Saturday, November 29, 2008

What to Wear?

Returning to L.A., I've opened a couple of party invites which must be accepted. But what to wear? Do ya think? Can't be seen without my red hat. And the eyelash tits are so Anita.

Wish me Luck!

Got a call at 4:45 this morning that my mother had fallen. She didn't break anything but was confused about a lot the three times I spoke to her. I'll see her a week from Monday. I spoke to several nurses today and they said she had not had a stroke, though I couldn't convince her of that.

The chickens were looking good, and our house was well taken care of. There was a flyer that said a man has been peeking in windows. The next door neighbor said he promises he'll stop that!

At Lake Balboa the pelicans were back, and there were more than a hundred cormorants, and already more than a thousand coots. That was nice.

I'm going down to Hollywood Park to the races tomorrow. I've got my tip sheet all marked up. It's rumored that the great filly Zenyatta will be parading around, and everyone who pays to enter gets this poster of Zenyatta.

I started to watch the DVD of "Synecdoche New York", Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut. Awful, and grim. Why do they make movies like this? He's the smart screen writer who wrote "Being John Malkovich" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." I only got about a third of the way through this one.

Friday, November 28, 2008

When in Mesquite, Don't Stop!

I should have listened to the elephant.

We drove hours and hours, over winding mountain highways with every kind of danger sign: run away truck ramp, elk and deer crossing next 12 miles, watch for rocks on highway, slippery when wet, pictures of trucks tipping sideways on turns, warnings of steep angle to hill ahead, bridge may be frozen, bump signs, have I forgotten anything? And through it all it was raining hard and sometimes IMPOSSIBLE fog, which is disorienting and truly scary.

And we ended up in Mesquite, Nevada, where the room cost $100 in the dog wing, even though the signs all along the last 200 miles had said $24.99 and up. On check-in they said it was because it was a holiday and there were only 20 rooms left. LIES! The place was maybe half full. This inn is a minor city! Building after building. Maybe it should be converted to a jail.

The food got an early start in the oven on Thursday, or maybe the day before, and was enjoying the warmth of the steam table. It's a $14 all you can eat buffet, with aging turkey, gravy, and assorted trimmings like vanilla sauce. ? People weren't even returning for seconds.

I was happy to taste the green beans with mushroom soup and canned onions, because it's a famous recipe I've read about and never experienced. Not too bad. It holds well under the cafeteria's hot lamps, perhaps long enough to make it till Christmas.

The seafood newburg reminded me of airline meals long ago, when we thought the food on planes was bad, never imagining that in the future they'd just throw a snack pak at you.

I got to watch people walk up to the pie case and look over the desserts. This was kind of fun. No one looked too happy with the dried pies available, but they'd snatch one, then scurry over to the frozen custard machine, also in my view, and slowly squirch out pumpkin frozen dribble onto the pie. Oh for a video camera.

So a crummy cafeteria meal on Thanksgiving, big deal. But nothing compared to the urine SOAKED bedroom which was such a stench we didn't quite know what to do. Jon called the front desk to tell them about it so we wouldn't get charged for it in the morning when the pet inspector came by. I told him, "Well, you know how it is with bad smells: at first they really bother you and after a while you don't even notice them." (We've been through this with skunk sprayed dogs)

NOT SO! All night I tossed and turned inches above the stinkiness. It was still on Molly the next day! There WAS no pet inspector, because the place has fallen on hard times. You could tell it first from the half empty casino, and the Asian croupiers standing behind empty tables looking worried.

The picture is of a cute sculpture in Norwood, Colorado, where there used to be many cute animal sculptures made of car parts, but most of them have vanished. We stopped at the grocery store to buy chips for our sad sandwiches but the grocery store was closed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's where we'll be spending Thanksgiving, at the Virgin River Casino in Mesquite, Nevada. We're driving back to L.A. This hotel has been described as a Motel 6 with a casino attached. It also has a dog wing at the back, and a pet inspector who checks your carpet in the morning before you can leave. It's part of our usual route in the winter.

They have an all you can eat buffet. It's just over state line so it's very popular with Utah Jack Mormons who can cross the line and drink and gamble and eat. Also a popular spot for truckers.

