Friday, July 31, 2009

Twit Draw Chain

No, that isn't a command. On twitter they have the same drawing program available, Graffiti, but they have an option to do a drawing chain, an idea which is sort of fun, or is it just annoying?

I started one and sent it on to Linda and her talented pal Lisa Horstman. Namowal, I couldn't find your twitter name. Anyone else who wants to join in on another one, or start one, great. I have been feeling utterly uninspired, a regular blank canvas, and something like this gives me a little push. My twitter name is funonmars. Lately I'm enjoying twitter more than facebook. It's not such a load of information and prying questions.

Dots, anyone?

Thursday, July 30, 2009


There's been a heart breaking murder in Los Angeles of a girl who was a rising, stunning, senior at Oakwood School. It's all over the local media and I don't feel like linking to it. Dinah graduated from Oakwood two years ago. It has us very depressed and confused by the way things are handled. To me it seems like a random heartbreaking intersection of good and evil. just to let you know why it's quiet here...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Neighbor hi!

Right after we joked, "Wouldn't it be funny if we came upon (pictured above) on this trail?" we came upon pictured above. You can't tell but the trail is really steep, narrow and rocky.

He was in a good mood and so was his horse. Sometimes he's very angry.

He lives with two wolves in a b-i-g house at the end of the road, perched at the canyon's edge. He said yesterday Jehovah's Witnesses were walking all around his property for about two hours, and he had to crawl through the house so they wouldn't see him through the window! They left him plenty of Watchtowers.

Story cracked me up. I remember doing that when I was about twelve and Christmas carolers would come by, and my parents were out. I wasn't going to give them any cookies!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ganapati Studios

credit Ganapati Studios

Along with an order for my dvd I received a nice note from Phil at Ganapati Studios. I took a look at their site and must order some of their cards. On real paper!

This is just an excerpt. They have other charming looking products too. Somebody at the studio is a postcard collector, I guarantee!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


On yesterday's hike we till didn't see the herd of 200 elk that were hanging around the last couple of months. But we saw four young and dark coyotes running through an elk grove.

I told my mother this.

"We saw four coyotes today, Mom."

a few "What? saw what?"s...

hen she said, "Were they animals or automobiles?"


Then I realized she meant Toyotas! We both laughed.

As we were heading back down the hill we heard a raucous bird call. I thought it was probably a magpie or some kind of jay, but looking up I saw it was a golden eagle. It was yelling at us. I think we'd interrupted its lunch a few minutes before, because we'd seen a half chewed squirrel just back on the trail.

The bird dropped a beautiful feather as it flew away, which I brought home, alone with one antler. In my bird book the feather was from an immature Golden Eagle.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rachel Alexandra

photo credit: Kevin Stafford

Don't you love the look of intensity on Calvin Borel's face?

Go to this link on Facebook and click "like" under the video tribute to Rachel Alexandra!! Help my pal Kevin win the contest!!

Kevin Stafford is my favorite horse racing pal on the internet. His great blog "The Aspiring Horseplayer" has helped educate me in the intricacies of betting on racehorses, and his enthusiasm and intelligent commentaries on horses and races are a delight. His weekly racing tips are also reliable and sometimes a jackpot. Thanks Kevin!!

Rachel Alexandra is the amazing filly who won the Preakness this year running against the boys. "Her Royal Freakness" some people call her, because her racing career has been so incredible. She's a gorgeous dark horse with a funny blaze that looks as if she got hit in the middle with a chocolate ice cream cone. Her tongue is always hanging out.

Rachel's running against the boys again at Monmouth Park in New Jersey on August 2, in the Haskell Stakes.

To highlight this important race, Monmouth Park is running a contest via Facebook , " The Ultimate Rachel Alexandra Fan Contest". Here's what the winner will get:

• VIP Haskell Seats (or an upgrade if you’ve already purchased your tickets)
• Designation as the Haskell Facebook Fan of the Day
• TV interview on Haskell Day with host Mike Curci
• Private backstretch tour and breakfast in the track kitchen

And here is where it gets good…as the Ultimate Rachel Fan, you will accompany the Haskell field up the racetrack, including Rachel Alexandra, to the English Walking Ring and Paddock prior to the Haskell!

