car spotting– a little bit of ’56

Across the street from the drugstore, one day last week, I saw a nifty little ’56 Chevy.  A very little ’56 Chevy– “Chopster” is seriously shortened, a whole door shorter than the standard wheelbase Chevy wagon it must once have been.  I don’t normally approve of severe customizations, preferring to let old cars be old cars, but this little guy is so darn cute it’s hard to be overly strict.  Let’s just assume that its creator started out with two junked cars with the damage on opposite ends, and just let Chopster be Chopster.  I’m not sure how I feel about the flames on the hood, but the rest of that red and black paintjob is just dynamite.  Here’s three “vintage” shots taken with my imaginary twin lens reflex, and something a bit more modern.


Keen observers may notice a certain familiar roadster in the background.  A handy chase car for spotting expeditions, that.

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a visit to the apple store

Sitting here behind the wheel of Stinky, the old Lenovo ThinkPad, and feeling mightily content, since I’ve saved myself a thousand bucks or so, at least temporarily.  Have been enjoying a brief flirtation with the idea of a Mac laptop from our friends at Apple– a lightweight beauty with a gorgeous Retina display that would be great for working with photographs, a job Stinky would be really bad at.  These photos, taken at the Apple Store with my Nexus 5 Android camera in a petty act of defiance, explain it all.  It’s very pretty laptop, and it seems very easy to use, with most of the software I would want already preloaded, but I still really like to remove text going both directions.  It’s a writing thing.  I still kinda want a Mac, but not as much as I did before.IMG_20140719_113222IMG_20140722_141339Note: I did get into a bit of a discussion with the Apple Store Guy about this, but he blithely informed me that most writers only use delete (which is actually backspace), but if I prefer to use a “full keyboard” (in the same tone of voice he might use to suggest I that I might prefer to saddle up a mule and ride to the Apple Store) I could always attach one.  Funny, but my current laptop, which is a 12 inch model, has both delete and backspace without adding any peripherals.  Looks like there is plenty of room on that deck for a few more keys to me.  That’s a pretty wide bezel.

(I will say that the giant touch pad is excellent.  But I would miss my little red “eraserhead”.)




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tumblr sunday on monday: picture and caption

a fair acrobatI like this picture.  I like the caption. (It’s a complete sentence!)  I like the typesetting and the figure drawing and the linework and the expression on the fact of the lady in the striped dress at the far right.  I like the Fair Acrobat’s “revealing” outfit and the guy with the beard, and I wonder if he’s the father being defended.   I like the fact that the band is playing on through the uproar, including the tuba.  I like that fact that the Victorians thought ladies of substance were hot, and that a guy who makes himself objectionable should get what’s coming to him. I like the fringes of Victorian respectability and the interesting things that are always going on around the edges.

And I like tumblr for bringing a bunch of cool stuff, including digitized Victoriana within reach. And I like the story that is going on in the background waiting to be told.

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drawing of the day bonus: what m. hebert found on the beach

To finish off our Best of the Drawing of the Day Weekend, here’s a bonus drawing of the day.  We haven’t done one of these in a while, so a brief explanation may be in order.  I began the drawing of the day project on January 1st, 2009.  It started out as a simple New Year’s Resolution: I was going to improve my drawing skills and impose a little discipline on myself by making a finished drawing, in ink, every single day for a year.  Frankly, I would have considered the project a success if I finished the first sketchbook.  No one was more surprised than I was when I drew my last line on New Year’s Eve, 12 months later, and hadn’t missed a day.  And then I kept going.  The project is now more then halfway through its sixth year.

Then in 2o12 I started this blog, and one of the few features I had planned for it was that every week I would post the best of that week’s drawing of the day. Anyone who is reasonably good at math will note that that means there are at least three years worth of sketchbooks that have never been opened to the Internet in this forum. Turn with me now to sketchbook 2 and the drawing of the day for March 15th, 2009, to discover what M. Hebert found on the beach.drawingofthedaybonus-031509-mhebertThis is, of course, one of the now familiar unplanned, semi-automatic drawings made with the brush pen.  These are often the weirdest things in the sketchbook, since they evolve from a single line and also because my mind is a very weird place. It is the first “lucky drawing” that I felt was a complete success.

