Friday, March 28, 2008

Give a Man a Fish....Teach a Man to Fish

Swiffer Wet Jet kicks ass. It zips right over these white (yes...sheesh) tile floors.

I could do the same job with a damp terry cloth under the mop, and a spray bottle of cleaner. But the Swiffer, at the touch of a button, squirts cleaner in just the right spot with a little mechanical rrrrrrreeeeeeeeennnnnkkk! that never ceases to delight me. This is what I'm spending battery power for.

Here's the thing I wonder. I've fast forwarded through as many Swiffer commercials as the next person. I've never seen one that even mentions the one thing that truly makes Swiffer unique---that it cleans your floors without using a drop of water from your faucet.

Not a drop.
Now. Why, do you think, doesn't Procter and Gamble mention this fact?

After all (desert dweller here) it's sort of a big thing.

I'm guessing--- maybe P and G don't mention cleaning floors without water because most women's (c'mon. it just is.) perceptions of clean involves water, and lots of it.

For instance, "Surface Clean Only" on a child's fabric-covered toy will stop me from purchasing it. Mostly a toddler will first saturate a fabric toy in drool, then proceed to suction germs from deep within, possibly even pulling germs from other universes.
Surface, Schmerface.

(Alright. Hard surfaces are different. But humans tend to like to wash things in water.)

Already a lot of commonly fabric items have been replaced by paper, e.g. dinner napkins. They're more convenient and for restaurants, cheaper than washing fabric.

One day we Earthlings may have to rethink both fabric and paper because of lack of water.

Recycling takes loads of water. So do most manufacturing processes. What alternatives to paper and fabric, ones that don't require a lot of water to make, exist?

I wonder how much water is used to manufacture the Swiffer cleaning pads we throw away. Or what chemicals Swiffer cleaning pads leach into the groundwater. Or how long it takes one to disappear.

But then, there's the water-less cleaning.

Remember the sand showers in Tank Girl? I shudder. You know how much I love being underwater. I don't even like to think about it. Still...things change.
Possibly P &G is indeed concerned with water conservation. Perhaps the Swiffer's water saving nature is a secret. Perhaps they believe the average consumer's resistance to change would keep them from using the Swiffer, so the water wouldn't be conserved.

Nah. But even if that were the case, wouldn't it be more beneficial to change perceptions?

Which is more beneficial? Saving the water? Or avoiding the pads and batteries?

Ow. My brain.


Meet Poppet Planet's Contributor Poppet.
It's not for sale. The only way to get one is to contribute something (for instance, at the moment, puzzle panels, or a P. O. T. t-shirt design, ) It comes with a little certificate of authenticity and a great deal of thanks. There will mostly always be projects going on. Your artist has a very large list and only two hands.

Tomorrow. Mission Hills Paperback Book Show. I'll take a camera. And a Poppet.

Uncensored Comedy and Poppet Planet Wants YOU!

[Title Expunged]: A Night of Uncensored Comedy

Join NCAC for an evening of flagrantly free speech on Wednesday, April 16 in New York City. See a raucous performance by the comedians of Laughing Liberally inspired by the First Amendment issues and controversies that NCAC works on each day. Stick around afterward to drink liberally and speak freely with the staff and supporters of NCAC.
Wednesday, April 16th @ 7:30 p.m.
The Tank, 279 Church Street — between Franklin & White, below Canal
How much?
$5 discounted tickets for NCAC friends: BUY tickets online, or use discount code word "BRUCE" (in honor of the patron saint of free speech & comedy) if you're buying tickets at the door.
The evening's program will feature comedians Harry Terjanian, Katie Halper, Lee Camp, Jamie Kilstein, and Roger Weaver. Watch video online of Laughing Liberally, whose performance The New York Times called "A bruising battle in the take-no-prisoners war for American's ideological soul."
If you happen to be in the area and can attend and if you happen to take your Poppet and if you happen to get a P.O.T. image, I'll very happily happen to send you a Collaborator Poppet, or a ? Everything Poppet. Or some other Poppet you've been wishing for.
Poppet Planet Wants YOU!
We need some sort of Poppets on Tour T shirt and Poppets on Tour cards. Last night we were wandering around downtown Palm Springs and I thought of how much easier it would be to ask someone to pose with a Poppet if I were able to hand the subject a card (or bookmark) and/or was wearing an "official" Poppets On Tour t shirt.
Possibly you've thought of this before. Possibly you even have a great design in mind. Possibly you'd like to take this to the forums and work on it with others. It's worth doing! We'll supply you with any image files you'd need. If we get lots of great designs, we'll use more than one!
Anyone interested in creating a design for this should email
The P. O. T. designer(s) will get a free T shirt, Collaborator Poppet and of course, credit for the design.
And we'll all benefit, because the next time we ask someone to pose with a Poppet, we'll look official instead of....well, you know.
Off to the studio....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Be Kind, Rewind

