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Happy Fourth, Let's Think About Food [Jul. 4th, 2015|01:14 pm]
Has anyone ever tried to make a big chart of "Flavors that Go with Other Flavors?" Like, chocolate and coffee go together, and chocolate and strawberry go together. but coffee and strawberry do not go together.

There's this little web of maple/bacon/cinnamon/peanut butter where everything goes with everything else. Then there are weird things like mint that go with chocolate and maybe lime? And not a lot else.

As a person who spends a greater-than-normal amount of time thinking about what kind of cookies I could make, this intrigues me.
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Wait, there are schools? For art? [Jul. 2nd, 2015|12:29 pm]
Sometimes I'll browse online art galleries like DeviantArt to try and get inspiration for something I need to do. (e.g. "Let's see if anyone out there has some sweet color palettes for a spooky forest scene that I hadn't thought of.")

And I'll look at the lovely concept art for villages, trees, monsters, robots, fantastical landscapes, etc. that look like they could have been done for Pixar or Dreamworks. And I'll notice that a lot of these people are doing this art for school assignments. And then my brain breaks a little bit because my art education was so so so far from anything resembling that that it doesn't occur to me that there are art schools where people can learn digital painting. And environment art. And animation/character development.

My college art education was 60% avant garde insanity, 30% wringing our hands about Detroit, and 10% old-school hardass industrial design.

Learning how to paint an animated environment would have been unthinkable. I can't explain why or how, but it simply would never have been done.

Obviously, I turned out ok. I'm almost certainly a better artist on some level for having a wide perspective. But there's a part of me that's all, "Wait, what? Someone taught you how to paint and use color like that? That's not fair! If my professors had seen me doing anything like that they would have called me an unoriginal sellout monkey and kicked me out of the class! Concept art is a thing people are supposed to be self-taught lone geniuses at!"

Feel free to shake your head and pat me on the shoulder. I'll be over here feeling conflicted for a while.
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To Market, To Market... [Jul. 1st, 2015|12:21 pm]
grumph buy a fat whatever-that-thing-is.

(Nobody let it figure out how much bigger it is than the person.)

* * *

Unrelated: anyone know why it is that bodies tend to do really annoying, unhelpful things in response to stress?

"Oh dear, things are a little more hectic than usual. How should I deal with this? I know! I'll throw a few canker sores onto my own tongue, turn up the ganglion cyst on my wrist, and generally do things that are the opposite of stress-reducing."
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OrcyPiggy [Jun. 30th, 2015|11:07 am]

"I thought there was supposed to be a battle here. Where is everybody?... Wait, was it next Saturday? I need to check the invitation again."
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Lil Punkins [Jun. 28th, 2015|09:58 am]

The ten bazillion fawns in the neighborhood are slowly getting older.
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Death from Above! [Jun. 25th, 2015|06:38 pm]
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Family Stroll [Jun. 22nd, 2015|10:20 pm]

This is how all our walks go these days.
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Gorillhawk [Jun. 19th, 2015|10:03 pm]

They move surprisingly quickly through the jungle, eating small birds and lizards mostly.
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3 Little Critters [Jun. 17th, 2015|08:33 pm]

Just doodles trying to get huge variance on line width.
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Frogfly [Jun. 15th, 2015|05:51 pm]

Nowhere is safe for flies now.
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True Stories [Jun. 14th, 2015|03:57 pm]
I was searching through our toiletry bins for some nail polish, and I'm all, "Oh wait, I want to use that pink right there!"

Then I realize it's the Pepto Bismal.

I'm not sure what that says about my taste in nail polish, but I figure it can't be good.
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From the Kitchen [Jun. 7th, 2015|08:46 pm]
Nate: "I'm going to go to Costco. We're out of food."

Me: "We're not out of food, we're just out of Goldfish crackers."

Nate: "Yes. Exactly."

* * *

Speaking of edible things in our kitchen, I decided to try cultivating a sourdough starter last week. I've had a mind to try it for a long time now. I'd figure, "How hard can it be?" and then I'd start researching it and give up on the idea 15 minutes later. Then a few months later, I would forget why I gave up and think, "Why didn't I ever make that sourdough starter?" Rinse and repeat this for about 3 years.

The premise is tantalizingly simple: you stick some flour and water in a jar. Then every day you stick a little more flour and a little more water in the jar and mix it up. If there's too much, you take some out. You can stick it in the fridge and not feed it for a week or two. And the mythical wild yeast move in and create this frothy little colony of deliciousness that you then use to make bread.

