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The Littler Ones [May. 29th, 2016|08:59 am]

Baby Great Northern Owlbears though, those things are vicious.
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Great Northern Owlbear [May. 28th, 2016|10:14 am]

I could have sworn this was supposed to have ended up more menacing and majestic. She just looks kinda friendly and dopey, like she's here for your sandwiches, not your intestines.

Could have been dopier, though.

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The Hands We are Dealt [May. 27th, 2016|01:00 pm]
I just realized that I've currently got three books about food/cooking/baking open and scattered around the house, which I pore over at various points throughout the day. I've got my first-ever-on-my-own creme brulees cooling in the fridge (we'll see how those turn out), dough rising for a new pita recipe I read, and I'm eyeing the egg whites left over from the creme brulees and thinking "Aren't meringue cookies a thing? I wonder how hard those would be to try..."

When people say they got good at, I dunno, math or programming by "just reading books and practicing," it seemed like such an alien concept. I figured I wasn't the motivated type who would go "learn something on her own."

But maybe I can be. It's just that I happen to be motivated to learn about cooking right now instead of algorithms. Which doesn't exactly "pay as well?" That's okay though. It takes all types. Y'all bring the software, I'll bring the dessert.

Point being, um. Go... learn about the thing you want to learn about, no matter what it is. That's a good moral I think.
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I guess it is spring or something. [May. 22nd, 2016|04:02 pm]

Oh hi there.


Oh hi guys.


I used to be really good about mowing the patch of "grass" at the bottom of the hill in our backyard, but its period of massive growth this year coincided perfectly with the worst of my morning sickness. And since we have a dinky reel mower, by the time I felt well enough to mow the lawn, it was too late. So we're just letting it be a "meadow" now until somebody complains.

While we're talking about wildlife, I never thought I'd be googling "what does a songbird gizzard look like," but Baxter has consumed two birds in the last week and left nothing but a few feathers, a bit of birdseed, and this one particular organ on the floor of our living room. It's probably a gizzard? Google was less helpful than I'd hoped. Whatever it is, Baxter doesn't like it.
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Unrelateds [May. 18th, 2016|01:29 pm]
Most art these days has gone to Legacy, most free time has gone to toddler-wrangling so that Nate can work on Legacy. I mentioned that environment art is scary, right? It's scary. A cool thing happened though where we reworked the art for an environment, thought about it, etc., and it actually turned out way better than before! I have this irrational fear of over-working things that makes it hard to do large detailed pieces or long projects, but maybe we can chip away at that fear bit by bit with examples of "Hey look, here was a time you edited something, and the more you worked on it, the better it got! Not the opposite! See?"

* * *

I recently learned that you pronounce the "ch" in mochi like the "ch" in chair, not the "ch" in mocha, which seems weird. Nate thought so too, and we made an agreement to not correct each other about it for the time being.
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Thought of the Day [May. 9th, 2016|04:30 pm]
Past Annie: I love you, but for godsakes, name your Photoshop layers. You are not going to remember what "Layer 59 Copy 3" is six months later, and then you get to play that Guess-and-Check game where you turn each layer in the file off and on again multiple times to figure out what it's doing.

Also, why are your production art files for various walls of the same building different sizes? Were you drunk or what? Maybe you were drunk, that's ok, I'm not judging. But next time check and make sure things that are supposed to be the same size are actually the same size before you go in and spend an evening drawing details on them.
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Cheesecake [May. 7th, 2016|06:44 pm]
My pregnant self just discovered that I can bake a serviceable cheesecake. I'm in trouble. The last time I baked a cheesecake was in 10th grade,* and I think part of me feared that once I bit into this particular fruit of knowledge (cake of knowledge?), the angels with flaming swords would drive me out of the Garden of Health forever.

Because I remember now, how much baking cheesecake is a Dark Art.

This sucker is 32 ounces of cream cheese (go put that in your grocery cart, see how big it is, and tell me you're not a little nervous), some heavy whipping cream, sugar, and eggs. And what, maybe a tablespoon of flour? A teaspoon of vanilla? And don't even tell me you could use fat-free cream cheese or some shit. I have pregnancy-spider-sense-taste. It will be ruined.

When you don't skimp though? I took a bite and my brain was like, "This is why I'm here."

