Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Short Trip to October

Thanks, Ravyn, for posting these photos. I packed up the refurbished roller coaster cars to go out with me tomorrow. On Friday, they'll be attached to new trucks on the coaster to resume journeys up and down, round and back, in and out and nearly sideways, very fast.
I look at them and know they still have stories to tell.

It'll be a short trip for Ben and me, time-wise, but a visit to the carnival always leaves one slightly changed, don't you think? And, when we get back to the desert, it will be October.

See you then.

Dancer detail

Little Old Girl

Mistress Kitty

Grim with Lollypop

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Water, Art, Music, Poppets on Tour

Orion's suit arrived. The water is getting pretty chilly.
We, however, are not! I'm thinking, it's really good to try to swim as much of the year as possible. If I do this every day, I (in theory) will be able to keep doing it, even when I'm very old, assuming fairly good health. I like that idea. I could join the Polar Bears at sixty five. It's a thought.

I'll be participating in the Creature Features "October Shadows" event Oct 13 - Nov 1. Thank you, Lorraine, Malena and Miles, for the invitation! I'm looking forward to meeting some very cool and talented artists.

My friend and sort-of ex-neighbor Michael is touring the UK with his band, Jack Saints Tour Schedule. If they're passing through your neighborhood, you can check them out. Or just open your window. You might hear them.

Very extremely obscenely early on Thursday morning, Ben and I will leave for the Dark Caravan Carnival in Virgina. Poppets are coming with us and we plan to do our very own verson of P. O.T. It will be fun for us, and later, fun for you too. At least, that is the evil plan.

Now, I must get back to work!!!


Sunday, September 24, 2006

POT in Vancouver

Poppet On Tour: Vancouver, courtesy of Rubius. What's the story here? Do Poppets speak Cat? That's right...good kitty...just look into the light...

If you have a Poppet on Tour, please send your photo to :

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Warm Water Images

Mimi Ko sent me a disk full of amazing images. You've possibly seen this one of Orion. Here are two more from the same day of shooting. (scroll down)

I look forward to working with her again.

I really like her sense of composition and emotion.


Ben is back indeed. Lots of studio work today. Next week, we leave for the DC area to install the re-trucked cars onto "Short Trip to October", the roller coaster of Dark Caravan. While there, we'll do a bit of maintenance on the other carnival rides too. And who knows what else might happen.
It's highly likely that lots of photos will be taken.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Close up.

The End of Summer

Last week a wind storm forced us to do an 'emergency strike' on the canopies that have protected the pool/patio from the sun. I left a c-clamp on a deck chair and discovered today that the sun had done a bit of photo-trickery.
Still, I know summer is over. But not swimming. I took my wetsuit out of storage and ordered a new one for the Orion.
We will not go quietly into the dry.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

POT in Norway

Poppets on Tour

Poppet contemplates wonders in a Norwegian forest. This one from Jan, who has a new website up at

Do your poppets travel? Send photos to:


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sweet Dreams...

Sweet Dreams...

This is the fruit of my late night. It's a painting on the inside wall of the kinetic fortune teller sculpture Ben and I are making. It will be the last piece of the Dark Caravan, which I'll be able to show you in detail soon. I'll be visiting the carnival in about a week and will take lots of photos. We hope the fortune teller will be ready for the World Fantasy Convention. I'm not sure there's enough coffee on the planet to help me do the other side tonight. But actually, it wasn't so much the coffee as the music.

In the meantime, there's a chapter on Dark Caravan -- GREAT FANTASY ART THEMES FROM THE FRANK COLLECTION. It's a beautiful book. Eventually, Paper Tiger (or someone) may see the wisdom in making the Dark Caravan carnival a book on its own.

Now it's truly morning. g'night

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tired Puppies

Mattie Brahen sent me this photo from the WorldCon. Thanks, Mattie, says Orion too.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Poppets and scary, scary sheep...

Poppets are poppets.
They are not perky and, costume or not, they never forget what color they are underneath,
nor that I'm their creator, but certainly not their mommy.

I don't forget that either.

I got home to find a gift from Ben on my desk--a net bag of ladybugs that are now, (with a little help from you know who )ready to be art. Ben loves me.

