Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Unexpectedly Delicious

I'm an average cook. When I improvise it's usually regretted. Two nights ago I cooked a butternut squash, split in half, with garlic salt and a little butter, a little maple syrup. It wasn't very good, sort of watery tasting and took almost two hours to cook because of the altitude.

So the other half of the squash was still sitting on the shelf last night, waiting to be tossed or eaten. I scooped the orange flesh out of the shell into a little bowl, added an egg, some cinnamon, a little milk, a little maple syrup. Poured it into a small pan so it could fit in the small oven, and baked it about 45 minutes. No recipe involved and little hope held for outcome.

It was delicious. Somehow it picked up a texture more like bread pudding. I don't know if I could ever recreate it. I didn't get a picture of it because it was all gone.

I got an email from a friend in L.A. who wanted me to participate in her cooking chain letter. You send a recipe to somebody and the adjusted email to 20 other people. I wrote back, "What are you thinking? I only have approx. 3 friends and you're one of them."

Later I realized I could have penalized everyone who's ever posted here, but that's not my style. I never-- never-- participate in chain mail no matter how good the intention or how big the reward promised. Now don't you feel better?

So what's with the picture? That's yet another obsolete format, in this case a stack of CEDs, an early form of home video. They were on the way to the dump. That's Paul Newman on top. Geez he was good looking. Some people collect CEDs and hang them on the wall but there's so little aesthetics involved in the packaging that the dump seemed the best place for them.

Another hiking shot:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sasquatch Misfit

This guy posted on youtube that he'd sampled two of my cartoons to make his video above. I thought hmm, what's this about. I really like the video, the way it syncs to the music is such a treat, the found footage so weird and the guy in front of the couch a charmer.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Autumn Charm

The changing season seems especially pretty this year, with more reds and oranges than I remember seeing last year. These pictures are from this morning. By afternoon a big thunderstorm had hit, with hail on the porch and ice sheets crashing off the roof.

I took an English riding lesson yesterday. After not riding for more than a year, I am SO SORE today and grabbing for the advil. But it was a great feeling to be on a horse again.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Camp Bow Wow

We're taking a two day trip next month to ride horses with a buffalo herd- really-- and needed to find a place to put Molly. The local vet's office said Camp Bow Wow had opened in Montrose. It's a franchise. I'd never heard of it. They allow dogs to play together for hours at a time, just going into their individual kennels for naps and overnight. This is a very new style kennel.

But your dog has to pass their 3 hour evaluation. As much as we adore Molly, we remember some hairy moments at the dog park gate when people were yelling at us, "Kick her in the head." (We didn't.) She has issues with fences.

I didn't bring the camera inside, but it was a very appealing office interior, and there was a very long form to fill, while three friendly attendants got to know Molly. They have video cameras live on six different play areas.

We stayed while Molly was introduced to the group and watched it on tv. She fit in well and they were very pleased, so we set out on our way, how to spend three hours in Montrose.

1. Go to the dump and drop off one tiny bag of garbage.
2. Stop at a farmer's market that sold unusual (to us) produce like lemon cucumbers and blood plums. They were broiling peppers by the roadside in strange rotating grills.
3. Go into the bank and the manager came out and talked about how she wished she had thought to open Camp Bow Wow. The teller asked what our weekend plans were. I was lurking by the deposit slips and felt like I was Bonnie waiting for Clyde. People in Montrose are so wonderfully friendly.
4. Pass a policeman walking down Main Street who greeted us like we lived half a block down.
5. Eat lunch at a bakery and have the best Reuben sandwich ever. It had spiral colored rye, dark and light, and wasn't greasy.
6. Stop at Division of Wildlife and ask about stocking trout, and show them a picture of a bird that might be a prairie chicken.
7. Walmart-- no other store sells such good fly strips. And they had no hunting signs.
8.City Market- dinners for ten days ... now we're 45 minutes late

9. GLORIOUS We show up at Camp Bow Wow and Molly has passed the personality test, and they love her, and she can stay there any time. Best dog ever. Smarter than John McCain.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cartoon Fever

So I had a dream last night that I'd won a grant unexpectedly, and thought "Oh no, now I'm going to have to make that cartoon."

