the new double garage by night.


The new double garage works for its living in the last moments of dusk on a late autumn evening.  All the digital noise in the world in this deep crop from a small sensor/ low light shot, but it doesn’t hurt the overall effect.  This noise looks very much like the “grainy” quality you used to get from color film in similar circumstances.

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Two monochrome versions of a geometric square.  Can you guess what this is and where the photograph was taken?  The answer to the second question is the key to the first.


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spider time– read the complete short story

I recently wrote a short story of about 13,000 words right here on the blog.  It was in serial format, spread over 20 or so posts.  I’ve collected and edited it (it didn’t really need that much tweaking, to my surprise) and since this is a holiday weekend here in the US and a lot of you may want some reading material, I thought I would post the completed version here.  Click “continue reading” to well, continue reading.

This story is called Spider Time, and it is about summer in Kekionga.   Continue reading

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thanksgiving creativity 2

blogturkey-blogHappy Thanksgiving! I made you all the traditional Thanksgiving gift, a handprint turkey.  Or as traditional as you can get without the proper materials, which are construction paper, crayons, and white glue.  I have the last two but not the first, so mine was drawn with markers on ivory colored minicomic printing paper and embellished with a bit of brushwork.  It does feature the traditional color scheme of one tail feather each in red, green, yellow and blue, and, also traditionally, at least some of them look more like leaves than feathers.

This is my second attempt: my first one ended up looking more like a chicken due to my failure to a) remember what a turkey actually looks like or b) find and use a photo reference.

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november walk

direcorgi-redberry square-1-blog

The ingredients for a perfect November walk photograph: a dire corgi,  some slush for him to roll around in and get all wet and muddy, some ornamental winter berries, and weather warm enough to walk in sandals as the year moves into its last month.

direcorgi-redberry square-4-blog

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thanksgiving creativity 1

Today, as Thanksgiving* approaches, I accompanied a friend to a local grocery store. (She needed somebody to push the second cart and I needed something to do to avoid cleaning out the studio.  Also, she bought me a giant coffee.)  The experience was not without its charms in spite of the crowds.  I overheard several interesting new recipes and I had the privilege of seeing this cake.

turkey cake-blog

Yes, it is a half a round layer cake, turned onto its cut side and decorated/airbrushed to resemble a roasted turkey. It’s hard to see, but there is even a handful of bread cubes stuck into the frosting in the appropriate place to represent the stuffing.  Note that the colors in this photograph have not been altered.  The colors of grocery store bakery cake frosting are not only not found in nature, they are not found anywhere else either.

I go to a different store tomorrow to do my own Thanksgiving shopping.  What wonders will I find there?

*Thanksgiving, for our readers outside the US, is a national holiday, celebrated annually on a Thursday in late November, that represents a harvest festival.  (There is also a story involving early European settlers and indigenous people that doesn’t stand up particularly well to modern scholarship and social attitudes.)

This holiday is usually celebrated with a feast for friends and family, traditionally featuring a large roast turkey accompanied by a vast, bewildering and rather odd assortment of side dishes, some of which are only eaten once a year at this particular meal.  Rather strange, really, but we are so used to it we don’t think about it much.  Thanksgiving also marks the official beginning of the winter holiday shopping and party season. There are some of us who are festive pretty much full time until after the New Year.

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best of the drawing of the day: saint with a wooden box

drawingoftheday-newnumber7-saintboxThe word “saint” in the Knotted Rope universe has evolved into a general term for any iconic being who is generally revered but isn’t actually a god.  Godlings, cultural heroes, legendary figures, folkloric entities and of course actual saints as defined by more organized religions can all fall into this cheerfully general category.

Of course this story trope is a blessing (ha ha) for the sketchbook keeper, who can easily identify any strange looking, vaguely inhuman character who looks even slightly benevolent as a drawing of a saint.  If he or she is carrying an object that looks like it might have iconographic significance all the better.

The file name for this image is “saintbox”, which I actually think is a better title than the one on the drawing.  But when a drawing of the day has its own title, one I wrote on it at the time it was drawn, I’ve always taken it as more or less sacred.  Saints know why.

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chinese restaurant menu bats

(This story is illustrated with photographs of a restaurant placemat at the end of a meal.  While good faith attempts were made to crop out anything unsavory, if grease marks, crumbs, and wet plate rings offend you, please consider yourself warned.)

When we arrived at the Chinese buffet this afternoon for a late lunch, we discovered that they had changed their placemats.  Our local Chinese buffet, in accordance with the ancient law governing all buffet style Chinese restaurants, normally displays and uses one of the three or four Official Chinese Buffet Paper Placemats Featuring the Chinese Zodiac and At Least One Extra Dragon.  Today these had been replaced by a copy of the restaurant’s take out and catering menu, normally found folded in a standing holder at the front desk.

Unfolded, the menu is roughly the size of a standard placemat and makes a functional substitute.  I have seen this menu any number of times, but I’ve never looked at it closely before.


In particular, I’d always assumed that the scrollwork around the central photograph was a typical Chinese pattern of stylized clouds. 


But if you look closely, you’ll see that it’s really a chain of adorable little cartoon bats, with the cloud shapes forming their wings.


A bit of internet research shows that bats are symbols of good fortune in Chinese culture, so these are lucky Chinese restaurant placemat/menu bats. I’ve been looking for an interesting way to draw cartoon bats for Kekionga, and I think I may have found the perfect resource right under my potstickers and peanut butter chicken.

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good morning.


Not exactly a blizzard, but “enough so’s you’d notice”.  And it’s still “coming down pretty good”.

Happy mid-November in Indiana.


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haiku, and not a haiku, for mid november

A haiku for Indiana in mid November:

New garage awaits
First snow: all the snow shovels
Are still in storage.

And a second version, this one a “not a haiku:

  • The new garage, empty,
  • Awaits the first snow.
  • The snow shovels are still in storage.


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