Saturday, March 31, 2007


There's a surreal that's particular to cold symptoms, then to the meds that treat cold symptoms. First when the cold is 'fresh', that acute hyper-alertness where air currents seem alive, like eels swimming past.
The closest approximation to this phenomenon, as I recall, happened years ago at the cryo lab. I was working very late on a project report using Xylene- based markers in a tiny office with, as I discovered, extremely poor ventilation. Clearly the experience impressed me and though I don't remember all the details, I'm pretty sure I glimpsed the other side that night.

Anyway, after that, when the cold 'sets in' there's the foggy/fuzzy world of antihistamines.

Orion felt good enough for Pete to take him to see Ninja Turtles. I, being a day or two behind him, felt only good enough to watch a marathon of Stargate SG 1 and eat fattening things.
All soft foods are fattening and, just so you know, chocolate and Alka Seltzer Plus tasted together are strange and alien and not at all in a good way.

The National Coalition Against Censorship sent me three very cool T-shirts. The back of one of them reads:
Stop Book Banning!
Kids have a right to read:
In the Night Kitchen
The Lorax
I am the Cheese
Mother Goose
The Alfred Summer
Bridge to Terabithia
etc., etc., etc.,
I agree. Possibly I should make it a mission to be sure all these are here in this house, which seems to be growing into the nest I always wanted, all on its own, which is to say, a combination of library, garden and art gallery. Huh. how'd that happen?

I got stir crazy enough to work on some little things I could do with my feet up. No writing. Too fuzzy for that one. But I made these tiny masks for poppets. I'm thinking, if I micro-drill holes in the sides and use fine wire...hmm...Little Red Poppets could actually wear these.

oh dear.

Friday, March 30, 2007

cocooning in company

Orion and I are under the weather, hunkering down for the duration with blankets and video games and books, Sponge Bob and Samurai Jack, juice and antibiotics.

It's Jack, actually, who teaches us to patiently wait these things out. It's Stephen King who comforts the Mom and Mr Square Pants who cracks us both up. Ouch. No laughing.

After a marathon, one can see that at some point SpongeBob jumped the proverbial shark. But when? Now that we know, we can file each into pre- or post-jump.

These could be our nerdiest moments to date.

Poppets are making their ways from here in all directions as I type this. I wish them all success in their travels. Hope some at least will send photos.

arrrgh. sniff. sigh. I will patiently put stuff into my brain while I'm too Nyquil-ed to pull anything out. Later, it will pay off. It always does.


Thursday, March 22, 2007


It's weird, not waking up every morning to head straight to the computer in my pajamas before the coffee is done to work with Ravyn on Poppet Planet for several hours before the 'day' has officially begun.
Then to work on articles and schedules and correspondence.

Sometimes it's necessary to spend a large amount of time on things that support the art instead of creating art. It's more than necessary. Seeing other creative people sharing ideas and links on the Poppet Planet forums tells me it's worth it. It's like working with authors---never in the direction I expected and nearly always better.
Still, when I go for too long without tapping into the creative force, I start to feel sort of thin and empty and not at all like the self I know.

A fortune teller named Jack waits for me, and a painting for Peter Beagle's Strange Roads. (btw, I read his novelette, " El Regale" in the Oct/Nov issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I fell once again under the spell of his funny and heartbreaking voice.)

Yes. Much work to be done and there's a pig's skull waiting to dance.

In the meantime, I'm catching up on other important things, like making block towers with Orion, who turned five on March 19 and is learning to add, and ride a bike.

On Sea Monkeys: Apparently sea monkeys do have expiration dates, as mine floated on top of the solution for three days, not at all turning into monkeys of any sort but turning the water green. And yes, I followed the directions correctly.

We swam on St. Paddy's day. It was clear and bright then. Now it's warm and stormy. Weird today((in a good way) in the car with Aubrey, listening to The Shins with the clouds moving fast enough to be creepy and the palm trees bending this way and that. Our own trees are loaded with orange blossums. The air is full of birdsong and bits of drifting fluff and petals and a fragility that, once noticed, never goes away.

We'll be sending out lots of Little Red Poppets in the next few days. I'm looking forward to some POT photos, hoping for a video or two and then, I'll be in the studio, welcoming me back.


Saturday, March 17, 2007


Well, it is Saturday, officially. One minute after midnight. I'm reading instructions for Sea Monkeys and half listening to Stargate. TiVo will let me watch it another day, with Orion.

