beans in the news


Black Friday internet shopping as the wet November wind blows, and playing with phone images from this summer on the Pixlr photo editor.  I found this black and white picture of beans growing in a friend’s garden on a hot summer day– can’t you feel the sun beating down?  It’s interesting to take pictures of heat  in black and white.


I tried a false color filter to make it look like the beans themselves were generating the heat.


But my favorite was the simple treatment you see at the top of the post: beans in the news in an old fashioned print newspaper.  Beans! Last Summer!


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thanksgiving and arts and crafts

handprint-turkey-tweak-blogHappy (American) Thanksgiving*!  I have made you a traditional Thanksgiving art/craft, the handprint turkey.  The conventional media for this form are construction paper, wax crayon and white glue, but this one is executed in brush pen over pencil on yellow legal pad.

*Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States with a historical background that doesn’t stand up well to modern interpretations.  Today it combines aspects of the harvest festival, a family reunion and/or gathering of friends, and the opening of the annual holiday shopping blitz.  It is usually celebrated with some combination of a feast (which often includes traditional dishes which are eaten only at this meal), hanging out/drinking/watching sports on television and hitting the sales for pre Black Friday bargains.  Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the American Holiday Season: many of us are fairly festive right through the New Year.

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a very dire phone camera

dsc_1049-dircorginose-blogWhile cleaning some of the junk out of my phone’s photo files (chorus: why in the world did I take a picture of that???), I found this extremely worthwhile image.  What could be so profound and significant than a closeup portrait of a very dire corgi?

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best of the drawing of the day: “box”, or “hand truck bud”

inktober-26-blogAs you can tell by the number worked into the design, this is one of this year’s Inktober drawings.  The prompt for the 26th day was “box”, which immediately suggested to me one of the many mysterious boxes that are stacked up in the sheds and pole barns that make up Kekionga Salvage, Bud’s transdimensional Junkyard.  So, we get a drawing of Bud moving boxes on a hand truck.  Josef, in spite of being a ferociously active little being, loves to catch a ride on any possible vehicle.  I decided that the box in question should be a fancy one, perhaps part of a stage magician’s prop kit, which in turn justifies the silk scarf which may or may not have a pattern of actual galaxies.  (Stage magic often moves beyond its usual limits in the atmosphere of the Junkyard.)

Artistically, this is a good illustration of Josef’s ability to change size within a fairly limited range.  He was originally supposed to be just a little bit bigger than normal to show that the box is well in front of Bud, but I got a little carried away as usual.  This is why Josef can change size in the first place– his character design developed to match my own ongoing pattern of artistic inconsistencies.  (And this is where creativity comes from, more often than not.)

And yes, I am starting to experiment with adding simple tones to my line drawings.

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best of the drawing of the day: the faerie dragon

faeriedragon-blogThere’s a foundation rule for Kekionga and the vast, twisted city-on-the-edge-of-forever space opera universe that surrounds it: no elves, no aliens, no ansible.  This is (surprisingly for me) a hard and fast rule that has molded the very nature of the Knotted Rope in fundamental ways.  I take it very seriously, although some of the occasional additions (“no giant furry unicorns”) are intended humorously.

Luckily, this rule only applies to storytelling canon, the comics and the prose stories, and not to the sketchbooks at all.  The sketchbooks are Liberty Hall, man, and aliens are pretty common there. Elves, not so much–  I really don’t like elves– but sometimes you get a character like this bug-eyed faery, who takes his form from the elfin, the alien, the forest creepy-crawly, and the nightmare in equal parts.  And manages to look pretty cool in spite or because.

The dragon, like all the best sketchbook dragons, can be any shape he wants, and he’s pretty pleased with his new snail antennae.


