Sunday, September 30, 2007

Play in the Dark

Well, we have begun to post items for the PLAY IN THE DARK sale.

Halloween season is here.

I'll be adding more pieces tomorrow, and the next day,

and the next day,

and the next day,

and likely the next day too.

and so on.

We made lots of stuff, it seems.

You'll see.


PS: Check out the RIP II Challenge. It's perfect for the season.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Orange? T'is the season.

Oh yes. I did it. I made Orange Poppets.

Summer is over. Yay!

Baby has arrived safely. Yay!


Your artist is ready for her favorite season of the year. Here comes Autumn. Here comes Halloween.

And, for a little while, Little Orange Poppets.

We are happy.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Baby Logan and California Skies

Video is a new feature on Blogger. Let me know if this file works for you. It seems to be doing fine on this end. Our day yesterday looked a lot like this:

Simple Saturday. Thought you might enjoy photos of our first visit with Logan and some of the views along the way. Usually, the southern California skies look like a blue -painted canvas. But not today.

It was a good day. The views were accompanied by Pink Floyd and Bad Religion.

I'll save these photos for Logan.

It'll be like time travel.

For me, it already is.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where am I?????

Surreal. And more surreal. The light is different. It's in the 60's outside, breezy and cloudy with a high expected of 82. Is 'it' over? Do we little rats dare peek out heads out of our hiding places?

Yesterday morning Logan arrived. Alison went into labor at about 2am. Classically, Justin was sick with a cold and had just fallen asleep after a hefty dose of Nyquil when it all started. And after a long and tiring night, they were awarded their son, and my grandson.

Is this real? It ocurred to me in the shower (things are always clearer to me in water, go figure) that yes, it is. I don't look like a grandmother. Don't feel like a grandmother. But yes, a grandchild is here.

Hello mortality!

It seems to me that people react to this news in one of several ways: They run. Really fast. Trying to beat "it" to some imagined point in the future. Some level of success or wealth or other. It's where balding men buy convertibles and have affairs with students. Or women go back to college or color their hair ...or buy convertibles and have affairs with students.

Some people, who were already running, stop. They realize the future they imagined is now the present, and they begin to live in it.

And some, who already had a grip on things, just continue to live their lives.

I'm firmly entrenched into group 2. I've heard my brakes squealing for awhile now. Still, the concept of grandparenthood must contend with the concept of parenthood. I do, after all, have a 5 year old. Interesting, that.

It's not a collision so much as an intersection. An interection of sets, different realities, one blue, one red, making purple where they overlap.

We haven't been to visit the new baby yet because we've had a bug. Last night Orion's fever went up. His skin was hot and dry and I spent the night giving him Motrin and water and keeping a cool washcloth on his head. The fever broke at about 4 and I fell into a fitful sleep curled up on the end of his bed. In the morning, I woke to hear Pete on the phone with Orion's kindergarten. He'd driven Aubrey to school, taken a big bunch of Poppets to the post office and was loading the dishwasher, performing as the other half of the parenting machine we are.

So yesterday I helped Orion with his kindergarten homework. Talked to Alison on the phone. She was overcome with happiness and love for her new baby. I could hear him coo and cry in the background. I talked to my son Phillip in Georgia, who's dealing with the complexities of being twenty-something---college, work, relationships, questions, questions, questions. He wants to teach history. His years in Korea opened his eyes. That there is a whole world out there that's not America. That there is a bigger picture. A lot to take in. I try to give him reassurance, good advice.

I want to be in three places at once. The purple overlapping part is rich and full.

I'm not running. I don't realize when I stopped, exactly, just that at some point, I did. I'm looking forward to the work ahead. I can see now why they call one's fifties "the golden years." Don't get me wrong! I'm in no hurry to be in my fifties!! But I don't mind that I'm going there.

Because I look forward to the work.

Anyway. whew! Lots going on around here.

I'm going to list the last of the Purple Poppets, Black Poppets and Blue Poppets for this year. There won't be any more of these until next year, simply because time needs to be spent on other work.

Your artist can make anything, but she can't make everything, not in the time allowed. And I want to keep surprising you.

New baby. New weather. New work. Everything changes.

Where am I?

I'm right here. Thanks for checking in.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rats, Chicken Soup, Poppet Planet Spins Along

I've had several questions recently about Rats, especially whether new ones are planned. The answer is yes, I do have plans for new rats. Of course I do! Last year I decided to commit a year to getting Poppet Planet going. That was the beginning of October. Here we are, nearly a year later, and Poppet Planet seems to be spinning along on its axis. We still have lots of work to do on the website---at this point, it's basically still a framework. But it's a working framework. Poppets are making their ways around the world. This week I sent Poppets off to Japan, Australia, the UK and Portugal. Each goes out with its own tiny magic, and the message inherent in Poppets; to open our eyes and look with broader vision, to see that we are more alike than different and that we're all in this together.

Because of that, I know the year has been well spent and I must thank you, for mentioning Poppets on your blogs, to your friends and for your own Poppet vision. So, thank you.

