been raining for the past five hours and shows no signs of letting up. Thank you Tropical Storm Fay for the rain. I actually feel alive today for the first time in weeks. The rain helps wash away the something that is the waiting. Maybe things are about to change.

I fell asleep last night watching the History Channel. They were re-running the show about how science, ancient cultures and seers all agree that the end of the world will happen on December 21, 2012. That's less than 1600 days away, 1585 to be exact. It's kind of scary that science agrees with the philosophical mumbo-jumbo. Eek.

Consensus is there will be a planetary alignment of some kind and the Earth will change its magnetic axis. Mass destruction will ensue. Arkansas may wind up on the new equator, or may be the new north pole. If we end up in a cold zone I won't survive. I go into hibernation below 60°. I'm allergic to icicles.

I hope I don't end up waiting for another 1585 days for the whatever-it-is that is going to be changing in my life. That's a long time to be in limbo.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Uvulan Violets



No, I have no idea where this stuff comes from. It just pops in my head and won't go away.

Yes, I'm weird.




That was going to be the entirety of the post for today until this conversation with Hubby:

I saw your sexual flower drawing...

It's not sexual.

I don't get it.


Get what?

The joke.

(sigh) It's not sexual and there is no joke. It's just a weird flower thingy I drew. A *uvula* (waggly finger pointing at mouth) is that little hangy down thing in the back of your throat. You're thinking of a *vulva*. I'm not sure what a vulva is but I think I've got one somewhere in my panties.




Well, obviously I need to tell the backstory of this drawing.

This flower thingy is something that's been stuck in my head and I needed to draw it out so it would go away. The crux of it is the balloony "E" shape. The shape itself was what got stuck in my head.

I saw it as a sci-fi futuristic flower that was red with a darker maroon interior. The whole drawing was supposed to be bright, bold colors with thick black lines. I tried drawing it digitally, but it just wasn't satisfying.




For my soul to be happy I need to feel the swooping motion of pen against paper. There is something timeless about old-fashioned drawing that digital just doesn't satisfy for me, so I dragged out my paper and crayons.

After drawing and outlining my sketch, I had the option to color it with Sharpies or colored pencils. While Sharpies would get me the rich color I wanted, the palette is rather limited and I can't blend the colors. The pencils are more forgiving of mistakes and I can blend the colors for life and depth. So pencils won.

When I draw I start out with an image in my head and try to capture it on paper. I know what the finished product should look like, but somewhere in the process the drawing takes on a life of its own and decides to be something else entirely. I end up being just a poor sap with a pencil who is along for the ride. Such was the case with these flowers.

After the drawing demanded the colors and shading it wanted, the flowers ended up looking like that little hangy down thing in the back of your throat with a tongue behind it. The heart-shaped leaves looked like the leaves of the wild violets that grow around here. So I titled it Uvulan Violets and called it done.

I tried to explain all this to Hubby. I even did a quick sketch with Sharpies to show him the flowers were actually supposed to be sci-fi looking, not sexual. I hold up this sketch to Hubby.



See???? Now does that look sexual???

He starts in with that husband-caught-with-his-ass-in-a-crack patter where his voice goes up a couple of octaves and is accompanied by much arm flinging.

I didn't know what it was supposed to be I thought you had drawn some girly parts flower picture with ovaries and vulvularies and I didn't get the joke I don't know what all those vulvulary things are or why you drew them as flowers......

Vulvularies. (grin) Yep, Hubby makes up words as he goes along too. As he is flinging around and ranting, I look up vulva on Wikipedia and read him what is says.

A vulva is, "the region of the external genital organs of the female, including the labia majora, mons pubis, labia minora, clitoris, bulb of the vestibule, vestibule of the vagina, greater and lesser vestibular glands, and vaginal orifice."

I stand up, circle my hands in my crotch area, give a little Michael Jackson hip thrust in Hubby's direction and say in a cutesy, squealy little girl voice:

A vulva is a *chootchie*!

His face brightens considerably thinking he has been proven correct.