When we first started staying in Mesquite it inspired me to do some episodes of the Whinsey and Anita on line adventure set in Mesquite. But now I have too much cleaning to do still to find them and post them. We don't gamble much, but it's one of those casinos where the lights are flashing and the ching ching ching of coins falling is loud as it can be. In Vegas now many of the casinos are silent, you just get a ticket of your winnings which isn't nearly as much fun I think.

Anyway, enjoy your day wherever you're spending it: don't get mad at the relatives, don't drop the main course, and don't worry about your diet.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Here's a dime go make a friend

That's what my grandmother used to tell my sister. Later I think it went up to a quarter. It was never the right incentive though.

Here's Molly watching her neighbor friend Sabin eat his morning scoop. (Isn't Sabin a weird name for a dog?) Early every morning he ventures over and taps insistently on the glass till I come down. If I don't come fast enough Molly lets out a fearsome moan. I wonder if Sabin will keep tapping all winter. We leave on Thursday morning, back to L.A. As soon as he finishes eating on the porch, he goes on, probably to another plate glass window to tap tap.

Molly had a romp with John McCain a few minutes ago. They play so hard you have to grab hold of a tree when they go by so you won't get slamdanced.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Took Linda's advice and tried a macro picture with my Sony point and click. This is the tiny statchoo that inspired my soaker picture. It's a jolly peach color and about 1 1/2 inches high.

But look! The soaker picture is already in a museum. Must be MOCA in L.A., which is in danger of closing. They'll take anyone, I've heard.

No actually it's thanks to mean jean, who pointed out this cool site, dumpr: you upload a picture and choose a museum setting. It says something about how size of art is a corollary to importance in the contemporary art world. Just gotta make it big enough and hang it on a white wall. Uncomfortable benches may add to the effect.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who You Soak with

There are numerous natural hot springs in this part of Colorado. A couple of days ago we thought we'd go to the naked hot springs in Ridgway, but when we got there it had just been drained and only refilled up to two feet, which just wasn't enough coverage!

So we went to the Ouray Natural Hot Springs Pool, a pay to swim public pool with giant hot springs outside as well. Bathing suits required. There were at least twenty people there, more women than men. You can't help but hear their conversations. A lonely holistic doctor would be in heaven there: score! Everyone was talking about surgery and health problems, everyone but us. One woman told her friend she'd thrown I Ching that morning and it told her to come to the hot springs! Wow, when did you last hear about I Ching?

Later in that same soak this woman managed to have her legs sticking straight up out of the water while she was sitting on the ledge still talking to her friend about health problems. Meanwhile she was a human pretzel.

With the canyon mountains surrounding the pool so abruptly, it felt like we were at a sanitarium in Switzerland, or a scene from Thomas Mann's "Magic Mountain", a book I could never get through.

There was one other person, a really scary guy, who appeared and disappeared in the water. He was huge, with stubbly blonde hair on a small head, tiny eyes. He didn't seem to have a keeper watching him, but he'd go underwater swimming, (and the temp is 100) and then blast suddenly out of the water making a growling sound and spitting. Misplaced human Orca.

Been getting some charming goofus emails from unknowns lately. One, from man dylan thomas starshine, said "you are my ideal prom date." Another, more poetic, "I've always been a fan of your style and the way your animations look like living lava lamps..."

Have a jolly Saturday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Freude R.I.P.

I got word from George Griffin that Freude Bartlett passed on. She was a very important person in the animation world of the 1970's. When independent animation was popping up randomly all over the country, Freude put together Serious Business Company in Berkeley to distribute these films. I hope her signifigance will be appreciated.

All this was the decade before vcrs, a period when public libraries were especially well funded. Libraries were buying 16mm prints of odd films like mine for prices of $150 and up, sometimes multiple prints. There were library magazines that reviewed the available short films. Because of library screenings and art museum programs, an audience developed for independent animation, concurrently with numerous people bursting on the scene unaware of one another.

The picture above was taken by her husband Scott Bartlett, whose "Off On" was a ground breaking independent short film. Freude's hair was flaming, flaming red. She had a wonderful voice and laugh. It's just how I remember her looking. I think Freude means joy in German.

