Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sifting Files

Last night I spent a lot of time going through my files and discarding crap with non-productive opening paragraphs.

I deleted all the Time Traveler files that were done section by section; the serial run is done in the Press. I opened various mis-start files, checked to see if they had any significant content, and then deleted them. It's like weeding a garden, which I continued this afternoon, pulling out weeds from the back bank. Howie helped, by snatching at the weeds as I pulled them from the ground, shredding bits of their foliage. Babe also helped, by threatening Howie with great barks, and fake bities if Howie ventured within his range.

My granddaughter helped me make pasta with a meat sauce this evening. Who could ask for more in life?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Just to Piss Myself Off

"Tell me honestly -- does this dress make me look hunchbacked???"

Why yes, dearie, something sure does. Looks like you're sporting a severe case of scoliosis, along with some heavy duty malnutrition, anemia, and soon to be sprouting bunions from those stupidly high-heeled shoes. Not to mention that your hair looks like crap, and the color of your arms doesn't match the pallor of your face.

No, wait, maybe she's thinking, "Ohmigod, I can't even remember where I put my breasts last night!"

This, then, is the fashion magazine. Emaciated girls pose in ridiculous positions wearing mostly hideous clothing. Writers of articles describe in glowing phrases accessories that would make a parrot puke. Celebrities' photographs in designer clothing make them appear short-legged, stumpy, and pasty-faced -- well, gosh, no one took the time to Photoshop them to make them look leggy or evenly-complexioned.

In January's issue of Vogue, a two-page spread shows five emaciated blondes with languid eyes and spread legs, in lacy little baby-doll outfits. They all wear black leggings, and their arms and legs intertwine with one another's as they sprawl on a pile of hay. They all wear spike-heeled, open-toed sandals that lace like a sneaker -- some of which have floral pillowcase patterns on them. One girl has something white splashed across her chin and collarbone; considering that in the center of the photo there is a chicken, and in the background are a couple chicken coops, I puzzled for a while that the model was supposed to look like she had accidentally looked up when said chicken flew by. Then I spied the small jar of white liquid propped in the hay -- oh, I see, the girl is just supposed to be a pig who spilled stuff on herself. Oh, yeah, and she spilled it on the thigh of the girl beside her. Now WTF are we selling here? Ugly shoes? Lacy semi-garments? Lesbian orgies among the barn animals?

Upon reading this post, one might be moved to ask, "So, why do you buy this mag if you hate what you see so much?"

I do it just to keep an eye on what fashion is doing. On a rare occasion, I'll see something that makes sense. Or maybe I'll see a horrid outfit, that with a little help, could turn out to be nice. Once or twice a year, I'll buy the magazine just to remind myself of how awful certain fashions look, even on supermodels.

Actually the dress at the top isn't too bad. At least it wouldn't be if the wearer could stand up straight, perch on a stool to keep the fabric flowing, and glue down the front to make sure her nipples weren't showing.

And eat a damn sandwich.

Migratory Dangers

There were about a bazillion of them.

A flock of Canada geese settled in a field a couple miles west of here, along with some sandhill cranes (the bigger gray birds in among the black-necked geese). Except for a few sentries among the geese, the birds were grazing on the newly sprouted grasses. The cranes eat bugs, frogs, and sometimes moles if they're small enough.
It was Saturday, and while our turkey roasted in the oven, Bernie and I jumped in the car to go see the amazing sight of the great flock pausing on their migratory flight. I'd been telling Bernie how astonished I was to see so many geese at one time, but hearing about it just wasn't the same. He gasped and pulled over almost onto the edge of the field to look at them in their thousands.

This picture doesn't do their numbers justice. The view of the field is about six times the width of this photo, if not more, and doesn't show the rest of the flock that looked like a gray blur behind the line of the irrigation ditch.

As we watched, listening to their low honks and trills, a gunshot was fired and the entire flock rose into the air in a dark cloud. There were several more shots, and then we saw a man picking up dead geese. He killed five of them on the fly.

