Saturday, March 15, 2014

Beati omnes idibus Martiis

If people can go bonkers for ridiculous observances like "Pi Day," I can celebrate the orgy of blood and death that occurred in 44 B.C. when Julius Caesar was brutally murdered and the great Roman Empire was born.

What kind of tree does one decorate for this occasion? What cookie does one bake?

You know, but you won't tell me!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Fairy Feller

"He's a fairy feller."
~Freddie Mercury, "The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke," from Queen II

I had an idea to illustrate a favorite song's lyrics as a storybook. The song, written by Freddie Mercury for Queen, appeared on Queen II and is called "The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke." It is a delightful song, based on a painting of the same name by Richard Dadd. The painting itself is lush, filled with delightful fantasy figures caught in the act of celebration and debauchery.

I may yet go through with the project, but I'm caught in a lingering moment of doubt and strangeness. To create illustrations based on a song based on a painting seems...redundant somehow. I suppose artists have had stranger notions than this one though.

For the moment, that's all I have to say.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stoner Superbowl

I draw a commemorative poster for every Superbowl, but historically they've always been in the future. However, the potential for this year's model was just too good to resist.

Two states legalized marijuana for recreational use last year. Those same two states' football teams have achieved the Superbowl this year.

The Latin on the poster means, "Eat everything."

Go, team.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

In my dream, version 12

In my dream, I was touring a neighborhood near my dwelling. It was a bright and sunny day. The street was lined with neatly kept, single-storey homes, well-trimmed lawns, and middle-aged trees that were full, healthy, and green. There were a few people about, and a few cars parked in the street. I traveled first downhill on one street, turned right for a block, and then right again. This street was curved like an "S" and was uphill.

I was riding a unicycle.

Later, after dark, I came to a busy, four-lane street. I mounted my parked unicycle and darted across the street, being narrowly missed by two cars, one of them yellow.

Still later, I came out of a pub with my friends and, like you do after an evening at the bar, began scampering up and down the roof peaks of downtown residences. The other three got ahead of me and I fell down a skylight into the bathroom of a townhome. The skylight was about one foot square.

I came out into a hallway and surprised a woman who was home with her young son. She thought I was an intruder with malicious intentions, but I managed to say something that calmed her immediately down. I offered to draw her son a picture.

As I was contemplating the art I was about to make, the woman's husband came home and, seeing me, was outraged. I told him the first part of my story, about falling through the skylight, but he wasn't having any of it until the woman offered him an explanation that defused him. I thought, "Well, that's how I got in explained. Now for the rest."

After this, I became obsessed -- still in the dream -- with the picture I was going to draw: a gigantic Brontosaurus-like dinosaur surrounded by tiny, tiny trees.

When I left my new friends, my pub friends had just pulled up outside in their car, intent upon rescuing me from whatever trouble I'd gotten myself into.

When I woke up this morning, I thought that I should write these down. They were quite vivid. But between my bedside and the lavatory, they were gone. Forgotten. Then, a few minutes ago, I saw an image from the production for an opera where two men and a woman were on stage in their underwear, and that caused me to remember my dream, because also last night, after the events above...

In my dream, there was a young man in only a dress shirt, necktie, and socks on a stage.

Dreams are weird.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Obtuse


Monday, January 6, 2014

en•GENDER*

For a couple of years starting in 2007 or so, I decided to have a 15-minute creative action every day (please see Carol Lloyd's Creating a Life Worth Living). The project was to create a collage from found images on the internet to illustrate Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day.

The rule that I set for myself demanded that the only search term I could use was the word for that day, even for the text used in the image. This led to some later amendments for words that resulted in unusable images or no images at all, especially for the text ("grandiloquent" was one that I had to break up by syllable to find images of text). My searches also sometimes led to some unforeseeable ickiness: I don't remember the word, but my first search netted nothing but photos of open surgical wounds. Delightful.

I didn't miss a day for over two years, and at the beginning of the third, I decided to start creating my own images.

This change resulted in some interesting typography designs, a lot of them resembling Art Deco, of which I'm very fond. They were also often shockingly literal, which was and still is disappointing. But every now and then my imagination would fire in an unexpected way, as it did when the Word of the Day was "engender."

