Wednesday, October 28, 2009

off to WFC

Be back on Monday.

Friday, October 23, 2009


It's one of those weeks when there are way more things to be done that can be, so that choices must be made and priorities reset. In other words, I catch myself wishing, once in a while, for one more day.
Silly human! I forget sometimes, that time is not a constant. I have but to change my point of view.

Ok. I haven't exactly figured out how, but I'll let you know. I suspect it will involve rearranging some priorities, mostly involvnig honing of lists.

Aubrey and I took a break today and saw "Paranormal Activity." The popcorn was too salty and the drinks so large I could hardly carry it with one hand. What the hell?
The movie was entertaining and pretty creepy. If you're the type who creeps herself out. later, at home alone, I wouldn't recommend it.

I'm wondering where my Ouiji board is. It's not inconceivable that someone hid it away or disposed of it. Who is a mystery, as I'm not sure how long ago it went away. I've always thought of it as a toy, but not everyone shares that opinion, and more than one person has said so.

Or, it may turn up again.

Lots of work was done today. Time for rest.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Our dishwasher suddenly died. Oh German Engineering, thou hast failed me once more. So I set out to hand wash a dishwasher chock full o stuff.
I decided if I'd be stuck at it, I may as well put on some music. I chose Berlioz, almost at random. A few moments later with my hands busy and the steam rising all around me, I realized that I truly was enjoying myself. There's a lot to be said about doing a simple job, doing it well and without distraction.
Once again---multitasking is overrated. And possibly a myth.

So, in a state of near-meditation, my mind meandered about. It was late afternoon so my stomach began to growl. Possibly it was the music, but I was reminded of years before, working in the bronze studio of the late artist, John Kennedy. I remembered being hungry there. I'd chosen a wedding dress that was a prototype, and only available in the size 4 (the old size 2). I was doing the Slim Fast thing. John never, ever had an edible thing in his house. Just canned heart of palm and wine and condiments and raw artichokes.
There was no way to cheat, so by late afternoon I'd be so hungry that the clays would become huge bars of chocolate. The melted clay in the pots, pudding, and the sluice chocolate syrup. It was maddening. It was successful. I wore the dress with ease.
It was stupid.
What the hell was I thinking? Starving myself for vanity. Black and white photos of people from the depression of the 30's would look right at home in a Vanity Fair jeans ad. I'm fairly certain the people in the photos didn't want to look fashionably gaunt and hollow-eyed, they were fucking starving. They wanted to look like Claudette Colbert.

Enough of that. Later I watched Eraserhead. It's one of those movies I've thought I should see for a long time.
If you haven't seen it, do. It's very likely the strangest film I've ever seen. I've seen some pretty weird films.


Here are a couple of discoveries from POT.
"Love Trip" by spacedlawyer

and "Boo" by cmwebb.


Adrienne has sent more photos of The House Where Poppets Live. I've been busy painting flagstones and a tiny painting and wallpapers. Making a very tiny sculpture or two for inside.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Poppet Reads The Graveyard Book

Halloween makes me think of graveyards. Mostly because when I was a kid, after trick or treat, we went up the hill to the oldest cemetery on Cemetery Hill Road (see Harlequin Valentine). We went snipe hunting, rode up on a hay wagon and scared ourselves silly while we ate too much candy from our bags of loot. It was an old place full of ancient oaks hung with moss and fragrant pines reaching to the moon. Old graves supported crumbling gray angels with staring, empty eyes. There were ornate spires grown over with lichen and looming mausoleums. It was surrounded by a black spiked fence, very tall, all around.
And on Halloween night, it was an eerie, spooky, happy place where we were very much alive.

Poppets will be exploring Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. As I guide them through the world he created, I'll be taking my own experiences along. I spent many Halloween nights in our cemetery, for sure, but also many pleasant afternoons, for in daylight, it was a fine place to read, or sketch. It was a fine place to share secrets or first shy kisses. Later my visits were tinged with sadness, because I knew more of the dead. But I never lost my fondness for the grounds there and one day, hope to walk them again.