*- Actually, it was a 3-or-4-way effort between myself and a few friends, and we baked the cheesecake in order to get higher grades in our math class. This is a true story, and it worked.
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Bunsmith Hoppington the Third [May. 1st, 2016|08:32 pm]
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Merfolk [Apr. 30th, 2016|05:59 pm]

The mer-nautilus has it bad. He can never see where he's going, and is always calling out, "You guys still there? You'll tell me if I'm about to bump into something, right? Right guys?"

The only thing worse than being the mer-nautilus is being the mer-clam.
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Thought of the Day [Apr. 29th, 2016|09:48 am]
I have this habit where when I get a mosquito bite, I make an X on it with my fingernail. I've been doing this since I was little, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only human being who does it, but you know. It's possible.
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Blue Jay: Part 2/2 [Apr. 22nd, 2016|08:57 pm]
Auuugh, so then today I saw that blue jay. It had made its way to the front yard over the last two days, and it was laying low by the corner of the neighbor's garden. I brought Baxter inside before he noticed it, and it disappeared soon after. For a while.

Apparently it did not disappear enough, because later in the afternoon, Baxter noticed it near the same spot and trotted over. He gave it a little poke, but the bird had no fight left in it by that point. I sat with it for a while, seriously considering whether to attempt to put it out of its misery. I mean, we have a garage full of things that an unskilled person could use to quickly kill a bird. I bet. In the end, I chickened out and brought Baxter inside again.

About an hour later, I checked and it was dead.

You guyyyys, I feel responsible.

(I've never actually had a "follow-up" to any of the animals brought into the house before, shame this one was a bummer.)
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Baxter's Continuing Expoits [Apr. 20th, 2016|09:57 pm]
We came back this evening to a few feathers scattered on the rug, which is always suspicious, but our cat is a free spirit, and as long as he doesn't leave too much of a mess, what he devours is his business.

But of course it wasn't just feathers, otherwise why would I be writing about it, right?

At like 9pm, I hear the dreaded fluttering noise that means a live bird is in the corner of the living room behind the shelves. So I close Baxter in the bedroom,* grab a bowl and a file folder, and crack my knuckles, wondering what we've got this time.

Turns out it was a blue jay! Which, I don't know if you've ever seen a blue jay up close, but they're big. And this one wasn't able to fly, but it was still feisty and had an alarmingly sharp-looking beak. I'd just mentioned a week or two before that I didn't think Baxter would ever nab a blue jay.

Nate looked at me as I went back to the kitchen, and I explained, "I'm gonna need a bigger bowl."

He nodded and went back to playing Skyrim.

I always feel weird when I put a wounded animal back out in the yard. Like, maybe if you're a lizard you can camouflage and have a slow metabolism and pull through. But if you're a big grumpy blue jay who can't fly, what are your odds of making it until your wing heals? Heck, what are the odds of making it through the night? Probably not great. But let's be honest, I'm not going to call the wildlife rescue people for every bird and lizard that the cat brings in. And I don't have the guts to euthanize a blue jay—a small fish, yes, but not a squirming wild bird. Which, so, like, do I have any business eating chicken then? If I can't mercy-kill a songbird? I think the difference has something to do with wild versus domestic, and I don't feel comfortable making that call with a random wild animal. But maybe that's just me making excuses because I don't want to do nature's dirty work or...

Nate patiently listened to me talk about this for a few minutes. Then I remembered that I should probably let Baxter back out of the bedroom. He was sad as usual that I had taken away his new toy. I told him it was for his own good, a blue jay could probably mess him up if he wasn't careful. I also told him I was impressed, but never bring one of those in the house again.

*- He's now so familiar with this routine that he doesn't protest, he just immediately goes under the bed to sulk when I set him down.
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I'm not sure what the bear is pointing at. [Apr. 16th, 2016|08:24 pm]

Go inside you guys, it looks cold.
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Thought of the Day: Words [Apr. 16th, 2016|10:22 am]
I get "straw men" and "hollow men" mixed up surprisingly often. This leads me to have moments where I think T.S. Eliot wrote a poem about questionable arguing techniques.
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Small Victories: Bagels [Apr. 13th, 2016|01:36 pm]
Due to the food/smell aversions, which are still in full swing, my diet has dwindled to a depressingly small pile of things. A big portion of this pile is made up of bagels and cream cheese, and while the regular bagels from the supermarket have gotten me through this rough patch and I will be forever grateful to them, I'd been hankering for a chewier, crustier bagel. And unfortunately, Austin is not known for its bagel shops.