Help Kevin win this contest- no one would enjoy this win more. Just follow that link and click like. Thanks!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Charbucks 10 Years Now!

It's been about ten years since I last published my all animated gif comic strip, CHARBUCKS!

It all started at a lunch in Pasadena where I was a guest of dear producer Arlene Sherman and some of her CTW buds. Everyone was very funny and most of them smoked. At the time Starbucks was this kind of creepy phenomenon, appearing suddenly everywhere, and one of the women called it Charbucks because the coffee was always burned.

That got me started. I wanted to put some kind of animation on the internet. I knew the requirements were that it needed to be a SMALL file size since everyone was still getting the internet through their phone lines.

I thought two women sitting and swilling the bitter brew might work very well, and for a couple of years I turned out episodes of their story. Before there was google or any easy way to find things on the internet, I think I was writing for a very small audience.

At a certain point I got very intrigued with the idea of interactive animation-- too bad in a way, because the really interactive pieces were all coded for browsers that no one uses anymore, and they don't work in the current browsers.

For instance this image is a map of a fictional Mesquite, Nevada, and originally it was utterly clickable with silly things all over the place. I even ended up sending Anita and Whinsey off on a cruise on the Titanic 2. All this was before I was aware of Flash, though I think it was in an early stage.

Those cups are all episodes--

But over the last two or three days I've reassembled the strip, and it's made me DIZZY!

Lots of things have changed, including screen sizes on computers. I had to blow up all the images 50% or it would have seemed like internet postage stamp animation, which meant recoding every page. As a result they are blurrier than I'd like. At the time gifs were the only thing I knew of to get movement in a strip, and they repeat endlessly which is peculiar, and some times they go by too fast. There used to be silly messages down in the status bar, but browsers today don't allow that. And I even had custom comet cursors before I learned they were mining information from viewers!

But what I discovered was these earliest Charbucks strips are really funny, dammit, it's true.

So when you have some time, you can start at episode 1- I've got about half of them on line now, in sequence, and checked them mostly for errors.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Whinsey! She was based on a woman I rode with, and this strip was written in the heyday of my riding days, when Pepper and I were showing and winning ribbons in jumper competition.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Web Site Story

Still another creative take on West Side Story. Hope the embed works!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cattlemens Days Pt 2

The actual rodeo in Gunnison is a big affair, three nights of rodeos, with riders who have competed and won at the National in Las Vegas. They were earning points for that here. The announcer kept a constant patter going and there was never any down time...

except for the riders coming off!

I enjoyed the Tie Down Roping the best this time- just one guy, a calf, and the guy's horse. He chases out after the running calf, ropes it, then ties it down while his horse steadily holds the line, keeping a balance to the rope.

But what I liked the best was this: they let us bring Molly into the grandstand. We sat on the top row.

At intermission Jon went out to get a beer- it was the clown act which is usually horrible. But this time the clown brought about five ducks out and a herding dog, and did an act that involved the dog herding the ducks.

Molly got really intent on the act even though we were seated so far away. She started shaking all over, and when the clown said, "Go By", a herding term Molly knows, she started this weird howling that caused a lot of people in front of us to turn around and stare. It was hysterical. She's never herded ducks but she knew exactly what it was about. And the sound she was making!!

We left during the bull riding, and were glad we did because it sounded as if somebody got hurt as we were walking out.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cattlemens Days Pt 1

We drove over to Gunnison on Friday for Cattlemens Days. We wanted to see what a Gunnison rodeo is like.

But before we went to the rodeo we went to the restaurant we'd been told was the best place to eat in Gunnison: the Trough.

The Trough sits lower than the highway and right next to the river. I thought it looked like an abandoned railroad car or a giant dumpster, but inside it was a different story. It had an amazing interior, which I should have taken a picture of. Slats of wood were assembled to form curving walls with much drama, almost Gaudi like, probably from the early 70's. Very experimental interior.