If you haven't visited a graveyard recently for the sake of visiting a graveyard, do. But, go carefully. Don't fear the dead, who are there to be remembered and admired. Beware the living.


note: 20% of Poppet Reads The Graveyard Book and all other The Graveyard Book Poppets and art will be donated to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

New photos have been added to The House Where Poppets Live on Flickr. The House will make its debut at the World Fantasy Convention at the end of the month.

I hope you enjoyed the balloon boy drama. I'm glad the kid is okay. I became disgusted by the media very quickly. They have once again lived down to my expectations. Silly humans!

And I hope you have a very good night.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The air is cooler, there are lots of clouds, hints of rain but no deal. Orion was up with a sore throat last night, led into a cold today. Fever kept him home on cold meds and juices with lots of Scooby Doo. How lame it is, how inexplicably well-loved all over the world. Rot the Rell?

The rats are running in the walls. I was up several times in the night to get ice chips for O. Heard them scurrying about. It seems they're coming in from the roof. My neighbor offered to lend me a couple of her many black cats...
I think it might be time to bring in a professional. My imagination conjures up all manner of character, professional rat killer, or humane trapper. Opposites, both eccentric to the sublime.
Sigh. I know it won't be anyone interesting at all. It will be someone with not an ounce of imagination and a clipboard with a rather large bill for me to sign.
I talk to Poppets sometimes. I talk to myself too, so it's not a big stretch. The first time we threaten to rip the hard drive right out of our computers (generally I tell mine I'm going to toss it into the pool.) we've already started down that road. I mostly talk to The Poppet Who Lives On My Desk. I've been known to talk to a rather large assembly of Poppets. It's quite an exercise, actually. Try staring at all those little upturned faces. Take a minute, then make your point. You'll see.
But Aubrey stunned me the other day when she asked, "Can Poppets hear?" I just stared at her. "Because," she said, "I always sort of assumed they couldn't."

Give it a moment. Let it sink in. All this time. How weird would it be if Poppets, always watching, were always only watching? If their observations of human behavior were conducted without the benefit of sound, what sort of impression would we make?
I'm just the maker. What they do after isn't up to me. I don't know. At least they wouldn't have to listen to Scooby Doo.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Putting Stuff In

This weekend was one for rejuvenation via rest. I spent a couple of hours working, but mostly rested, read, ate food I like and watched nature programs and B-movie science fiction.
(I am more inspired by the nature programs.)

Spencer and I ventured out and saw Michael Moore's latest. Most of it wasn't news, but of course it makes me angry. As always, I am reminded that there isn't a lot I can do personally to change the mess we're in. At best, I can be informed and make informed decisions. I can teach my children not to be sheep and I can 'keep my own side of the street clean.' I could go on about it here, but what would be the point? The people who read what I write are readers and generally thinkers. I'd be preaching to the choir.
President Carter tried to warn us. He told us if we didn't change our priorities we'd be in exactly the place we are now. Did we listen? I was just a kid. But obviously not, because here the fuck we are. I'm thinking things will have to get a lot worse before people are motivated to take action. That's worrisome-- partly the reason I spent the remainder of the weekend resting up.

I'll need it. Tomorrow I'll have work to do, and people counting on me.

Hope your weekend was good.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Poppets glow. Human learns to conserve.

We've been having some more fun with glow pigments. Poppets like glow-in-the-dark, for sure.
As many of you know, Poppets like having their photos taken. It's just one of those weird things about them. They like shiny things too.

I passed a billboard that stated: Recession 101; It's a test. It's not the final. Of course I looked it up.
I don't know if I buy into the campaign completely, but I've certainly approached this recession as a strength builder. It beats panicking. I tried that. It got me nowhere. I'm a small business owner. Panic is the kiss of death. No, thank you.