So I'm looking through a bread/baking cookbook I'd been given,* and I'm like, "Wait. Bagels are a thing you could make. Technically. Right?"

There's a recipe for bagels there! And yeah, it's... involved. And takes multiple days, thanks to all the long rising times. But I couldn't resist.


If you like chewy, crusty bagels and can't get any near you that aren't a total ripoff, I HIGHLY SUGGEST trying to make your own. I didn't even have one of the ingredients ("barley malt syrup" eluded me, and I didn't have the motivation to go to multiple stores hunting for it, so I just subbed in sugar), not to mention my bagel-shaping technique could... use some work. But they turned out great. They are enjoyable to eat, and I feel like a happy dog with a chew toy.

Apparently homemade cream cheese requires ordering special bacterial cultures, so I don't know if I'm up for that yet.

*- I've made a weird habit of researching complicated bread recipes, none of which I could stomach at this point, but which I study "just in case I want to try them once I feel better." Nate smiled at me and said that it's one of the sadder things he's witnessed.
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Grouchy frog [Apr. 6th, 2016|08:38 pm]

Who's a grouchy frog? You're a grouchy frog! Grouchy grumpy lumpy frog.
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Call-Bots [Apr. 4th, 2016|05:31 pm]
I don't know if anybody else has gotten calls from this "new generation" of automated calling bots, but they're really interesting. I've encountered them three times in the last few months, and it goes like this:

They ask for someone else's name, and when you say it's the wrong number, they act all flustered and say "Oh! Sorry about that! Well you know, maybe you can help me..." and then they go on a spiel for some supposed charity thing. And they sound really realistic, given that people can sound a little wooden anyway when they have to read off of scripts for calls. They give different responses based on what you say. The first one had me on the phone for like two minutes (I am way too polite) before I realized it wasn't a real person. They finally gave it away when he repeated a sentence he'd said a while ago with the exact same inflections.

The second time I picked out one of these, I grinned and said, "You're not real!"

"I assure you," he replied, "There is a real person on the other end of this-"


Part of me wants to see what happens if they ask for someone else's name and I answer, "Yep, what's up?" I want to see if the spiel updates or not. But unfortunately, if you pick up a call and someone asks if "Renee" is there, there's always that chance that it's actually a wrong number. And I guess that would be awkward, though not the end of the world.

"Yeah, this is Renee!"
"Oh hey Renee! I was just wondering if you wanted to go see a movie on-"
"Uh, actually I'm not Renee."
"I wanted to do an experiment in case you were a very specific type of robot."
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GodzillaBunny [Mar. 30th, 2016|04:44 pm]

Imagine I drew this on Sunday, okay?

So like, does he... throw giant eggs at the buildings? Or does he hide them in phone booths and alleys and top-floor offices? And are the eggs like, the size of bicycles?
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Holiday-Appropriate [Mar. 26th, 2016|10:08 am]
I had a dream last night that I was trying to bake a cake inside of an egg. It almost seemed like something that would work, so for fun I just googled, "can you bake a cake inside of an egg?"

Guess what? You can!

I am absolutely not doing this anytime soon, but hey. Fun to know it's possible.
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Q. Where's Annie been? [Mar. 24th, 2016|09:23 pm]
A. Annie's been sprawled on the couch making unhappy noises for the past couple weeks. There's a good reason though!

Iiiittt's pregnancy! If you want to read more about that, I'll give the details over on the parenting blog.

Still pretty early for going public (not even 8 weeks yet), but hey. Consider this a disclaimer that I will continue to be utterly useless as an artist, parent, and overall human being for the next couple weeks.
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Elegator [Mar. 5th, 2016|08:44 am]

Still not as dangerous as a hippo!™
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Kitchenings: "Thinking Things Through" Edition [Feb. 27th, 2016|10:12 am]
In the last couple weeks, I've tried a few new food-projects that were mostly successes, except for one shared flaw:

1.) I heard that you could make your own yogurt pretty easily, and Ben and I have been enjoying a "yogurt renaissance" lately, so I thought this would be a fun idea. The good news was, it worked! The bad news was that I followed the recipe without considering that I was going to end up with a gallon of yogurt at the end of it. I also failed to consider that we were leaving on a trip in four days. We made a valiant effort to get through as much as possible, and then tried an experiment called "How does yogurt freeze?" The answer is "not very well." When it thaws, it's more like whey with tiny flecks floating in it. Which barely works for smoothies, and not a whole lot else.

