Monday, January 26, 2009

Dealing with Dementia

We've put our mental illness night on hold because we're dealing with real mental illness in the family. Saturday my brother called me in the middle of the afternoon to tell me my mother had gone by ambulance to the hospital because she had become uncontrollably paranoid in the hospital wing of her residence complex.

Only the night before we'd spoken and she sounded very rational and on top of things, finally putting together the weird experience she'd had at the start of the month when she was in the hospital for two weeks following an incident with her leg.

My brother called again right before our friends came for dinner to tell me they were already sending her back home from the hospital. Bet those nurses who sent her away weren't thrilled by her quick return on a Saturday night.

I spoke to her the next morning and she sounded her usual self. She remembered that my brother and my nephew had come by for visits, but had no memory of any trip to the hospital.

I tried five times to reach her on the phone today but only spoke to her just now. She was in a bad state again, alas. The nurse who transferred me said she hoped I could help calm her down but she was too worked up and didn't want to talk to me either. Poor Mom.

I'm going to New Jersey to see her early Wed. so this blog will get quiet for a while.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Drag her around

Cleaing up the hard drive, I came upon more silly interactive stuff. This one's from 2001.

Here's a link to the fla file. It doesn't come annotated though.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Does this work?

Need to turn your sound on, and I may have made it too big to fit the blog.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

code example

Been fooling with flash code all day, and saw this old swf which you need to mouse over. Kind of like a scratch off lottery card. If only there were a payoff.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

L.A. '84 weirdos aplenty

I wrote what follows in 1984. I don't remember this guy (hope he's not a visitor here), but I do remember he commissioned the illustration above for the back cover of a little magazine he published. It was at a time when my career still seemed promising! I thought you all would enjoy this bizarre story that I'd written in my sketchbook. Came upon it yesterday. Here goes:

When I first met Brian, he came in the house with a yellow telephone. I thought it was because he didn't want to miss any calls. But he'd brought it along so I could autograph it. He thought it looked like something I'd designed. (? I hadn't designed it!)

Autographs mean a lot to him. He collects first editions signed by William Faulkner and would collect signed first editions by other authors too but his vacuum cleaner collection takes up too much room already and it's either give up one or the other and the vacuums won out.

He keeps them arranged in a semi-circle around his desk in his office. I said I'd like to see them.

His girlfriend Brink, who's breathy and beautiful, was very enthusiastic about the Kirby vacuum cleaner Brian had given her. She said it has all kinds of wonderful attachments including a paint sprayer and a massage unit.

You can't just buy these Kirbys in stores, they both explained, nodding their heads. Kirbys are the Rolls Royce of vacuum cleaners, as they put it. You have to call the company and then a salesman pays you a visit. But does he demonstrate the massage unit?

Brian is very good friends with his vacuum cleaner repairman. They invite the repairman to their parties. He used to work in the aerospace program but when that went bust he switched to vacuum cleaners.

I told Brian I'd seen a wonderful exhibit of carpet sweeper in London, in the basement of the Science Museum, but he said carpet sweepers didn't interest him. "No suction" he explained.

He and Brink have told me that they are into dream control and have an EEG but so far I've let that pass. I've also heard sketchy details about the time travel party they held with lectures by three people famous in their fields.

We went outside to pick apricots from my tree and he was excited. He'd gotten fruit from two science fiction writers already that week. "And now, apricots from you," he said. "Celebrity fruit." I wondered if I should sign the bag.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Way to go Llamas!

This was a parade entry in Telluride last summer, "Llamas for Obama." It worked! Obama won! He's our president now! Would someone please offer him a cup of coffee? He and Michelle have to stay up until 3 am tonight. Wow, endurance, wondrous people.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Presto Picture

Linda posted about how much she's enjoying Graffiti over at facebook, which got me thinking about how much fun Flash code used to be, before it got so difficult. In Graffiti you can post a drawing on somebody else's wall, and they can play back the actual drawing of it.

It's a matter of stuffing the x and y position inside appropriate arrays, when you draw your picture, then loading those positions back in to make the playback. This isn't as pretty as a Graffiti picture, but it does the same general thing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Irene Goodnight

Did you see Pete Seeger singing "This Land is Your Land" today at the Obama festivities? So amazing and touching. He has to be in his nineties. He was having a great time. He got hit hard by Communist accusations in the 50's, and must have been hitting himself on the side of the head today, wondering at what's come to be. And he ran off stage!

This clip is of him with his early (and hugely popular) folk group The Weavers. They sing the song entirely after the early intro. Must be from around 1951 or before. If you don't know anything about Pete Seeger, investigate.

My mother always talked about seeing Gene Autry sing "Irene Goodnight" at Madison Square Garden, on his white horse. I guess that was an ultimate hero experience for her. When I called her today she said she'd been in Washington but hadn't brought a map so she couldn't call me.