Then a link came in through google and took me to Cartoon Fever on the Screengrab
and I was pleased not just because they'd picked one of my cartoons, but on the four different sections they had all kinds of great cartoons assembled, and presented in a very attractive way, with nice summaries too.

I plan to go back and look over a whole bunch of them. There aren't so many that you get that sinking feeling.

Still, I clicked on one that caught my eye and noticed it was 9 minutes long. Nine minutes? You expect me to sit here and look at my computer for nine minutes straight? Shows you what the digital experience has done for my attention span. Back downstairs now to the book I was reading!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

B.M.O.C. and talkin' about college

B.M.O.C. stands for Big Man on Campus. a term that came floating back to me from who knows where.

Los Angeles readers note there is a big rally for women/Obama being organized for Sunday Oct. 5 in Westwood at the Federal Building. I've gotten a couple of emails about it, though details still vague.

Blog friend awanderer is in college and ambivalent about staying there. Here are some thoughts in no particular order. Maybe you have some too.

What's great about college is you have these years to explore and learn things which may take you in unexpected directions, and if you're lucky you'll have teachers who will guide you to these unexpected places. You can reach a depth in your thinking and exploration that may not be available to you at any other time in your life.

For many fields degrees matter so you have no choice if you're looking to be a doctor, lawyer, or professor yourself. In the creative fields I found people were rarely queried about background, rather it was whether you fit into the field that was there, and whether you had talent enthusiasm and no snotty attitude.

Suits jobs are where they really care what school you went to, not whether you're actually competent and motivated or not.

It used to be the Ivy League schools were functioning as a social sifting as well, but that's really changed. So parents in the past strived for their children to get into those schools, figuring that's where they'd pick up their friends and partners for life.

Sometimes you can make a mistake and think, "Oh what's the point of learning this? When will I ever use this in life? I want to get out of here." Think it slowly and carefully.

I found I even used ALGEBRA in animation. I graduated in 3 1/2 years. I couldn't wait to get out.

I think with the Internet, google, digital dialog, it's more possible than before to really educate yourself independently. I also think it's foolish to imagine everyone should be going to college.

When I was at Smith education standards were swinging wild and free, and you could really write your own curriculum almost from Freshman year. Thus I never learned things I couldn't quite understand, because I chose not to study them. History for instance. Or electricity. I didn't take a single history class. Later I discovered I loved reading about Western history.

I remember my last year at Smith I knew of a guy who was doing independent study at Yale, studying television. He watched tv all day. He didn't even have to write about it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Survivalist at the top of the road

He's very big, and has a big smile, but he writes angry letters and posts angry signs. I think he's an old fried surfer. He's better looking than the picture, and bigger. But he's an angry guy. Very angry. He can't use a typewriter. One of the early signs was something like: "Stop moving this rock!! I am a personal freind of the sherrif and know who you are!!" The rock was wrapped in plastic at the top of a pile. I know I'm mean and very small, you don't have to tell me.

Guess what this is:

Recreational drilling.

His cabin has one window and it faces the road, even though on the other side is one of the best views of mountains you could have around here. Like us he's from California and only here part of the year.

We thought he was leaving today, but he's staying a few more days. I couldn't take a picture of his cabin.


Weird Dream

I had this vivid dream- a woman I didn't know with thin red hair and glasses asked me to trim the ragged ends of her hair. I said I would. She looked a little like Sarah Palin.

But when I got to trimming the back of her hair, it wasn't hair, but ferns, and root vegetables, and wood stubs that I couldn't cut through.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Picnic in the Park

We went to a picnic in the Placerville park to benefit the Placerville Volunteer Fire Dept. Here's their logo:

I was asking the guy in charge of donations for a vest for the K-9 dog in the poster, if he knew the dog's name. I thought the dog was probably a relative of Molly.