I don’t remember much about drawing this, but I do remember thinking up the caption at about the same time I was inking the stump, which went in at the last minute because I thought the figure needed something to lean against.  Normally, I would draw a rock in those circumstances, but I guess I was thinking of the burn hunks of driftwood you sometimes see on our own grassy Duneland beaches.  Nowadays I have more confidence in my brush pen lettering and would have lettered the caption with the same tool I used for the rest of the piece, as it was I used a smaller and more controllable brush marker.

Is the man M. Hebert, who has found a Horrible Creature on the beach?  Or is M. Hebert a Mysterious Animal who has found a strange bipedal being?  Or is M. Hebert in the position of the viewer, coming out of the water to find a pair of unlikely allies or conspirators deep in a conversation they don’t want interrupted?

What I do know is that if I ever collect my drawing of the day project into a single volume, “What M. Hebert Found on the Beach” and other drawings  is a strong contender for its title.

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best of the drawing of the day, week 116– three characters, plus one

And with this drawing we are caught up!  The regular installment of the Best of the Drawing of the Day you’ll see next Thursday (probably) will be something I drew this week, for better or worse.  So, without further ado, please allow me to present three characters, plus one.drawingoftheday-week117-threeplusoneNot well cropped, perhaps, but they are a cheerful crew in spite of the technical difficulties. What their relationship may be, I’m too polite to ask, but they are obviously very close.  The pose doesn’t leave a lot of room for costumes, but I tried to suggest a cultural difference to support the difference in type between the baseline human man and woman and their fuzzy pal. (And yes, there are the dark fingernails again.)

The little creature on the woman’s shoulder is another alternate design for the “gravette”, a small animal often kept as a pet in Certain Timelines in the Knotted Rope.  They figure in some prose stories I am writing, but I have never really established, even to myself, exactly what they look like.  So I periodically add one to a sketchbook drawing as I try to work it out.

This is another drawing inked all the way with the EF nib Rotring Art Pen, the latest iteration of the scritchy-scratchy pen.  It isn’t quite so new, now, and seems to be putting down a little bit more ink than the last few new ones I’ve had.


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best of the drawing of the day, week 115– heavenly boots

drawingoftheday-week116-heavenly bootsIn my sketchbook, angels (and sometimes devils as well) often appear in the form of hunky young men with a sort of male model look.  I generally try to avoid making everyday characters look pretty-pretty.  I’d like to say it was purely for aesthetic and philosophical reasons, but it’s probably also because I find “beautiful” characters hard to draw, especially in continuity.  But for angels and devils I am always ready to make an exception.

This guy could be either one- one white wing and one dark wing could easily represent some kind of moral ambiguity.  But his hipster boots are definitely from the big shoe store upstairs.

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best of the drawing of the day, week 114– a magic user

Welcome to Best of the Drawing of the Day Weekend, a festive long weekend of posts devoted to catching up on the weekly Best of the Drawing of the Day feature, which was sadly neglected during the World Cup.  This feature now returns to its regular Thursday night spot on the schedule.  As if this blog has a schedule.  It is to laugh.

This, according to the handy caption provided at the time it was drawn, is a magic user:drawingoftheday-week114--a magic userI have a love-hate relationship with the term “magic user”.  It’s general and useful, and of course it reminds those of us of A Certain Age of youthful ventures into the world of the creative imagination in the form of games of Dungeons and Dragons.  But it’s a dry term that lacks the charm of words like wizard and sorcerer, and my usual default, “mage”, which is open to endless interpretation.  I don’t know exactly why I used the term here. Perhaps I was suggesting that even the character doesn’t want to define his abilities or his ethical position by using a more emotionally loaded word.

This burly hexapod, with his nonchalant display of some kind of raw power,  may be a psi anyway, if there’s a difference.  (And doesn’t that open a whole new kettle of fish. )

To change the subject, you can see that my new “scritchy scratchy pen” is developing nicely– the entire drawing was inked with that fine nibbed pen,  for what I am hoping is an etching-like effect.  The “magic” was added after the drawing was finished, with a brush.  Anyone with an opinion about why for about the last year, year and a half, I’ve started drawing so many characters with dark finger and toenails is welcome to share it.