I've learned to get by with less, waste less, conserve more and live more simply. I'm learning what works, and what doesn't. For instance, I'll buy the cheap napkins, but not cheap ketchup. A whole chicken will feed the crew better than fast food. I stopped buying iced coffee (I can make it at home.) and going through the car wash. I can use less expensive paints for some purposes, but red, black and white have to be high quality. One way I've saved in the studio is to buy pure primary colors and mix shades from those. I've found I can save a lot on cleaning by buying bleach, ammonia and vinegar and making my own. But to do that you have to invest in good spray bottles. Despite the fact that stores offer giant refills for spray cleaners, the nozzles are designed to die when the product is used up.
(Once in a while I panic, for a minute or two.)

These are little things, but they add up, just like turning off lights. Mostly what's helped me save is to think before I spend money, or use something, asking myself whether I need this now, or at all, or whether this is the best alternative, or if there's a less costly way. One thing I've had to consider is the value of time. That's a factor. If I can hand-sand a piece without using electricity, that's a good thing. If it takes an hour instead of 15 minutes, it's not.

I'd be interested to hear your list, if you have one, of what you'll let go of, or cheap out on, and what you won't give up.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

About Rooms and Soup

Yesterday I got some photography done. Cleaned. Enjoyed Orion's presence, home from school and at play.

I thought about rooms we don't like to visit. Places we've put certain things unfolded, unwashed, unfinished. Tiny, silly things that squeak and dark things that thrum and growl and make us twitch as we sleep.
We find keys, don't we? Left for us or simply washed up on the tide. We create some ourselves. Other doors we kick in on wild hunches. Some we blunder into because we turned one corridor too soon.
I begin to suspect we all have very similar floor plans, interchangeable keys. That, like human faces and snowflakes, works of art and stories, there
are infinite variations.
But really it's still soup.

And other stuff like that.


Adrienne Reynolds and I are collaborating. I asked her to bring the creativity she put into her Poppetropolis to making some houses for Poppets. Here is where you'll be able to follow the progress: A House Where Poppets Live


It's time for me to get to the studio while there's still light. The Neil has convinced me to make a Twitter page for Poppets. I've done so. I'm a little lost. Possibly my brain doesn't work that way. So I'm thinking I'll just turn it over to Poppets, who are better at saying things in few words than I. Then, Poppets can get into real trouble, left unattended, so. hmmm. I'm thinking...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Halloween beyond Elm Street

When I first came to live in the desert, I couldn't find
the seasons. I grew deeply depressed. As any human being, I needed the changes, the sense of reset and renewal. The changes were there, but I had to let go of my expectations and see them as they are. Seasons are very different in the desert. Not so much the fall of amber and russet leaves. It's more subtle, visually, so I didn't see the change.
I do now. It's in the air, and the birds. It's in the habits of the animals.

What affects me most powerfully is a change in the light. As an artist, light is something I'm very conscious of. Light determines the color of an object, how close or distant it seems. It can make something beautiful look frightening, or vice versa.

One rarely thinks of the desert as being a good setting for Halloween stories. We tend to want the images we've grown familiar with thanks to traditional stories and mostly, movies and television.
But Halloween stories can happen anywhere.

Let me tell you, the desert can be a very spooky place, especially when October arrives and the light changes.
So I challenge you. Let go of the Elm Streets with deep front porches and leaf strewn sidewalks. Think of a Halloween story that starts somewhere else.
Like a busy street in the heart of a city or a quiet desert house nestled against the mountains.
Let it start with a subtle change in light, a mild uneasiness. Some of the best stories written are set in ordinary places, where ordinary people have to come to grips with finding that the beliefs they held true, aren't.

I'd like to hear what you think about unlikely settings for scary stories.

Halloween Store

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October One

It's October. The weather changed, quite suddenly, two days ago. We wondered if it will last, if the desert is taunting us, planning another wave of brutal heat. We didn't wonder long, because the sky's been full of birds, flying in groups. Some are high above, just dots in the sky, some low, so we can hear their voices and wings.
The crows are restless. They're not going anywhere. But they know change. The light is different.
We are different.

It's October. And all that goes with.