Freude encouraged many independent filmmakers, and would try to organize dinners when visitors came to town, some of which I went to. I never felt at ease with Freude, but I admired her. Her hair was a little scary, and I don't think she liked my work as much as some of her other filmmakers. I don't know. You'd think since we both lived in Berkeley we would have gotten to know each other better.

Eventually her company went bankrupt. Libraries were using their funds to buy vhs copies of "Star Wars" instead of 16mm prints of "Fun on Mars." I never saw Freude again, after I left Berkeley.

Another distributor who deserves credit for distribution of these films in the early days is Ron Epple, who passed on quite a few years ago. His company, in Champaign Illinois, was called Picture Start. Without distribution, these 70's animations would never have been seen. Even though it seemed like small revenue at the time, it was a largess compared to internet animation, where no cash changes hands.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

another bear spotting

I almost ran over this bear on my way to town the other day. It was lying right in the driveway.

I picked it up and put it on this rock where it could enjoy the sun. It belongs to a nervous little Irish Setter who lives at the bottom of the road and is terrified of Molly. We don't know her name but she usually has a stuffed animal in her mouth.

When we came back from Ouray yesterday the bear had been reclaimed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I was a little rattled when I left for Sawpit to do a few errands, because I couldn't find my purse and was worried I might have left it in Silverton. After scurrying around our small and rather empty house I finally found it behind a door. I left in a hurry, with just the screen door closed and that has a big hole in it where Molly charged through.

Jon was upstairs and I had Molly with me. He was watching a dvd, when he heard loud noises coming from the kitchen, things spilling, paper ripping. He crept to the staircase, wondering if THE BEAR was in the house.

He came halfway down the stairs, then all the way down.

It was John McCain the white lab! He ripped up and ate all of a bag of dog food and a bag of expensive dog treats we'd picked up at the vets.

He's unrepentant. He's still lying by the door hoping to get back in!

His name is actually Jackson, and he has a last name too, maybe because so many labs are named Jackson.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Nut Cup

A friend from the past, David Mruz, sent me a wondrous book of Halloween punch out party decorations and instructions. It's a treat.

It has nut cup instructions, which got me thinking about nut cups.

When I was little they were my favorite part of birthday parties. Now they seem so minimal. Just a little crepe paper cup with a couple of nuts and hard candies in it. Was I so underfed that I was living for nut cups? Such a goofy term too.

So I started picturing the nut cup I'd want in a perfect world. It's still going to be that small size, but in it I'll find:

  • A scratch off lottery card where everyone's a winner
  • A tiny vial of Tigress perfume, popular in the 60's. A month ago I thought I smelled it and it's been on my mind since.
  • Small chocolate penguins filled with tastes sweet and wonderful and unidentifiable
  • Those chewy red coins that have dollar signs on them. I'm fond of gummy candy, anything except gummy bears or nasty sour things.
  • A tiny wallet size flexible picture frame that's electronic, storing many pictures.
  • A roll of Rowntree's Pastilles candies from England.
  • Some very nice nuts, after all it is a nut cup.
This nut cup would be iridescent and aquarium blue, with tiny alligator heads holding the cup to the handle, and when you took out all your treasures you'd see a vivid animating hologram of strange swimming creatures in the base of it, something which figures often in my dreams.

What's in your nut cup?

(I know, I should have drawn it, but I just didn't feel like it!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a little naughty

Last day of hunting season, so Molly wore her lime yellow coat one last time as we headed up the hill. At the mesa top, in a wide open space, she came upon a bobcat close to us and took off on an extended chase most of which we could watch, while we called her name repeatedly. She didn't come back till the bobcat vanished.

A maddening thing about training dogs is that when they do come back after being disobedient, you're not supposed to scold them, even though you're furious. You're supposed to praise them for returning, never mind that you've been calling them for three minutes or more and scared off every other living creature a mile around.

An interesting thing about the way she came back, was she followed her circuitous track in reverse, even though we were in direct view and calling her name. Scent rules in the dog world.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I saw a bear yesterday

at least I think so. It was at the upper end of our big field, and I was down on the road with Molly. It was a slope sided black animal rushing into the woods. At first I thought it was a giant turkey.

didn't have a camera.