My success rate has been... I'm gonna say 50% so far.

On one hand, I've definitely got something that has not gone moldy or rancid and has this striking, pleasant, tangy smell.

On the other hand, it's supposed to have bubbles? And mine doesn't. It has hooch though. My yeast are lazy drunk bastards, or I'm doing something wrong. It's probably the latter.

The first time I tried to make bread with it, the dough didn't rise at all, so I chickened out and made flatbread/pitas with it instead, which were still pretty good. I tried again today, giving it a little bit of our regular jarred yeast as a backup, and we got something that is definitely bread. A little bit smaller/denser than normal, since even the commercial yeast's valiant efforts couldn't quite get us all the way there. It's got a slight sourdough tang though, and it'll make decent sandwiches.

We'll see how long I stick with this before I kill it, forget about it, or give up. It's easier to take care of than the fish tank was, at least. The online instructions get very excited about the fact that this thing is "alive." I don't know how alive mine is, but I've already started to project a personality onto it.

I should give it a name. Maybe not a normal name though, since it's very much a colony/community of yeast and various happy bacterias.

So like... "Yeastopia." Or "New Fermentown."

Lemme know if you have any better ideas.
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Our Furry Thermometer [Jun. 5th, 2015|08:21 pm]

Ah, summer. The temperatures rise, the cat lengthens.

At least he's not stealing our seats the minute we get up anymore.
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Scavenger dragons [Jun. 4th, 2015|08:07 pm]

The nice thing about dragons is that no one will ever make any discoveries that mean I should really be drawing them with feathers.
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Pew Pew [May. 30th, 2015|04:04 pm]
pew pew pew

I've seen an increase of "a few very smart people are very concerned about super artificial intelligence!"... things on the internet.

And the discussion always gets me weirdly exasperated and angry, for reasons I can't quite articulate. It exasperates Nate too, and I think he articulates it a little better, so maybe I should tell him to write a post about it.
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Bummer of a Follow-Up [May. 26th, 2015|06:37 pm]
Unfortunately, our friend the fawn didn't make it.

We saw it laying down underneath one of the trees in the backyard this afternoon, being all camouflaged and generally doing its fawn thing of lying still and chilling while Mom goes out to forage.

But then, after a while, it tried to get up and, well, couldn't. It struggled and yelled for a little bit, and the doe came back, but only seemed to walk around the fawn without touching it. Then it was laying on its side in a very un-fawn-like position, so we called the number of a volunteer rescue close by, and they asked if we could bring the fawn in ASAP (the guy said, "Normally I'd come out, but I am swamped with fawns right now").

So... this was a thing I've never done before. The doe had disappeared again, and I went out back with a towel and some gloves to grab the fawn and put it in the back of the car. The minute I picked it up, it was apparent that thhiiiiissss was going to be a long shot. The fawn was pretty limp, aside from jerking occasionally. Still, had to try, right?

For most of the 10-minute drive, it was silent, and I was almost certain it would be dead by the time I got there. But then as I got off the highway, I heard a little "meh! meh!" from the back.

"Oh, you're alive!" I said. "I thought for sure you were dead back there. Hang tight, we'll be there soon."

I hope I don't have a reason to say those words again anytime soon, y'know?

Anyway, we get there, the guy (whose name is Bill) comes out to the trunk, again we think the fawn is dead until it gives a little yell, and Bill says, "Alright, let's get it inside. I'll need your help for a minute, okay?"

"Okay, should I grab my gloves, or..."


We went inside and I held the fawn while he worked a tube down its throat and got some deer-formula-or-whatever-fluids into it. The fawn was still mostly limp, but would struggle a little bit every so often.

Then Bill went to go get something else, and the fawn suddenly arched its head back and peed on me. Then it didn't move anymore.

Bill admirably tried a little bit of fawn-CPR, but it was over. He said apparently the fawn was about a week old, but very emaciated and looked like it hadn't eaten in days. So I'm not sure what went wrong with the fawn and/or its mom, but by the time we got to it, it was too late. Nature, am I right?

Come to think of it, I don't know for sure if this was the same fawn from the previous entry. There have indeed been a lot of fawns around here lately, and I could have sworn I saw the previously-mentioned one suckling later that day. Or earlier this morning? Also now there is literally another doe and fawn in our next door neighbor's front yard right now. So who knows.