And a very cornball menu!

It's a special occasion restaurant, and there were big family parties filling the place. The food was delicious and it was a very nice place for prime rib, baked potato, and a glorious salad bowl served at each table.

I wrapped up two small chunks of prime rib to take to Molly, who was waiting in the car. That's why I didn't get a picture of what happened next!

As I was feeding Molly, a Paris Hilton wannabe in a pink string bikini appeared in the parking lot carrying her big inner tube. She'd been traveling on the river. She was also covered with tattoos. She propped her inner tube beside the front door and then went into the restaurant. I just wonder what happened in there next! As we were driving away she came back out of the restaurant.

This isn't the bikini girl, but a soul sister.

Rodeo story tomorrow!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Off to the rodeo

We're off to the rodeo in Gunnison and won't be back till tomorrow night. But first a hello to this snake we saw lying on our trail on Wednesday. On Thursday at the same spot Molly stuck her nose in a little hole and the very same snake bit her. So glad there are no poisonous snakes around here!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


An animator from Australia sent me a nice message via youtube, and I looked at all his animations on his channel TheBoogley. I really enjoyed watching them, and think he has a lovely fluid style and sense of fun and surprise. I was amazed to learn these were all done in Flash with a Wacom tablet.

He says:
I work using a wacom tablet straight into flash. I set the brush tool smoothing down to 35 which makes the line a little scraggily at times but keeps it fairly true to the movement of my hand. A few months ago I bought a wacom cintiq screen tablet, it's increased my speed by at least 10 times!

The Cintiq is the fancy Wacom tablet where you look at the screen as you draw. Now I'm thinking: I WANT ONE! This teenser laptop screen is a challenge for me.

I thought his animations were excellent, and love the look of the youtube channel too. Maybe he'll stop by here. It amazed me that they had an animation CLUB that met once a month and people would do animation just for the meeting.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


We drove out to Rico for another lunch at the Argentine Grille. It was still tasty, but the famous understudy of Wolfgang Puck had left the premises and last week's waiter was this week's chef. The waitress was mighty cute in her panty length denim shorts but it may have been her first day. "Would you like your bill now?" It was a s-l-o-w lunch.

When we got home we could see a wildfire starting that is much more dramatic now at sunset. It looks to be about 20 miles away. The weird thing is that all the Smoky the Bear fire danger signs we drove past have arrows pointing low. But if there were arson arrows they might be pointing off the chart.

There's a big out of business resort just about at the x,y position of this fire as I look at it from the porch. hmmm... what will the papers report?

No winds here, and the smoke is blowing north.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Nighthawk

We saw this frog faced bird on our hike today. It was quite camouflaged and unconcerned by us. About the size of a robin. Remember that little bird that was trying to fly in our windows? I identified it as a Western Flycatcher.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Camp Memories?

I was wondering if the camp I went to in 1960-1961 still existed. It was Camp Hillsboro in New Hampshire. I thought maybe it had been turned into an artists' colony, or a Christian retreat. One of the camp songs we sang (in the middle of the Cold War) was

"1-9-6-1 at Hillsboro Camp-
No other year the same-
Every girl a comrade true-
Ready to die or do-o-o-o-"

I think I threw out my camp photo album just this year. Then I learned somehow through Facebook, that though the camp is long closed, they stage a reunion for the old girls each year where they come back and stay in the original cabins- I remember mine was named "Nut House"-- and eat in the dining hall and sing the songs, including the one about the comrades. Then they paddle on the lake.

I went to the camp by myself, on the train, from New York City.

I even found an article about someone who went to one of the reunions. The Sally in the article isn't me.
It got me wondering about the camp my sister went to, which sounded grander, out in Easthampton, Long Island. She made two life long friends there. I was trying to remember the name. My mother said, "something about fire or fireplace". We laughed because it didn't sound quite right. But it was right. It was Fire Place Lodge. A little about it here. Condensed, here:

Fire Place Lodge became a girls' camp in 1936, when Adelaide Mershon Purcell, the proprietor of a private music school in Montclair, N.J., took over. Mrs. Purcell had a local connection through a grandfather, the Rev. Stephen L. Mershon, who was minister of the East Hampton Presbyterian Church in 1854.