These fires are so upsetting to follow-- we're not getting any pictures but just listening to the knx live radio. AWFUL! Heartbreaking!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Silverton 08

We took the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton today, possibly the scariest paved road in American. It crosses a pass at 11,000 feet and hairpin curves don't begin to describe the twists and turns and icy drops you see along the way.

The town was much more shut down than when we'd visited last year just before Halloween. I took this courthouse picture last year.

I've been reading so many mystery thrillers, I just had to go in the court house/police station and explore. We crept around the beautiful tiled floors and wiggled a few door knobs.

At first the place seemed deserted. The doors were about 8 feet high, gorgeous. A pair of gloves were heating on a radiator. There were brochures in piles about getting free food and heating help this winter.

At the end of the ground floor we stopped to admire the rubber plants in the hallway when a woman stepped out and introduced herself. She was the sheriff. She was really friendly. She must be the female officer who was following us the last time we drove slowly through town!

She told us if we went back upstairs and used a side door we could get into the courtroom!

There was even a gavel!

And out the window was the old jail!

But don't worry- your sentence is light and we serve dessert on Saturdays:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pastry Tantrum= Lovely Night

We had friends over for dinner last night- FRIENDS! We have been so solitary the last 2 1/2 months that this seemed like quite an event.

I had a pastry tantrum in the morning trying to make a blueberry pie in a frying pan. I couldn't understand why the pastry was so tan and kept falling apart. Made it twice. Then saw the label: whole wheat flour. Damn. So it was a hippie pie. But our friend's girl friend works in a natural food store in Flagstaff, so it didn't seem so odd after all. However, given the choice, don't use whole wheat flour for pie crust!

We had a very jolly time, and enjoyed fried chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, corn bread and a corn dish I make with red peppers and onions that's spicey. Plus the pie with a little spoonful of dulce de leche ice cream on top. Good thing I read the label and didn't put out the Frosty Paws instead, since the containers are the same size. Frosty Paws is ice cream for dogs.

After dinner we got out fireworks we bought a couple of years ago. This was truly fun. Sparklers first, then various spinning novelties.

My favorite was this goofy tank, which went backwards and forwards spitting colorful fire and took off a bit of paint on the deck.

There are so many awful products that come from China, but fireworks aren't one of them!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quasi on Futurama

Several nice web friends have pointed out to me that a clip from "Quasi at the Quackadero" is in the movie "Futurama" which came out recently. I found out I was paid for the use of the clip and that's even nicer!

July 17, 1958 from Carol

I don't know how this letter ended up in Colorado. It was written by my sister Carol July 17, 1958 to my Cousin Dot, who was then in her sixties. Dot lived in Baltimore. Carol was sixteen.

Here's an excerpt talking about me-- I was nine:

"Sally is trying very hard to make the swimming team at the local swim club, the Fish and Game Club.

Every morning she gets up at 7- dresses, eats breakfast, undresses; gets into her swim suit (green) and rushes around the house from 8-8:45 hunting for various things like a crazy ??ot! One morning it's a swim cap- or her sneakers- or her towel or her sock- or her head!!!"

"her hair/incidentally!) is really that long--> she feels as sampson did- nothing can sway her to have even one measly lock shorn!"

And about my brother:

"Cricket is currently up to his chin in his coin collection. He collects pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.

In order to persue this hobby every six or seven hours he comes and shakes every $ container I have to look over any new coins I might have acquired. (not just me- Mom, Sal, Dad and Grandma- and he'd probably search the cats if they had a sou to their names.

He always reimburses us for the coins he can use BUT it is disconcerting.

I must say- money is attracted to him like iron to a magnet. Green stuff is attracted to me like hair to a bald man!"

The letter is six pages long, and so charming and exactly Carol at that time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Never Buy Pink Fuzzies

Came upon this picture while looking for something else, and thought you all might enjoy it.

And did Sarah Palin get a new job as mighty stew?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Web Styles/Font Fashion

Two very different web sites, one for the Telluride Library, the other for a horse show in Sacramento. See how they're both using the fancy slightly retro script getting squeezed by other letters, with typographic decorations (in second one), and textural, almost wood block printing behind?

When I saw the library site I thought, "Gee, couldn't they have gotten that type laid out better?"