He said, "I'm not sure, but I sometimes see him at car accidents." I guess you had to be there-- he said it the way someone would say "I'm not sure, but I sometimes see him at parties."

There were puppies for sale for $500 each, German short haired pointers. We felt giddy and almost bought one. (not really)

Lunch was beef brisket, corn on the cob and baked beans, with a cupcake for dessert. They put lemon in the baked beans, which was tasty. We met Art Goodtimes, poet and county commissioner, and avoided the weird survivalist guy at the top of the hill.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Molly

her first day home on front lawn with Dinah.

She's four years old today. Best dog we've ever had!

Here she is on our birthday hike.

Thanks for all your nice birthday wishes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two Books I've Liked

Since I've been in a vile and crabby mood off and on ever since my horse Pepper died, exacerbated by Sarah Palin, I thought I'd post two books I've recently read that I like. The bears are tiny and left over from my childhood. They're my rating system.

The Joan Didion book, "The White Album" is filled with essays, mostly about California, but she also discusses Doris Lessing, a writer I could never make sense of, and Didion seems to feel the same way. I think I read this book when it was first published in 1979 and didn't respond to it. This time I thought it was really excellent and I look forward to reading more of her books.

Two bears, two arms up.

I really didn't expect to like this book, a cop thriller set on an army base, but I couldn't put it down. In fact I'm reading another book about the same character, Jack Reacher, right now. Inside one of the covers was a Bill Clinton quote: "I love Jack Reacher."

Two bears, worried about the outcome.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

John Fante over rated

The best thing about John Fante's "Ask the Dust" is the introduction by Charles Bukowski which made me think I'd like the book, and I don't even like Charles Bukowski's writing. The descriptions of Los Angeles are pretty decent, but the "I" narrator seems prissy and self pitying while also trying to play the role of hard drinking writer. The female center piece is a melodramatic Mexican marijuana addict waitress who keeps breaking into his hotel room and toking up in the closet, which leads to madness. She was just silly. It did remind me of how important it used to seem to be a writer who gets published, back in days when a short story could pay a signifigant check.

Anyone else here read this book?

I give it one bear, no arms up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain: Old Sloppy Jaws

Click on the roof shaped triangle in control bar of video to get the links to send to others.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Go Goats Go

(wow thought I posted this in L.A. We're in Colorado now. The stable here was just a mile from the awful train accident which happened later that day.)

I got to the stable at 6 am. It was totally dark, and I was way too early. Couldn't help it, I get anxious. That's Tia with her two goats. Dinah's roommate and her family arrived about 20 minutes later, with their horse trailer, and her roommate's horse. They were there to haul Tia and the goats to U.C. Davis.

Ben was late, he's not usually late, and I didn't have the combination to the tack room, so we couldn't load up. We had to get the trunk, and the medicine, and the boots for Tia. After a series of phone calls and about 20 minutes more, Ben arrived, the tack room was opened, and we got ready to load the goats.

They were naughty, they're always naughty, even with four of us running around and trying to stop/scare them into the trailer.

But, but!!

I had an idea! LIGHTBULB!

Let me get Molly out. She's had sheep herding lessons. She's always wanted to herd these damn goats!

Since everyone else was out of ideas and Dinah wasn't there, I went ahead with it.

As soon as Nicole, the light colored goat, saw Molly, she was in the trailer. WOLF!

But the dark one, Margarethe, had a flash fantasy that maybe she could butt Molly. Then she decided no and ran on a wild route, with Molly and me in fast pursuit. I was afraid I'd end up being dragged through the dirt into the trailer. Molly was in absolute heaven. For four years she's wanted to chase those goats, and now we were telling her to do it.

Anyway, we got the evil but beloved goat in the trailer, and they drove off. It was actually a lot of fun. Dinah called later and said all had arrived safely, and were settling in.

My computer went freako overnight and lost contact with all its programs. What a pain. And why? Off to Colorado at 5 am. Glad I'm not in Galveston. I was there once. It was a cool city, great architecture.