Yeah, a chootchie! You drew a chootchie flower!

(sigh)

Uvula. It's that little hangy down thing in the back of your throat....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Scribbler and Artpad

I stumbled across a cool on-line doodler program thingie called The Scribbler.

You draw a quick line drawing then the program scribbles it in. You can vary the line weight and colors. Here's my first scribble.

And another one. I couldn't help myself:
OK, I'm addicted.

Moving on....

The other cool program thingie is Artpad. It works a lot like MS Paint, but for some reason is much smoother and easier to control when using a mouse. You can also set the opacity of the color which you can't do in Paint.

Here's my quickie doodle from Artpad:

One cool feature with Artpad is that you can replay your entire painting process. It's kinda cool watching the paintbrush move on its own.

You can also click through the gallery of paintings other people have done and watch the paintbrush repaint them too.

Both programs are a fun way to kill time when you should be doing something productive.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Creatures of the Night

Out on the porch in the 2:00 a.m. darkness I hear renck! renck! renck!, scrabble scrabble, skitter skitter skitter. A grey blur goes up the tree followed closely by an orange blur.

Red Tom, the neighbor's cat, had treed somebody in the little live oak. I figured it was Cheezburger, our resident stray, but when I went out for a closer look, I discovered Red Tom had treed himself a coon. Good Boy! An Arkansas Coon Cat!


Thanks to this particular pose, I discovered it was a boy raccoon.


He's a good-looking, healthy little fellow. I'll bet he's been into Cheezburger's cat kibbles. I wondered why there were kibbles in the water dish. Now I know.


As I snapped away with a *very* bright flash, the poor critter got more and more agitated. He kept opening his mouth to show his teeth.






By this time Red Tom had flopped on the sidewalk under the tree to watch me torment the coon with the camera. I think Tom was rather perturbed I had interrupted his fun.

The coon looked desperate to escape because this is a very small tree so going up wasn't an option and there was a crazy lady and a rather unpleasant tomcat below. I was afraid he might decide the top of my head would be a good place to escape or attack, so I backed off.

Mr. Coon finally waddled down from the tree and trotted off not a foot away from Red Tom laying there on the sidewalk. Tom didn't even bother to Ack! Ack! at him. (If you are owned by a cat you know what that sound is.) I guess they both had had all the fun they could handle.

Off he goes into the night. That fuzzy orange blob to the right is Red Tom's feetsies.


I hope Mr. Coon remembers this little episode and doesn't come back. We've got enough furry critters around here.

Ya know, there's a lot of drama around our house between midnight and dawn. Hubby misses all of it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Alligator Shoes



It's 108° outside and we're out of toilet paper.

Dancing alligators seemed appropriate.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Alligator Food Rant

News story on the tube tonight:

Kid swimming in Florida swamp gets arm chomped off by alligator. Alligator killed; arm retrieved but could not be reattached.

Arrrrrghhh! I'm pissed that they killed the gator. Allow me to rant.

The kid was stoopid, the adults were stoopid, the only one with any sense was the gator and he didn't fare too well.

If you live in Florida you know the swamps are teaming with gators. If you go swimming in an alligator's living room and make flappy, splashy noises like alligator food and get your arm bitten off, you got what you deserved. It's not like the gator crawled into the kid's backyard and snagged him off the patio or anything.

You're supposed to be smarter than the gator, kid. Their itty bitty reptilian brains only process "eat", "poop", and "boink." They don't lay around in the murky water doing calculus or anything.



Killing the gator to retrieve the arm was pretty stoopid because after a few minutes it would have started being digested. I'm sure it took them more than a few minutes to catch and kill the poor animal.

The only fault of the gator in this whole fiasco was his aim. He should have gone for the kid's head.

--------------------
Addendum:

After re-reading this post, I realize I sound cold and heartless about some child getting chomped. This was not a small child. The "kid" was 19-20 years old and swimming with his buddies who all should have known better. I'm an old fart. The term "kid" applies to anyone under the age of 25.