Just saw “Hero.”

The colors! The colors! The colors!

The colors were great.

There could have been no plot whatsoever, and I’d have sat through it for twice as long, just watching the visuals.

It was a…kung-fu mythology kinda movie. Kinda like “Crouching Tiger,” only more so. People fly. Everyone’s outfit is dramatically color matched to the scene. Absurd feats of impossible precision swordsmanship are routine. There was very little blood. People could be impaled by a sword, while wearing pristine white, doing backflips in a canyon full of red dust, and die wearing pristine white, having leaked (at most) one dramatic drop. If you defeated a full cadre of guards, they stepped back, bowed, and left, rather than getting tiresome with the decapitations. It had that stylized, platonic-ideal kinda thing. It was absurd and spectacular.

Also, I don’t think there was a guy under forty in the whole movie who wasn’t drop dead gorgeous. Broken Sword and Sky, yow. Even the Emperor was a stud.

And the COLORS!

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That’s a botfly, alright…

Thanks to James, who spotted Lumpy the squirrel on a feeder and lunged for the camera–and then put on the telephoto, and then set up a tripod, and then had me restrain the cat while he flung the sliding door open–and successfully got a really good photo of Lumpy’s lump.

Thanks also to Lumpy for holding still.

I’m pretty sure it is, indeed, a squirrel botfly.

WARNING! Threat to contented dining ahead! Close up of a squirrel with a lump!

Tired today. I took a nap, so that’s not it, but I feel sort of wrung out. Doodled a bit, but there’s a lack of oomph behind it, and a definite lack of commitment. I feel as if I am a sponge soaked in art, and after squishing and squeezing and wringing, the last drops have finally fallen, and I am left a damp and twisty rag. Time to unsquish, resume normal shape, soak for a bit.

It’s not all that surprising–the amount of–well, I hesitate to call things like “You’re not fooling anybody, Bob,” art, but the amount of schtuff of variable artistic merit that I create, it’d be weirder if I DIDN’T occasionally feel wrung out and need some recuperation time!–but it’s annoying, particularly when it happens Right In Mid-Painting, so that I expend the last few drips of oomph getting halfway into something and then go dry. Sometimes I can come back to these, sometimes I can’t. If there’s a trick to being able to come back, I haven’t figured it out yet. I have a small morgue of paintings that got dropped in this exact fashion, and I always tell myself I’ll got back and finish them, and maybe one time in five, I really do it. Maybe the idea really has to hold me or something. I don’t know.

The thing is, I’m not depressed or anything. As detrimental as it may be to my artistic ambiance, y’all might have noticed by now that I am inherently–god help me–cheerful. I think I’m just too weird to stay depressed for long. If I had a small personal raincloud, it would rain technicolor frogs and slugs with teeny umbrellas, and I would find a way to hire myself out to third-world countries suffering droughts. Being drained for me is just that–I’m tired, I don’t want to paint for a little while–but it’s not a deluge of woe, just a sort of “Yup, wore out t’old brain for a bit, time to veg.”

Since nothing pro is due Right This Bloody Minute, so there’s no reason to force it, and I’m going to see “Hero” tomorrow, which I hear has great visuals. And I have a coupla books to cruise through. I may just take the weekend off (MADNESS!) and veg for a bit. (I always say that. I never do it, either. Maybe this time…)

See…THIS is why I love ’em.

(From the people at Russell’s Burrow, without whom “Digger” would be even farther from proper wombat behavior than they are now…)

And Now Back To Your Regular Fairly Non-Political Programming…


Finally tried out the textured clayboard, rather than the smooth stuff I usually use. It was a small piece, so I didn’t go for anything too elaborate, (but YES, Rafferty, it’s a rat/mouse/small nondescript rodent!) but it was interesting. The fact that it can’t buckle makes me happy. It does behave differently, a lot more like watercolor paper, grabs the pigment a lot more. The downside is that the texture prevents you from getting quite the teeny weeny tiny detail. The upside is that you can get those lovely transparent watercolor gradients, which are hard to do on the smooth clayboard, which is too slippery and you get a lot more puddling.

I’ve been rediscovering my Faber Castell pens, lately–I picked up a few different colors a year or so ago, and they’re great on the clayboard because they’ll draw over anything, even thick acrylic paint, unlike colored pencil. Have to get a few more in some of the other colors–I mostly just grabbed the earth tones. I recommend ’em highly.

Overall, while I prefer the regular clayboard for my rocks and so forth, the textured is probably worth laying in a few pieces for when I get watercolor urges that can’t be satisfied with a quick doodle on watercolor paper. Truly complex watercolors usually defeat me, but with this stuff…hey, you never know.

Political grumpiness

The thing that scares me about the Republican National Convention is, quite frankly, all the “God is on our side!” rhetoric.

I have not learned much in twenty-seven years, perhaps, but I HAVE learned that people who think God backs their politics are generally really bad news. I could cite examples, but y’all can think of ’em all yourself, and this way I won’t be accused of demonizing.

In some ways, I agree with what the Republican party used to be, before the neo-con thing–I don’t like fiscal irresponsibility, and I’m a big fan of state rights. (A really big fan.) But it’ll be a cold place in a nonexistant metaphor widely believed to be pretty toasty before I’d back any group that’s so big on inflicting their religion on me. If Republicans really were about individual rights, as they occasionally try to claim, I’d be voting for ’em in a heartbeat. But trying to give control of my reproductive rights to people other than me is nothing like supporting individual rights. Trying to pass a federal law to override states who want to support the rights of individuals to marry whoever they want–how is that supporting individual rights and state rights and all the rest? It’s great that they support owning guns, but frankly, owning guns is not the be all and end all of individual rights. I’d rather own my body, thank ya verra much.

I quite liked the Republicans in Arizona, who were the old-style, “Leave me the hell alone, don’t try to tell me what to do, and I’ll return the favor,” variety. Sure, they had their flaws–I’d have liked a little more money for the state park system–but that was a Republicanism I could appreciate, and if we could get the hunting and fishing ones to understand that ecology is Their Friend Too, I’d be half-way sold. Pity the actual party isn’t like that. If the Republican party stopped inflicting their god on me, I might actually be a swing voter, but until they ditch their “God is on our side, sinner!” crap, I’ll vote for anybody that’ll keep them the hell out of office.

My ideal party would be ecologically responsible, completely non-religious, and all for individual rights. But more practical than the Greens. Half the time I’m no huge fan of the Democrats, either, but they don’t scare the bloody hell out of me the way God’s Own Party over there does. And at this point, I figure that not voting because you don’t like everything about the Democrats is sort of like refusing to bail because you don’t like the color the boat is painted.

Bein’ all Free Speechy and stuff, I will of course leave this open–I have a more-than-mild contempt for those who make political comments and then refuse to allow comments because they “don’t want a debate”–but I gotta warn you–whenever I do these political commentaries, the comments get really long, and I’m likely to miss a few. It’s not because I don’t love you or can’t argue with you, but there’s sometimes just so MANY.

And that really says it all…

The following comment, left on DA on my pied anteater piece, certainly wins the simile award for the day:

Ah, god taht rocks.
That rocks as much as if like..SImon and Garfunkle did a folk Death Metal cd called like fucking…uh.. Nailbomb in a Nursery or soemthing!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Simon and Garfunkel have left the building…

So last night, I was laying on the couch reading, and James was taking a shower. The water turned off, there were the usual post-shower noises of various body party beings scrubbed and clothes being donned, the bathroom door creaked open, and suddenly there was a wail of horror and despair from that part of the house.
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