I suppose that I could understand, if the geese were ravaging his newly sprouted barley or wheat or oats. But the sound of the shotgun chased them away -- he didn't need to kill them.

But you never know. Maybe the price of gasoline and natural gas were making it hard for him or his workers to put food on the table. Maybe he loves the taste of wild goose the way I love the taste of venison. And after all, I had my own large bird roasting in the oven, didn't I?

That same morning, Lillian made her first connection between living creature and carcase, as she avidly watched Alex and me preparing the turkey for cooking. Suddenly horrified, she cried out, "Where's his head? Where's his feet? No, we can't eat him!!" It took some explaining to convince her that the turkey was no longer alive, and that we would honor the turkey's life by preparing it with gratitude for food to eat. It was a good day to remember that about our food, be it carrot or cow.

I hope the guy who shot the birds eats them, and honors their lives by preparing them with gratitude, also.

Still, geese ...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Little White Puffs

In addition to a huge flock of Canadian geese, snow geese, and cranes in a field a couple miles from here, I saw today the first sparse puffs of almond blossoms.

They are a bit early; two weeks from now would have been better. However, it's hard to argue with the sun -- after the clouds broke up today, the temperatures skated right up into the high 50's. We're letting the fire go out tonight because it's actually a bit too warm in the house!

As sundown approached, I took both dogs for a brief walk around the block so that they could check p-mail on the bushes and see something different than the kitchen and living room and back yard. By the time we got back, both dogs were panting, and a subsequent brushing of Babe yielded a bushel basket or so of undercoat that is coming loose. (Howie has little or no undercoat, the poor delicate creature, and he cannot understand why Babe gets a half-hour of brushing and he gets about five minutes.)

Tomorrow I'm going to cook a turkey early (that will heat up the chilled kitchen) and then take the rest of the weekend off. Perhaps I'll lie back in my husband's arms and feed him sips of a fruity zinfandel, and just get lost in the burgeoning Spring and 31 years of charming matrimony.

Cheers, all.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Three Weeks Tops

Almond trees in bloom.

No, these aren't pictures from this spring, not yet. These are from last year, just before the rain came and spoiled so much of the crop.

This part of California is largely about almond orchards. If you can find a high spot (like the highway overpass, seeing as how we just don't have any hills nearby) and look out over the farmland, in mid-February you would see an ocean of white and pinkish blossoms.

Right now the farmers are spraying the trees with what I think is fungicide, preparing for the blooming season. Bee boxes are being set already! You can see bee boxes in the second picture, neatly nestled up to the trees. I wish all the farmers would do that with their bees. More often, though, they have them just at the side of the orchard roads, which means that we have to ride our horses past them. Zooming worker bees make me nervous, though I've never been stung while riding.

So why am I jumping the gun about almond blossoms? It's easy -- I can't wait to see them, because when the blossoms are exploding, we'll have no more icy cold days. Chilly maybe, but definitely tolerable. Okay, I'm indulging in a photo-fantasy, so sue me.

Wee Hours

It's 3:30 in the morning. In another hour, Bernie will be home.

I would still be asleep in one of our comfy chairs if I hadn't had to get up to tend the fire. If Bernie had a sensible work schedule, he'd have been home an hour ago, added wood to the fire, had a snack, and maybe would have written a few words to his next Jean LeCoeur story.

How I hate his overtime hours.

I hate the weariness I see on his face the next day; I hate the hour-and-a-half loss of daylight time that he can't spend with me; I hate worrying that he'll get home safely in the fog. Most of all, I hate that it all happens because of mis-management at NUMMI, where Group Leaders stand around chatting and garnering attention, and managers disappear for fear that they'll be called on the carpet to explain why things aren't doing what they should be doing.

Yes, they'll pay for it some day, but tonight I'd rather be asleep, with my husband beside me, home safe, fed well, and sleeping a well-deserved sleep rather than the sleep of the totally exhausted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I made a breakfast for myself.

I heated up the last of the spinach soup that was left, and it was paltry sustenance, indeed. What ended up in my bowl was about a half cup of soup.