The song has humble beginnings, and the lyrics are creepy sad when you think about them. I've heard it so many times. It may just sound melancholy at first, then the creepy part kicks in.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another Lightbulb has hatched

James Brown is still at work. I saw a beautiful horse named The Pamplemousse win an early race that foreshadows the Kentucky Derby. I bet on him and won across the board, but didn't win all that much because I bet the minimum. The horse that was the favorite, Square Eddie, went off at odds of 1/5.

He's the horse on the far right, number 1. Look at his knees on the break.

His color is a wonderful lavender red gray, called roan.

Here he is after winning the race, being led back, with no idea of what he's just done.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nite Owl

It's also over at youtube. I heard the song on one of the Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio Shows and wanted to animate to it. The lyrics were sort of weird. Flash makes it possible to make little shorts in just a week or two, just for the fun of it.

Here's a link to a web page about Tony Allen, lead singer on this goofy song.

If you watch it at youtube, be sure you click the high quality button at lower right of screen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Suits on the Wall

My mother has always associated blue jeans (aka dungarees) with the uniform my poor cousin Charley (different cousin) had to wear in the mental institution when he told the world he never wanted to work. He was locked up for life. My mother cannot comprehend the blue jean nation.

I always make a point of not wearing anything resembling blue jeans when I visit my mother. Even though she thinks my entire wardrobe looks sad, at least it doesn't look like they gave me a weekend pass. If only all the relatives realized what a flash point this is, including my niece who worked for Valentino for years...

If Sarah Palin had donated her wardrobe to me my mother would have been so happy. She loves tailored suits.

In fact, when I called her yesterday she told me in her low Exorcist voice that the nurses had pasted pictures of her in beautiful tailored suits all over the walls. They were pictures from different times in her life. "Pay attention" she told me.

When she called collect this morning she said no one had been to see her at the hospital, but she'd been at the football game yesterday. She told me not to get on a train until I got a letter from her.

Tonight when I called she was laughing and entirely herself. Whas going on?

Monday, January 12, 2009

We'll Get Back to You

The bird life at Lake Balboa is incredible right now.

These pelicans do a wondrous synchronized diving act. I waited to tape it today but they were camera shy.

Those black spots behind are coots. They fly to Canada in the summer. I may have to fly to New Jersey because my mother is in the hospital and things aren't going well.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blow Winds Blow

The Santa Ana winds are blowing hard this weekend, just as they did two years ago when this tree blew over. It's dark outside, and howling. But the winds aren't blowing good luck our way.

Linda and I enjoyed our two hot dogs, (each), popcorn and beer over at Santa Anita yesterday, but our bets were mostly the wrong ones, and we left before the last race, when the horse named Sally came in second as a long shot and paid nicely- about $40 on a $6 bet. That kind of day. The reason I went to the track was to bet on the Sally horse!

The horse I'd picked from a blog tip dumped his rider before they got to the starting gate and went running past us on the track in the wrong direction with his jockey walking behind him. At least it kept my mind off family troubles.

My mother had to make a surprise trip to the hospital yesterday morning with a bad hematoma on her leg, (I didn't know what that meant either). She had some surgery in the afternoon and we'll hope she comes through it all okay. Jon's dad continues in perilous condition.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Oasis in the storm

I met blog pal Namowal for lunch today. When we met a year ago, I was late, sin of sins for a punctual person like me, so I made a point of being 20 minutes early this time. I ordered cafe latte at this Pain Quotidien in Brentwood Village, while I waited. It was so beautiful and tasty, and made me almost feel as if I were in a Jean Renoir film. (no handles on the cup.) When Nam arrived, she ordered one too, but by then the barrista must have been feeling stressed and there was no wondrous design on top.

I did notice that everything, including parking, was double the cost of three years ago when I used to meet my dear bud Ann here. (Before she moved to New York.)

We had a great time and talked a lot of flash and family talk. later we agreed to take pictures of our reflections, (for Linda), since neither of us wanted the point and smile shot!

wooh, looks as if I left my purse inside the cafe. And I still had a couple of twenties in it.

We're going through major wacky dreadful family stress around here. Jon's father did the humpty dumpty thing to be silly, it's not silly== he fractured his skull a few days after xmas and was airlifted to the hospital. He's been veering wildly in his condition, after ripping out all the plugs attached to him He had brain damage, he didn't have brain damage. He was moved back to his retirement complex, to assisted living, or was it hospice? 24 hour care. Asleep all the time.

Then his wife went by to see him today and he was sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch and drinking coffee, ( not being fed) while chatting with his 24 hour person. His wife wasn't allowed in because she has some kind of flu. Meanwhile the lawyers rushed to certify him as incompetent because otherwise his wife won't get any money for 3 1/2 years by law in Florida.

At the same time we're all so giddy about the good news because he's much loved!

