soulful little spirit


A ghostly figure gazes soulfully into the distance from in front of the big hosta in somebody’s yard, Northern Indiana, Halloween 2016.

(Wasn’t having much luck in this, the second year of the “Photographs of Neighborhood Halloween Decorations That Actually Look Sort of Creepy in Black and White” Project. But then I found this little guy on my tele zoom walkaround yesterday and 2016 will not be a washout in this important area.)

(Pentax K-5iis/Pentax 55-300 f/4-5.8 WR, 70mm, 1/200 at f/5.6, ISO 640, converted to greyscale on FastStone.)



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2 more tuesdays


Went to the County Administration Building today to pay the property taxes for World Headquarters.


Saw this whiteboard in the lobby just inside the front door.


Went downstairs to 102-A and behind this county-owned patriotic sign was a long line of my fellow citizens waiting to vote, two weeks to the day before the formal Election Day.  (That’s the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, for our readers outside the US.)

Did I vote early?  No.  There were a few too many of my fellow citizens in that line.  But it was heartening to see, and there will be other opportunities to either show up earlier in the day or try again when I have more time to wait.  Or I can take a gamble that I won’t be sick or hurt and decide to indulge myself in the romance of voting in my own precinct on Election Day itself.

And this leads up to today’s non-political political message.  This is an important election.  Don’t let history happen to you while you do nothing.  Vote.  Please vote.

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internet picture of the day: a writer’s girlhood

pdhlw4sA friend sent me this picture a little while ago. I’d actually seen it before; it’s been circulating around the internet for a while. It’s always been a favorite of mine.

My friend suggested that this photograph depicts a Conference of Land, Sea and Air, and I like the idea of three mighty realms being ruled by the entities or personifications or something at this table.

But to me, it’s always been a picture of every girl character created by a woman writer who dabbles (or swims) in the fantastic. Inside all of us is a little girl with a big imagination, one who might populate her tea parties with more than the typical puppies, kittens, and teddy bears.

In Kekionga’s recent past, Little Iowa is always having tea with a coelacanth and a jet black rooster, with her hair in the same French bob.

(Addendum: Alert reader Kim sends a link to the article where this wonderful photograph originally appeared.  Click here to read about the island of Skokholm in an old issue of National Geographic.  Thank you, Kim!)

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hot lava

“Please do not touch the displays. For they are hot, and they will FALL.”

(Hand lettered sign and found art poem. Live blogged from the last remaining furniture display in the ever expanding Christmas decoration department at Menards. Last chance to sit down until January.)

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a hulk-ku for breakfast

Hulk write poem, eat waffle.  Good haiku this time.

  • Hulk see bug crawl floor,
  • Breakfast time at coffee shop.
  • OK. It just fly.
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building thoreau


I’m building a character called Thoreau. Or Darwin or Hawthorn or Melville, or whatever the wonderful Galapagos tortoise at the little zoo in the Park with the Stone Bridge in downtown Kekionga is going to end up being called.  I’m not sure how mystical Thoreau is going to be, or whether he can talk or anything like that, but I certainly have plenty of photo references to use when I sit down to draw him.


(And if you think I am looking for a good reason to show you some more photographs of my new friend Emerson, well, that too.  Read more about Emerson and how I met him in yesterday’s post.)

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meet emerson

imgp8557-tweak-blogYou saw one of his feet yesterday, and here is the rest of him.  This is Emerson.

Emerson is a Galapagos tortoise, and he lives in a big sunny pen inside the glass house conservatory at the Toledo Zoo.  (He also has an outdoor habitat, but he was inside last Friday because the zoo landscapers were cleaning out his flowerbeds.)  He’s 115 years old, but it doesn’t seem to slow him down.  He is active and curious and very friendly, and will come right up to you, especially if you are wearing a green hoodie and carrying a camera on a green strap. Emerson is very into green, which apparently reminds him of lettuce and other vegetarian foods favored by giant tortoises.


And his keeper let me pet him.  Not just touch his shell, which I have done before, but pat him on the head and scratch his neck. (His head is smooth and scaly and a little warm, and his neck is like thick soft leather. ) This was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  You would expect a 115 year old Galapagos tortoise to be serene and a bit Zen, and he was, but Emerson also has an amazing vitality and strength.

I didn’t know I was looking for another totem, having been content with the one I already have for many years, but I think my second spirit animal might be a Galapagos tortoise.


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who is this?

imgp8834-crop4x3-tweak-blogHint: it’s not a dinosaur.  Well, not quite.

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3 more tuesdays

This blog is non political, and will continue on that path.  I want it to be a safe place, a place where you can come every day to look at some art, read a bit of fiction or a poem,and/or have fun with odd facts and ideas and snarky comments on the little weirdnesses of the world around us.

But I have scheduled three off topic posts in a series for today and the next three Tuesdays, and they will all have the same non political message for our readers in the US.

Vote.  Please vote.  

This election is the most important in many years. The choices are pretty clear cut and whatever happens you will want to be able to look back and say you did what you could to support the side that you think is right for the country.

Vote.  Vote by mail if you haven’t already.  Vote early if your state permits.  Vote on election day at your local precinct, surrounded by your neighbors. Don’t just sit there and let history happen to you.  Stand up and be counted.


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best of the drawing of the day: hidden

inktober6-full-greyscale-2ndcrop-blogThis one of my favorites (so far) of the special drawings of the day I’m doing as part of the Inktober project on the Internet.  This is a project that challenges artists to make a finished drawing in ink every day during the month of October, and there are several prompt lists circulating that some participants are using.  I’ve been surprised how different working on Inktober has been from doing my usual drawing of the day.  Finishing and posting every day (or trying to do so) and using a prompt list are both unfamiliar and challenging.

The prompt for October sixth was “hidden”, and I immediately flashed on an ink-only drawing with no pencil underdrawing, featuring a little animal hiding behind a rock or a bush in the lower right and a full moon in the upper left, both the only things left a clean white as they were surrounded by a Kekionga night scene, fully textured in shades of grey. The animal was originally going to be a rabbit, or perhaps a lunar hare, but it turned into a not-particularly horrible creature that is partway between a rabbit and a dog, and I decided to leave it.

The dancers were unplanned– they just turned up after one plant form ended up looking more like a figure than a bush and I decided to go with that too and added two more.  The finished drawing ended up more mystical than creepy, and I like it.  That’s the secret of the semi-automatic type of drawing that the drawing of the day project usually represents: following the muse instead of some kind of vaguely conceived plan usually turns out to be the more interesting choice.

The pen is my new TWSBI Eco extra fine, which is turning out to be one of the best scritchy-scratchy pens I’ve ever used.  And I learned a lot about scanning from working with this drawing and trying to get a digitized version that was somewhat faithful to its line quality.

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