Looking at the contents of the rice bowl, I was struck that there were about four pieces of spinach leaf, a half a thumb's worth of chicken, few enough rice bits to count, a couple tiny chunks of onion, and some tomato sauce juice. You could pretty much gather the equivalent in a morning's walk and add it to your Hunter's slivers of pheasant or rabbit, and that would be a meal.

I was quite satiated until lunchtime, with that half bowl of soup.

What the hell are we stuffing our bodies with?

Monday, January 23, 2006

In Two Weeks, There Will Be Flowers

I don't often do two posts in one day, but this thought has nothing to do with football.

The season changed last week, and in spite of the calendar, it is Spring here. The feel of the air has changed. It's softer, and the fog has diminished. We'll still have cold days, and foggy days (but not many) -- however, the season for burgeoning and blooming is upon us. Bernie and I watched a male hummingbird do positively insane swoops and screeches in a mating dance (never did see the lady he was trying to impress) this morning, and while we watched the little fellow zoom high in the sky, saw ducks flying North.

Bermuda grass has started to grow again, and weeds are coming up everywhere. Time goes by so quickly, but never quickly enough when it's cold and rainy and the firewood grows fungus because of the damp. I'm ready for Spring. Bring it on.

On to the Superbowl!

Of course I watched the Steeler-Broncos game.

If I had it on tape, I'd watch it over and over again, as a matter of fact, because I have never seen the Steelers play so well since the glory days of Terry Bradshaw and the Steel Curtain. Hmm. Maybe not even then.

With minutes left in the game, I wasn't completely sure of a win until poor Plummer, the Broncos' quarterback was sacked. I didn't see who made the actual sack, but I will never forget the image of the Steeler trying to get to him, being shoved back by a Denver player, only to reach out and grab Plummer's shirt -- and not let go, even while being manhandled. Plummer was kept off balance, and then another Steeler plowed in, and that was it.

The Steelers were so calm I expected to see "Joe Cool" sunglasses on every one of them. They never looked hurried or worried, though the Broncos never gave Parker a chance to scoot through their line and run like a bat out of hell. (That's always fun to watch.)

Some games you remember just one player doing the unbelievable and making a win happen. I didn't see that on Sunday. The Steelers looked like an efficient machine, with each part doing exactly what it was supposed to do, which of course made all the other parts work even better than they might have.

Simply, simply wonderful.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Encouraging Kids

My mother, finally recognizing that I'm a writer, sent me some kid's manuscript.

At nine years old, the kid tackled these themes: interracial marriage, abuse of immigrants, discrimination against foreigners and women, and then topped it off with broad themes of romance, death, and the issues that lead to a need to embrace self-determination. Damn, if the kid was only five years older, I'd be encouraging her to write for the Press. (She's eleven now.) She wrote a sweet story, and I read the whole short thing through looking for her conclusion.

Jessica was a helluva better writer at nine than I was at thirteen. I've written her a letter that I hope she keeps, about how important all our stories are, even when we write them as kids. My first novel, Dreamer, was populated by characters from my internal stories from when I was twelve or so (although they grew as I grew).

I hope Jessica keeps on. Poor kid, she has to wade through the teen years.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Cold Temps, Yet Warm and Fuzzy Feelings

Lots of stuff today.


2. I uploaded Oz Can Keep Them All to Lulu.com. You can see it by checking the books link on the right side of this blog. Buy some. They're really kind of fun.

3. Thanks to a poster named "onin24eagle" and an expert named "TeMerc" at Sysinternals.com, we were able to download a tool that has apparently killed the hideous virus that invaded Bernie's computer, a dreaded Trojan.Zlob virus. The tool was built by a hero at this site, and whoever he is, (Noahdfear is his apellation) he has my undying admiration. As readers know, I spent a lot of time trying to kill that virus, unsuccessfully. The tool we downloaded seemed to eliminate it in under 10 minutes. What you thought was the West Wind was really just me heaving a great sigh of relief.

TeMerc also suggested this site with Nick's Computer Security, where we were directed to also download Ewido Security Suite. Now this was a special treat for me, since Ewido managed to axe two particularly annoying adware bits that I've been trying to get rid of since I bought this computer. And this is TeMerc's site, which I shall visit in the future, you betcha.