I took lots of photos of the Little Fox Poppet Puppet collaboration with Robert Johnson Jr.

can happen when taking photos of a Puppet late at night and your spouse walks in with a cell phone.

The Gallery is open this week, celebrating the Vernal Equinox. Little Fox Poppet Puppet is among the new pieces, along with new Poppets, new Foppets and other stuff too.
New Pieces will be added until 5PM.

Neil Gaiman Rats will return in June. If you want to be on the mailing list to be notified, email to

Another Note:
Ten percent of sales from Little Fox Poppet Puppet and all Little Red Poppets is for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Little Mary Poppets are for NORML. Twenty percent of Star Play goes to the National Coalition Against Censorship. The auctions don't allow mention of that.

And Poppet Planet is up and running.
Already people are talking on the forums. TAKE A CLOSER LOOK.

And the last note:
Now that Poppet Planet is up, Ravyn and I are taking much-needed vacations.
She's going snorkeling in the ocean. I'll snorkel at home.

That works out-- if there's Sea Monkey activity, I'll let you know.

Happy Saint Paddy's Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Do Sea Monkey's Have Expiration Dates?

Martin Mystery: "I'd rather be crazy than narrow-minded."

Random thought: It seems that, compared to disappointment, anger is sort of easy. Right, it starts as fear. I get that, but it's like converting food to sugar--once you get to the angry form, it's easier to digest. An angry person can become a whirling dervish of productive activity and work it off. He can yell and curse and tear it off like a skin.
Disappointment is different. It sinks in like dye and clings. It clogs and slows things down. Disappointment can make you just want to eat butter.

Baaaah, Baaaaah, Baaaaaaah. Sheep that I am, I will eventually try a Test Tube Alien. Yesterday I took a break with Orion to watch Martin Mystery and have Otter pops. Orion's favorite flavor is blue. Mine is pink. I saw an ad for TTA. I'll have to get one. I could make a good case for study, marketing curiosity. After all, it could be a lot of hype about, well, not much.
In the end, it doesn't matter one bit why I'll choose to spend money on this instead of something else. The bottom line will be simply that I did.

Which reminds me. Our Sea Monkeys have been sitting around forever. Time to add water. We'll consider this entry Day 01.
If you'd like to check out Poppet Planet before we officially open on Saturday go here: . It's mostly all up, this beta version (Ravyn calls it 0.9) except for the Vernal Equinox Sale stuff, which will be up on Saturday afternoon. The forums are already running, so check in and say hi to the moderators.

Paul Fisher(Balticon Podcasts) ask me to post this You Tube creation. Parents of smallish kids will probably appreciate it most.
We are going for a walk. It's hard to hate the desert completely when the whole world smells of orange blossums. The pool water is seventy degrees. Time to dust off our suits.


Monday, March 12, 2007

One Hundred Reasons

One hundred pennies makes a dollar. One hundred years is a century. One hundred degrees Fahrenheit (and no rain) makes a desert.

I'm not ready for this. I'm not alone either. We got virtually no rain all winter and this week we're expecting triple digit temperatures. There's a fire burning in Orange County as I type this. And it's not fire season. Not nearly.

Every March, we find ourselves starting preparations for summer. The rainy season is over and the windy one begins to taper off. We repaint the pool deck and hang shades. We feed our plants and rearrange to protect them. We get out our swimsuits and flippers and goggles.
And hats. Always with the hats...
We sit outside and watch spectacular sunsets, drink a bit of wine and prepare ourselves mentally for the hell to come by reminding ourselves how much we enjoyed the winter.
But, this year, winter never came to the desert. And welcoming our guests to Tatooine isn't so funny at the moment. Not so funny when reports say that in the near future billions will die because of lack of water.

Does this make art less important? No. People who seek meaning always will, regardless of circumstances. Art will always help humanity express itself.


This is one of those questions I look forward to exploring on the Poppet Planet forums, of which there are four:

Inner Workings---Where we can talk about the creative process.

Nuts and Bolts---Where we discuss the practical aspects of creating--techniques and tools.

The Machine---Where we explore the world than influences us.

Spare Parts---For all the odd things that fall between.

Funny thing, aspects of this question could be discussed on any or all of these forums. I believe we chose them well. This will be a place where you can ask me specific questions and where you can share your ideas with each other. Ideally, you'll find inspiration here and possibly even like- minded souls to collaborate with.


