Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't panic, this is only the first chapter

Good news everyone, I'm starting a new project that I think will be really fun for the whole family. Over at they have a lot of re-reads of popular and classic sff (sci-fi and fantasy) books. I think they are doing a "Wheel of Time" re-read right now. This seems like a great way to take a look back at the books that have touched our lives and made our imaginations sing like a rhino would if it had vocal cords. Taking a tip from Tor, I thought it would be fun to re-read the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. I'll be reading and reviewing a chapter or so a week from this classic and illustrating the scene that I think really sums up the chapter or chapters read. My goal is to have one post a week on this topic. Feel free to raze me if I start slacking off. Now to the first chapter.

"Yellow". This is the first thought that runs and winds it's way through our hero, Arthur Dent's mind when he wakes up. It's the word that begins the cataylst which drives our reluctant hero to the far reaches of the galaxy and beyond time itself. But I think I am jumping ahead of myself here.
The first chapter does what a good first chapter should do. It draws the reader in, it establishes the voice and tone of the book and lets the reader say "Hello" to some of the main characters. The characters that Adams invents are marvelous. What's ingenuous about this book, is that it is not a guide to the galaxy, it's a story about the guide to the galaxy and the people (term used loosely, because of the high volume of non-human sentient beings portrayed within the book) that use it. The Guide as the actors on page call it, is a fascinating work of near truth itself. Adams describes it as:

"...the...Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.
First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on it's cover."-The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams.

Now, let's circle back to "Yellow". This word in and of itself, though small and unassuming, is an agent of foreshadowing as we will see in a the next chapter. Arthur Dent, who we meet early in the morning trying to figure out why "Yellow" is important is, as described, a descendant of apes, or in other words, a human being who still thinks that digital watches are pretty nifty. Once Arthur comes to gripes with what and why "Yellow" is important, the fun really begins.
Arthur runs out and starts a little protest of his own to save his house only he could love, from the yellow bulldozer aiming to destroy it. The foreman, Mr. L. Prosser, for the construction crew building the bypass that will drive itself through Arthur's house is a funny little man. As a direct descendant of Ghengis Khan he is plagued with visions of hairy men, blood, and battles. You must read the argument between the foreman, Arthur, and Ford Prefect, it's one of the best parts of this book.
Did I casually slip Ford Prefect into that last sentance? That's just how he would like to be slipped into a sentance, casually, not formally. Ford Prefect is from another world. He's cool under pressure and has a sweet job. He is a roving field researcher for the Guide. He dropped in on Earth and accidently got stranded on this planet. The poor guy spent the 15 years prior to the first chapter looking for flying saucers to take him to more exciting and drunken parts of the galaxy. We'll talk more of him in later chapters as he shows up a lot in the book.
Arthur, our main character, is less impressive at first glance. He isn't particularly bright, funny, or quick on his feet. What he does have is the ability to not go insane when the whole world goes bonkers around him. Is this because of his lower intelligence (compared to some of the aliens around him)? I think it's due to an enduring quality of being human, being blindly stubborn. The scene with him in the mud, laying against a huge machine that would suffer no damage all if it rolled right over him, is a portrait of pure stubbornness. Stubbornness humans show when things aren't like they think they should be. Stubbornness that lead man to make cars so we wouldn't have to walk or chaff on saddles anymore. Artur against the bulldozer is beginning of Arthur against the Universe. He is slow, stubborn, but ultimately the man to survive it all and still ask for a cup of tea.

I hope this will be fun, I've never done this sort of thing before and if you, my dear reader have any tips, thoughts, or critiques about how my first re-read went, let me know in the comments. Until next time, Don't Panic.

Arthur Against the Bulldozer, gouache and ink in my Moleskine sketchbook

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Some good things to remember

I found this on twitter and I think I am guilty of all of them pretty much all the time. No offense to family. Just click on the blurry image and see what I am talking about.

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Crazy masks

Steampunk Leather Masks | HOW TO BE A RETRONAUT

So I was perusing around on the website, minding my own business following links, when I came across this link. It kind of blew my mind. Steampunk has a classy, classic, Jules Vern feel to it. These Steampunk masks are somewhat different. Most of them are what the German Nazi zombie guy with the clock work heart in the first Hellboy movie would have hanging in his closet. This site has to be were the villains of the steampunk worlds but their costumes.

I think you will find them interesting at the least. A few pf them are not so subtle nods to pop geek culture like Star Wars and Watchmen. The mask that looks like Nightowl is one of my favorites. I hope this link helps spark your steam engines, get your gears grinding, and polishes your brass thinking caps and flying goggles. I think I might just have to make some steamy art.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Better picture soon (100th post, go me)

Good news everyone! I'm almost done with this crow painting I've been working on. Its been an experiment using a new kind of board to paint on. The paint is supposed to react just like it would on watercolor paper. So that's what I thought I would try. It's all painted with watercolor. Not like my usual mix of acrylic and gouache. There will be a better picture when its done. I used my phone instead of a scanner.
Ok, here is the revised version, all done. I think it looks just a little bit better.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Freaky deaky clouds

Good news everyone! Cloud giants are going to eat us all. Though, if they are clouds we are more likely going to just get really damp and clammy. Yuck. Why do I know this? Because my friend from work, Camille Manetta took this picture from her front yard! That's how. Just look at the sloping forehead, the beady eyes, the ominous background. This cloud giant is up to no good. He's going to dampen all humanity with his misty teeth. Good bye everyone. At least until the wind disintegrates him and we are safe again.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Update on the artifact.