Then when I saw the horse show site I started thinking maybe this is a style, and if so there must be a bigger site or tv show where they're getting their inspiration. Look familiar to anyone? They even used an embedded font that resembled old time type setting, where letters aren't quite aligned.

I noticed in a number of pro Obama ads this campaign, that they were using 19th century lettering, often with a saloon feeling. Never thought that would come back as cutting edge. I guess it implies, um, history, straight truth, beer?

I may be building a simple horse site for my old trainers so I'm checking out the territory.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wondrous Week

Jon took this picture last night at sunset.

Here's a quote from a long and dear friend, Warner:
...been a obama road warrior, just did 5 days back in columbus,
ohio...visiting 89 year old dad but really doing door to door shifts in working class
columbus areas...incredible experience that I'll remember forever; 50% white
(appalachian), 50% black area that I've driven through so many times, but never
really knew. Saw Barack on sunday, 65,000! (and me)...Back monday nite
late...voted...when OHIO flipped after 9PM I knew we WON! Jesse and I went up to
Times was better than new years eve...packed. And when at 11:01 the
huge CNN TV screens flashed the news...two older black women next to me started
crying...we did too...what an experience! We're going to the inaguration in january!!
Made me so happy to read that!

Wish Obama would make the turkey the national bird.

Molly loves the snow. I love following the tracks in the snow. This morning I followed two separate bear tracks. At first they were walking together up the hill, then they split. Their foot size was different, so maybe it's a mating pair! Woo! And they're not hibernating yet.

Coming down the hill I noticed the track of a third bear, and took this picture below. When I got home I noticed it was so fresh that the little spits of snow had not melted yet, and it was a super melty day. In other words, while I went up the hill, the bear crossed my path below. woo!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Woah! Snow! Whiteout!

We watched the incredibly wondrous election results as streaming video, coming off my tablet computer onto a video monitor. It was snowing outside. I went to bed after Pennsylvania put the election in place-- I'd hardly slept the night before.

It was only supposed to be a snow shower, but in the morning we were totally snowed in, about 2 1/2 feet, had no internet all day yesterday, and electricity off for about half the day as well. We're still snowed in today, but the snow melted off the satellite dish.

Such good news, so proud of the electorate in this country, brings you to tears.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We're here to VOTE!

some of our resident turkeys, seen this morning. counting time till results are out!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cloud Conspiracy?

We saw this cloud formation as we headed out on our walk. It was extremely odd. Facing North. When we got back I couldn't wait to see the picture-- Jon took two-- but it didn't seem to be on the camera, which was so disappointing.

Then tonight I came upstairs to download the pictures of Molly's white dog friend whom we've named John McCain-- he comes over to beg food at dinner time-- and there was the cloud picture.

My mother thinks the election will be closer than anyone imagines, but she only talks to folks in the old folks home-- she thinks they're phoney Obama supporters. Sure hope she's wrong.

Wow, tomorrow night we'll know!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Indoor Bears

Getting hot in the kitchen waiting for election day to finally get here.

This beautiful illustration is by a relative of mine, Will Simmons, painted in 1947. We just had it framed. This photo doesn't do the lively color justice at all. I think the "museum glass" the framer talked us into may have made it harder to get a good picture. I always feel like a victim at frame shops.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


We drove up to Mountain Village today. The gondola is closed until ski season. The place was deserted. As we were driving out I said, "There's not even a coyote around", and just then we saw this one. An instant later it pounced on the ground, probably after a vole, a coyote's pop-tart.

Yesterday on our hike we saw nine bear poops. It was a gray spooky sky and a hidden trail beside a canyon stream which gave it all a Halloween feeling, but no bear seen. We're not scaed of black bears, except we don't know how Molly would react. If this were grizzly country, we would have been out of there!

Fourteen wild turkeys have been passing by our house single file each day for the last couple, such a treat to see, such a vulnerable way for them to travel.

I was sad to read of Studs Turkel's death. A great journalist and writer. His book "Working", a collection of interviews of all sorts of people talking about the work they did, was full of depth and compassion. I saw him at a book reading on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley in the 70's. An old Chicago newspaper guy-- a lot of very talented writers got their starts in the Chicago rags. Ever read Ben Hecht's "Child of the Century"? A great autobiography.