Sorry there's no action shot, but when the action was happening I was in the middle of it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Frog I.Q. test

If you click here, you can feel as dumb as me, or maybe you'll figure it out right away! I lost 20 minutes this morning. The animation is quite nice.

We're leaving for Colorado before dawn on Saturday. Tomorrow I have to help Dinah's horse Tia and her two goats load up on the trailer that's stopping by the stable before dawn. Dinah's already at Davis. I've packed crackers for the goats and tiny carrots. Compare this with a year ago.

Spent most of the afternoon cleaning the chicken cage. Some jobs just aren't outsourced.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Auntie Bea's portrait of my sister

My Auntie Bea was a painter, working in the 10s-40s. This is a painting she did of my sister Carol. My brother wrapped it for me to take on the airline, and did a very poor job of it. The frame got ruined on the trip, but at least the painting wasn't ruined.

When Dinah saw the painting she stared and stared. "Now I know I really am related to you", she told me. We don't look at all alike, but Dinah looks a lot like this painting of Carol.

Dinah left for college today. Not the happiest of times for me.

I've read a letter at my mother's from Eleanor Roosevelt to Auntie Bea, who was painting a portrait of FDR. In the letter Eleanor complains that they don't like the nose. Geez. Aristocrats!

I have two other paintings by Auntie Bea. One is of nymphs playing music in the woods, in an American Impressionist style, and one is a lovely miniature of my mother at about two years old.

I never met her.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hating Sarah

and my legal name is Sarah but I'm strictly a Sally. Can you believe the first thing I bought at Albertson's this morning was the National Enquirer? (and milk and English Muffins.)

This woman is such a horror on so many fronts. Don't be fooled by John McCain's "soul mate."

Here's a useful link to a bill that needs supporters to ban aerial hunting.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Back to Jersey

I'm flying back to New Jersey in the morning to visit my mother over the weekend. I'm not taking my laptop, taking some books instead. This is an interior shot of an old Pan Am airline with wicker seats and waist reducer leather seatbelts.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Pilot's Dilemma

email received today: read the story before you look at the picture!

You are a South African bush pilot working for Blue Sky Aviation. You fly in some critical medical supplies; then enjoy a quick lunch at the hospital.

It is a stifling 100 degrees in the shade and you are eager to get back up to the cool, high blue yonder.

On the way back to your plane, you discover that the only bit of shade within 1 mile has become very popular...

You start calculating the distance to the plane door and wonder...

'Do I feel lucky today?'?? (Scroll down!)

"Uh oh! Bad dog(s)!"

That was the theme of the german shepherd contest last month and I won! The picture's from a few years ago. I didn't win anything but I've entered their photo contest so many times, that it was fun to win.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Grace Cummings' duck

When I was in first or second grade, a girl named Grace Cummings wanted to be my friend.

Back then, around Easter time, taxidermied ducklings were dyed pink and blue, stapled to a piece of cardboard, and sold at the ten cent store.

But I wanted a real duck, not a taxidermied duck. Grace said she had one at home and was going to give it to me.

Every day I'd ask her, before class started, "Did you bring the duck today?"

"No, I forgot. I'll bring it tomorrow."

This went on for weeks, maybe months. That duck would have fed a family of five by the time I realized Grace was never going to give me the promised duck.

Scarred me for life.

Be Careful with Google Chrome too

I downloaded it, opened it up, and it seemed to import my bookmarks from Internet Explorer before I quite realized what had happened. I haven't used these bookmarks in 3 years! There's no edit all that I can find to clear them out. I uninstalled, reinstalled, but google is too smart and it popped those bookmarks right back in.

You Mac friends have to wait this one out. You may be glad of it!

Meanwhile, I'm obsessively fired up in my absolute DISLIKE of Palin. The way out stuff I read one day turns out to be documented info the next.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Get Off the Bus

Ken Kesey's bus that is. Finished Kool Aid Acid Test, (the book). He sounded like a bully. I don't particularly recommend it. One interesting thing, though: the first Prankster acid test in Los Angeles was in Northridge of all places, at a Unitarian church shaped like an onion.