So there’s this young male squirrel that hangs out on the deck.

Yes, I know he’s male. Believe me.

See, every time I see this squirrel, he’s been…ah…is that an acorn in your pocket or…? Well, you get my drift. Today he had located one of the un-sprouted bulbs in a flower pot, dug it up, and was chomping it happily on the railing, while…yeah. This is the fourth or fifth time in the last week, so I don’t think I’m just catching him at a bad time.

Actually, now that I think about it, I suppose it might not be the same squirrel each time. There’s only the one distinguishing characteristic, and I am generally doing my damnedest NOT to look at it. So in theory, it could be a parade of unrelated male squirrels that for some reason find my deck railing particularly erotic.

This is even more disturbing a thought, and I think I prefer the notion of a squirrel with some kind of urinary tract infection or whatever causes these things. (I could google something about “persistent erections in grey squirrels” but I fear where I might wind up, and anyway, I’ve already balked at spiking the food with antibiotics.) I realize that my yard is apparently staked out with the small-animal equivalents of “Ursula’s House ‘O Ill Repute! Free Seed & Suet Bar!” but this is a new level of exhibitionism on behalf of the squirrel population. *sigh*

In other news, I have a full bowl of reeses cups for any trick-or-treaters. We had none last year (the other people in the duplex have “Beware of Dog” signs) and I expect none this year, but if they showed up and I didn’t have any…well, the horror.

Glancing through some old sketchbooks only confirms my place among the ranks of the peculiar. I can’t decipher a lot of the thumbnails any more (some of them I still can) but my tendency to jot random small notes in an effort to explain myself to my future self provides no insight whatsoever. Some of them are kinda interesting in their own right, though, and I reproduce a few below for the viewers amusement.

Some favorite phrases include:
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Random Poetry

Saw this in a forum, and enjoyed it much too much.

A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”

–Stephen Crane

It seemed apropos, since my latest Elfwood comments had quite a charmingly enraged description of the torment I would suffer after death for my childish and pathetic hatred of God. I swear, that’s the main reason I keep the Elfwood gallery around. It’s so impossible to update that I rarely bother any more, but the enraged comments are like little jewels. Sure, I feel the nostalgia–it was my first on-line gallery, and I love it still, but truly, I could never abandon the gallery that gave me “I despise the arrogant wombat.”

DA just doesn’t compare. At most, people will politely disagree with my view, or leave the “ur stuf sux” comment variety. These little comments are like seeds, or pehaps eggs. You could fit a hundred of them on the head of a pin. Someday, I dream that they will germinate, or pupate, or whatever, and a tiny troll will emerge, and spread fragile little wings, gossamer and glistening in the pale morning air, and climb with teeny hooves up to the top of its little stalk of grass. And the gentle forum breeze will dry the wings of the baby troll, and it will blink huge, innocent eyes up at the young sun, as the grass stem sways, and at last it will open its (large in proportion, but still small) mouth, and the morning will gleam on its miniature tusks, and it will bellow “lol!!!1!” and David Attenborough will do a voice-over about the cycle of nature and we will weep for the sheer glory of the internet and the beauty of new life.

See, this is why I should stop at ONE cup of coffee in the morning…

So I finished House of Leaves.

Hmm.

Hmm, hmm, hmm.

Hmm.

There was a good story in there, sort of Lovecraftian, but you had to mine pretty deep, and there was a lot of stuff in there that I just plain wasn’t able to read. It did the “wordswordswords” thing where a sentence just dissolves into meaningless verbage, and even though all the words are in English, and if you work really hard, you can just about get a sentence, it is not in any sense readable. I am not smart enough, perhaps, but I require clear, lucid prose. I am willing to accept that there was a lot that, due to this failure, I didn’t get. The interactive flip-this-book-around-and-read-backwards stuff was reasonably entertaining, if somewhat gimmicky. The basic story was fairly neat.

And then there was the guy in the footnotes.

Sigh.

I feel a rant coming on.
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Well, that sucks.

Keith Parkinson died.

While my art has, quite obviously, moved along a ways, back when I was starting out and wanted to be a fantasy artist, Keith Parkinson was one of my idols. Even though realism is no longer my paramount goal, his work still largely defines the kind of TSR Classic Fantasy Art look in my head–he was more skilled than Elmore and not nearly as 70’s as Vallejo. I definitely owe a good chunk of my love of gnarled trees to his work. And perhaps most importantly, his art books included the very first section on the process of sending roughs to art directors that I’d ever seen, which was completely new to me at the time I read it. (I later learned that his layouts were far more detailed than anything I was expected to produce for the people I worked for, but still, at the time, very valuable.) I think I learned more about the nuts-and-bolts craft of professional fantasy art–stuff like leaving dead space for title text and what not–from reading his writings than I did from any other source.

He was only 47, too, so that’s really a damn shame.

If nothing else, the design thing is funny as a commentary on the subjectivity of art. Every single design of the four red wombats has been several people’s favorite, and somebody else has said why they don’t like it.

Graphic design for a living instead of a lark has got to be miserable work, man…

Yes, More Wombat Designs

Took a bunch of people’s advice and did a few more variations. Man, this design stuff lends itself well to variations on a theme. Damn good thing, too, because after you stare at it for a few minutes, you’ve lost any sense of what works and what doesn’t.

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/24499131/

More fooling around with design. I figured the Red Wombat Tea Co. needed its own label. That wombat is easily the most minimalist thing I’ve ever done, so I’m kinda proud.

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/24488498/

As always, critique really actually honestly I swear appreciated on these, because my design sense is crap on a cracker.