"It is the aim of the Fire Place Lodge to combine with a full out-of-door camp life, a greater love of the artistic through music, pageantry, nature, and song," she told prospective parents.

Campers aged 5 to 20 came for eight-week sessions, which cost $275 in 1941, and local children from 2 to 4 years old were invited to attend "Little Miss Muffet's House," a kind of musical nursery school.

Instruction in "aesthetic dancing," pageantry ("dramatic interpretation of the lives of famous composers and their compositions"), crafts, and fine arts, including a visit to the East Hampton Art Gallery, was balanced with hikes along "old Indian trails," nature study at "The House of the Seven Dwarfs," sailing and navigation in "Davey Jones's Locker," astronomy, and instruction in signaling and semaphore, taught by Capt. W. Barnes of East Hampton, a former chief of the Georgica Coast Guard station.

William Woolnough, riding master at the East Hampton Riding Academy, where the young Jacqueline Bouvier learned to ride, gave lessons. Members of the "Isaac Walton club" went fishing, crabbing, and clamming. Cows and other livestock were cared for at the camp farm. Many local people were employed at the camp.

Along with "the music of nature as interpreted by the sea, the wind, the trees, and the songs of the birds," there were lessons in singing, piano, and woodwind and stringed instruments. Campers staged an operetta at the close of each summer session.

Sounds pretty nice, don't you think? Do you have good camp memories?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies

How many of these do you remember? We had a Grapho-Scope in the basement when I was little. It was really hard to make sense of.

Thanks Eric Knisley for link.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Elk and the Butterfly

Sounds like a short story, doesn't it?

We saw the big herd of elk last night, and we were quiet and far away so they never noticed us. Loved seeing these lying down in the shade. Some of the babies still had wobbly legs.

This butterfly was posing for me on the way back from our hike.

Tonight we saw a beaver swimming under a bridge. I've seen a lot of beaver dams but never seen one just swimming along before. It was so darn cute. Sorry, no camera on that.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Booking Airlines is Hell

I've spent the last three hours trying to book a flight from somewhere nearby like Montrose or Grand Junction to Philadelphia to see my mother. My dates are open. It's been HELL!

I don't want to arrive at the Philly airport at midnight. No thanks, United. Oh, Frontier has a nice set of flights, only $1132...

I thought my friend Southwest Air was going to help me out, especially since I have a roundtrip rapid reward I won last year, and I even saved the winning number. But they didn't like my password so I had to go into the retrieval of lost passwords sub basement and answer questions that made no sense to me. "Where were you travelling on May 6 09?" I was in L.A. then. Nowhere isn't an option.

And now Southwest has a new ticket level- you have to be a Freedom Flyer to book certain flights, like the one that gets me to Philadelphia at 7 pm instead of midnight. You have to turn in double rapid rewards, (ie two free round trips) in order to become a Freedom Flyer. But maybe it comes with freedom fries... and gives you that warm and fuzzy patriot feeling too.

And every day you get fed up and think "I'll try this in the morning", you wake up and learn all the fares have gone up another $75 or more or the flight you were looking at that gets in at midnight is now sold out.

Time for a hike, and this time we're taking the French Rabbit.

When there were travel agents like the lady above, aah. You called, told her where and when you wanted to go, and she called you back a little later and had it all worked out.

Monday, July 06, 2009

When Molly Met Bear

We headed out later than usual on our loop walk, which starts up the road past the survivalist's shack. (He's been away for a while.)

Just as we passed his shack Molly took off, and we could see she was after a cinnamon BEAR that was heading in the reverse direction a bit farther downhill from the road. We could see the bear really clearly, not just some orange blob and then gone.

We called her back repeatedly. She kept running until she was only fifty feet away from the bear and then she turned back and ran to us. Never once did she make a sound. The bear, an adult, just kept on walking the way it was walking, headed down the hill towards our house. There were no cubs following the bear.