Last night I watched a tape of Ann Coulter's Q and A for the Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute.
For a little while I thought I'd seen the true face of evil. Then I decided this was the stupidest "smart" person I've ever seen. After that I decided it didn't matter whether Ann Coulter is stupid or evil.
Because I noticed the audience.
I'm thinking Stepford scary. Hair-standing -up -on- my -neck -Stepford -scary. These are the people Ann Coulter commands to "embrace the liberal hate" and "I want you to all go out and be teachers." They drink it in like sweet, sweet Kool-aid.

It's not a long leap to imagine a couple of these fixed-pupil neophytes in towers with rifles.

I especially enjoyed hearing Coulter's case against Darwinism. Then, what do I know? I majored in Biology, which, according to Coulter, isn't a real science, uh, until she needs to quote a biologist.

I'd like to make Ann Coulter a costume...


By the way (hi Rebecca! xoxo) I'm not perky either.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Uh-oh. Oh dear. They've found their little costumes and already are trying them on. Poppets rule this house...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cheese Sandwiches

A good day is when we have cheese sandwiches and peas for lunch, and the cups are all in the washer so I use a little jar for Orion’s cup.

And a good day is when Orion asks how a jar can be a cup, and when, after our cheese sandwiches and peas, we walk all around the house looking for things that can be used for purposes they weren’t made for.

It’s good to do some pretty clever thinking-- and then to find things to use for hats.

Lots of things can be worn as hats, but most of them probably shouldn’t.

It’s a good day when we put weird things on our heads until we collapse like empty boxes onto the rug and lie in the sun giggling for ages.

Now I'm going to have some coffee and work on a project that I really, really want to work on. But I wanted first to tell you about the good day.

It’s good to know one could use a jar for a cup.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Red on White and Blue

Every day on this planet people die needlessly, both innocent and brave.
Every day I can honor them by choosing to live honorably.

It's the least I can do.
And it doesn't require a bumper sticker.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

bits and pieces

This from Heidi:

Just to throw in some more curves, I've gotten some more info from the living history types and the reenactors I hang around. :/

One woman suggested I look into Brueghel's Children's Games, which led me to this site:

(I also thought this was kind of a neat demo, but not very helpful- I just thought it was interesting: )

This is another email I received from someone in the living history group at the festival:
I know that the set that the Smithsonian's Hands-on History Room had as"1800s" (I don't think there was a specific date given) had metal jacksand a pottery ball (though wooden was used as well).No idea if anyone there knows for sure... but it might not hurt to ask :-)I do know that I've heard and read a number of places that the metaljacks were an American thing... though I don't know if that means that we picked up the idea from someone and it took off faster here, or if itwas invented here. I do know that even for my mom's family, thingsother than jacks were sometimes used when they were playing when she was young (I think I remember my aunt mentioning stones... though they useda rubber ball).I'm also fairly sure that I remember "knucklebones" being mentioned as agame even in the early 20th century... though it may have referred to another game played with knucklebones.... more like dicing... I'm not sure.


I've found in reenacting, often, that the problem when researching something like this is that you don't often get a straight answer. (Kind of what you were expressing in your latest post.)
My main focus is 16th century landsknecht (Holy Roman Empire). Our group is based in Maryland, but we do events in a few different states and have been around for 10 years, although a few of our members have been doing this time period for longer. When you do something like this its particularly difficult because you can't go to photographs and most of the time you can't even reference written descriptions of what the soldiers and their families wore and did with their time. Its not like American Civil War or later periods, although things are never as objective as you might like.

History is always blurry, however. Its very difficult to piece together while looking back. So we're always changing up our understanding and interpretation of things.

But I digress. Its frustrating not to be able to say- 'yes, this bit of metal is shaped this way because originally it was this, and then it became this, and then this man bent it like this and gave it to his daughter.' And we can't wake up too often and say 'yes' with any certainty.

You seem to have gotten some good info from lots of places. If you want I'll continue to syphon whatever trickles my way. If you've had enough of the ramble, I'll let it rest. :) At any rate- thanks for posing the question. I've enjoyed looking into it. (And so have my friends! Need to keep everyone on their toes, you know.)