One of the things I learned today was that my computer was infested with all kinds of adware. I had known of a couple, suspected a few, but had no idea I'd had 259 items of adware on my machine. I'm clean and green now, but it is a fact that I'll be running Ewido every week to keep a clean machine.

Yes, all my files are backed up at a remote site and on disc as a security measure. But I'd rather have them right here, at hand, safe and sound as well.

4. Did I mention that it was really cold here??????

Okay. FOR here.

All of you who think 34 degrees isn't that bad should go ice skating.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


My image of Cloudraft the Great is done,

finally, after days of porking around with that damn computer virus on my husband's computer. That means the cover for the second Aser book is done, and tomorrow I'll upload it to Lulu, and order a couple copies for myself and my mother, who, in her old age has suddenly decided she likes me as an author. Gee, so that's what I was supposed to be doing?

I spent a lot of time on these CGI drawings, far more than I needed to, as the vast majority of the people who see them will never see the nitpick detail I felt compelled to add. However, I did learn bunches, and that's what counts, neh?

So as of tomorrow, I'll have FIVE books available through Lulu, with only Out With the Trash still awaiting editing and added scenes. This past week, a friend's father finished Dreamer and pronounced it very good. I'm flattered, as the man reads at least a book a week all the time.

Tomorrow we're going to try a virus-removal tool before re-formatting Bernie's hard drive in desperation. I sure hope it works. Having his computer sitting there sick wears me out far worse than shoveling horse shit, which I have to do tomorrow or Saturday. Heigh-o, Silver! Away!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Virus Programmers Are Going to Hell

God, I'm so tired.

I spent more than 8 hours staring at computer screens, trying to defeat the virus that has infected my husband's computer. I've tried every trick I know, from minutely examining the Start Menu to deleting every file constructed within the last 24 hours. The popups keep returning, from "Your computer is in danger" to "Sexy Singles -- Real Photos!"

Nothing I knew how to do worked. Such a sense of failure!

My eyes are very dry and hurt, so I'm off to sleep and rest the old eyes. Will my subconscious have a solution by morning? (The Subconscious just tapped my left shoulder and said, "No, foo'.")

If it was my computer, I'd just upload crucial files to my email, and brainwipe the whole thing.

You know, that sounds like an idea, even if my own computer isn't infected.

PS for the last football post: EVERYBODY says that Polamalu definitely intercepted that controversial pass. And was it hearsay? Hines Ward was fined for suggesting that the referee who called the interception an "incomplete pass" was cheating on behalf of the Colts. Honey child, fine me too (but not as much) because that was the only explanation for such a criminal call. It wasn't a "stupid" call, it was just totally backassward WRONG.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ah, Forget It, More Football

We joined the Colts-Steelers football game just before half-time.

No, that's not disloyal, that's called "being at church." I did not pray for the Steelers while at Mass, nor did I think about the game more than once, during the sermon, when I wondered for the seven billionth time in my life how many times a preacher has to say the same message over and over again. "Oh," I thought, "football. I hope the game isn't over before this charming fellow is done." (He was a sweetie, a substitute priest filling in for our beloved Fr. Carota, but his message was one I've heard so many times in over forty-five years of paying attention at Mass and many years of religious education conferences, one I read about and taught so many times in my 15 or more years as a religious education teacher. Maybe that will be the subject of another blog entry.)

I was stunned to find that the Steelers were in the lead when we joined the game. Peyton Manning was actually playing for the Colts -- I thought when I saw the score that maybe someone had sawed off one of his legs or something. Pittsburgh was playing some agressive defense, keeping him contained.

One weird play is all it takes to stop a team in its tracks, though, and Pittsburgh's Weirdie was Troy Polamalu (cute as a button and energetic as the Tasmanian Devil of Warner Brothers) intercepting a pass, rolling with it, fumbling with it, recovering it -- and then having a referee rule that he never really received it. Oh, my brothers and sisters, that was one Bogus Call.