I'd forgotten about this illustration. I giggled a little when I saw it again after all this time.

Being easily amused is its own reward.

*Blogger didn't allow me to put the superscript "n" in the subject. Yes, I'm bitter.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Dark Knight


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Darkness

I don't usually stay up this late, but I thought I'd see 2013 out and 2014 in. So far, I'm having trouble telling a difference.

This year, I pledge to:
  • Read the biographies I bought and take notes.
  • Fill my technical pens with ink and draw with them.
  • Say "Twenty-fourteen" instead of "Two-thousand-fourteen."
  • Get younger, thinner, richer, and taller.
That's good enough for starters. In truth, I have a ton of plans and lack the discipline to achieve them. But I aspire.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Seventeen of Christmas

This is the last of the Christmas-themed drawings I did this year. I'd originally planned there to be 55 leading up to the Holiday, then a dozen more for the 12 days of Christmas which, it turns out, happen afterward leading up to Epiphany. I'm not sure if I'll wait until next year for the other 37, or if I'll intersperse them throughout the year, whenever I feel the need for "a little Christmas, right this very minute." I rather like the idea of a complete deck of Christmas playing cards, with a Greater Arcana composed of the 12 days. I've got plenty of time to work it out.

I don't know if I'll make it back here before the next holiday. If I don't, Happy New Year, Everybody!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Eighteen of Christmas

In all of our haste and panic in the last month -- just like every year -- we forget what today is supposed to be about. We don't remind ourselves often enough what a treasure belief is, and what the birth of a baby thousands of years ago would ultimately mean for the world.

Even for those who are not spiritual (or whose spirituality has lapsed, like me), no other day of the year speaks so loudly to the power of one person to change the world. No day speaks so loudly of the value of our children and the endless, hopeful potential that they represent. Of all of the days of the year, this one says that we can be better than we are, that we can rise above the noise and desperation and hate and soar like angels. 

This is the Day of days. And we get one every year just like it.

I wish there were two.

Merry Christmas, Everybody.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Sixteen of Christmas

Any excuse to smooch is a good one. 'Tis the mistletoe season. Pucker up!

Like me on Facebook. Follow @Spinoolean.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Fifteen of Christmas

Honest to goodness, some of the supposed "ugly sweaters" that turn up around this time of year really aren't. This one is, but that was the plan. So, anyway.

My Christmas cactus has buds on it and will soon have flowers. My Mom's two plants were already in unbelievably vivacious bloom with dozens of blossoms on each.

I'd like to say that I'm glad to be home after two weeks, but I've had revelations and epiphanies and some things have got to change. I walked in, set my bag down and said out loud, "I hate it here."

Fa la la la la, lala la laaa.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

25K

Last night, this blog crossed over 25,000 views. It's only taken three years. Wouldn't it be cool if I got another 25,000 by next year? According to Google Analytics, 80 unique people will look at this blog in the next month. Tell your friends to visit, please. I'll love you all more than I already do. Besides, it's my birthday in a few days. Sharing my blog with your friends is a great, low-cost gift!

To celebrate, I give you the following bullet list stream of consciousness for your morning. Think of it as Twitter in bulk:

  • Right now, the mountains are pink. The sun is just coming up. It's beautiful.
  • A couple of small rabbits just made their way across the yard. 
  • Yesterday, we watched two buzzards glide on the exceptional winds, barely moving their wings. Then I watched a bunny on a nearby hillock. Then the two buzzards tried to acquire the bunny for breakfast. A moment later, two coyotes visited the hillock. More happens in this place before nine in the morning than in most cities. But for the wind, it happens in total silence.
  • For the entire week so far, the landscape has been enshrouded in thick clouds with intermittent snow and howling winds. This morning, it's clear as crystal and the mountains are freshly whitewashed.
  • I love it when I'm the only one awake in the house. I feel like it's just me and the world. I could live like this forever.
  • With the sky clear, I should be able to get a look at Comet ISON. There's another comet going around the sun right now too. That's interesting, isn't it?
  • My dreams have been vivid, but I'm not remembering as many as I'd like. Last night I dreamt that I was in the midst of aliens and they were all green. Being more informed on events in the universe -- as most aliens are -- I discovered that green is the most common color of intelligent alien life, and the the green guys are fascinated by us non-green guys.
  • My Mom and I just had a brief conversation about climate change. Alas, she is a mouthpiece for Fox News.
Today's takeaways: share my blog and Like my Facebook page because you love me. Follow me on Twitter @Spinoolean because I say things and sometimes they're interesting. 