If I didn't know that black bears can be cinnamon color I would be mighty scared it was a griz, but there are no grizzly bears in Colorado. We'd always wondered what Molly would do if she encountered a bear. We were SO PROUD of her.

Later on the same hike we saw some elk and a fox skull (I think). It was still too fresh to bring home. I hadn't brought my camera today, but even if I had I was way too busy getting excited about the bear to think of taking a picture.

Do you think it might be a bear that's been eating our hollyhock blossoms?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 4 Telluride 2009

It was a big crowd at the Telluride July 4 parade today, and there were a couple of really entertaining parade groups.

There was a lot of soaker gun crossfire and many almost pointless parade drivebys, like dirty trucks with Rotary Club emblems on the side.

The best was a float called "Live like it's 2006" with sexy shucksters on it, or dancing beside it, doing the Bernie Madoff thing, coming up to people and telling them to buy stock in GM because it's going nowhere but up, pitching all sorts of bad deals of the last few years. These guys were really in the role, with 3 piece suits, champagne bottles, cel phones: the details were better than what I'm describing.

One guy had a lawn blower that was blowing out monopoly money at the crowd.

I'm not sure but I think those may be webdings on the flag.

It took us a long time to get home. There was a dirty maroon car in front of us on an otherwise empty road. Jon thought it was just an old car but I said "I think it's a Bentley or a Rolls Royce." Something about the shape of the back window.

When the car turned the corner for the big highway I could see the silver phantom lady hood ornament I know because my father loved classic cars. It was an old Rolls Royce. We could see a man driving and a woman next to him. I bet it was Darryl Hanna and a rich boyfriend. She has a place somewhere around here.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Crime Novelist:: Kjell Eriksson

If you like Scandinavian crime novels, you've probably lamented that you've read everything Henning Mankell has written, since it's unlikely there will be more Kurt Wallendar novels. But take heart:

Kjell Eriksson is almost as good. I'd read "Princess of Burundi" and thought it was pretty good, with female detective and single mother Ann Lindell at the center of the book, but I liked "The Cruel Stars of the Night" and "The Demon of Dakar" even better, again with Ann as the main character.

The hot Scandinavian novel right now is "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" but I didn't care for it.

Looking forward to a trip to the library next week, because I've run out of books! I don't just read crime novels, but was quite taken with two just read.

Happy 4th of July,wherever you spend it. We're going to see the parade in town, then the barbecue, but doubtful if we'll head back in for the fireworks. We were at the races in Ridgway today, and are going back on Sunday.

Got any books to recommend for me?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Wondrous NYC Trashbags

Thanks to my pal Jane (prb here) for alerting me to this wonderful use of trashbags and stinky subway air. wow!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Rico, Co

We drove over to Rico today for lunch. We'd heard that the Argentine Grille (above) was really good. It's part of the Rico Hotel. The chef "is the former Executive Sous Chef at the world famous Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, California, where he had the privilege of working with the world renown Wolfgang Puck." Good thing I didn't read that till I got home, because I still hold Wolfgang responsible for the food poisoning I got at his Century City shack.

It's true the food was really good. I had gazpacho and artichoke quiche. Jon had carrot soup and a crab cake. We were the only two customers for most of the meal, and we got there at 12:30. We waited about half an hour for the soup, listening to clinging and clanging in the kitchen and alarm clocks going off. Was it nap time so soon? Then a third employee showed up. They said they were short handed. After the soup it was a long time before the big plates showed up.

Mid meal two other people came in. They couldn't order the quiche because I'd just eaten it.

The food was so good that we'd drive there again-- it's an hour away, but the chef said "tell 100 of your friends that the food's good if you want us to still be open next time." ulp.

The whole town was like that, refined but sad and empty.

This building was two doors down from the restaurant on Main Street.

The court houses in these old Colorado towns are always beautiful. The weird thing about the emptiness of the town was that shop doors were unlocked but no one was inside.

This hotel was for sale fully furnished. (Shot through window-- nice and spooky.)

Even Gary's Dog House was rather elegant, don't you think?