If you like the work of Michel Gondry, you'll probably like Be Kind Rewind.
If you love the work of Michel Gondry, you'll likely love Be Kind Rewind.
I've read both positive and negative reviews of the movie---mostly the negatives were that this one lacks the darker edge of most of Gondry's work.
The people in this house generally love Gondry (including Orion, who loves his music videos.)
None of the previews I've seen for this movie provide the slightest clue as to what it's really like or even about. That makes me think the people who are unfamiliar with Gondry's work but would really appreciate it might miss this one. That would be too bad.
On leaving the theater, Pete described it best by saying, "Wow, a movie made by someone who actually loves movies." ditto
I'm hoping our own Carl A. will see Be Kind Rewind and review it on his Stainless Steel Droppings. (see links list, stage right)
It's not playing widely. We caught it here at the Cinemas Palme D'Or in Palm Desert, where the seats are a bit old and not so comfy as newer theaters. Nevertheless, without Palme D'Or, this desert would be a black hole for film and we'd be driving to Ontario. They consistently show films we can't find anywhere else in town. Thank you Palme D'Or!
Today it was very warm. We'll be swimming again soon. The studio is very busy but with new and improved scheduling, I'm spending more time on projects and larger works. I should have some new things to show in the quite near.
I got a postcard in the mail today. I have jury duty. On April Fools Day. Already my inner dialogue is sharpening its sticks.
Angie tends to leave a light on for Poppets, who now all live in 'the cave' until time for shipping. Tonight I actually hesitated before turning them off. What do all those little guys do there in the dark?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sunday Signing

I'll be signing copies of "Strange Roads" with Peter Beagle at the Paperback Book Show at Mission Hills on Sunday. If you're planning to be there, come by the DreamHaven booth and see me. I'll be happy to sign whatever other books of mine you bring as well.

We're making some special "Strange Roads" Poppets in the studio this week. There will be some signed copies of Strange Roads in a set with a SR Poppet and bookmark available in the store soon. I'll let you know when they're up.

We're busy bees. Not busy with bees, but that's 'on the list' for soon.

Thanks to those who've sent puzzles!!! I'll be sending out 'collaborator' poppets to you next week. We only need a few more, so if you're going to send in a puzzle, you might want to do so sooner than later.

Have a good Tuesday. This is Tuesday, right?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Here we go again.

Some days I zoom along.
Some days I don't.
Today was one of those days spent mostly tripping over my own feet.
But I at least managed to get some masks photographed and into the store.
I've been working on a lecture for VCon (I'll post exact dates and info as soon as I get them) in October. It applies the Drake Equation to creative ideas (instead of to the probability of intelligent life on other planets)
I mention it because today reminded me that the reason I can write about being one's own worst enemy with such authority is that I've played the part so often.
Sometimes there is little intelligent life on planet Lisa.
Ow. I learn. I learn. I learn.
Sleep...and tomorrow. Tomorrow I try again.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bad News, Good Poppets

Just added Little Pierrot Poppet to the Poppet store (see link top right corner) along with other spring-inspired Poppets.
Pierrot is an open edition. It's been awhile since I designed any harlequin poppets.
Dunno why.
But, here he is. I'll be making a number of different masks for him.
He tells me he really likes masks.
Did you catch the interview with archaeologist Brian Fagan on last night's Daily Show? He talks about his new book, which is an account of the last period of global warming.
There were brilliantly funny segments on the economy as well.
Bad news all around. No wonder Poppets like masks.
Suddenly, I'm very thirsty.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Agape Kitty, Happy St. Paddy's Day

Today we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I can appreciate St. Patrick well enough, but I'm not Irish and I'm not religious. Still, I love the spirit of the holiday---no gifts, no guilt, just mostly enjoying family and friends---yes, and spirits too.