This fall we will expand our workspace and I will begin training a studio assistant who will enable me to spend more time creating new originals.

So yes, there will be new Rats. And new Poppets and new Art. And I will be able to finish up projects started previously that have been put on hold, like Tiny Stories and Poppet books.

Which brings me to another bunch of questions about The Poppet Project. I'm not sure even what The Poppet Project is, except that it's been mentioned in the forums. There's no time available to work on it now though several suggestions have been made which I'm considering. I will say that when I do chose a project it will be such that anyone who wants to participate, can.

Other than that, I'm sending poppets out every day. I'm approximately 2 days behind schedule as I spent the weekend recovering from a nasty bug that followed Orion home from school last week. He was sick for about two hours, having the fast system of a 5 year old. The bug, however, mowed the rest of us down with what seemed like glee and we were down for days.

Yes, the joys of school. I'd forgotten this part.

Anyway, after lots of orange juice, chicken soup, and the first season of Lost kindly lent me by our friend Clyde Erwin, I should be catching up again. Pete and Aubrey have recovered as well.

It's Monday morning. Ben will be here soon. He is sealing the glass front on the fortune teller and finishing up some boxes he made for Play in the Dark. We are talking about ways to make the Brainy Toy art pieces, well, do things. Like walk. I for one, would love to see little brains walking. You?

In the meantime, there will be Rats at the Play in the Dark sale. Some pretty special Halloween-y ones. Along with extra spooky Poppets too.

Have a good Monday!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Liquid Speed, Ludicrous Bullets and Tiny Screams

On Zeitgeist. Wow. The silence is deafening. It's funny, the subjects I'm sure will stir up a flurry of discussion sometimes fall flat. As with the Zeitgeist movie, which created a storm of discussion in this house. We're still picking up the debris--unanswered questions hanging here and there. We pick them up and turn them over, show them to each other and put them down again, not knowing yet where to put them. If you don't want to watch the whole movie at once, it's divided into small bits on YouTube. Here's the first part....

But I am curious, (as you well know) so must ask. Is the silence because you didn't watch the movie? Because you did and thought it paranoid fear-mongering? Because you thought it was dumb? Because you watched it and have so many questions you don't know where to start?
I welcome all thoughts. I welcome thinking.

I'm as curious about the motives of the film's creator as the film itself. I'm curious about what its creation reflects about our culture's current state of mind?

On that note...

The other night at bedtime I caught the new Mountain Dew energy drink commercial with the Halo 3 tie-in. ( yes, I do occasionally watch G-4--I like Ninja Warrior!) The commercial depicts various young men screaming at their television sets. Why? Because they are losing to the guy (yeah you've got it) who is drinking the MD and winning.
For best results the commercial advises to "chug it " to win.

I couldn't get to sleep because it really pissed me off.

I remind myself of the decision I made to 'care less' after discovering The Secret. If I care less, I sleep better, after all.

Pepsi stoops to a whole new level of irresponsibility by actually telling people that getting hyped up on sugar and caffeine will improve their gaming abilities. They fail to mention the health and societal costs.

Why? Does Pepsi need the money?

I know it's not new. "Do the Dew" has been around for ages. Before that Coke was Coca Cola, the 'pause that refreshes.' Our culture has been pushing speed for generations. Once it was speed for work. Now it's speed for play. Is one any better than the other?

This latest Mountain Dew campaign pushes my personal limits. I'm sick to death of what we're doing. What we're not doing. Self indulgent, selfish, stupid, uneducated, utterly dependent on our government, our credit cards, our toys, our drugs, our computers.

Where are we headed?

Possibly I'm doubly angry after having wasted two hours watching "Shoot 'Em Up." I got suckered in by the previews. I've liked past work by Paul Giamatti and Clive Owen. Thought it would be a fun action movie. A mental break.

Walked out muttering about how C. M. Kornbluth was a prophet. About how we've created a society of morons.

Well. I didn't create it. Why do I feel a sense of responsibilty at all? Because I'm an idealist? Because I still hold on to the shiny idea that we're all in this together?

My hands are getting slippery. What will help me hold on?

Will I simply decide to let go?

Maybe I was wrong about poppets. I created these little iconic observers, quietly watching everything.

Possibly I should've created them with their little eyes sqeezed shut and tiny mouths wide open, screaming.

Would anyone hear them?

wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up......

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Simple humans, Zeitgeist and Playing

This weekend my daughter Alison visited. I was ever so happy to see her arrive and very sad to see her go. Afterwards I very thoroughly cleaned the kitchen, a coping technique I've used so often its edges are smooth. It's a method of tricking my mind into feeling in control, when really it wants to rail against things I can't control---like the geography that separates me from those I love.
It's a common practice that links me to millions of other humans who employ the same sort of behavior. After all, when it comes right down to it, we're awfully alike in lots of ways.
I might feel alienated at times, that's true. My philosophies and lifestyle tend to distance me a bit from 'normal' society. Still, I find some comfort in considering those things we humans share in common, like the connections to our children, or those things we as a culture share, like when I catch myself humming "spider-pig...spider-pig."