Peyton Manning took heart from the discomfiture of the Steelers and drove his team down the field like an ambulance on fire, scoring to make it a head-to-head game, if only the Colts could get one more field goal.

It seemed unlikely, as unlikely as Jerome Bettis (The Bus) carrying the ball toward a Wrap-It-Up Steeler Win and FUMBLING THE BALL! "Aaaaaaahhhh!" I screamed. "Did I tell you? Did I tell you that if I watched them that was what would happen???"

Fortunately the quarterback, Ben Rothlisberger ( I think I want to adopt him) hooked a hand around the ankle of the Colt who recovered the ball (Nick Harper, poor fella) and stopped the almost certain touchdown run, saving his team's ass.

I still think it was a near-massacre. Too close. I like to see my favorite teams MASH the oponents. I hate surprises. Next year, Peyton Manning is going to be gunning for the Steelers, and he may succeed. The young man is phenomenal.

Next weekend the Steelers play Denver. Okay, I watched Denver chew up New England like they were Papier Mache Patriots this past weekend, and New England is GOOD. Denver may crunch the Steelers up into little tiny pieces. I'm a pessimist -- it's likely that they will. But I will still watch the game, and cheer for Rothlisberger, Bettis, Ward, and Polamalu.

Especially Polamalu. Every football pundit there is has reviewed that interception and said he definitely had the ball.

I think the ref was crooked, or he needs corrective eyewear.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Shit and Ashes

Rain is coming, allegedly.

Central California rains mean "preparation" for horse owners and fools who heat their houses with woodfires. This morning I mucked out my horse's paddock so that if it does rain, the water will run off instead of making slimy, mooshy lakes. Horse poop soaks up water like a sponge, and holds it for days. As the horse tromps through it, the hoofprints make mini-reservoirs to trap and hold the dirtied water. After the last heavy rain, I managed to clear about 2/3 of Dink's paddock, so that much was dry and easy to prepare. The low part of the pen, where he feels compelled to paw and dig, was still soaked and heavy and nasty.

But I got it done, and thus, I will sleep the sleep of the weary ones tonight. (Terri would have told me, "Otsukaresamadeshita" -- "O You Weary One!") Dink himself won't be too concerned about it. His main pleasure in my cleaning his pen was that he got turned out into the open arena where he could visit with the other horses and exchange loud screaming insults. He talked dirty to the mares and made them scream; he sidled up to the other gelding's paddocks and stomped at them and made them cry havoc. He was pleased with his results.

The remainder of the day has been largely involved with keeping a fire going. Foggy days, the fire is sluggish, and hardly wants to burn. If the damper on the stove is opened, it burns like mad, but try to slow it down a little, and the fire sulks and smolders. We'll need the fire tonight. We're supposed to get rain, and the temps are supposed to get cold.

Babe continues to seem recovered; he even let me groom one side of him today. Only a bushel basket of hair came loose. Howie was totally insulted that I spent so much time on Babe.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Evil Wizards

Fellmount of Verdansward is done.

Why is this of any significance? Simply because it is the first of my completely CGI images that has any sophistication. I've done broad abstracts in my Paint program, but this is the first time I tried to add any detail or depth. The preliminary sketch for this was done in Paint, then the colors added and the lines tidied up in Photoshop.

Holey Schmoley did I learn a lot doing this.

The illustration was done for my soon-to-be-released second volume of Aser stories, Oz Can Keep Them All, in which the evil wizard Fellmount of Verdansward involves himself in a murder coverup. Ase Ur-Jennan and Dan Ur-Jennan, (both fairly crazy shamans from the lands of Ur) discover his scam, flee from his death threats, and do their best to put an end to his megalomaniacal schemes. Aser and Danner drag their makeshift company with them, including Margot the Troll, Cloudraft the Great (a nice but rather clueless wizard who is no match for Fellmount) and some talking baboons. And a talking dog who is fond of detective stories.

The Aser stories are the best things I've written, and one of the nice things about them is that they don't require hours of reading commitment. You can read one, or read them all in a sitting, doesn't matter.