And Jon gets stuck in Charlotte on US Air for 3 hours on the runway, because they're proud of their record of ontime departures, and as long as they leave the gate on time they can park wherever they please. Ask for water during the wait, it's $2.00. Coffee is more. Coach flight one way is more than $500, with three stops. He ends up at LAX instead of Burbank.

He returns with a horrendous cold.

I've applied to adopt another German Shepherd who looks like Molly's brother. I haven't heard back in ten days. Tonight I get a phone call, wow. As I reach for it, I spill wine on my Wacom tablet, killing it. The dog we want has hip dysplasia at age 1. I don't have a big enough heart or bank account for that.

It was really nice to see Namowal again!

Tomorrow I'm meeting Linda P (the other Linda) at the track to get our minds off things. And maybe win some money. There's a horse named Sally in the 8th race but we probably won't stay that late.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Stick Like Glue

Yesterday's glue got me thinking about those weird glass bottles with the rubber nipples which were so standard in grade school. This wasn't the glue kids were eating, but a weird sticky substance which was hard to control, but hugely popular in years gone by.

Look at this nutty ad for it. Love the font, though I'm not sure what the words on right side are. "Save the Pieces?"

You can find many great pictures of glue on google images. Just enter lepages glue. Great way to spend the morning!

But I'm not sure I'd like the idea of living in a converted Lepages glue factory, which this actually is, in Gloucester, Mass.

Elmer's Glue must have put Lepages out of business. And we all know what that glue is made of, right?

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year's Advice

You know it! Just don't go so heavy on the LePage's glue!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Coconut Shrimp

I went to the new Filipino supermarket that opened nearby. The fish are in open iced displays, all whole, with all sorts of fish available that you never see in chain supermarkets. Fresh anchovies, for example. You have to hand carry the unwrapped fish to a special counter and get it weighed. After that, if you want, they'll fry it for free or fillet it. I'm going to try the fried thing, but the fish I saw getting wrapped up after the fried treatment looked as if it should be heading for Forest Lawn.

The fish are so fresh that they still have wondrous colors, and their eyes aren't dim-- for a weakling like me it's hard not to feel sad.

But Jon's away, and that means time to cook weird recipes. Like last night I cooked spaghetti with anchovies and arugula. But I didn't have arugula and the lettuce I threw in just didn't have much punch. I ate most of the anchovies out of the can, myum.

Cut to the punch. Any tropical vacation is not complete without coconut shrimp and some tasty dip. I tried to make it before with no success, but this time, I could have opened my own chain restaurant. Zowee's.

Rather than copy the recipe, I'll link to it here, (it's from simply recipes, a great cooking resource), because the steps involved are so exact, and once you learn them you won't make mistakes again. Or maybe you will. I probably will. But tonight all I needed was a giant tiki sitting across the table from me to share my exquiz shrimp and dippin sauce.

Tomorrow I'm going for the fried squid. Care to join me? Oh and the flying triangle in my miserable illustration is one of those wondrous scary defense things that fly low over certain parades, and buzzed the racetrack at Santa Anita the other day when I was there.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

My Inner Sal

or hmm, maybe it was my outer. Taken at Yale Summer Art School, 1970. Fell out of a box I was looking through today. (The picture fell out, that is.) I think people imagine I must look something like this, only a bit older. I think I look a little like Al Jolson here.

Here's a poem I wrote about myself at this time:

"Looking quite so normal-- I am a fairly unsuspected freak...
But the closets of my mind."

Gee guess I didn't look in a mirror that day!

Friday, January 02, 2009

My Inner Brat

This is the cover of a birthday booklet my sister Carol made for me. I think I was turning 7 and she would have been 14.

It seemed cute to me so I showed it to Dinah. She pointed out what a brat I must have been. Somehow I missed that message. Carol referred to me as "Miss Toots" as I got older.

Inside were instructions to pull the cat's tail (it was a big string) and my present was attached.

Got to face my Inner Brat! Still a horse fiend! Still love swimming, but not so keen on Davy Crockett anymore.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

3 cars, a menu, and a melting sneaker

First of all Happy New Year, and I really mean it this time!! (I meant it last year too but it may not have helped.)

I consider January 1 the start of heave ho season, so I hit a certain closet and came upon family drawings of cars, from different decades.

The car above appeared in a dream that my brother in law, (Carol's first husband), had about me. He drew this after the dream. He said it was a beautiful one seater roadster.

About ten years later his son drew this picture, which fell out of a magic poster book. His father and Carol separated when John was a baby, so there was no connection at all between father and son. But aren't the cars similar?

And here's a drawing my father did-- when he was at Harvard Business School in 1936. He loved classic cars.

It was on the back of this menu. He worked as a waiter while he was a student there. Those boys were fed pretty well at the end of the depression! Tango dressing: sounds tasty!

This is a cel from a shoe commercial I did around 1972 for Connie Shoes, "under $20." All those rapidograph dots. yikes. It fell out of the same magic posters book. (Stay tuned tomorrow for pictures of my inner brat.)