Bad news everyone. Have not heard from the park yet as to the nature of the item I found. Maynor wins with the best guess: A tattooed bone. The best guess of the ranger that I turned the item over too is that it's part of a ladle or the foot of a pot. We shall see, I hope this funny video consoles you until I find out more about it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good news everyone, I'm an archeologist.  That's right. Now, you may be wondering how this happened.  If you really are, then by golly  you are in for a treat.  I will state before going to much further, I am an amateur archeologist.  Here is how it happened. While my wife and I were traveling to and fro between the cities of Salt Lake and Santa Fe, we made a detour for an amazing area of the world known as Mesa Verde. This national park is home to the ruins of a people now known as the Ancestral Pueblo. Or something to that effect.  Anthropologists don't call them Anasazi anymore, but that's what they used to be called.  Mesa Verde is amazing, the homes built by these people are on cliffs! Some barely have more then a foot of walking space along the cliff faces.  There are ruins of older buildings then the cliff dwellings on top of the mesas. One of them is called the Far View Compound.  It was here at the Coyote Village that I made my awesome discovery.

The first picture is how it looked when I saw it in the grass.  It looked like a bone or something strange, so of course I had to pick it up. Then I saw the glazes. You can see them in the middle picture and the bottom picture. It was so exciting to find something that was from somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 a.d.-ish. The people here lived there from 750 a.d. to around 1000 a.d. when they moved to the cliffs. After finding it, I didn't want to just set it down and walk away or take it home. It's national park property after all. So we went to the rangers station.  The ranger on duty told us after asking about finding pottery shards to leave it where we found it as the rain will unearth shards and other things. Then when I showed it to her, the eyes went wide and she got excited. Taking it from me she went and washed off the dirt reveling the black and white bands in the bottom photo.  I gave her my info and we will see what the real archeologists say it is.  Anyone have a guess? The ranger had some good guesses but I want to hear yours before telling you what she thought.  When or if I ever hear from the park, I will post the answer here.  As it stands, I found something really old and really cool.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Testing yet another blog app

Good news everyone, I'm still technically alive. Although I feel like a slug (no offense to slugs) that I have not been posting more of my work. I haven't been a complete slacker these last few months. There were some major computer hurdles that I needed to overcome first, but all that is done and I can relax and get to the good stuff of putting my work online. I am really bummed that I missed this weeks Illustrated Friday. The topic was midsummer evening. There a lot of great entries.

What does everyone think of this drawing? The noble octopus, what a fascinating creature.  This drawing turned out really well. Until next time, keep drawing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just some photos I should have posted awhile ago, but like didn't and stuff.

Ok, I am really bad at blogging. I think it's because I can upload photos to Facebook and Flikr from my phone, but not really to blogger. Does anyone know of a good Android app for blogger? If you tell me, I'll post more pictures of my work.

So the pictures I'm putting up today where taken almost 2 years ago of a band called "We Were Promised Jetpacks". These guys are awesome. Not just like, oh hey, Weezer had a new song out and it was awesome. I mean, they are really awesome. I don't know just how long they have been around, but they only have one album, called these Four Walls. Another neat fact is that they are from Scotland, land of strong warm beer. Their sound is a little punk rock, but they do it well. All the songs are packed with emotion that only comes from a new band of kids accessorizing their sleeves with their hearts.
Looking through the picture folder, I also found a video I took with my camera. The audio and visual quailites are not great, but it's a little tiny camera, so cut it some slack. This song is called "Quite little voices" and is the beginning of the song.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

How awesome is this?

Ok, I'm so proud of my big sister, she was on the Today Show this morning. On set, talking with one of the hosts. In New York city. All because she started couponing to save a little bit of money at the store, started a family blog and talked about her coupons (more or less). Now that blog is an amazing money saving resource. If you haven't been there, check it out here. She is amazing. So are all her kids and husband. So, I thought I would put up the interview from the Today Show. Also, rumor has it she will also be on Rachel Ray, April 12th. Mark your calenders.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Well, it's done

Good news everyone, I have finished the Omen with 8 arms. It was done as a pencil drawing, then gouache, then acryllic on top. As per useal I think I'll let the image to do the talking.

Work in progress

Good news everyone, I am painting something. This little image is my entry for a miniature contest in Scottsdale, Az. Sky meets the sea. I think I will take the suggestion from my good friend the_jcw and call it the omen of eight arms. Maybe.
Testing this mobile Blogger thing without a third party app.