Thursday, October 30, 2008

Arlene Sherman R.I.P.

I just learned last night that Arelene Sherman died. She was a wonderful producer at Children's Television Workshop. She's the person who was responsible for so many independent animators
getting a chance to do animated pieces for Sesame Street.

Not a good picure but the only one I could find on the web. She was always laughing when I met her.

I don't understand why there's no news on this via google. I would like to write more about her past, but I only met her twice, even though we worked together for almost ten years.

She gave animators so much freedom. In my case I'd get sent a demo song, sung by the composer. I'd submit storyboards, get them approved, receive a final track, animate a pencil version of that, get approval, then go on to the final inked and painted version.

She was in New York, and I was in California. She rarely wanted anything changed. If only there had been more animation producers like Arelene Sherman.

I know she started out as an editor, and was married to a jazz musician. She had lots of connections in the New York jazz world, which must be how she got Betty Carter to record "From Your Head" and I got a chance to animate it.

Thanks for all you did for independent animation, Arlene. You'll be missed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Roosevelt Folks

Hope this plays. My mother was an FDR supporter. She was attending Johns Hopkins U at night and it wasn't easy. She travelled around on a bus with a loudspeaker and gave speeches for FDR in Maryland. She gave the same speech every time they stopped. At one stop they heckled her because they'd already heard the speech. Another time, as she got on a streetcar to go home, she ran into a fussy relative who berated her, because "we've always been Republicans."

She's voting for Obama. She's 93. My father in law is 94 and he's voting for Obama too. Think about it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Short Story Authors I've Liked

In no particular order, these are short story authors I've liked a lot:

Ring Lardner (master of the form)
John O'Hara (under-rated author)
Bobbie Ann Mason
T.C. Boyle (but his 8 pound story collection is just too heavy.)
Eudora Welty (wonder if I would still like them though.)
J.D. Salinger

I used to like Saki as a teen, and Poe of course. So many comic book stories really qualify as short stories too.

hmm, umm, list is shorter than I thought it would be. I used to always buy those Pushcart Annuals of short stories but haven't in a while. And the Best American Short Story collection. Although I've read good stories in the New Yorker, so often I'm left with the huh, what was that about?

Any writer you'd like to put on the list?

What about you? Favorite short story authors?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bare -- no bears

All the yellow and red aspen leaves have fallen, and the landscape is pale gold and bare. Interesting that all the deer and elk we would see on our usual two hour walk are hiding-- it's hunting season-- they must have switched to a nocturnal life style. Smart.

I went to the library in town today and got 5 books: two local history books, two by Lee Child, and another by Annie Proulx.

Kate recommended "Bad Dirt" by Annie Proulx and I liked it very much. It's a group of short stories set in Wyoming. A funny thing was that one story which was particularly long. I thought, "Gee I've read another story that was so much like this. Kind of uninspired." Realized later I'd read it a few years ago in the New Yorker. It was in her grim Wyoming style.

Do you like to read short stories? I do. I like shorter ones better. If they're too long I start counting pages till the end, and sort of resent when they wrap up too.

In some of the stories she gets a bit experimental and it's really fun: slight elements of fantasy woven in, instead of just the grim folks of Wyoming. Like two badgers talking about humans. One of the stories seemed to have been inspired by the punch line of a joke, (didn't quite work.) I wonder if her work is moving more in this direction of these more experimental stories, kind of goofy fantasy elements woven in without being too whimsical.

I haven't read the story that she wrote which the movie "Broke Back Mountain" was based on. Even though the screenplay was co-written by a sometime favorite author, Mr. Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry, I didn't care for the movie.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bad Day for Betting

I watched the Breeder's Cup races all day. Got my bets in early, bet more conservatively than yesterday, then watched all the wrong horses come in. I knew somebody who only bet horses with food names, like "Chocolate Pudding." Today there was only one horse with a food name, "Duke of Marmalade", and he didn't do so well either.

Everyone's favorite in the Breeder's Cup, Curlin, came in fourth, ending his amazing career, in which he earned more than 10 million dollars. Now he's out to stud I think.

Hope your Saturday was better. I did enjoy watching the races, just couldn't believe I could make so many wrong choices. I clicked off at the end just in time, before I had to watch Arnold Schwarz. award the cup.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Breeders Cup 2008

This weekend is racing heaven- the Breeders' Cup Races at Santa Anita, two full days of the best horses in the world competing against each other.

I've spent much of the past week scribbling names and figures, trying to choose my bets. Through the MIRACLE of high speed internet, I can watch these races in real time. I also did the totally reckless thing-- signed up with Anyone who bets $50 on the first day gets a free $50 for the second day. Notice I didn't provide an easy link, so you won't fall into the same trap! But hey, it's probably safer than the market, and much more fun.