But mostly, when I think of St. Patrick's Day, I think of our own St. Paddy, who was such a big part of our lives and who is still deeply missed.

After Paddy died, we got Gurtie. And Gurtie and I never had the same relationship I shared with Paddy.

I loved Paddy. I wrote I do not love my cat.

How was I to define the love for Gurtie? It was certainly not the love I felt for my family and friends, it wasn't the love I felt for Paddy. I began to appreciate that the Greeks had several words for love;Eros, Agape, Philia, Storge. But none quite fit this queer co-dependence between Gurtie and me.

Eventually, with work, I began to understand my obligation to Gurtie. It became my goal to teach myself to love this persnickety, grumpy, delicate-stomached animal, nothing at all like Paddy, who seemed to listen and even understand.

Finally, I began to see that it didn't matter at all what I called my relationship with her. The truth is, it wasn't at all about feelings, but rather about actions. Love was a verb. Not a thing I felt, but a thing I performed.

And I taught myself to perform it well.

Today I saw Gurtie sitting in the sun. The light was perfect and I grabbed my camera. As I looked at her through the lens I realized, I love my cat. Paddy would be so pleased.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Paddy.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you too.


Palm Springs Wind and Sun call for Makers

Mimi Ko sent some photos from her February visit. Thought you'd like them too.

I often wonder, given the extremes of wind and sun here, why Palm Springs hasn't become a veritable Mecca of Making for solar and wind powered inventors. Near-alien conditions can exist here-- it's Tatooine, begging for energy and innovation, creative architecture and kinetic art. Doesn't anyone around here do something besides shopping and golf?

Of course, someone must.....please find me.

I'd think, honestly, that the same people who'd be such innovators would be drawn to the clear night skies, perfect for star viewing, or the mountains and clean air. True, it's hellish in summer, but then, there's the challenge, right? If we can make it here (cool it, wet it, power it, grow it, create it) we can make it anywhere.

Like the song says.

It's on my list, yes, THE LIST, to send an invitation via Make magazine and others. Surely all the Makers aren't in the Bay Area or upstate NY?

Thanks for all the emails for puzzles! Our ISP has been in and out for the past few days now, i.e., in for five minutes, out for five hours, so if I haven't answered you, I will soon.

I did see a van with a SUNPOWER (the "O" looks like a sun)decal and it looks like there's a small solar company moved into a new office complex on Gene Autry Trail. I'll check into those.

We have a crop of new Poppets for spring. I'll get them up and into the store as soon as possible, as internet connection luck holds. We're told it may likely be wind-related.

--Makers to the rescue! Please?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Poppets will work for Puzzles; Lisa steps off the Wheel

Where'd I go? I stepped off the wheel for a bit. Sometimes the studio feels like a strange machine, and I feel like the hamster.

So many little parts to make up the whole. I found myself approaching burnout, starting to succumb to the bug Orion had last week. So I made a wise decision to back off. Let other people handle some things, let the rest wait. Don't let me fool you into thinking I'm wise. I missed the wall by about three inches this time.

I spent some time thinking. It's easy to get caught up in the doing, isn't it? And forget about the thinking---that the thinking is the heart of what is to be done.

Because off the wheel is how the difficult work gets done, and the big decisions get made.

I'm going to spend a few days in my head and with my notebook, working out Strange Machines.

On that (Strange Machines) note:

If you enjoy working jigsaw puzzles, or know someone who does, I'm in need of several puzzles, all put together and glued, approximately 18" x 24". If you're interested, please email to Poppets will show up to thank you (and move in.)

Next time you feel yourself approaching burnout, stop. You think you can't, but you must. Your brain loves you. Love it back.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Who Remodels on a Friday?

I suppose that would be me. Ravyn and I are updating the blog format. You may have noticed.