But mostly, thank you for helping my blog to 25,000 views. You're awesome!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

In My Dream, version 23

I don't make text-only entries to this journal very often, but...

In my dream, I was in a bookstore and I saw an alignment of books and book displays that would have made for an interesting poster. I collected my camera and went back to take the photo, but there were a couple of college-age girls in my way. Undaunted, I raised the camera to take the picture, and one of the girls saw me and posed. Just as I snapped the photo, she moved to greet one of her friends and I wound up with a picture of her in profile and a goofy expression on her face.

She came over to see the picture I took and I showed her. She asked me to join her for drinks. We left the bookstore, which was either a college bookstore or a campus library, and exited from the old, brown-brick building and onto the grounds. 

As we walked down the sidewalk, she began to recite a poem in a march cadence and i began to caper about like a drum major.  In the distance, we could see a friend of ours who was notorious for public outbursts of dancing. It was clear that he couldn't wait to catch us up, but I awakened before he joined us.

-o-

In other news, the clouds are sitting on the shoulders of the nearby mountains and the ground is covered with snow. There have been winter storm warnings with forecasts for up to twelve inches of snow. I'm informed that these predictions should be considered dubious at best. Even so, the cloud cover is complete, an extreme rarity in these parts as the sun shines nearly every day.

The two Christmas cacti are in full bloom. A book about Barbra Streisand's home is being read and, but for the furnace blowing warm air from time to time, it is still as the proverbial tomb.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Fourteen of Christmas

I meant to publish this yesterday and forgot, so now I'm a day behind. Rats.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
Jack Frost nosing at your -- wait, that's not right.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Thirteen of Christmas


El Jefe

Today is my Dad's birthday. He would have been 72. I drew my friend Kokopelli the day he passed away. In my mind's eye, he capers merrily on the same red stone on which Dad etched the Nativity that he gave me.

I find that I miss Dad more all the time. I think of him frequently, often in unusual circumstances, like merging onto the highway. I hear his voice all the time, too, oftentimes it's just the brief answering machine message that he recorded long, long ago: "Leave your name and number at the tone."

These are the ghosts of him to which I cling. 

Happy birthday, Dad.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Twelve of Christmas

A few things that leap to mind about bells:
  • Poe wrote about bells and what started out lovely made a decided turn for the worse.
  • Rachmaninoff set Poe's "The Bells" to music. In German. That's a turn for the worst.
  • Mannheim Steamroller's version of "Carol of the Bells" is my favorite.
  • The church bells across the street from me chime 63 times at noon and 6:00 p.m. 
  • I like chocolate bells and sugar cookies that are shaped like bells.
  • I like AC/DC's "Hell's Bells."
  • I do not like the ding-a-ling-a-linging of the bells that go with those red kettles.
  • I'm a big fan of the Liberty Bell, but I haven't read "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
  • If you're the belle of the ball, you're not really a bell at all.
  • Leonard Nimoy was William Bell, and when he rang a bell, he disappeared.
The end.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Eleven of Christmas

Well, a lot of people won't be happy to hear it, but this is what you need -- and in mass quantities -- for it to look a lot like Christmas.

The mileage of those in the Southern Hemisphere may vary, but I ask you: how can it be Christmas in the middle of Summer? 

It's just wrong.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Ten of Christmas

You know, I love gingerbread and I don't remember when the last time was that I had it. I have to change that.

When you eat a gingerbread man, do you bite off his widdle head first? Yes? 

You monster.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Nine of Christmas

Friday, November 8, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Eight of Christmas