Wish me luck! Remember the next egg scenes in "Lost in America"?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Disappointing Doorbells

Today was canvassing day for us at the Obama headquarters in Ridgway. We fussed over our outfits, practiced our best friendly manners, and listened (with an intelligent expression), to the spiel on how to speak to everyone who opened a door to us. I was given the clipboard and the map, and Jon paid closer attention to the instructions. I'm good at maps. And I can look smart while barely comprehending what someone is telling me.

We were quite nervous when we arrived at the first house on our map. The pumpkins above were at the front door. No one was home.

We went to 27 houses, and there was no one home at any of them! We never got to give our pitch! It took about three hours to knock on all 27 doors, (almost no one had a doorbell.) One thing I noticed about Ridgway, is people store all kinds of stuff in their side yards, the kind of stuff people put in their garages in L.A.

The good news for us is that about 2/3 of the houses we visited had Obama signs already posted in their yards or windows.

This morning, before we left, I had an unexpected encounter with a hunter on our land. He said he was a friend of the survivalist and allowed to hunt on his land. We stayed amicable but it was upsetting and a bit scary as he was armed and ready.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hunters Observed

In the last couple of days I've seen them in Ridgway, coming out of the Galloping Goose, coming out of the True Grit cafe, coming out of Mountain Market, coming out of Ridgway Liquors. They have blood dripping from their license plates. It's hunting season in Colorado.

I couldn't take pictures because, after all, they do have guns. But you have to see it to believe it, a new trend. These guys are so fat, I mean Walmart lard butt obese, that they could kill an elk just by sitting on it. The Photoshop guy in the picture above is like the Sarah Palin beauty shot compared to the mighty fatties we've been seeing.

Before hunting season started I was thinking, well, the poor families all over struggling to feed themselves, I guess we have to cut them some slack about hunting.

You can tell these guys aren't eating home cooked meals. You just don't get that fat that way. This is all about bags of cheeseburgers and killing animals in the woods. And it's not just me noticing it. I talked to a friend who's in favor of hunting and she said she'd been seeing the same thing in Norwood.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ringing Doorbells

Jon and I stopped by Obama headquarters in Ridgway today and volunteered to ring doorbells in Ouray on Thursday. Jon is a persuasive and friendly person-- I'm not, but I figure I can carry the clip board.

We ran into a dear and loopy former neighbor at City Market about a week ago. She was carrying a clipboard with her grocery list on it. She told us, "With a clipboard, you can get in anywhere." We'll see. She's an astrologist and her husband is hard core, hard core anything. He shot all the porcupines on our mesa.

This is the house of our survivalist at the end of the road. He's got no doorbell. He's got no windows either, even though this green house looks out on at least 3 14,000 ft. peaks. On the other side that faces the road there are two small windows, totally covered by shutters, that look more like gun ports.

Saw two more loads of bear poop on our land today, as well as a very nice paw print, but in deference to those who don't find those pictures appealing, I'll just keep them on file!

We've been practicing, "Ding Dong" "Hi, I'm "

Wish us luck on Thursday!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Costume Ready?

Maybe this will give you some ideas. Guess I'm sitting this Halloween out, though we saw some wonderfully weird and large shaped pumpkins in Montrose. They cost $7. In L.A. they would have been $25. The Halloween mechanicals at Target were pathetic this year, didn't even merit a picture.

Long ago Jon and I gave some nutty Halloween parties. I made a lot of decorations for them, including a day glo painting of Elvis that said, "This is the party Elvis would have gone to, if Elvis could still go to parties." That's the party where I put the ceramic Santa in the bottom of the pool, and a light up 3-D framed picture of John Wayne smoking, in the fireplace.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Party Popper

by request, for a friend's wedding. Painter, with its felt marker brush and plain old fills.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Normal Feelin Rock

We pass this rock every day on our usual route. Today I added lipstick. It's a very big rock.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

US Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage after shaking hands with Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, October 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

We voted yesterday by mail.

Here's an exceptional interactive Flash piece on Sarah Palin as president. It's hot on the net now so they have to keep changing the address.

And if you were a fan of the David Lynch tv show set in the frozen North, here's an hysterical transcript found on Daily Kos of the moose misdeeds in Troopergate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Age Horse Shoes

I've been riding twice recently with a ski instructor pal who puts these boots on her horses' front feet instead of horse shoes. It's a New Age approach. Over the years I've seen a lot of gimmicks with horses.