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a last look at the world cup notebook

Taking one last tour through the eleven (!) pages of letter sized legal pad (not a real notebook, sorry) I filled up while watching this summer’s World Cup games.  As always, it’s not about sports at all– it’s about looking at the world, listening to some really elegant language, and having fun with the weird stuff. (Sport is a microcosm, blah, blah, blah …)

  • During the Argentina/Netherlands semi, a former Argentine player who had recently died was described as “One of the greatest wizards ever to wield a football wand”.
  • “Argentina in the vocal ascendancy now in the arena …” means that their fans are getting louder.
  • “Late joy”= goals scored late in the game.
  • From now on whenever I see a guy in a dark blue suit, a white shirt, and an orange tie, I will automatically assume he is a member of the Netherlands national football team’s coaching staff.
  • During the long scoreless tie in the final, the commentators were mightily irked by the network’s repeated cuts to “beauty shots” of the sun setting picturesquely behind the statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado.  Perhaps, they suggested, we should be watching the football match?  One snarkily informed “returning viewers” that the score is now two-nil, and was immediately hushed by the other.  I pictured him getting kicked in the shin rather hard.
  • Quoted without comment: “Argentine fans are quite fond of singing that recreation they have of the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit ‘Bad Moon Rising’, which is all about how [Argentinian football great] Maradona is better than [Brazilian football great] Pele, and one or two other themes as well.”
  • “One or two other themes.”  I bet.  That’s one way to put it.
  • All through the tournament, I was amazed by how effectively the players controlled the ball, particularly how they seemed to be able to stop it dead in its tracks at exactly the place they wanted it to stop.  Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.  On many occasions the ball seemed to stop directly in front of the other team’s keeper.  Instant clearance, and play goes on.

I’ll be back to watch some more, maybe in four years, maybe sooner.

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world cup finals notes

Generally speaking, I tend to forget about the World Cup pretty much immediately once it’s over.  Then it comes as a big surprise to me four years later when the compelling narrative of this classic tournament seems to start up again out of nowhere.  (I’m planning to keep this blog going, so watch out for it.)  Granted, I keep my eye on the Olympic tournament as well, but that’s really just part of the whole festival.  In the World Cup month, it’s all about the futbol.

I got into it a little deeper this time: learned more about the game, actually came to a full understanding of the mysteries of the group system, and developed an oddly passionate attachment to stoppage time  as it is traditionally administered. FIFA football does not need a time clock, especially one that stops and starts.   This is the beautiful game, people.  You can play it on any clock or watch.  That’s what makes it beautiful.

I have also picked up a new dog in international competitions, to join my poor unlucky Selecao Brasileira and the ever reliable Oranje:  El Tri, the national team of Mexico.  Ochoa and his teammates in the lightning bolt kits won me over with their passion and their game and gritty play.  They say it only takes one great performance at the right time to make a fan, and I think I will be a Mexico supporter now.  Why not?

Frankly the finals weekend was a bit of a letdown, but anything would be after the dramatic and historical Brazil-Germany game and the defensive battle between Argentina and the Netherlands.  The defeat of a dispirited Brazil by a tired looking Netherlands was a bit of a nothing, particularly for those who support both teams, and Germany-Argentina for the championship was full of failed scoring chances on both sides that made for a much less interesting scoreless tie than several others I saw during the tournament.  (What a very peculiar thing to say.)

No matter what a world full of Brazil supporters were doing, I could not bring myself to root for Germany.  I think you actually have to be Brazilian to hate Argentina that much.  (I personally do not have any strong opinions about Argentina, as least as regards sporting life.)   I do think the game would have been much prettier to watch if Germany would have been in their very handsome crimson and black “lucky” kit, which they were wearing when they defeated Brazil, and Argentina had been wearing their elegant and iconic blue and white stripes.  Ah well.

The blog bids a final farewell to the World Cup, with more fashion notes and British snark, tomorrow.

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werewolfgifSometimes you see an animated .gif and it just seems to say everything you want to say for a whole day.  Plus, werewolf.  (File this under “I wish I’d thought of this myself”.) The World Cup final and some cool photographs and a lot of catch-up drawings of the day are coming soon, but for now: when the music’s over/turn out the lights.

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