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matchbox label hero

d16fc33eb2120d0ef61024d6cb55ca00It’s a bird!  It’s a plane! It’s Flyingman!  (Or should that be “Shazam!” …)

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mold-a-rama in kekionga

98d58e1d1466b2cbca735500f31dcf58I’ve never seen these Mold-a-Rama Hoteis before, but I’m pretty sure there is a machine with this mold somewhere in Kekionga.  Or maybe it’s just somewhere in the timelines, and the reason there are so many of the sculpts around the Junkyard is that visitors from far afield keep bringing them by and giving them to Bud as ironic gifts. He loves them, especially  the jade green ones.

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canopic jar


Among the many great treasures in the echoing maze of galleries that make up the Field Museum in Chicago, my very favorite is the little canopic jar*.  That’s because the head that makes up its lid, which is supposed to represent a jackal, clearly looks more like a cartoon dog.  Specifically, it looks like a corgi.

I’ve known and loved the Field since I was a child, so I had probably seen this little jar many times when I returned after a long hiatus.  A lot had happened in that time, but among the most important events were the arrival of my first dog, and then my second.  They were, of course, Cardigan Welsh corgis, Scooter and Chester.  And when I saw that little dog head again on that visit, my first thought was that it looked just like Chester.  So from then on, every trip to this great cultural institution has included a visit to the famous Canopic Jar That Looks Just Like My Dog Chester.

Chester has been gone for a while now. And sometimes I like to think that the artist who made this piece based it on their own dog. (Anybody who has studied the art knows that the Ancient Egyptians loved dogs and had several different breeds, including one that looked very much like a corgi with a hot weather short coat.)  So maybe this canopic jar now commemorates two dogs with big eyes, little black noses, and “sticky up ears”.  Good dog, Chet.  Good dog, dog of Ancient Egypt.


*A canopic jar, for those who don’t have a lifelong fascination with Ancient Egypt in Capital Letters (which is as much a creation of the Western scholarly gaze as it is a “real” historical place and time) is a funerary container made to hold some of the internal organs removed from a person during the process of mummification.  There are traditionally four canopic jars, each holding particular organs and topped with the head of one of four deities, manifested as a hawk, a baboon, a jackal and a man wearing a royal headdress.  This is the kind of thing you learn when you are writing a dozen or so school papers on the gods and customs of Ancient Egypt in capital letters, and for some reason it “stuck”.

The Canopic Jar That Looks Just Like My Dog Chester is very hard to photograph, being down low in a glass case in a darkened gallery.  I was finally able to get some good shots on a recent visit, not with the big camera, but with my little Pocket Fuji.


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martian tartan

lnvy7ydhodg2n9heoysnDid you know that Mars has its own tartan? It does–it’s the rather handsome pattern of (Mars) red and (water of life) blue, with four green lines (for being the fourth planet from the Sun), and a white line (for the polar ice caps visible from Earth with early telescopes) shown above.

According to its registration page, this tartan may be worn “during Mars science, exploration, and outreach activities” and presumably (eventually) by those resident on Mars and (even more eventually ) by those who are born there, who will have it as their birthright. Pretty cool. Read the full story on Gizmodo here.

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at the movies: doctor strange

One foot in front of the other.  Today I decided to try that traditional refuge of modern Americans in times of trouble (popular since the Great Depression): a couple of hours in a darkened cinema, watching a big, colorful blockbuster Hollywood movie.  Luckily for me, I picked a good ‘un in Doctor Strange (the latest outing in the vast and lumbering Marvel Cinematic Universe), and was thoroughly distracted for the full hour and 55 minutes of its running time, plus another 15 minutes or so for some pretty good previews and the excellent post credits scenes.

(And yes, I did say “post credits scenes” in plural.  Most Marvel movies have at least one, and this one has two and they are important and interesting.  A wise person stays in his or her seat until the screen goes to white.  Several people in our matinee showing were not wise.  Do not follow their example.)

My capsule review, spoiler free:  This is a very trippy movie, extremely beautiful to watch, reasonably well written and plotted, with quite a good performance by a popular star in the title role and some good supporting performances by good supporting actors.  Highly recommended, mostly because it is so very beautiful.  Seriously.  Gorgeous flick.

Below, please find the spoilery bits. Continue reading

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