Ravyn is working now on POT (poppet on tour) pages. We already have a number of photos people have sent in. I look now at the Poppet Who Lives on My Desk. She (funny how they seem to choose their own genders) is a constant and unflinching reminder to try to look frankly at all that I see, including myself.
Ravyn has told me I must send her my 'wish list' for POT. I know that one of them is a Poppet viewing the Constitution of the US. I know there are lots of Poppets in the DC area. The dreamer in me envisions them finding each other on Poppet Planet, and going on a road trip to see the monuments with Poppetvision...

It could happen.

But, for now I must get to the studio. There is work to be done. Book covers (above, me with one in progress) and carnival pieces.
Even with the sun beating down.
Even with doom and idiocy on every channel.
Even with fearing for my children's futures.
But mostly, with an unerring faith that the work will show the way.

And, with a Poppet in my apron pocket. Because, with a little help, I can name one hundred reasons to keep going.

I really look forward to hearing yours.

In the meantime, did everyone see the Neil Gaiman mention on Adult Swim? Soon, our author will be too cool for his shoes.

EDIT: Here is the mention, on Snap Judgments which, it turns out, is a sort of cool site.

And, to Rebecca (Jordan's Mom) who will be our General Moderator for the forums, and is now quite ill with an extra evil sort of flu, much and many wishes for feeling better soon.

Now. Off to the studio we go.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Rather Large List of Stuff

I have accumulated a list of things to tell you. They are:

I’ll be attending Balticon in May. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing other than exhibiting in the art show and doing some panels---possibly something with Peter Beagle too. When I know, you’ll know.
There’s a fair possibility that there will be a launch party for, which should be fun. I’ll be there, and if you’re at Balticon, I hope you’ll be there too. I don’t have any signings scheduled, but if you want to bring anything, this would be a good place for it. DreamHaven books will be there with copies of Strange Birds. Bereshith Books will likely be there with copies of Strange Attraction. I’ll be happy to sign prints too.

Balticon Volunteers
On that same note, Ravyn tells me Balticon is looking for volunteers to serve as GOH Liaisons for Author GOH Larry Niven, Art GOH Joe Bergeron, and the two Compton Crook winning authors. Volunteers must be able to stay at con all weekend to support the GOHs. Ravyn says it's a good opportunity to spend time with authors and artists. Email

One of a Kind Official Poppet Registry

If you are a collector of One of a Kind Poppets, there will be an official Registry up on PoppetPlanet. A photo with name and creation date for each Poppet is up. If you’d like your name added to your Poppet's listing, please email the information to: You can list your full name or first name or alter-ego name, geographical location, and a short quote if you like.

Gene Wolfe
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to pick up your copy of Fantasy& Science Fiction (April). Gene’s photo is on the cover, with an article entitled “How to Read Gene Wolfe” by Neil Gaiman and “Memorare” by Gene Wolfe. You don’t want to miss this one.
In addition, this month’s LOCUS, has a new review of Strange Birds.

We’re looking for someone with Flash animation skills to help with a PoppetPlanet project. I could kick myself, for someone mentioned to me at Balticon last year that if I needed techo-genius-geek help I only need mention it. I did write it down, honestly, but where, where, where?? If you’re interested, and willing to help out for art, swag and general good-will of your artist, please email Ravyn at

Vernal Equinox Sale

We will be opening the gallery with new work in the spirit of the Vernal Equinox. There will be one of a kind Poppets, unique sculpture and some really cool collaborations. March 17th – 24th.

Café Press
There will be a Café Press shop within Most of the stuff is up already, so if you’d like a sneak preview, go look around at Let us know what you think.

Ravynesque Recovering
And finally, on a happy note, it seems Ravyn’s horse, Ravynesque, is recovering well. Here in the desert, the Gurtie is very happy as well. Not only does her tooth feel better, but she has lots of new reasons to stare reproachfully at me. And I at her. It's an honest relationship, ours.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

More Kalifornia


I drive Aubrey to her yoga class, then to Vons for the only cat food Gurtie will currently eat--Fancy Feast SLICED!, beef or turkey. Picture grayish squares in translucent 'gravy' more viscose than snot---slightly less than melted plastic.

The cat suddenly hates the taste of seafood, even solid white albacore.