Anyway, Fellmount is a regular rat-bastard, ready to kill anyone who gets in the way of his current power grab. And he thinks he's the greatest. I hope the illustration conveys just a bit of how much he irritates me.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Cover Your Ears, It's Time for Football!

"Aaaahhhh! Aaaahhhh! Aaaahhhh!" I screamed!

I jumped up, waving my arms in the air. Randal El had just taken the ball, run to the side a little, and passed the ball -- sideways -- to Rothlisberger! Then Rothlisberger calmly whaled the ball down the field for an uncontested touchdown pass.

That's not how football is played in the big leagues. That's neighborhood football that you play to piss off Johnny Think's-He's-A-Blocker from Fifth Street. But oh, my goodness, how it worked, so easy, so slick. And that move seemed to demoralize the Cincinnati Bengals. If the Pittsburgh Steelers would pull that kind of kiddie shit, who knew what else they might try?

I haven't watched many Steeler games in years. Every time I watched them, they'd lose. In fact, any time I watched football and hoped a team would win, the team I rooted for would lose. The family would instruct me who I should root for, in fact, letting me know days in advance. Last year, in spite of their great season, I watched a Steeler playoff game, and they looked like -- well, I'd say a bunch of Capuchin monkeys drafted from the trees to play, except that would really be an insult to the monkeys. So I didn't watch any games this year, banned from the TV room by my husband and son-in-law when the Steelers were playing. In fact, I was cordially invited to go lock myself in the studio while games were on.

Ah, but I love professional football, and the Steelers, since Bernie introduced me to them after we were married. Those were the days of the Steel Curtain, and Jack Lambert and the Terrible Towel, Mean Joe Greene, Mel Blount. Terry Bradshaw was the quarterback of my dreams, and Rocky Blier and Lynn Swan receivers to make any girl football junkie swoon.

After Bradshaw, the Steelers went through a veritable bestiary of quarterbacks (the worst of which was that POS gutless wonder Stout) and I would not watch while Stout was anti-playing and was advised not to watch (so that the Steelers did not end up looking like this season's Raiders*) while all the rest were playing.

But this year, based upon the strength and aplomb of Rothlisberger, when I timidly appeared in the doorway from the kitchen and asked if I should retire to the studio, Bernie said, "Get in here. It's about time these guys grew up!" I wiggled all over with anticipation and shuddered a bit with trepidation. What would happen to the Steelers with me watching?

Their first quarter sucked. I was sure I should leave and put my head in a bag, but I stuck it out. Then, when I was resigned to the Bengals beating the crap out of them (as they have all too many times in the past) Randal El and Rothlisberger pulled that stunt -- and that was It. The curse was broken, and I watched the rest of the game cheering until my throat hurt.

It still does. I wish I had that game on tape, though. I'd watch it over and over and over.

Unfortunately, the Colts are going to massacre them next weekend. But it was a hell of a run this year.

* Yes, I watched all the Raider games and cheered for them all the way. See what that got them?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Old Dog Rallies

We took Babe to the vet.

He's had a recurrence of some systemic infection that nearly killed him over a year ago. A course of antibiotics and a diet of rice and chicken broth has seen him through again, though. Today he was eager for a walk in the sun, had a high appetite, and demanded to be allowed on the couch while we watched football games. (When a big, big dog says he wants to watch football from the couch, everyone else moves over.)

He needs a day or two more of gently restricted diet, and then we're going to stuff him full until he gains back about ten pounds.

Babe is such a good boy that after the vet had examined and treated him, she leaned back against the wall and talked at length about how cooperative and trusting and trust-worthy he is. I guess a couple years ago a shepherd mix unexpectedly bit her on the head while she was examining it. Big bite. Bad dog.

Babe would never do that.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Now, see, this is why computers twink me off.

I have never changed the settings on my Blogger. Not ever, I hate being surprised by new task bars or changes. But somehow, the tab was set to "Edit HTML" instead of "Compose" and my options for using color in my text disappeared. I only checked on it tonight because I'd spent so much of the day clicking on stuff in Photoshop to see what it would do. ("Click and Duck method of learning")

I got my blasted colors back.