Please bear with us for a little while, as things change and shift about before your very eyes.

Don't worry. We're all over it.

I think.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Dove good? Capital One evil? weigh in

The studio gets an awful lot of junk mail, but yesterday we got a real 'winner' from Capital One. Generally, this sort of mail goes directly into the round file, but this one felt squishy, like there was some sort of sample inside, so I passed it to Ben. The 'prize' inside was a small rectangle of bubble wrap.

sheesh. What a dirty trick.

The late Bill Hicks, in his onstage act, would sometimes ask if there were any marketing people in the audience and invite them to go ahead and kill themselves. I don't go there, but I get his point. I believe really good marketing for a good product is an art form. If you've never thought much about it (likely if you're reading this blog you have) check out the work of past CLIO winners.

Obviously Capital One wanted to increase the odds of someone reading their ads by first enticing them to open the envelope. Not a terrible idea. But I can think of a dozen things they could've put in the envelope that would've been funny, or useful, or both, leaving me appreciative and more willing to read the info inside.

I will never again open a Capital One envelope. I don't care if it buzzes or whistles or smells like mint. They blew it. The letter is from Pat L. Wright, Director of Small Business Solutions. I plan to contact Pat L. Wright at Whomever is responsible for this bubble wrap trick should be fired.

Now, on the other hand, this made me think about who is advertising well. The first company that comes to mind is Dove. I've mentioned Dove before. I don't know if the Dove Campaign for Beauty was started just to sell products or to change minds. (Logically, it would be both.) I don't care, because the result is that they are indeed changing minds.
Here is "Onslaught" retrieved from the Dove website:

I'm off to make art. Should I make a Dove Poppet to support their Self Esteem program? I'm open to suggestions. As always, thanks for being here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

New Poppet Collaborations

...with Ravyn

Monday's Washing, with BENT

Monday, March 03, 2008

Quick address. Ok, not so quick.

This month I'm donating 10% of sales of Shamrock and Alien mask Poppets to support Norml, one of the organizations I donate to regularly, which also includes the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Coalition Against Censorship and Desert Aids Project.

I've received only one complaint so far, and that one was polite and honest and I appreciate it. It also tells me it might not be a terrible idea to address it here. After all, I generally write pretty frankly about things on this blog, and I invite you to do the same.
I can and do donate privately to a number of organizations, but I chose these particular ones for the auctions because they represent issues that are cloudy to most people and by supporting them here, I invite people to do what Poppets do, which is to 'take a closer look.'

I don't read a lot of comics. It's not that I don't appreciate them, but you can't do everything, and I never got into comics. I did other things. Still, I support the rights of comic creators to have freedom to create. I don't like everything I see in the media, but I think the responsibility for content is on the creators and viewing the responsibility of adult viewers. I'm not gay but I believe people should be free to chose partners as they wish. I don't advocate drug use (including alcohol) but believe that adults should have the power to make their choices. (If you think marijuana prohibition is about marijuana, please do some research.)

This is an ongoing quandry for me, whether to separate my art from the source of my art (my beliefs). It's one of the issues that keeps me up at night. It begs me to define who I am, what my goals are, what my art is, and what my audience wants. These are not easy questions.

As with other 'either/or' issues, I'm thinking the right answer lives somewhere in the middle. It's a matter of balance. Until I find it, Poppets will keep being both adorable and creepy, funny and sad. My demons will play with paddle balls and dead things will talk. And Poppets will keep looking at the world around them and asking questions, questions, questions.

Because that's what I do. I ask questions, questions and more questions. And I encourage others to ask too. Because understanding begins there.

"Stumbling toward the light" still fits me, after all these years. And light is complex, made of many colors, and is perfect. I may never find it fully, but the journey, for me is noble and exciting and gives my life meaning. Therefore, protecting my right (and yours) to explore is a responsibility I take very seriously.

Those are my thoughts. Please tell me yours. I truly want to know.

Now, the Poppet Planet crew (and Orion) are headed out for Chinese food. When we return, fun with bees. Neil's bees. I'm going to make a little weird thing for him (yes, I'll show you) and something for, you guessed it, CBLDF.

have a great Monday.