Got to say these seem perfect for a ski town, because the boots are about as hard to put on a horse with overgrown feet as ski boots are for me to get on right. But her horses seem to be comfortable with them on, even walking on a gravel road for two hours.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

Big awful wildfires are attacking the Chatsworth and Northridge hills, places where Dinah and I have spent years with our horses, though we don't have any there now. We can't get tv here but I'm crawling over the internet trying to find what's going on. The potential path described by the fire chief, straight on down to the Pacific Ocean 15 miles away, is the fire path everyone who lives out there has feared since it happened once in the 1970's.

Two times when we boarded in Bell Canyon we had to evacuate in a hurry. I read that Bell Canyon's on mandatory evacuation again.

In Brown's Canyon, where I kept Luna for seven years, the fire came on so fast they had to just let 150 horses go-- no time to trailer them out. This photo is credit to Al Seibl, the LA Times.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dressed for the Season

This weekend marks the start of hunting season for elk. Moose and bear hunting are over. So nuts that they allow moose hunting in the same state where they're spending money on reintroducing moose. Molly has a new jacket, lime yellow, but you can't tell from the picture.

The bear who passed by here is safe for winter. This giant load was filled with acorn shells. I didn't step in it. This was near our house, and must be from a big black bear.

We had a huge wind storm yesterday, so noisy that we didn't even hear this giant tree fall over. It looks a bit like a stagosaurus, but not from this angle.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rest of the Ranch

When you travel through South Central Colorado, you wonder if Obama has a chance.

Confederate flag flying in a mobile home park.

When we checked in to Zapata Rach, which is owned by the Nature Conservancy, the woman at the desk acted really annoyed that we were late- 3:45. She had a game to go to. Check in time is 3, check out time is 10-- that means you're automatically paying for an extra day at a monster rate. They don't publish their address so it's a matter of asking at the gas station to find the place. It's near Great Sand Dunes National Park.

She didn't have any record of the deposit we'd paid on our room, and shoved a 3 page document at us to sign here, all about the dangers of riding horses or in the flatbeds of trucks.

We signed. We met her weasel husband, the one who wore cowboy hat and vest and waxed moustache 24/7, in the dining room near the bar. Jon asked when does the bar open, and husband and wife both looked shocked. "There's no alcohol at the ranch." So we realized we were in Mormon country. Jon asked where we could get a bottle of wine. You would have thought he'd asked "where can we score some meth?" Shaking their heads in disapproval, they mentioned a town 15 miles away, but they weren't sure if we could buy wine there.

When we asked about viewing the debate, they gave us the "yer nuts" look. Then the guy made some "how bout that Sarah" comments and we knew he was a Sarah Palin boy. Geez, at a Nature Conservancy resort? No booze and Sarah Palin and big prices?

We got to our room. There was a typed letter telling us what our activities were for the next day. We could help out at the ranch in the morning, and free time in the afternoon. No mention of horses or bison. I was so mad. We hadn't driven all this way to clean somebody else's tack or wash out feed pans.

At dinner we had to plead to be allowed to take the trail ride the next day. The dinners were good- they brought in a cook from outside for dinner, but breakfast was reheated bean only burritos and lunch was make your sandwich yerself, Democrat.

We think what may have been going wrong there was the couple who'd been running the place had split in a big hurry, and this sad sack couple were running it on their own. In the end they cut the charges in half. There were other maddening things, but enough of that trip.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Some Buffalo Pictures

Jon took these on horseback Tuesday.

We got much closer to the buffalo. They actually started following us. It was a big herd, more than 100. Some were taking dirt baths, some were galloping, some were butting horns. The horses were dull but steady. Mine was named Rojo, and Jon's was named Chuck. Chuck deserved a better name.

This cowboy was really arrogant. I'm not going to blab about the crap service at Zapata Ranch, at least not tonight. His horse was named Chip. There was an even more unpleasant cowboy back at the ranch. He had a waxed mustache, often a tip off to an obnoxious personality in my experience.

These are older bulls. We crossed this stream quite a few times, and so did the herd.

I love this picture!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

When in Lake City, don't stop for lunch

South Central Colorado is a weird place. This sign is for an alligator farm that's a roadside attraction. A geothermal stream warms the place so much that the gators can bask in snow, or so they say. It's right near the UFO viewing tower.

You're probably thinking this sounds like home town for Sally.

On our way to our buffalo vacation, we stopped at the Tic Toc Diner in Lake City, Colorado, because it seemed to be the only show in town. Note the help wanted sign. Every other place in town is for sale.

The decor was beat up jukebox-diner cute. Later I thought the meal I ordered there sort of set the tone for the entire trip.

