Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Playground Theater

Yesterday at recess Phoebe was talking with her good friend Alexis.  Alexis is the tallest girl in Phoebe's fourth grade class (possibly taller than me)...
Alexis: "I read that men like petite women"
Phoebe: "Really? Let's be be petite then!"
So they hunched down and bent their legs and walked around in circles squeaking in tiny voices "We're petite! We're petite!"
Alexis: "Are the boys looking at us Phoebe?"
Phoebe: "Lots of people are looking at us."
Alexis: "Being petite is hard and this is hurting my legs."
Phoebe: "Let's be large!"
So they stretched out their legs and stomped about the playground and said in deep, deep voices "We're large!!"
Alexis: "Are the boys looking at us now?"
Phoebe: "Everyone's looking at us now!"
Alexis: "Excellent!"  (in a deep voice).
The End

This is another title image to be projected on the overhead screen for "Once Upon A Mattress".  This time both Phoebe and Chloe tried out for the play and they've been cast as "Ladies in waiting"! The first rehearsal is this week.

Our kickstarter for "The People That Melt in The Rain" the graphic novel is down to the last 12 days.  It's done pretty well though one of our backers changed their mind today (which is a drag).  There aren't too many all-ages books out there with strange tiny people, screaming trees, and mysterious curses. Anyway this is a penciled page that you can receive if you pledge and help us out!

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A peek into my sketchbook....

I bring my sketchbook with me to theater meetings....

To church ...

 And sitting through Naomi's swim lesson at the Y....

Yes, I'm paying attention.  In fact if I don't draw, I zone out and am probably not listening.  Anyway I'm posting my sketchbook on my art blog and on facebook.

If you'd like to see more check in from time to time. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Art of The Red River Returns

Well, it's a new year, 2012, and as of yesterday it's also the Chinese New Year, the year of the dragon (very cool!). Anyway... We're back! Our first show this year has some great guests...

Our first guest will be Bay area artist, Cody Vrosh. "Vrosh is a mainstay at artists’ expos of the Bay Area and beyond, plying his concept to an unsuspecting world. The concept in which a quaint and waiflike fragility is forced to wear its daily apocalyptic wardrobe of gasmasks and revealing clothes. It speaks of innovation and talent, his pieces bridging the gaps between concept, pop and comic art all at once."

Next on the show,we will be speaking with children's book illustrator and fine artist Giles LaRoche. Little did Giles know that when he grew up, other people would gaze at his books about faraway lands and that he would also travel to many of the places he would come to illustrate and write about in such books as Bridges Are To Cross, Sacred Places, What's Inside? Fascinating Structures Around the World, and If You Lived Here: Houses of the World. Whether Giles is exploring in Europe or hiking in New England, he always has a sketchbook in hand.

Our final guest will be children's book illustrator and monster artist, Kevan Atteberry. Based in the Seattle area, Kevan's delightful drawings have appeared in a wide variety of books, magazines and other media throughout the world. Famous for creating "Clippy the Paperclip" for Microsoft Office, Kevan Atteberry has been illustrating since he was knee-high to a crayon. Join us this month and listen in as we talk with these incredibly talented people.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cookies and Whales

Yesterday evening we went to Sea World.  It pains me to even write that sentence, as Sea World's record for animal cruelty is distressingly bad, but this year's "Cookie  Kick-off" for San Diego Girl Scouts was taking place at Shamu Stadium, so I caved.
Here are the girls by the "Whale car" at the entrance.
We arrived early to pick up our tickets and waited in a throng of Girls Scouts out front.
Posing with a penguin. Naomi loves it.  Phoebe's okay with it.  Chloe's gonna kill me.
So I jumped in the next picture with the whale guy to make her feel better.
We filed into the stadium and got a seat at the edge of the "splash zone".  The girls in the crowd were so-o excited. We spent about 40 minutes in a rally to gear up for selling cookies, but unfortunately no cookies were served and we all really wanted cookies after that!
They were selling hot chocolate to the crowd,though, but much to my disappointment, no coffee.
Here you can see the trainers dancing onstage.  The trainer's ability to dance is as important as their experience with animals and any marine biology degree they may have.  It fact the whales are so intelligent that they are not so much following the trainers direction as following cues like any human actor.  Unlike a human actor though they don't get to go home and live a normal whale life after the show.
In this shot you can see the whales onstage in their final pose at the end of that segment.
The whales came to the edge of the pool to pose for the crowd.  I was crying while I watched this show and I think it was either the whales or the shrieking girl behind me who burst my eardrum (I'm so not kidding she had a super powered voice!).
Anyway by the time they were setting off the fireworks I could barely hear.  It was like listening to faint popping corn.

