Well, after a few frustrating days of hammering on it, I finally got this sucker done. Whew. Thought I was gonna lose my mind on that cow.

I had so much fun with the Wockwurm, and it went over so well, I figured I’d try to do a few more with that real animated, tongues-a-flapping style. Possibly I’m in Invader Zim withdrawal. They don’t show it here. I miss the Zim tongues. I miss the screams of “Filthy human stinkchildren!” I dunno. It’s okay. It’s no wockwurm, though.

Graphic Smash will launch next month, with Digger, and I gotta get my strips in three weeks in advance, so I’m hustling to get some more Digger done, so that I have a good solid backlog and don’t have to burn out over a weekend drawing wombats any time soon. Also had to do Digger ads, Digger “updated” icons, and so forth. Good thing she’s easy to draw…

And, as a minor annoyance, Loki’s blood sugar is STILL really high, so I’ll test ‘im again tomorrow, and if he’s still way up there, I guess I’ll have to bring him into the vet again so that they can tell me “Yup, he needs a bigger dose.” (How much more can that cat take?!) Fortunately, now that we’ve done this a coupla times, I feel no particular concern over it–it’s another routine dosage adjustment, and more money flapping away into the night. Flap, money, flap! Flap like the wind! Still, he’d do it for me. I think. Assuming he didn’t blow all his money on catnip and liver treats, which is a pretty big assumption.

Brown hyenas are cool.

I’ve seen still photos before, but not video, and the difference is really quite amazing–they’ve got the bulky hyena shoulders, covered in this very long, silky looking hair, and then these striped, short-haired legs. Watching them, I got the weirdest mental image of a group of men in drag–you know, the baritone-voiced kind that are probably not gonna pass for women even in poor lighting–wearing extravagant feather boas and striped stockings. It was a rather bizarre mental image, (and weirdly appropriate given the nature of hyena genitalia!) but for some reason, that’s what I thought of–transvestites of the Serengetti.

(And just because someone somewhere will probably take offense unless I make a disclaimer–you wanna dress up as men, women, or wombats, I don’t care. More power to you. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest–I have other fish to fry.)

Watching “Life of Mammals”–yes, I’m a junkie! This is the last of the series, the primate one, and it’s got such amazing footage that I can’t help but comment.

Plenty’s been written, of course, of the love-hate relationship humans have with chimps–we’re enthralled because we see ourselves in them, we’re dismayed because we see outselves in them. And this is no exception, of course. At one point, a chimp is using a length of wood as a hammer to crack nuts. Attenborough shows it a nut and the chimp makes a sort’ve half-nodded acknowledgement and holds out its hand–quite politely, no grabbing–and Attenborough drops the nut into its palm, sets it down, and starts hammering on it. All very calm, very laid back, very…primate.

And then there’s some other footage that is completely astonishing. It’s one thing to know that chimps routinely hunt monkeys, another thing to see a group of a half-dozen males (and one female) descend (or ascend as the case may be) on a troop of red colubus monkeys with practically military precision. They take up positions in the trees and get as close as possible, and once they’re spotted, they start shouting commands (I swear to god, that’s what it sounded like–at the very least they were loud vocalizations that contained definite information) at each other, cut off the infants from the females, fight off the brave but completely outmatched male colubus monkeys (which is chilling right there–these pint-sized monkeys flinging themselves on chimps that look enormous, which swat them casually out of the air so the poor critters plummet forty feet to the forest floor) and then sit back with a few dead monkeys, and begin eating them, with leaves, and sharing the meat out politely with their fellow hunters.

It’s sort’ve like watching the Morlocks hunt Eloi. You want to root for the Eloi, but you know full well the smart money’s on the Morlocks.

Really, the footage in this series blows my mind. It’s hard to find nature shows that include ANY shots of a fossa, let alone five minutes on the fossa, including sifaka hunting and fossa nookie. And while I knew that grizzly bears were predators, I always had a vague notion that “hunting” meant salmon and maybe the occasional rogue berry, which notion has been complete disabused after watching one run down an elk. (The elk hit a tree with one of those abrupt smack! moments that makes the viewer go “Owhh!” Sort’ve like when a snowboarder rolls and starts hitting rocks on the way down. The crunch of impact transcends all species boundaries.) Then it chased a ground squirrel. Watching a tank-sized grizzly chased a ground squirrel was astonishing–who’d’ve thought a beast that size could corner like that?

I may buy it off e-bay, although I’d better wait for a bit, since the recent re-showing probably boosted the price. Just too damn cool.

Oh, what the heck…never could resist a meme.

Friday Five

1. When was the last time you laughed?
Well, I’m ashamed to admit that there was a short, pitying bark at a Yerf app this morning. But I feel guilty about it. The last actual laugh was probably some five minutes prior, when Loki took his injection without noticing, (James had a treat in his hand, which consumed all his attention) but the plastic “Thok!” sound of the used syringe being dropped in its container made him leap up in horror and lumber to safety.

2. Who was the last person you had an argument with?
What, like a REAL argument? God, I dunno. Someone online probably.

3. Who was the last person you emailed?
An art director, saying “Hey, yer files are ready.”

4. When was the last time you bathed?
Yesterday evening.

5. What was the last thing you ate?
Just finished the James Breakfast Special–bacon, optional egg, hashbrowns with cheese, bottomless cup of coffee. He tells me that breakfast is important, because if we all die in the impending apocalypse, our last thoughts will be “Hey, at least I’m not feeling peckish.” I confess, I wouldn’t have phrased it in quite those terms, but there you are.