I ordered the Tic Toc burger, which came with fries, grilled onions, and "smothered" with green chilies. Sounded pretty good. A bit of a worry when we said we wanted the burgers medium rare and the waitress said, "He don't do temperature. Just well done." And the chef peeked out from the back and did not look so well done himself. Kind of like Elvis here, only skinny and in a t shirt:

There were cute non functioning clocks all over the walls.

If only I'd known what these dogs were trying to tell me: "Don't Order the Tic Toc Burger!"

I couldn't even take a picture of it. I was appalled. The burger came out on the platter with its big bun "smothered" by green gravy, I mean poured all over the top of the bun and the plate, and the fries were taking a swim in the gravy too. Looked like the chef didn't make it to the nearest trash can when he felt seasick.

And just like every time I've been served something really off, I went ahead and ate it. At least I didn't get food poisoning. Buffalo stories tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What not to wear

The best thing about college alum mags are the pictures at the back, at least in the Smith mag. The recent grads are mostly quite hefty. But what was the girl in the middle thinking when she wore her black bra to the wedding-- reliving one of those Maidenform "I dreamed" bra ads from the 50's? (In which women dreamed they were in public places wearing only a bra on top, from the era of psychoanalysis.) Notice how it makes the bride look like she's in underwear too!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Seen in L.A.?

Is Anita the Lava Lady?

Read all about the Lava Lady at Ellen Bloom's charming Blog, "L.A. is my Beat."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Zapata Ranch

On Monday we're driving down to the Zapata Ranch. We're supposed to be riding alongside of buffalo on Tuesday!

Molly will be staying at Camp Bow Wow while we're gone. If anybody is bored and checks the web cam, you might see our dear German Shepherd here. If you do, hit print screen and send me a screen shot, okay?

Hope we'll get to see the debate Tuesday night, but who knows. Probably be soaking in a tub.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Colonial Women

We're going on a trip to Southern Colorado tomorrow. Seeing this picture reminded me of a terrible hallucination I once had from driving too long. Ever had them? Where you've been driving so long that things by the side of the road start to look strange?

One summer I was doing the final leg of our 14 hour drive from Northridge to Placerville. It was near dusk. I started seeing colonial women leaning out from the side of the road holding lanterns. Fortunately we only had ten more miles to go.

I'll be writing posts for the days I'm away, I hope, so check back.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Nice Library

Aww, they have an hour for reading to dogs at the Telluride Library. It's a really great, friendly library that's very popular.

Molly seemed to agree with my reviews here, looks as if she took the picture too:

Joan Didion's "Play It as it Lays" was way too grim unless you're into 60's anorexic drugged out Hollywood people and L.A. hippies.

Lee Child's thriller "Nothing to Lose" was very exciting, well written and set in a fictional small town in Colorado. Of course I enjoyed it. Jack Reacher got rough and tough and eventually left town.

"The Conjurer's Bird", by Martin Davies, was wonderful. I was thinking of the author Robertson Davies when I picked it out, but this novel suited me perfectly, about a taxidermist/leading man, ha, how's that for nuts?, who's on the trail of a bird extinct in the 1700's. It's a bit of a mystery, and the end is wrapped up a bit too neatly, but there's wonderful writing and nice cross cutting between the past and present.

After the library we went to the Farmer's Market, where they seemed to have no idea of the financial condition of the world. We picked out a squash, but when they told us it was $7.00 we put it back. Instead we took the free gondola up to the market in Mountain Village where we got a normal priced squash and a piece of salmon, then rode back down again.

the world is mighty yellow here but a big storm is coming later today, with a winter storm warning flashing when I check the weather site.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Queen of the Mesa

taken with the cel phone yesterday. Next week Molly has to put on her hunter's vest again, but today we're still hunter free.

"Old Chowder Cheeks"

When I took this yesterday I was overwhelmed by how much it looked like John McCain (?!) but I must have moved my arm when I took the cel phone picture!

We' re all set for the debate tonight, with a video S cable going from my little tablet laptop to Jon's giant dvd monitor. We did a test run yesterday and all seems fine though the image is in black and white. Spent 40 minutes on a video chat with Sony to find what was up with that and learned nothing. But black and white is kind of cool for politics. (We don't get tv up here so are streaming video from da innernet.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

And Speaking of Copyright

RealDVD software has just been released yesterday. You can get a free 30 day download here. I've just downloaded it. The L.A. Times reports Hollywood studios are suing to stop it so you may want to grab it while you can. What it allows you to do is copy any dvd no matter what kind of overlay protection and save it to a hard drive. If you have an external hard drive, this opens up a free library possibility for you. Rent from netflicks, copy to hard drive, view anytime. Loan and load, etc.

I've just finished copying my dvd to my external drive, because sometimes I don't have a copy when I need to order copies. But I can see why the studios would be in a panic over this.