The big news for the week is that my new e-book of "The Horribles" is out...

Check it out!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Queen Mary and The haunted phone

On Saturday our friend, Cody Goodfellow asked us to come to "The Queen Mary" in Long Beach and help him.
He was leading the Cthulu Prayer Breakfast, and needed "deacons" to participate in the ceremony on board this classic luxury cruise liner. So we said ummm... ok.
So we zipped up to Long Beach Sunday morning and boarded the ship.  Then we donned robes and squid masks to participate in this crazy performance, worshiping the squirming god from beneath the sea, for a crowd of Steampunk Symposium attendees.
Here's Cody in his crazy priest getup!  It was actually pretty hilarious.  Fortunately I was hidden behind a mask.
The breakfast was in the Royal Salon.
The crowd was as interesting as the boat.
On deck was a raptor show.
Naomi loved the pretty bird!
I liked the bird guy's hat!
Walking through the boat was like being back in time.
There was a paranormal tour near the stern of the ship.

Not that we bothered...
The lower decks were pretty spooky on their own.
The halls reminded me of that hotel in Stephen King's "The Shining." But I don't think you could ever sign up for a tour and expect to really see dishes flying around of their own accord and real ghosts walking about.   I've had only one unexplained event in my life and it's my kid's favorite story... So here it is. The story of...
When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Mike and I bought a house in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York…. In the middle of nowhere. We drove down winding roads for 40 minutes just to go grocery shopping, and most of our neighbors were only around in the summer or on holidays.  It was a nice little house, next to the creek, and in the kitchen mounted on the wall was an old fashioned dial phone with a coiled cord. 

When we first moved in I picked up the receiver and heard a quiet conversation between two women about hair dye.  I didn't want to eavesdrop so I said "Hello? Who is this?" 
The ladies stopped talking. Then one said, " Did you hear that?"
"Yes, is someone there?"
"Hi, Can you hear me?"  I said. Then it was silent, no voices, just a faint dial tone.
I quickly decided this old phone was somehow hooked up to an old fashioned party line.  After that we used the phone very little, preferring our cordless phone hooked up in the other room.  The handful of times I did use it I could hear whispered voices in background, always assuring the other person that the line sometimes "picked up" other calls. 

A year and a half passed and we mostly forgot the phone was even there. Then in September of 1999 Hurricane Floyd passed through our area, leaving us without power and the road with large impassable trees blocking the way.  Fortunately we were already prepared.  We had stored food and clean water in a paranoid frenzy for Y2K and we desperately needed it all.  We bathed in the creek, painted in the day and played board games by candle light while waiting for our power to be restored. After a week the road was clear but still no power, and it was getting tedious for Mike and I (though, one year old Chloe was loving it!).  I lamented that we couldn't call my sister as the cordless phone didn't work without electricity, when we heard an unfamiliar ring.  It was the wall phone in the kitchen. I raced to it and I heard the faint voice of my sister.  She was just checking in on us and invited us up to her place until our power came on.  So off we went for five days and when we returned, everything was back to normal, and I was so glad we had a hardwired phone that didn't rely on electricity!

A couple years passed and the phone was mostly ignored, except by three year old Chloe who thought it would look better covered in sparkly stickers. The power went out at least once or twice a summer, usually just for a few hours. During one of these outages Mike decided to try the phone in the kitchen to make his call, but it was dead.  Concerned he drove up the road to the local country store and called AT&T's service line.  I believe it went something like this…
"Hello, yes, my phone has stopped working."
"Can I have your account number?"
"Yes, it's  xxx-xxxx"
" I don't see anything wrong here"
"Well, we don't have any power right now."
"Well, that would be the problem."
"No, but we have an old fashioned dial phone hooked up in the kitchen, it should still work."
"I'm sorry, but according to our records you have no phone in the kitchen."
"Yes, we do, we've used it."
"No, you don't.  If you do it's not connected through us."
"Oh. OK."