So today I’m working on this cover for Hogshead Games, for their Yakuza sourcebook.

Now, I love the Yakuza as only a Shadowrun junkie who never has to deal with the real thing can, so it’s a lot of fun to do. The covers work best as close-ups, so I get to paint this giant, hulking, overmuscled arm, (with sawed off pinkie joint!) which I then get to cover in nifty tattoos. It’s the sort of thing I hardly ever do, so I’m enjoying the heck out’ve it and getting back in touch with my early desires to be Boris Vallejo. (I’ve outgrown said desires, but it’s still fun, damnit.)

Nobody ever wants ridiculous body-builder fantasy goons anymore. And by and large, that’s a good thing, but now and again it’s fun. Now I just need someone to ask me for a chainmail-bikined Elmore babe, and my trip down memory lane will be complete.

Blurgh. Got James’s crown done today, but due to various snafus on the part of the dentist, a half-hour procedure took two hours, which cut a sizeable hunk outta my work day. So now I’m staring at my machine attempting to groggle together the motivation to finish what would otherwise have gotten done around noon.

Part of the problem may be that this dental thing caused me to miss lunch, so my blood sugar’s probably down in my toes. Probably my brain will pick up a bit after dinner.

Also went out to get gas this morning. That was an adventure. See, if you haven’t heard, those of us in the Phoenix area are in the middle of a gas shortage, because one of the pipelines that brings gas into the area broke. That would’ve been a minor inconvenience, except that every jackass from here to Flagstaff heard the phrase “gas shortage” and immediately hauled their SUV into the station to fill the tank. And the RV. And the boat. And the pickup. And of course, if everyone in a given area decides to fill every tank they own on the same day, whether or not there’s a REAL gas shortage to begin with, wham!

We went out. There are four gas stations within three blocks. We circled, slowly, seeing lots of nozzles with bags over them. “Out of Service.” Yellow tape everywhere. “Do not cross.” Next gas station. More bags over nozzles. Next gas station. More bags. It was vaguely creepy, in that slow, sinking, hey-guess-how-close-civilization-is-to-the-brink-after-all kind of fashion. And just as we were getting worried, we cruised by the one right next to our house, where a tanker was pulling out and a line was already starting to form. We got in practically at the front of the line, got to the pump in less than five minutes, and drove home with a full tank, which is more than enough to last us, work-at-home types as we are, at least three weeks. So that was a damn good thing.

I’d try to reconstruct the chain of events that led to James declaiming “Burrow before your master, mole Hitler!” last night, but space is entirely too limited.

Just watched the next episode of “Life of Mammals” which the Discovery Channel has been running on Wild Kingdom this week. It was about rodents, including my favorites, the naked mole rats, and of course, the noble capybara. (Gronk!) Although at one point, as a herd of capybara galloped into the water in slow motion, James shook his head and said “Man, this is like a capybara version of Baywatch” and was entirely correct–had one of the capybaras been carrying one of those bright orange float thingies, it would’ve been a perfect match. And possibly about the same IQ as the original cast.

Writers vs Wordsmiths and a coupla pages of random Ursula prose.

I must state categorically that David Attenborough’s Life of Mammals absolutely and positively rocks. I just watched the one on insectivores, and while I could’ve gone to my grave without seeing thermal imaging of bat genitalia in action (on a female who was hibernating and the same color as the cave walls, which is evidentally a strategy the males use to avoid any chance of rejection–they wake up, have sex with a few snoring female bats, get a drink and go back to sleep) it is still a fabulous show. Golden moles! They’re unbelieveably cool! Why is there no golden mole art out there!? Should I introduce Goldie the mole as a completely gratuitous minor character simply to get equal time for golden moles? (This won’t happen. I suppose I could do a pin-up of a sexy golden mole…err…maybe not. But still! Must paint a golden mole!)

The good day continues, since our bill for James’s emergency room trip arrived, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d feared. A single commission oughta take care of it, and that is a Very Good Thing.

Also, lest the day become too perfect, I must bitch–I have now had three versions of some idiot’s public letter about how the Elfwood mods are meeeean to him inflicted upon me, through the various journals and one on woodchat. Even if I cared in the first place (I didn’t) this exercise in poor taste would have driven me to mild irritation. I mean, sheesh. Attempting to drag a private quarrel out into the public in the hopes that people will flock to you and there will be an outpouring of public opinion in your favor thus magically curing everything only works in musicals, and since nobody’s tap-danced by my desk singing “Seventy-Six Trombones” yet, I ain’t buying.

Crap, now I have “Seventy-Six Trombones” stuck in my head. My grandmother used to rent that video at least once a year…

Despite the hectic start, today was a good day.

It was a good day, because I painted this, titled “Sir Bunny Vs. the Wockwurm” and having always struggled with getting things looking animated, the monster makes me happy.

Possibly wockwurms are the larval form of jabberwocks. Possibly this is the reason you don’t see many bunny knights out there. And, of course, quite possibly I need my head examined, but I guess that goes without saying.