The warm weather annoys me. The beds of snap dragons annoy me. Snap dragons and California poppies. Everywhere. No other variety.

It occurs to me that, instead of giving a small fortune to the vet, I could've run her over with the car for free.
It occurs to me that as soon as I get home, I'll need to give her another dose of antibiotics with the oral syringe. No hold works. She is the devil. The best I can hope for is that she'll puncture a different finger this time. Typing is becoming uncomfortable. I wash my hands too often for band-aids.

All the extra snow-bird traffic annoys me. There are snap dragons and poppies everywhere I look. The flowers annoy me more than the traffic.

At the traffic light a hang-dog faced man holds a cardboard "Homeless" sign. I know there's a fair certainty he's scamming. I give him five dollars. Let him deal with the Karma. I'd give him the finger too if mine weren't so sore.

At Vons, I park directly in front of a Cadillac Escolade with an elderly woman in the passenger seat, picking her nose with joyful abandon. I call Neil's cell to tell him about her and that I saw the Poppet in the 8 ball. (seems DanGuy is responsible for that one) Get his voice mail. I'd text it, but my fingers hurt. She digs for the full five minutes it takes me to listen to my voice mails and find my shopping list. Cat food. Right.

I come back to the car with a bag of loose cans of Fancy Feast SLICED! Beef in (shudder) gravy. (They were on sale, cheaper than buying a twelve pack.) A can falls out of a hole in the bottom of the shopping bag into the store's flower bed of snap dragons, poppies and...marigolds. I sneeze eleven times, then feel around in the flowers for the can. When I pull it out, I get a little cactus thorn in my finger---one of those you can hardly see, probably just sitting on one of the flowers, waiting.
I drop the can back into the bag and look closer at the thorn, which is beginning to sting like a bitch, and the bag splits and eight cans fall into the flowers. The sprinklers click and hiss on.

My head fills with white light.

I'm Yosemite Sam. I'm a steam whistle. I'm capable of levitating.
I take a slow, deep breath. There's no rain, there's no snow on the mountains, the air is dry and there are sprinklers hissing all around me.

I close my eyes and think about Samurai Jack. No, not Jesus, (though it seems he was a pretty amazing human, if not a little delusional--who wouldn't be in his shoes?) Samurai Jack. What would Samurai Jack do?
I take several deep breaths, sneeze six more times and retrieve the wet cans, throwing them one at a time into the floor of the car.

At the corner, the homeless man with the hang-dog expression waves a bright yellow Dominoes Pizza banner.

When I pull into the driveway at home our gardener is waiting for me. He has a Razor phone and drives a nicer car than mine. He says if I put it off any longer it will be too hot.

I must decide about flowers for the beds.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Days Like This

A note about pets. Anyone who has one, or is considering getting one, really should be prepared for the day to come---because it truly is a matter of when, not if---when you give a nice Vet more money than you imagined you ever would, when you clean up things you didn't know existed, and when you balance it all in that room in your head where you make sense of things that don't.
In other words, a cat with a toothache or a horse with an eye problem can make for an interesting day. Ravyn agrees.

It's going to be a long night, with work going on two computers and one very clingy post-oral- surgery feline. I've spent more time writing lately than sculpting, which works out well for Gurtie as I have a lap to sit on when I'm working at my desk. It works out well for me too because it forces me to think about how visual language does and does not translate into the linear.

It's not like time travel at all, unless I consider that I can sit down to work on a narrative piece and completely lose track of time.

I did an interview for Fantasy Magazine which will be out in April. I talked a bit about when words and art work together, and when they don't. The questions were interesting. I appreciated that they didn't ask the usual five that make me want to stick the nearest sharp object into my eye. oops, sorry Ravyn.

It still looks possible that Poppet Planet will be up and running by St Paddy's day. We'll be opening the gallery for another sale then too, with new work of mine and some new collaborations.

I see a poppet-like face has appeared on Neil's Magic 8 Ball. He has snow and freezing air, I have 80 degrees and blue skies. Perhaps we should trade houses for a week. We humans are funny with our need for novelty and change. The mountains are starting to accumulate a little snow. A lot would be better. The desert didn't get even its usual share of rain this winter. That doesn't portent well for summer.

There. It's midnight. Gurtie sleeps on my lap and Orion sleeps on the sofa. Time to put them both in their own beds and decide between sleep and coffee.