Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mouse Party III: Hostages

The mousetrap arrived yesterday. It's a little green thing.
The mouse sneaks and triggers a mechanism that locks him in.
I caught Clyde last night and Bonnie this morning. Both were caught in the cupboard- I just stuck it on the counter for the photo. Then I realized there was only a few millimeters between my kitchen counter and whatever diseases he might be carrying. D'oh! Where'd I put the bleach?

Here's their holding tank. Bedding and snacks were included so they wouldn't notice they were in a plastic jar and could chew their way out.

I freed them in a vacant lot several blocks away. A third mouse* is still at large has since been apprehended.

When I returned from mouse deportation I heard chattering. I opened the back door. This squirrel stared me down a few feet away from the fence. I think he's their lawyer.

*A bunch of them probably either live under the foundation or in nearby overgrown shrubbery.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mouse Party II

Guess who's back?
I my mouse problems were done after I cleaned my cupboards and ditched the Backyard Critter Snax. Still, I inspected the scene of the crime regularly just in case.
When I checked last night, a little mouse head popped up where the cupboard floor met the wall. He didn't seem to concerned I about me. His attitude was Oh, hi there. Do you live here too? I growled. He retreated.
Further inspection found he'd gotten into a bag of tiny black thistle seeds I feed finches with. I'd never seen wild rodents at that feeder so I figured they didn't care for it. This mouse wasn't picky.
I sent away for a catch-and-release trap. Stay tuned for what happens next.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

21st Century Bragging

People who brag annoy me. I'm not sure what's more irritating:
1. A lecture on how special they are.
2.The fact that they think I'll be impressed by this.

Recently I've noticed a new form of bragging that makes typical braggers seem as modest as dust. This species doesn't brag about how wonderful he is. He brags about how wonderful he plans to be!
You've probably heard from him. He's the guy who still lives with his parents who brags about how much money he'll earn in the future. He's the out of shape slug who tells people how much weight he's going to lose. He (sometimes she) is the hack who won't shut up about the bestselling book (or blockbuster movie) he'll write someday.
I don't have a problem with someone stating that they'd like to accomplish something. It's the person who acts as if stating their plan is as impressive as accomplishing it.
And since he (or she) has announced their plan, they think this gives them the right to criticize others who have accomplished something. For example, the "I'm going to write bestselling fiction" is quick to tell you how his yet-to-be-started novel will be way better than the "crap" that's selling now. He'll tell you why too. Yes sir, he's so smart that he doesn't need to write to be an expert on writing. Are you impressed yet?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Things I Should Have Figured Out by Now

(Pardon the crude picture- my Flash project is hogging my free time)

I must be a slow learner. Here's some tidbits I haven't mastered in my four decades on this planet:
  • Hot surfaces are, in fact, hot.
  • Sharp objects are, in fact, sharp.
  • Wet floors are, in fact, slippery.
  • Wet paint is, in fact, wet.
  • Pens have caps for a reason.
  • Pointing out that you "hardly ever watch television" impresses nobody and makes you look like an ass, particularly if you bring it up more than once.
  • Ignore your maybe I shouldn't park here intuition at your own peril.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Flash Preview

Here's another screen shot from the Flash animation I'm working on. It's fun.
It's also taking way longer than I hoped, even though much of it is limited animation. Probably the most time consuming part is getting all the layers to sync up, as it's divided up in a million layers. I'm sure there's an easier way.
If any of you have tips on how to speed things along, let me know.
I downloaded a plugin called Animslider Pro. It's great for controlling nested animation. It also has a feature called AnimPack Pro, but I haven't figured it out yet.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Summer Samba

My Flash project is hogging my blogging time, but I found a few minutes to throw this together. That old chestnut Brazilnut, "Summer Samba" was playing (on an electric organ, no less). I had to sketch this.
This is the kind of song the easy listening stations played when I was little (and when I was in college). No new age or soft rock. You'd hear stuff like this at the grocery store too. Makes me think of back when the frozen food section didn't have doors (it was cold!). Bags were paper and didn't have handles. T.V. dinners had aluminum trays and you had to peel back foil over selected items (and wait up to forty minutes for them to heat). Soda opened with pull tabs and diet soda tasted like hairspray.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Little Red Ball

This early 70s era Sesame Street clip aired when I was little.
I thought the ball was very cute, especially when he rode in his little roller coaster car.
Alas, he came to a shocking end!
I remember being very upset about his demise. How could they do that to him?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Flash Preview

Here's a preview from the cartoon I'm working on. As you probably guessed, you're seeing a rough drawings for his legs and final drawing for his head and wings. The background is temporary- dyed yellow to remind me to color white areas white.
I don't know what his name is. Not that it's necessary in the context of the cartoon, but he should have a name. I'd do a contest, but I don't have any cool prizes!
Am also considering throwing the infamous Crack Master character in as a cameo. Then again, that may get it bounced off You-Tube faster than you can say "copyright infringement." Or get the rumored legal owner of the cartoon so mad at me that I'll never get a copy...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Face Like a Frog

Sally Cruikshank directed and animated this zany gem in 1987. It has a some elements from the old Fleischer cartoons- surreal settings, morphing characters and catchy music, yet all done in her original, colorful style. (Did I mention I bought a cel and background from it? It appears forty something seconds into the film when the frog lady rises up and winks at the camera.)
We met for lunch yesterday. The cartoons most devoted fans, she said, are the generation Y crowd. I think this is because these people grew up with increasingly fast paced television commercials* and music videos. They expect quick editing, lots of action and color. I say Face Like a Frog was ahead of its time!
Here's a bonus pic of us for Linda (I think I understand why I got a C in photography class):

*a good example of this can be seen on You Tube- compare modern commercials for Trix or Froot Loops with ones from the 1960s and 1970s.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Trees on the Curb

I know they're plants. Dead plants.
I know they have no feelings.
Yet part of me feels sorry for curbed Christmas trees.
They just look so sad, lying tipped over like a fallen animal.
I imagine the tree being confused, since for all these weeks he's been fussed over and now he's next to the hefty bags, awaiting the garbage truck. Perhaps thinking, What'd I do? or They don't love me anymore!
I'm glad some things don't have feelings.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Party Animals

The trouble started when I ordered a big bag of Wildlife Snack Jax
to feed backyard birds and squirrels. I stored in a cupboard close to the back door.
This is a bad place to store rodent food.
Weeks ago I noticed some had spilled out. I opened the cupboard to find:
  1. Spilled Wildlife Snack Jax
  2. A hole chewed in the bag.
Someone was eating in!
I cleaned up, put the rest of the food in a sturdier bag, and forgot about it.
Then I returned from a holiday trip: More cracked corn on the kitchen floor. Then I opened the cupboard.
It was trashed! They'd thrown a mouse frat party. Cracked corn, peanut shells and assorted nuts covered everything. They thanked me for the free food by relieving themselves on my wine bottles, one champagne bottle (a former collectors item) and a bottle of amaretto. Wisely, they'd fled the scene of the crime.
As I swept, scrubbed and disinfected, notions of sticky tape and mousetraps suddenly seemed like a good idea. So did dynamite and nuclear weapons. This was war!
Of course, I wimped out and used a different strategy: No more wildlife food until I find a mouse proof container. It seems to be working.
If they come back I'll use a havahart trap.
Or maybe I'll line the cupboard with sawdust and install a hamster wheel.