Sunday, January 29, 2012

My morning coffee: I have a set of four of these demitasses — a design of leaves, simple black on white, arrayed symmetrically all around the cup and saucer. They're some of my favorites. (They're all favorites, but these are some of my favorite favorites.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Continuing to mess around with the outfit, seeing what works. A gray trenchcoat-like jacket seems to work better than a brown rumpled jacket. And for whatever reason, I'm preferring a corn-cob pipe to a stoagie.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I only had a bit of time of time for pigeon-doodling today, but I roughed in a hobo hat. I think I like it. Details (and perhaps a crumply brown jacket — and either a stogie or a corn cob pipe) to follow.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pigeon-In-Progress, Part Deux

So yesterday, I got Mr. Pigeon loosely filled out, roughly the right colors in roughly the right places. Let's see where we're at today:

My, my, Mr. Pigeon, look at all those details you have. This part of the process is really about harnessing the power of obsessive perfectionism for good rather than evil — stroke-by-stroke, painting the teeny-tiny lines that start to give that "realistic" sense of feathery texture, the roughness of the beak, the little details around the eyes. Oh, yeah. And I also changed the background, gave things a lively sky-ish hue. (One of the novelties of the digi-painting is that with the prudent use of "layers", one can paint behind other objects. I often find myself completely redoing a picture's background several times before I'm through.)

I'd say Mr. Pigeon himself is looking reasonably done-ish. There are always little tweaks towards the end, but he's about as pigeon-y as he's going to get. Tomorrow? The outfit (whatever it may be — I'm still thinking hobo). Stay tuned. Woot!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Normally, what winds up on this blog is an end-product of one sort or another. Not to say it's always polished — there's plenty of half-baked crap — but it's generally as done as its going to get. Let's mix things up and post a little work-in-progress series. A pigeon-in-progress, as it were:

I've had a hankering to do an Alphabet Animal-esque portrait again, and we've been on a bird-kick recently, so some sort of feathered critter seemed appropriate. And I like pigeons. They have that rat-with-wings P.R. problem, but I find them generally amusing — little waddly busy-bodies — and often quite pretty, with their iridescent grays and purples and greens. Of course, this particular pigeon will wind up in some sort of funny outfit. I'm thinking something hobo-ish (in keeping with pigeons' downscale image), maybe a crumply hobo cap and jacket and stubby old stogie. Or some such. First the pigeon. We'll settle on the get-up later.

With that basic idea in mind, I first found a good reference photo (ah, the magic of Google Images), grabbed the iPad, sketched out a rough line drawing, and then started loosely painting in the colors. This is where I wound up tonight.

I'll keep this lil' guy (gal? guy, I think) going, embellishing and accessorizing. And I'll post future stages, until we arrive at whatever is deemed "done". Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mr. Okra

The old ways rarely die around here. More often, they transmute into something new and different and odd and pleasing. Case in point, Mr. Okra:

Old timers talk of the produce carts that were daily sights (and sounds) in many neighborhoods back in the day — hand-pushed carts ladened with fruits and vegetables, whose vendors each sang a distinctive song announcing their wares to the residents, who would come out and buy what they needed.

The hand-pushed carts are gone, but today Mr. Okra continues his own version of the tradition, working through residential neighborhoods in his brightly painted truck, singing his inventory over a megaphone:

Mr. Okra sings his wares

His song is always entertaining but not always comprehensible. (You'll hear June in the background speculating that Mr. Okra is Spanish, an incorrect hypothesis but an understandable one, given the decidedly exotic nature of his cadence and articulation). A transcription, to the best of my ability:
I have oranges and bananas.
I have [???].
I have carrots.
I have pineapples, and I have [???].
I have satsumas.
I have mangoes.
He's got a whole lot of his own thing going on. That's for sure.