Thanks, Heidi.

On other questions: A few posts back I pondered how long it would take 150 flushable wipes to 'go away'.

The answer is, until Lisa has had enough and calls the plumber and gives him a good deal of money.
Sort of like getting to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Eventually you just say "fuck it" and bite.


Ever open one of those random instant messages just for the hell of it? I did a few moments ago, for basically unknown reasons. Mostly because I was having a coffee break so felt justified in wasting a little time. Weirdness! Except for the initial greetings and "do I know you?" the following is the unedited balance:

SychoShadows [1:04 P.M.]: I'm eleven. Fucking LOSER. Bad words shock you?
Harlikn7 [1:04 P/M/]: No. There are no bad words, only inappropriate places to say them. I'd say this is one.
SychoShadows [1:05 P.M.]: chicken butt
Harlikn7 [1:05 P.M.]: yuuuummm. yummy chicken butt
SychoShadows [1:06 P.M.]: cd
SychoShadows [1:06 P.M.]: i have a CD of people sucking chicken butt
SychoShadows [1:06 P.M.]: its cool
Harlikn7 [1:06 P.M.]: wow! get that off Sesame Street?
SychoShadows [1:07 P.M.]: yeah
SychoShadows [1:07 P.M.]: elmo said it
Harlikn7 [1:07 P.M.]: cool
Harlikn7 [1:07 P.M.]: That Elmo, what a stinker.
SychoShadows [1:07 P.M.]: then said omg fuck my tight red ass bigbird
Harlikn7 [1:07 P.M.]: I believe it's a proper name. Big Bird.
SychoShadows [1:12 P.M.]: he would make good chicken
Harlikn7 [1:12 P.M.]: I didn't know Big Bird could cook.
SychoShadows [1:12 P.M.]: no
SychoShadows [1:13 P.M.]: i could
SychoShadows [1:13 P.M.]: BUT
SychoShadows [1:13 P.M.]: IM
SychoShadows [1:13 P.M.]: 11
SychoShadows [1:14 P.M.]: so i cant cook aparently
Harlikn7 [1:14 P.M.]: I disagree. I think eleven is old enough to cook.
Harlikn7 [1:15 P.M.]: did you want to cook Big Bird?
SychoShadows [1:15 P.M.]: yeah
Harlikn7 [1:15 P.M.]:'s sort of a secret---Big Bird is really a man in a big bird suit. Harlikn7 [1:16 P.M.]: and humans don't make good chicken substitutes. They're more like pork. SychoShadows [1:16 P.M.]: no cannabalists arent cool
Harlikn7 [1:17 P.M.]: Then. You likely don't want to cook Big Bird.
SychoShadows [1:17 P.M.]: hes not human
SychoShadows [1:17 P.M.]: il just eat his suit
Harlikn7 [1:17 P.M.]: Hmm. I'm pretty sure that would be polyester.
SychoShadows [1:17 P.M.]: and vinyl
Harlikn7 [1:17 P.M.]: right. I forgot the vinyl
SychoShadows [1:17 P.M.]: do you have a myspace
Harlikn7 [1:17 P.M.]: no SychoShadows [1:18 P.M.]: i bet you do
Harlikn7 [1:18 P.M.]: nope.
SychoShadows [1:18 P.M.]: too bad
Harlikn7 [1:18 P.M.]: do you?
SychoShadows [1:18 P.M.]: id ad you
Harlikn7 [1:18 P.M.]: no thanks. I do have a journal. But alas, you're a bit too young yet SychoShadows [1:18 P.M.]: can i see it
SychoShadows [1:18 P.M.]: please
Harlikn7 [1:18 P.M.]: No. But again. Thanks.
Harlikn7 [1:19 P.M.]: Well, let's think about this. You're asking me to reveal my identity to someone who spent ten minutes trying to insult me for no reason.
SychoShadows [1:19 P.M.]: im obviously kidding
Harlikn7 [1:20 P.M.]: Don't think it would be a particularly good move on my part.
Harlikn7 [1:20 P.M.]: Not so obvious, actually. Takes time to glean intent from text only.
Harlikn7 [1:21 P.M.]: May I ask another question?
SychoShadows [1:21 P.M.]: yup
Harlikn7 [1:21 P.M.]: Do you read?
SychoShadows [1:22 P.M.]: ya
Harlikn7 [1:22 P.M.]: What do you read?
SychoShadows [1:22 P.M.]: novels, and haikus
Harlikn7 [1:23 P.M.]: What's the last novel you read?
SychoShadows [1:23 P.M.]: catcher in the rye
Harlikn7 [1:23 P.M.]: Good one. Dark though.
SychoShadows [1:23 P.M.]: sure
Harlikn7 [1:23 P.M.]: Do you read anything just for fun?
SychoShadows [1:23 P.M.]: sometimes
Harlikn7 [1:23 P.M.]: like what?
SychoShadows [1:24 P.M.]: great expectations over the summer
Harlikn7 [1:24 P.M.]: What did you get from that one?
SychoShadows [1:25 P.M.]: tough to understand
Harlikn7 [1:25 P.M.]: I agree.
SychoShadows [1:25 P.M.]: i have a fear of traveling and seperation anxiety
SychoShadows [1:25 P.M.]: so it didnt help much
Harlikn7 [1:25 P.M.]: Have you traveled much?
SychoShadows [1:25 P.M.]: nope
Harlikn7 [1:26 P.M.]: You might get over that then, if you travel more when you're older. SychoShadows [1:26 P.M.]: ya
SychoShadows [1:26 P.M.]: how old are u
Harlikn7 [1:26 P.M.]: I'm guessing your age at 15 - 18
SychoShadows [1:26 P.M.]: first tel me yours
Harlikn7 [1:26 P.M.]: I'm not asking you to tell me.
Harlikn7 [1:28 P.M.]: Have you ever read anything that stayed with you for a long time? SychoShadows [1:28 P.M.]: not quite
Harlikn7 [1:29 P.M.]: I must get back to my book. Thanks for the coffee break conversation. SychoShadows [1:29 P.M.]: np
SychoShadows [1:29 P.M.]: just tel me your age
Harlikn7 [1:29 P.M.]: Interesting that you're so hung up on that.
Harlikn7 [1:29 P.M.]: I'll give you a little help. I'm not in high school and I'm not reading a book, I'm writing one.
Harlikn7 [1:30 P.M.]: Let me know how Big Bird tastes.
SychoShadows [1:30 P.M.]: 28-32
Harlikn7 [1:30 P.M.]: close enough for you---anything over 25 is just old.
Harlikn7 [1:30 P.M.]: bye bye
SychoShadows [1:30 P.M.]: bvye