Anyway, it was worth a try to save it, but oh well. Bill said, "If you don't mind, we can put its body to good use. We've got a pair of baby vultures we're raising out back, and..."

I nodded. That made me weirdly happy. Good old nature.
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"Nate, guess what I almost ran over when I was mowing the yard!" [May. 25th, 2015|04:04 pm]
In the few hours this morning between one thunderstorm and the next,* I decided to haul the reel mower down the hill and give a haircut to the scrubby weedy meadow out back that we call a "yard."

And I'm mowin' along, avoiding rocks, deer poop, and huge mounds of fire ants (because yay Texas), when suddenly about three quarters of the way through, I'm all, "What's that weird pile of dirt about six feet in front of me completely out in the open?"

surprise its a fawn

Fawns are good at hiding, y'all.

I then proceeded to coo at it and make big dopey faces and wave until it hopped up and wobbly-ran (fawns are all legs, it's cute) into the bushes at the far edge of the yard. At which point I figured if I hadn't already scared the poor thing out of its mind, finishing the last quarter of the lawn wasn't going to push it over the edge.

We saw the doe come back later, and now I'm assuming they're hanging out in the downpour.

*- We've been getting a buttload of rain this spring, which is great. For that drought and all. It's funny though, after LA, I'm completely uncalibrated as to what "a lot of rain" is. It's like the way you don't really feel the difference between a billion and a trillion. Anything more than twice a year is "a lot of rain" to me.
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Almost-Asleep Nonsense [May. 24th, 2015|03:22 pm]
(I can't remember making this entry and can't find it in the last few months, so be kind to me if I've already mentioned this.)

I think most people's minds wander just before they fall asleep. My particular flavor of this involves my inner monologue going a little wonky and starting to talk nonsense. They're not dreams per se, just audio. Sometimes I can wake myself up and catch it, but it's really hard to remember them even over a couple seconds.

Sometimes it's in my voice, sometimes it's other voices; maybe people I know, maybe not. Anyway, I've tried writing them down quickly when I catch myself falling asleep:

"You know that little cough in the back of your throat? That's the bit about the earth parasite crater."

"'Honest do you teach, honest do you teach?' Tell her that, she'll know what it means."

"This is where people look at something on a cupcake for $3.50."

"'It's all wrong' he said, scrubbing the pan, 'it's all wrong.'"

"I loved as only a transparent, caustic lover could."

* * *

They're almost close to making sense, but not quite there. I can't remember the context or lead-up for any of these. My brain just skips along until I suddenly wake up a little and think, "Wait, this doesn't make any sense." And by then, I've usually forgotten what didn't make sense in the first place.
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Sketches of the Animals I Talk About [May. 19th, 2015|03:25 pm]


I did not even mean to end up at "straight Bambi" on that deer. It just happened, I swear. Turns out those guys knew how to characterize a deer, I guess.
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In Which Our Heroine Does her Most Useless Detective Work Ever [May. 18th, 2015|10:22 pm]
Piece of information #1: We like Netflix documentaries, and we recently watched the first episode of one about plants called "How to Grow a Planet."

Piece of information #2: I find that listening to a Pandora station that does epic movie soundtracks is great background music for a lot of drawing.

Me: "Okay, that part when the dude is climbing the Sequoia at the end? I swear I've heard that music before. On Pandora or something. It's from a movie, I know it."

Nate: *Polite reassurance that I'm probably right*

Me: "No, no, I have to find this out. This is going to bother me."

And every time I had that station on, it DID bother me. I went through and compared music themes; it wasn't Lord of the Rings, Narnia, or Batman. It was something else. I had a sneaking suspicion, but no, it couldn't be. That'd be too... dumb.

This wondering went on for longer than I care to admit. But then tonight I suddenly heard something familiar, and I look over at Pandora and it's... one of the Transformers sequels? I have no idea how many of those damn things there are. But the music is sufficiently "general epic movie style" that it could fit just about anywhere. INCLUDING A BBC DOCUMENTARY ABOUT PLANTS, MAYBE?


So then I sat here for probably twenty minutes just now with the Youtube soundtrack of this Transformers movie in one tab and Netflix open in the other, panning and skipping from track to track, playing these bits over and over and agonizing over just how hard it is to keep in your head an instrumental piece that was specifically written to be general background music. I had a few almost-matches that weren't quite right, and figured maybe I'd been barking up the wrong (Sequoia) tree this whole time, when BAM.

I found it, BBC! You used the theme from a Transformers sequel for the climactic scene of your high budget documentary and I called you on it.