Misdemeanor Country

Growing up, I listened to a lot of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings and those sorts of folks, and I like that music a lot. Sometimes, when pondering fantastic alternate lifestyles (as we all do — the particulars vary, but we all have our imaginings), I picture myself as an outlaw country musician. It's a pleasantly distracting fantasy. But then I think: all that drinking, and drugging, and bawling, and brawling, and marrying, and divorcing, and fisticuffs, and such — that all sounds like an awful lot of effort. Makes it hard to go to work next day. What if I just want to be a little bit outlaw country? What if I just want to be misdemeanor country? Can I be that?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tree, late afternoon

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Digital collage by Louise. I made that hipster ape silliness with a nifty little iPad app I recently stumbled across called Mixel that let's you collage together images snipped from disparate digital sources. Louise got ahold of it today and whipped up this creation. I dig it.
My morning coffee: On this gray, blustery, and oddly mild day, an English demitasse seemed appropriate: blue and white, a pastoral with quails. (With my now quite large assortment and a mind like a steel sieve — part of the reason I keep this blog, after all, is to remember what the hell happened in my life — I won't claim to recall the provenance of every one of my cups, but I believe this was one of the original few that came from my grandparents and formed the nucleus of today's much-grown collection. I don't believe that I've ever actually bought a demitasse. They've all, or nearly all, come to me through the kindness of family and friends.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Planet of the Annoying Hipster Apes

So what if a Planet of the Apes-type scenario actually happened, but instead of the apes becoming a dominant super-species that enslaves humanity, they just became a roughly-on-par-but-kind-of-lame species with an excessive fondness for foppish hipster attire and a habit of showing up at parties uninvited and drinking all the booze and eating all the bananas.1 That would suck.

1 Which would be particularly annoying because it's not like the bananas are even for the guests. (Who serves bananas at a party?) But the apes just help themselves. Take your stinking paws off my bananas, you damned dirty ape!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday afternoon clouds over the lake (the sort of clouds that really make a person wish they were out where the clouds are rather than in where the work is). Let's see, we've got some cumulus, a hint of stratus, some cirrus. Yep, our clouds are as topsy-turvy as the rest of our weather this time of year.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Well, except the eyebrows. President Obama with somebody else's eyebrows.
South Claiborne, pre-dawn

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weird Business

So this little woodpecker has been hanging out in the willow tree in our yard. Often, as I'm sitting on my balcony, I see him pecking away, a dozen feet or so straight in front of me, furiously going after whatever tasty little bug-morsels apparently live there, and leaving dozens of little holes in the bark. Recently, when we had one of our little warm spells, some sort of sap-type liquid started oozing out of all of the holes, drenching the trunk below. And then all these little black and orange butterflies1started hanging out there, fluttering about, apparently drawn to the oozing sap-type liquid. And then one day, as I was sitting on the balcony, I looked straight ahead and saw Pearl, our crazy little kitty, clinging to the trunk in that exact spot, twenty-five-or-so feet above the ground, all wide-eyed and crazed. I exclaimed, "Pearl!" She looked at me for a moment, then scurried back down the trunk. I don't know if she was going for the woodpecker or the butterflies (or the sap-type liquid) or what. All I know is there's a whole lot of weird multi-species drama going on in that willow. Weird business.

P.S. Does anybody know off hand what kind of woodpecker that is? The photos not perfect, but perhaps you can see the swath of red on the top of its head as well as on its throat. And then the distinctive black and white stripes and markings.

1 They're the same butterflies that were obsessed with our passion vine: they slurped its nectar, laid their eggs, spawned their progeny, and gobbled its leaves, going through several generations until, despite my efforts to save it, the poor passion vine gave up the ghost.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Afternoon clouds
House with palm tree in front
My morning coffee: Japanese, elegantly simple (the Japanese ones always are), white with yellow, blue, orange, and red flowers; sipped on my balcony as church bell somewhere in Central City rang out marking MLK Day)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sketch-a-doodle: Man in red shirt against green background
My morning coffee: Green with gold fleur-de-lis (Aww, gold fleur-de-lis. Our poor Saints — they played so hard and did so good, and we're proud of 'em. Next year, Saints win the Superbowl in the Superdome. So say I.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Well, He Is Ricky Riccardo"

The girls, June in particular, are currently obsessed with "I Love Lucy".1 They were watching an episode. Ricky was sofly strumming guitar and singing a lovely song in Spanish. I said, "Wow, he's good." June said, kindly, "Not as good as you." I said, "Thank you, sweetie, but I think he's better." She said, "Well he is Ricky Riccardo. He's a professional. But you're really good too." Aww, thank you, darlin'. Almost as good as Ricky Riccardo. My, my! (This is seriously very high praise from June right now.)