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Water and Light

Orion and I are diving again, though I can't wear my goggles yet. We're practicing swimming together over and under, under and over...waving to each other as we pass, in slow motion, like royalty.
We imagine monster games and such. Actual conversation from today:

Orion: "I'm invisible by the vortex."
Me: "Right."
Orion: "You're not invisible by the vortex."
Me. "Right."
Orion: " about you don't go near the vortex."

Good plan. The SciFi Channel needs Orion.

Ok. I've decided that when faced with thirty paintings to do, it's not a terrible idea to choose one from anywhere in the storyboard and paint it. I'm thinking the answer to which comes next might be in there, and so on.

Thanks for your help with the jacks question. I followed the links you sent me and have decided it's not unreasonable to guess that they were cast in scrap metals, stylized after the bones of the spine the game originated with, and that the individual who created the design we see today is unknown and will remain so.
I still sense there is at least one missing link (no pun intended) here.
Let's keep our eyes open.

I want to go outside now. The sky is dark and the moon illuminates clouds full of lightning.
Someone with so much work to do shouldn't spend time looking at the sky.
Someone with so much work to do should definitely spend time looking at the sky.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday, Between Enemy Lines

I wait in the grocery checkout between magazines placed with purpose.

They feature photos of celebrated women who starve themselves to fit an unhealthy and artificial aesthetic that serves no one but those who created it.

A fellow customer, dangerously overweight, chooses a magazine and tosses it into a cart heaped with sugar and fat and nothing green.

I consider this from the perspective of one hungry due to famine.

I consider this from the perspective of one hundred years ago.