I watched Zeitqeist, The Movie a few days ago. That same point---that people have more in common than they tend to believe--was one of the aspects of the movie I appreciated.

It's a controversial film. You could call it the 'conspiracy theory film of all time' if you wanted. I wondered, watching it, whether my favorite rubric (the truth is in the middle) would apply.

I discovered that it didn't so well on individual points. On some subjects, we have to choose our sides. But overall, 'a grain of salt' seems appropriate.

The production values are very good. Almost too good. At times, I felt the music and images were manipulative. It's not an amateur film. Still, there are no credits to be found for producer or director. I emailed the address on the site to ask why the anonymity. I can theorize, but would like to know. After all, who financed this thing seems very relevant. I certainly pay attention to who the sponsors are for newscasts ever since news broadcasts became entertainment.
Still, unlike other such projects, this one is available free of charge. The DVD can be purchased for $5 ($2) shipping. I got a courteous enough auto response that promised a reply as soon as possible. I'll keep you posted.

I suppose what I might say about Zeitgeist is that you must watch with an open mind. You know---Poppet-Like.
Don't blindly accept or discount.

It's for thinking about. And researching. I can't find a thing wrong with that.

If you'd like to start a discussion about the film, ping Carl on The Machine. I certainly would like to hear opinions about it, and have a few comments of my own.

I'm glad you like the black Poppets! I knew I'd be offering them for Halloween, and thought to ease up the shipping load for October by letting some people go ahead and get theirs now. They went much faster than I expected, so if you didn't get one, don't worry. I'll do my best to get some more up before the holiday.

Orion and I have been playing Mario Car this weekend. I think I may be getting a thumb blister. Sheesh. Even now, typing this, I have the slightly dizzying sensation that I'm still flying around curves. I keep thinking I'm a grown up, then we play and I behave in ways much too silly for someone of my , ahem, age and dignity. Still, if I can make Orion roll on the floor laughing, how bad can it be?

One day, in the far distant future, when I'm old and useless and have no responsibilities, I dream the kindness of my children will provide me with chewable food, good drugs and a kick-ass gaming system.

I wish everyone a good week to come.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Now and Later

Yes. It's hot still. But in our black, black hearts we know it will end soon. October is on its way.
October will save us. It always does.


And Later:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Last of Summer Poppets, Big Foot Sighting

September's Caterpillar

Today I began to put the last of Summer's work up. Tomorrow I'll finish it up.


It's still maddenly hot, but we're starting to believe it will eventually cool down.

Today was Pete's birthday. We kept it simple, with a few friends dropping by, some cake (pirate, per Ben) ice cream and swimming.

He says his best present was Orion coming home saying that he loved school.

I think so too.

It's not uncommon to find Pete comtemplating the universe in his sandwich. But indeed uncommon to catch him on video. This rare glimpse of the elusive giant is from our friend, Kai who is the Secret Squirrel of cell phone photography. Happy Birthday Pete.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Get up and do it again, Amen.

It's about 95 F outside tonight, which is actually an improvement. We're in day six of this heat wave. Rolling blackouts, flash flood warnings and the ever present oppressive heat. There's no escaping it. Work and school dictate we stay right here.

The rubber around the sliding glass doors has begun to sag and melt.

Otherwise, a normal sort of day. People going about their business. For us, it was dropping Aubrey off for her first day, then attempting to sit on impossibly tiny chairs for kindergarten orientation.

Pete says possibly having parents sit on those chairs is an intimidation technique developed by teachers. He didn't attempt to sit. Not because of spurious psychological ploys of kindergarten teachers so much as an understanding of the laws of physics.

Theories aside, I do love the smell of crayons in the morning.

The routine will take some getting used to.

Later I found myself floating in the pool for awhile, staring up at the unblinking white sky above, accepting that it's too hot, literally, to do much else.

I did finish a few new pieces to put up at a kinder hour tomorrow. I'll get several more Purple Poppets up as well. After that, the gallery will be pretty quiet until October. Here's a peek at Blue Oberon and Titania.

I had chocolate milk for dinner. And now, I think my day is done.

Tomorrow, we get up and do it all again.

Between the comings and goings, the steps of everyday we teach and learn.
All we Pretenders.


Monday, September 03, 2007

In here, somewhere

It may seem that I've vanished, but I have not. I haven't blogged for a week, which might actually be a record. This has been a very busy household, with guests and preparations for school, as much work as I could fit in and over it all, lots of not-deserty clouds, not-deserty humidity and very deserty, crushing temperatures.

Orion starts kindergarten tomorrow. Soon after I'll be back in the studio, and back here (more often.)

I used to stress over pauses. I don't anymore. The work will be what it is, and generally the stuff that happens in between finds its way in there too.

Thank you, as always, for checking in.