Tuesday, November 26, 2013


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.


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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Seven of Christmas

I love candy canes. I really do. The only problem with them is keeping track of them. It always seems like I'm finding them in July.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Six of Christmas

A friend of mine remarked that if I needed a symbol for evil, I should include a certain red kettle in my pack of Christmas card drawings. 

While I don't agree morally or philosophically with the owners of these begging stations, it is undeniable that they are symbol of this festive time of year. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Five of Christmas

I love the ornaments that go onto Christmas trees, everything from glass bulbs (as we called them when I was growing up) to Star Trek starships. Tinsel and garland are lovely, but the bulbs are the Points of Interest on the tree, like roadside attractions when one is on vacation.

The variation I've depicted is one of my favorites. I'm sure there's something Golden Ratio-y about this style, but I'm not in it for the math. I'm here for the giddy way these sparkly beauties make me feel.

If you haven't acquired a new ornament for your tree, make one. Buy one. Steal one from your Mom. Do it now. You know you want to.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Four of Christmas

I once had a poinsettia that I kept alive for nearly ten years. It bloomed every Christmas too, as long as it was exposed to natural day-night cycles. That's the secret, you see. Poinsettias will only bloom when the nights are long and the days are short. They will never bloom again if you keep them at your office. Or if you throw them away after Christmas.


I've seen poinsettias in bloom in the wild in two places. When I was a kid, my family took vacations to the American Southwest in the winter. I remember poinsettias blooming alongside a several hundred-year-old mission church in southern Texas.

I also saw poinsettias at the end of their flowering cycle along a roadside on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Long woody stems with explosions of red at the ends were growing between the road and the sea on the way to Punta de Teno.

I love poinsettias. They're one of my favorite things about Christmas.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Three of Christmas

Well, it looks like I've bitten off a lot for this project. After a bit of research, a number of new illustrations have been added. That's not a bad thing.

I can't say more right now...because I have to put a pizza in the oven. I'm starving!

I'm sure that a lot of people will be sick to death of me and my pictures by the end of December and all I can say is, tough cookies. 

I do what I want.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Deuce of Christmas

What would Christmas be without gifts. Are they better given or received? Is more merrier? Handmade or store-bought?

One year I wrapped all of my Christmas gifts in the classified pages of the newspaper and planted giant, brightly colored bows on them. Amidst all of the gaudy packages under the tree, whose stood out?

Mine did. Hurrah!

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - King of Bones

Today was Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. On this day, as I understand, it is customary to erect an altar to lost loved ones and on it place things that they loved. The fane that I chose to construct -- in the memory of my father -- is this drawing.

Kokopelli was not unlike a patron saint to my Dad. So much so that he even carved stone icons of him. On my desk right now is one of his petroglyphs, the Nativity. In this carving, a star stands above the Radiant Child who is surrounded by animals and an angel. Three Kokopellis represent the Magi. This simple object is one of my most cherished treasures.

I miss him.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Ace of Christmas

So, I have already endured a week of pissing and moaning about Christmas ads before Halloween, and boo-hiss consumerism. It astonishes me how people can turn anything to the negative. Christmas is a joyous thing. Why should any reminder of such a beautiful time of year be greeted with disdain, vitriol, and despair?

I don't get it.

This has inspired me to create a new drawing every day -- under the guise of a special new suit for the Noo Tarot -- on the theme of Christmas. There are dozens of beautiful objects, notions, ideas, and themes associated with the season, and I intend to represent as many as I can think of. From Rudolph's red nose to Mrs. Claus' smokin' hot badonkadonk. From silver and gold, to red and green. Animal, mineral, and vegetable. And I have a grand finale planned that will be enormously fun for me to make!

Let me be the first to say, Merry Christmas, everybody! I've got a feelin' for the season. You should get one too.