2.) I found a five-pound bag of Pink Lady apples for really cheap at Trader Joe's, and I was totally pumped until I ate one and realized that the apples were dry and sour and not enjoyable to eat. So yesterday I'm like, "What can I do with five pounds of shitty apples? I could make a pie, but screw pie crust, and screw going out to the store for pie crust right now, so let's try making apple butter." It also worked! This stuff is decadent, it's amazing.* Except again, I failed to think ahead to the fact that I was going to end up with over a pint of apple butter that the recipe says to "use within 5 days." Unlike yogurt, you don't exactly eat apple butter a whole cup at a time, because your head would explode and your teeth would all fall out.

I'm thinking I can use it to bake other things that I'll actually eat (apple butter snickerdoodles are apparently a thing? WHAAT?). Which, I mean, works. Though it's a little sad that I spent all that time and enthusiasm yesterday making apple butter, only to remember afterwards that I don't actually eat things like apple butter very often. Whenever we buy jam, it goes bad before we get through it.

Oh well, it's the journey.

*-The sweetness of this stuff is intense, and I only used less than a third of a cup of brown sugar. There were recipes out there that called for the same amount of apples and, I shit you not, four cups of sugar. Come on, America. Just... whaat?
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Hay guys i'm a ladybug lol [Feb. 20th, 2016|10:55 pm]

Unrelated, we're visiting friends in St Louis, and we went to the zoo today, and

1.) The sea lions come up to their glass and are very interested in the visitors. AND, we figured out that if you hold one of the zoo maps up to the glass, they'll follow it with their noses. And you can get them to go in circles and do goofy flip tricks. Ben LOVED this, and I think his enthusiasm alarmed some of the other kids. He does one heck of a happy-yell.

2.) Then we walked over to the orangutans, and a big male comes up to the glass and sits right next to us. You don't appreciate how HUGE those guys are until you're staring at a hand the size and texture of a catcher's mit, and your brain isn't sure what to do with it, because you've only seen something like that up close as a special effect. Ben wasn't nearly as interested in this guy and preferred to jump on and off the curb for a while.

3.) Right next to these orangutans were the chimps, who would also come up and sit against the glass. Trained movie chimps are usually young, and I'd never seen a chimp that close, so I don't think I realized how big and intimidating they can get until an alpha male saunters up and sits down a few inches from you. Then it becomes very apparent that this animal is bigger, way heavier, WAAAYYY stronger than I am, and he could probably pluck my head right off my spine without even trying.

These bulky, scary giants sit there calmly, picking their noses, and every once and a while they'll give you a look that says, "What a pity you're not as enlightened I am."
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The Lizard Situation [Feb. 13th, 2016|03:54 pm]
Okay, so like, I would say put a bell on the cat, but I don't think the lizards have good enough reflexes for that to work. Some people would say that we should keep the cat indoors, but a.) that genie was let out of the bottle a long time ago, and b.) we are nowhere near rigorous enough for that.

But the lizards, you guys.

I've been removing a lizard from the house almost every day for the past week. I was about to vacuum the office, and there was another big honker* under the desk. It seemed okay, so we did the bowl-with-a-folder-slipped-under-it schtick, and I carried it outside, doing my usual profuse apology, which the lizard accepted stoically.

Then I vacuumed. And I felt something weird brush the back of my arm a couple times. Almost like a leaf was stuck to the back of my shirt, or okay who am I kidding, you probably know where this is going.

I did make a very conscious decision to walk slowly over to the bathroom, check the mirror, and not panic, no matter what I saw.


Yeah there was another lizard who had been clinging to my back for I don't know how long.

(deep breath...)"Hey Nate!"


"Wanna see something unexpected?"

Nate was nice enough to then follow me into the backyard with a spatula and gently dislodge the hanger-on.

Maybe I'll come up with something witty to say about this later on, but WHAT? How does this happen? How long had it been there? How did a lizard climb onto my back without me noticing?? These are mysteries, but I'm still going to blame Baxter.

*- I don't know what's big or small for Texas Spiny Lizards, but the guys we get tend to be about 4 inches long before the tail.
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The archer of the party [Feb. 9th, 2016|08:48 pm]

I'd probably need to redo this if I actually wanted it to match the previous picture. This is why I will never ever be an art director, folks.

(Now I kinda want to add Toad and Mario to this. Sorcerer and paladin, maybe? We'll see how differently they turn out!)
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