Tomorrow I'm going to make braised lamb shanks and stuff myself until I can't move.

Baby Steps

I spent my late afternoon and evening studying Photoshop.

My father used to say that if you can read a book, you can learn anything. I'm hoping it's true, because Photoshop drives me nuts. My Christmas present was a trio of books about Photoshop -- thick books. I'd watched Alex whip around in Photoshop, manipulating scraps of color and effects so fast I couldn't follow what the hell she was doing. I'm sure she could teach me what she knows, but she doesn't have the time, and I'm not sure that she would have the patience to put up with my swearing and frothing at the mouth.

The text I'm using is Adobe's Photoshop Classroom in a Book. Much as I hate to do so, I'm sticking to the order of their lessons, instead of just jumping around looking at stuff piecemeal from the index. Where they say take baby steps and do three simple exercises, I'm doing them. Grr.

It was good to immerse myself. I don't want to think about tomorrow; we have to take Babe to the vet. My poor boy.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Hereby Resolved

This is the second day of the New Year, and in my studio are four new drawings.

Once again drawing from my husband's great wisdom, I made use of the "Paint" program on my computer, and sketched some ideas for cartoons and cover art for the next book to appear on Lulu.com. For some reason, Paint appeals to me for sketching. Maybe it's because it doesn't make eraser fuzz for my studio carpet; maybe it's because Control+Z makes a shitty line disappear. It might even be because if I don't like what I've done, I just close the file without saving and no one can rummage around in the trash and say, "Why are you throwing this out? I thought it was cute!" (*cute* -- gaaagggggg)

So far, so good.

I have about 900 words on a new story; I have a novel to edit and expand (that will be the one that might get shopped around, so don't expect to see it on Lulu); there's a cookbook that needs to be written; and today while showering I had a sudden inspiration to scan all the dumb childish cartoons I did while in grade school and high school (and a couple done after college) and put them in a book on Lulu. The originals are in a lockbox in my studio closet, far from the sunlit air, and I worry about them. What if there was a fire? Should I have them in a safety deposit box? What if they fade, or mildew? Uploading them into a book through Lulu, I can have a copy on the shelf (no, dears, these are really stinko stupid kid comics, so they won't be available to the public) to remind me of those uninhibited flights of fancy, and the files will be there when Lillian's grandchildren need to download another copy of their ancestress' silliness.

Put the bag over your head, I'm about to talk about merchandising again.

There is no market whatsoever for the cartoons about Cat and Deb. Not one. But those cartoons are priceless, in spite of the fact that they would NEVER be picked up by a publisher. However, one of them was lost. It was a strip about Cat using an electronic helmet hair-dryer, like those used in beauty salons long ago. It short-circuited when Cat used it (as anything electronic did when Cat used it) and sent her into outer space.

Back in the mid-sixties, electronics were still exciting and outer space was, too. In sixth grade, we thought the strip was hysterically funny. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about it. Unfortunately, someone misplaced it. Whether it was me or the real life "Cat," or her mother, I don't know. But that stupid silly comic strip is gone. I don't want the rest of the comics to be "gone." Hence the book that I intend to pull together this year.

All our writings are like that. All our stories. They may be lame, they may be of interest only to ourselves, but I guarantee you there will come a day when your relatives or friends or decendants wonder about what you thought about, and if you don't write them down somewhere, the relatives and friends will be shit out of luck and wish they weren't.

Write, you hounds. Write about it all.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Day without Sauerkraut

Pork and Sauerkraut

have been a New Year's Day staple forever. This year, because of the miasma of age, I was unprepared for January 1, and so had the pork, but not enough sauerkraut, and no potatoes for mashed potatoes, so I said, "Screw it" and whopped my pork roast into the oven for three hours to roast. Last year I did the sauerkraut and pork and dumplings and mashed potatoes for "LUCK" and 2005 was one of the suckiest years I've ever experienced.

The roast was exquisite. Apparently sauerkraut isn't necessary for good fortune. At least so far. More on New Year's tomorrow.