1 As I've said, June is a natural Vaudevillian, and Lucy's comedic stylings are right up her alley.

My morning coffee: White china with painted flowers and gold accents (and a little flower on the opposite interior rim — a number of my demitasses have that, a little surprise to catch your eyes when you take your first sip)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Slimbo Scissorhands

I had an Edward Scissorhands moment over the weekend. I realized I like subtractive gardening, the kind that's about removing excess, cutting back, trimming, shaping — the kind of gardening that's like cutting hair. I cut my own hair, and this past Saturday, as I trimmed the wild-and-woolly oleander back into a shapely orb, pruned the bushy Angel Trumpet into an elegant little tree, upside-down-weedwacked the willow into a crisp bob,1 I thought to myself, Ah! This is something I get. Good thing I live down here, where we've got plenty of vegetative excess, plenty of opportunities for subtractive gardening. The patient watering, nurturing, and coaxing of frail seedlings into delicate maturity just ain't for me. (My kids seem to use up all my watering, nurturing, and coaxing.) Now I just need some blades-for-fingers and a groovy leather jumpsuit (and a Cure-esque 'do), and I'll be all set.

1 As I said, this is a nutty time of year around here weather-wise. We haven't had a freeze yet, and it's possible we won't get one at all this winter, in which case, last year's growth will just keep on growing (unless artfully hacked back).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Behold the Hypno-Monkey! Stare into his eyes. You are getting sleepy... very, very sleepy. You will do what the Hypno-Monkey says. Now, bring bananas... many, many bananas... (Please don't ask for an explanation. I have no idea. He started as an innocent little spiral doodle, and before I knew it I was staring into the eyes of this weird critter, the entrancing... immersive... eyes...)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yep, Doughnuts

I had a really weird dream last night, but I can only remember half of it. I remember that it was basically an alternate version of some major actual movie, but instead of the various parts being played by whichever actors actually played them, all the parts were played by doughnuts. Yep, doughnuts. I can't remember which movie it was. (Which is driving me crazy. I thought to myself in the night, "This is so weird, I have to remember it," but as it turns out, it was so weird, I can't remember it.) But I do remember that the main character, a female part, was played by one of those chocolate doughnuts (the through-and-through chocolate kind, not the chocolate-iced kind) with the bumpy surface texture and the light dusting of powdered sugar. (A "crumb doughnut", June informs me.) And the bumpy crumb surface corresponded to the elaborate hair-do of the actual actress playing the actual part. The movie didn't really play out in the dream. It was more just a conceptual dream: that-movie-(whichever-movie-that-movie-was)-with-doughnuts-instead-of-actors. Go figure. Maybe I'll dream the sequel tonight.
Drunk-looking dude in ridiculously small hat. (I find him a little bit terrifying, but your mileage may vary.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Topsy Turvy

'Tis the time of year around here when the weather just gets plain old confusing, when one might run both the heat and the AC within a twenty-four hour period, might leave the house with a coat in the morning but be sweating in the afternoon. During the summer, I often don't check the forecast for weeks on end. What's the point? Ninety-plus degrees and ninety-plus humidity. Ninety-plus degrees and ninety-plus... etc. But these days, I'm checking the hour-by-hour forecast: "Okay, cold rain in the morning, then warm and clear, then windy in the evening..." It's confusing for the animals, for the plants, and for us people-critters. Oh, well. Keeps things interesting.
Pearl stretching

Monday, January 09, 2012

Inane Musing of the Day

Toffy and taffy: so similarly named but so very different. What's up with that?1

1 Sorry, it's apparently a slow day in the bloggy-brain. But with these Draconian post-quotas, you can't expect top-shelf material all the time. Quantity, not quality. (Maybe that should be our new bloggy-tagline.)
June constructs nature art (following in her sister's footsteps): Spanish moss, sago palm fruit, and flower petals

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Been Being Done

Oh, hey! Remember that pledge? The pledge-month has been being done.1 Since, like, yesterday. And my promise (with its attendant modification) has been fulfilled. Woot!

But, y'know, I'm liking this new busy-bee Slimbo-mode. I think I'll try to keep it up (to the extent reasonably possible): a text and an image photo each day (mostly), for the foreseeable future.2 Woot!

1 "Been being", that's one of my favorite vernacularisms. I hear it around here a lot and have found myself using it more than once; a special tense, distinct from the mere past tense—sort of in-the-past-but-ongoing. Something like that. There's probably a Latin tense with a fancy name that it roughly corresponds to. I'll just call it the Been-Being Tense. Try it. You'll like it.

