Thursday, August 27, 2009


Earlier this summer I bought some lovely potted crotons. They're a bit tricky to care for, requiring lots of sunlight, high humidity, and not-too-wet not-too-dry soil. Neglect them slightly and the leaves drop off.
I coddled my crotons, misting them, double potting them, setting up a pebble tray, checking the soil moisture level etc.. Then I saw them. A tiny patch of mealybugs on one of my plants. (What is it with pests this year? Carpet beatles, rodents and now mealybugs? What's next? Racoons? Bears?)

Wikipedia says:
Mealybug is the common name of insects in Pseudococcidae, a family of unarmored scale insects...

I have a different theory:
Mealybug is the common name for Buggis WhiteTrashis from Planet Slob, whose mission is to "Go to Earth and Destroy Houseplants". Hairy and lazy, they travel by teleport, leaving many a plant tender to wonder how on Earth did they get in here!? Their skills include killing plants, sitting around, and dribbling their powdery crud nearby. Easy to kill (in part, because the concept of "running away" hasn't occurred to them), they are nonetheless tough to eradicate because there's a billion of them on Planet Slob, waiting to teleport to the next available plant...

$!@!! Mealybugs.

note- their trick of spontaneously showing up on your plants is actually because, when freshly hatched, they don't weigh much and can be carried by drafts.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I fear Cryptomnesia- the scary-but-true phenomena where you can steal somebody's work without realizing it!
After he wrote Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson discovered that he'd borrowed details (the parrot, the skeleton-as-pointer, some settings) from older works, even though, when he wrote them, "they seemed to belong to me like my right eye."
More recently, a popular novel was yanked from bookstores* when people discovered it lifted sentences from other works. The author claimed it was an accident. "Aw C'mon," critics snipped, " How do you accidentally steal an entire sentence...!?"
...but it can happen.
I think it works like this.
I see (or hear) Work X (a story, a movie, an expression etc...). Time passes. My brain remembers some details, but not the I saw this before detail. Reverse deja vu. I think it's mine. I incorporate it into my work...
...and someone notices that my masterpiece sure looks a lot like Work X.
Suddenly I'm a hack. A thief!
Am I cranking out other people's work as my own!? Too bad Blogger doesn't have a "plagiarism check" along with the spell check.

p.s. for the record, the background text in the picture isn't mine.

*the movie deal ended about this time too.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Glitter Cheese Party

Years ago my (then) roommate and I threw a cheese party.
We got a copy of Glitter, Mariah Carry bomb.
The snacks were cheese based- cheese crackers, mini cheese pizzas, cheese cake, and cheeze ball puffs. We had veggies too, with Bleu Cheese dressing.
For decor we cut holes in tissue paper to simulate Swiss cheese. I painted dark spots on two tall yellow candles for a similar look.
The fun started when we played the movie. We'd munch on the snacks, and pelt the screen with cheese puffs whenever the film got cheesy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Need a Shock Collar

Social skills never came naturally to me. I was in my twenties before I learned that you were, in fact, supposed to look people in the eye when you talked to them. Or that when someone asked "how are you," the polite thing to do was to repeat the question to them after you answered. By my thirties I'd discovered that people were way friendlier if you looked them in the eye and smiled when you saw them*. Who knew?
I still make blunders in conversation. Usually I don't catch them until later. So what I need is a custom shock collar that zaps me on the spot. Zap worthy offenses include:
  • Talking to loudly. (What seems normal to me seems very loud to others)
  • Interrupting (I just have to throw in some smart ass remark or anecdote)
  • Know-it-all-ism ("d'ja know I just read about a study where..." )
  • Talking too much (I try not to do this, but I suspect it happens. )
  • Talking about esoteric, weird or boring (to other people) stuff ("Ever heard of Pacific Ocean Park?" )
Then again, I suppose peppering my conversations with "Youch!" wouldn't be a good idea.

*More than once I've accidentally smiled a bit too long and sent a message I didn't intend...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Animation Blocking in Flashland

Here's more animation blocking from my next cartoon. I'm getting the timing and action to work on crude drawings first. Then I'll clean them up.
When I did "I'm So Tired" I used started with a very simple animatic. The characters were drawn and colored before I made them move. The resulting animation was a bit stiff.
This time around, it's staging and movement first, details and color last.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Open Letter to the Rat in my Backyard

Dear Rat,
I thought you were cute. You reminded me of your gentle domestic cousins. Still, you scared birds off the bird feeder and ate a lot of food. This couldn't continue.
I installed a baffle on a feeder post.
You learned a climb a nearby wall and jump.
I sprayed and scattered hot pepper mixes on the feeder.
You sneezed and kept eating.
I bought a feeder within a cage to keep out larger creatures (that is, you).
You squeezed in anyway.
Things got worse. You invited your rat friends over. You made a mess. You destroyed my squirrel feeder and chewed on my bird feeders. I worried about disease and property damage. Would you chew your way indoors?
I baited my larger Hav-A-Hart trap. A midnight inspection found you trapped within. I slipped some food and nesting material through the bars so you'd be comfortable until I could relocate you in the morning...
...except by then you were gone. You'd eaten the food, worked the door open, and escaped.
You, my friend, have signed your death papers. So get out of my yard now or you're going to the big hamster wheel in the sky.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Buzzy Buddy

click picture for larger image.

I found this fledgling hummingbird on my lawn a few years ago. He sputtered around like a broken helicopter, rising a few feet and crashing. I'd have left him there*, but two cats seemed very interested. I scooped him up. Both cats came up to me and stood on their hind legs, begging for their toy.
I moved the bird to a jasmine bush in my back yard (away from the cats) and snapped this photo. He resumed flying lessons for the next few days before taking off for good.
I get a lot of hummers at my feeder. Each time I see one, I wonder, Is that you, Buzzy Buddy?

*he wasn't hurt- he was just trying out his wings like a proper fledgling.