I consider this from the perspective of one hundred years from now.

I must not sleep.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Tremblings, Storms, Whores and Poppets

Busy day, getting orders out to people who've been extremely patient.

Then there was the earthquake. But it was only a little one.

More studio work.

Then there was the big wind storm and the emergency striking of wild canopies, which means we'll spend part of tomorrow putting them back again.

I've said so before---humans weren't meant to live in this desert.

Our friend Trent had some fun with poppets. Here's a link to some video work he did to one of his band's songs:Trent's Poppet Video, with Whores of Tijuana.

Craig Steffen sent this link for Orion. I was delighted, Orion too, for at least a minute.
Being four years old is fun stuff.

Gurtie has, without warning, officially declared war on the sofa in the den. Whatever brought that on probably happend while the rest of us slept. Possibly poppets were involved.

Now back to work on the fun stuff I only get to work on at night, when my feet are too tired for studio but my brain is still working. Mostly.


Horny Poultry, Studio Karma and the Mystery of Jacks

Did I mention how much I like poking around in thrift stores? It's not so much the rooster or his...state of mind, as the fun we had coming up with names for the randy little fellow.

Today was spent largely teaching another local sculptor how to make her own molds. It was a lot of work, but very satisfying, with laughter throughout. I don't mind teaching when I have the opportunity. I plan to give some talks at Palm Springs High during the year.
That said, I'm generally pretty happy to asnwer technical questions about art---or being an artist. That is, if I know the answer.

If not, I can put the question out there for you. Thank's for your work on the Jack's questions. There must be an answer somewhere. (?) More below.

Alien Artifacts

Ok. As further contribution to the answer-- or to send us sideways--here is a photo of some antique jacks given me by Ravyn at Balticon. Where did she get them? These have a machined look, and protrusions that could be sprues from casting. I'd think, as finished as every other surface is, the manufacturer of these jacks would have removed any bumps from sprues. They're very heavy, and my first impression was that they'd been cut from...something.

I decided that cranberry juice definitely tastes better in a wine glass. No---it's not psychological---it's aroma enhanced by physics.

If Dark Chocolate is so healthy for us, why aren't candy makers touting it on the wrappers?

and, finally, Orion surprised me today by flushing an entire box of 'flushable' wipes at once. He apparently wanted to see what would happen. We don't know yet, because whatever that is, is still going on. Hopefully, whatever faerie magic makes one wipe 'flushable' will eventually apply to 150 of them.

He's definitely my sun.


Friday, September 01, 2006 eye, nearly. No touching. Who is willing to show an extreme close up of her face is the same who is willing to show the inside of her refrigerator. That's too long for a fortune cookie, isn't it?

Making Way

As much as I enjoy the works I’ve made, it’s the making I love most. I’ve decided to begin culling my collection. It’s like recycling, sort of, and not at all like time travel.

It was easy to fall in love again with these as I photographed. They each have stories and memories. They're good works, but are in the way of good working.

They're mostly odd one-of-a-kinds, so I'm listing them on Ebay rather than creating a website, which elicited from Ravyn (I think) a small sigh of relief.

Ten percent of each sale will be donated to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

You can see everything here: Links to Auctions


Weirdness! The little purple bruise on Orion's nose became what looked like a scrape, but is now fading fast. I, however, now look more like I ran into a door than a little boy. Everyone has gone to bed exept Gurtie and me, and she refuses to use the flash, purist that she is, so I had to take a photo of my own eye. Yay. You can see it below, or above, depending on Blogger's freaking mood today.


Tomorrow is breakfast with Ben, Pete and Orion, giving a casting lesson to another sculptor and working on illustrations for a project due in November. I've worked on it for a bit now, but there's the one part that still makes me cry every time. I wonder if that will eventually go away, or at least while I'm working on the book.


It's now 1:43. Yogurt (lime) brushing teeth and bed. I'm looking forward to sleeping. But writing and drawing are much more fun.

I've researched the origins of the Jacks games, and found lots of references to the little metal jacks we in America are most familiar with. Does anyone know the origins of the metal jacks themselves? Why are they what they are? Were they ever something else?

When the work is good, everything is good.