2 Not that any of the future is really foreseeable.
Sketch-a-doodle: man with frazzly hair. I know how he feels. We've all had days like that (even if most of us have never had hair like that).

Saturday, January 07, 2012

It's Fortunate...

It's fortunate that my team's (the Saints') colors (black and gold) sync well with those of my personal uniform1 (black and, well, whatever color I'm wearing on my bottom half). It'd be mighty hard to sport the pride otherwise. (Sorry, LSU. You'll never find me in a purple shirt.)

Who dat!

1 My uniform has actually become even more dogmatically minimalist since that post. Don't ask why. Things simply are as they must be.

Friday, January 06, 2012

I Like the Word... (Redux)

I like the word "tittle".1 (I thought it was spelled "tiddle" until I looked it up just now.) What word do you like?

1 I asked a friend to pour me a little tittle (of bourbon, of course). He did. The tittle was rather littler than I'd truly wished. I asked if he could make a double tittle — a doppio tittle, as it were. A tittlio? he suggested. Yes, indeed. So there you go: "tittlio" = "doppio tittle" ('cause sometimes that's exactly what you want). Feel free to use it.
Morning clouds

Thursday, January 05, 2012

I Like the Word...

I like the word "lollygag". (It's way better than just plain old "gag".) What word do you like?
Blimp, drifting through the fog over Lake Pontchartrain. (It doesn't look so big in this photo, but when it first went right past our window, it was startlingly large. Retro-20s-newsreel and futuristic-Blade-Runner all at once.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Ice, Ice, Baby

When I left for work this morning, my car was covered, not with the thick dew it so often is in this drenching climate, but with crystalline webs of ice. And I don't have one of those window-scraper things. And I'm guessing the percentage of drivers in this city who do have one of those window-scraper things is in the low single digits. What to do? What to do? Well, I sat. And watched with weird pleasure as the defroster did its slow work, and Rorschachian blobs of clarity spread across the windshield, and at last I could go.

Ah, the irony: we can claw our way back from apocalyptic hurricanes but are immobilized by a brief wee-hours dip into the low thirties. That's alright. Work could wait a bit. And the ice was very pretty.
Morning fog, City Park (as seen from a moving car (yeah, I know; but the road was really empty and the fog was really pretty))

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

This is Albert. He's a bird. I'm not really sure what his deal is. I have a vague notion (and what is this blog but an assemblage of vague notions) that he's the first in a series (though only time will tell). Maybe a family of birds. And he's the grumpy uncle. Or sumthin'. (We'll workshop it.)

I Resolve...

New Year's Resolutions are hard. And failure is so discouraging. This year I'm lowering the bar. I resolve to:
  • Wear shoes most days
  • Not curse at nuns
  • Avoid fraternizing with gibbons
  • Sleep
  • Not get my ears pierced
  • Not get a tattoo
  • Not bet on peanuckle games
  • Make at least one mock-(but-not really-all-that-funny)-list of New Year’s resolutions
What do you resolve?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Nice to Be Home

Nice to be home (after our very brief little getaway). I suppose my life ain't so bad (or I'm a stuck-in-my-ways curmudgeon (or both)), if I'm always so pleased to return to my comfy old house and our kooky cats and all the business and bustle and jostle of the usual routine. O bla di. Jiggety jog. Etc.
The gals, walking along... Hmm, how do I explain this? Um, the part of the panhandle we were in has these little specific sort of oceanside lake/lagoon/things-with-a-name-that-I-can't-remember-right-now, a sort that only occurs there and somewhere in South Africa. And those lake/lagoon/things-a-ma-bobs actually have these little waterway/outlets that run across the beach like little mini-rivers and flow out into the ocean. That was a terrrible explanation, but the lake/lagoon/thing-a-ma-bobs and their associated mini-rivers are quite lovely and cool. And the gals enjoyed traipsing their way through them.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Little Miss Pink Shorts, at the water's edge

New Beginnings1

So, having ended the old year in the dark Florida woods, I started the new year watching the sun rise over the Gulf of Mexico. Not too shabby. (Though I confess, my dominant thought at the the time was "Damn, I wish I’d brought my camera." Ahh, the affliction of modern livin’...)

1 This was the best post title I could think of at the moment. It sounds like the name of a drug rehab center.