(It's okay, I secretly like the song too.)

Me: NATE! Nate, come here! I finally found where the music was from. SEE??

Nate: Oh ha, wow, you found it.

Me: I knew it!

Nate: You sure did.


Nate: Maybe you should share it with—

Me: Oh I am blogging the heck out of this.

The internet needs to know.
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The Deer, Continued [May. 18th, 2015|09:59 am]
Since opening our side gate, more deer have been wandering into the backyard. I am thrilled about this, especially since my gardening efforts have been confined to pots on the deck and the rest of our yard is pretty wild right now.

The doe with the fawn have been back, as well as another group of four that consists of:

-The probably-pregnant doe
-The little tiny light-colored doe with a lot of scars on her leg
-The completely unremarkable doe
-The buck with wittle teeny beeny antler nubbles dat are soo adowable

If the art bug had passed me over, in another life I could have been an ethologist. There is some happy itch in my brain that is scratched by watching animals do random shit and looking for patterns in it. So uh, forgive me if I bore you with tales of "The deer walked around today! The deer are eating leaves! The deer are laying down!"

Baxter seems to get along with them as well. He'll go down into the yard and walk around with them, moving back when one of them gets a little too close/interested. He's more wary of them than they are of him, but he still makes the effort to go down and hang out.
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Baxter's New Friend [May. 14th, 2015|07:08 pm]
Baxter had a pretty fun morning. Handsome devil that he is, he gained an admirer who followed him around the front yard for a while.


He wasn't quite heartless enough to tell her he just doesn't swing that way (he doesn't swing any way really, being neutered and all, but that's neither here nor there), but he wasn't exactly thrilled about her attentions.

Pretty weird for a deer. And if you're noticing that Baxter has spotted something of interest in that last clip, you're right. She followed him over to a patch of bushes and started hopping around and getting agitated. I peeked around the fence to see what was going on, and oh hey!


Well that explains some things.



I guess the little one had been hiding in the bushes by the side of our house that whole time. I'm still not sure whether the deer was following Baxter around because she felt threatened or whether it was her maternal instinct going a little wonky. She never seemed defensive, just very interested in him.

Anyway, now it was Baxter's turn to be very interested.


"You didn't tell me you had a kid."

He watched them for a while as they moved back toward the neighbor's yard. After they got out of sight, I went back inside, and Baxter came in later. He seemed fine, so I'm assuming he didn't get nipped or trampled or anything.

The deer seem to move constantly through the neighborhood; maybe we'll see those two again.
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Bugs That I Hate [May. 13th, 2015|10:32 pm]
I've told you about my unconventional reactions to bugs in general.

Large hairy spider: "Hello little friend! Eating lots of insects, I hope. Keep fighting the good fight! Take care!"

Two-inch-long roach: "Well huh, that's unpleasant."

A few tiny white larvae—slow, harmless, and as small as a grain of rice: "NO NO GOD NO KILL KILL. Kill them all. I don't care how toxic it has to get up in here, plunge this room into a nuclear winter if you have to, just make sure they ALL DIE AND NEVER COME BACK."

Worm-things, man. They wreck me. My head gets all buzzy and my stomach drops and I nervously check around my feet for the rest of the week.

We saw a few on the floor near the dining area windows last night, and I doused the whole patch with bleach, scrubbed it all down and have been patrolling the perimeter today. Haven't seen any more and only now am I starting to be able to breathe normally again.

They looked a lot like the larvae of the pantry moths we'd dealt with at a previous house, and those things are a bitch to get rid of once they figure out where you store the food. So I am on High Alert for the time being, my only solace being that we only saw them relatively far from where the pantry is and nuked 'em good before they had time to migrate anywhere.

Please don't comment and tell me that they move through the walls at lightning speed or something. I will spend the entire night crouched wide-eyed on top of the kitchen table clutching my jar of bleach and a flyswatter. It won't be fun.
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Coffee-Sipping Apes [May. 7th, 2015|03:18 pm]

Doodling during meetings.

(I do actually listen better that way.)
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I still play X-Com occasionally, if only for the moments like these. [May. 6th, 2015|05:25 pm]


I have gotten so much more than my money's worth out of this game, I'm just saying.

Have you ever watched a Heavy overwatch a couple of Mutons and not only miss, but destroy his own cover in the process? I swear the Mutons stopped where they were, stared at him for a second, then figured you don't pass up an opportunity like that and blew him to Kingdom Come.
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