After this Mike came home, walked into the kitchen and pulled the phone off the wall.  The only wire on it was about 3 inches long and attached to nothing.   It never was hooked up!  (Spooky music plays now).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Discoveries in the sand

On Saturday we went to meet up with Mike's Aunt and Uncle and their giant labradoodle, Max, who were visiting from Arizona.  They were staying at a dog friendly hotel on "Dog Beach".  The place was dog heaven. Their room opened up to a play yard for all the dogs in the hotel.  They were next to the beach and a walking path that headed over to Mission Bay Park.  We even ate lunch at one of the many nearby restaurants that let Max flop at our feet while we ate.

Naomi walked along the beach with Aunt Jill and collected a big plastic bag full of wet, sandy, and somewhat smelly shells.  I let them dry out on the patio, then I brushed off all the sand, and tossed the sharp broken pieces.  Her approach of picking up EVERY shell she saw yielded some nice ones.

What I learned this week is that there's much more to sand than it's annoying quality to get in and on everything you own.
This is beach sand magnified over 250 times real life size.  This photo is from an incredible online article here.  Apparently, the beach is even more amazing than what we can see! 

In other news I've been busy working on "Once Upon A Mattress" this week.  This is one of the "Scene Titles" that will be projected overhead during the show.

Also Fables for Japan, Book II has been released here.
The story Mike and I contributed, “In the Realm of the Sea Dragon,” is in this one along with some other great work.  All proceeds will go to help tsunami victims.

And last, but not least, our kickstarter  promotion for "The People That Melt in The Rain" graphic novel, has reached it's goal in less than a week!  So now we're just filling orders for books and art. You can still participate though-take a look!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

These aren't my thoughts, they're my cat walking on the keyboard.

Here is the stupid poem I wrote today.... 
Fuzzy wuzzy wuz a cat
clawing me while in my lap
purring like a motor boat
I'm bleeding and I'm full of pokes.

  This is my cat, Isabella.  She is the only cat I've ever had who rides in the car, looking out the window and checking things out.  Most cats I've had hide and wait for it to be over (or in the case of my cat, Smudge, cries, pees and poops all at once). But she's a traveler.  
  We adopted her almost four years ago in Argentina from a young woman who didn't speak a word of English so she hilariously pantomimed all instructions to us about her litter box and deworming medication.  It was even funnier because our Spanish wasn't that bad at the time so we understood her anyway.

Two days ago we launched a kickstarter promotion for our new graphic novel "The People That Melt in The Rain"... Anyway we have some great offers including original art, signed copies of the book and other fun stuff! If nothing else take a look at the video that I spent three days making. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Our New Year together and the float is nearly done!

Yesterday we collected some supplies and began our yearly task of making the craziest hat for New Years Eve we could....
We've been doing this since the kids were tiny (but I talked about this already!)

This years hats were quite ridiculous!
At 11:20pm we hopped in the car and drove out to Shelter Island Point to ring in the New Year with the Buddhists again. Here we are waiting in the long line.
In the bell house watching the people in front of us (my teeth are ringing and talking is impossible!)

Here you can see the big log you have to thrust at the bell to ring it.  I got a good sound out of it this year!  Actually all the kids did well this time. :)

In the mean time the South Pasadena parade float has made incredible progress this week.
Here you can see volunteers applying the potatoes that represent "rocks" on the ground. They were telling me about this last week, but now that I see it it's easier to understand how it works. 
Adding flowers to the saucer.

The lemon tree with lemons attached.

The sticky balls we put on look much better with flowers all around them!  Anyway this weeks volunteers have worked long hours to prepare for the final judging which is this morning at 7am! To check in on more pictures or how it did you can go to the Facebook page here! Also be sure to tune in to The Tournament of Roses Parade on Monday morning to see the float roll down the street.

In other news my new graphic novel is available now! Be sure to stay tuned for some special offers!!
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.
“As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance”-Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs)


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