Saturday, July 31, 2010

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

There really is a bird called the "Yellow Bellied Sapsucker."   Some name.  It sounds like an insult.  Break it down and it's a string of smaller jabs: "yellow," "sap"  and "sucker."   It could have been named "Gold Breasted Woodpecker" or "Masked Stifftail,"  but "Yellow Bellied Sapsucker" it is.
Who came up with this name?  Was he mad at them?  Did a flock peck up his orchard? 
Maybe he was simply blunt: "It's got a yellow belly, doesn't it?" he might have said.  "It sucks sap outta trees, right?"
Imagine if this guy had been in charge of naming other birds:

Owl:  Flat Faced Mouse Muncher

Pelican: Sack-Jowled Fish Scooper

Hummingbird:      Needle-Nosed Necter Nibbler

Duck:                    Web-footed Dinner Dabbler

Vulture:                 Ball-headed Carcass Craver

Seagull:                 Squawkmouthed Dumpster Diver

Turkey:                 Pin-Headed Pending Poultry Product

Hawk:                    Rust-Feathered Rodent Reaper

That being said, I wonder if he had something to do with naming the Blue Footed Booby...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Soul Scan

(this is fictional but I could see it happening...)

  It was a cartoony machine- a large screen perched on a wavy stand with two eye like scanners that bobbed like day old helium balloons.    "See your soul for a nickel!" the sign said.   A poster  showed the possibilities - a  a dumpy woman looked at the screen and saw Venus rising from the sea..  A scrawny kid with a bad haircut became a god shooting lightning bolts from a mountaintop.  "What strength and beauty lies within YOU?" it asked.
I inserted a nickel.
"Hold still, please" the machine said.  The "eyes" floated over to me and looked carefully, as if searching for concealed contraband.    On the monitor, a fuzzy picture emerged.
I wasn't expecting a goddess or a glistening, ethereal form.  Even a angel or fairy figurine- the plastic glittery kind sold in drugstores-  would be a stretch.  Still, I thought  a cute bobblehead doll  or a windup toy were real possibilities.
Then my result appeared.
"A rubber chicken?" I said. "That's my soul?"
"Yep," said the machine.  "That's you..  Funny, but neither useful or original."
"I want my nickel back!"
"A cheap rubber chicken," it continued.  "The plastic kind where the eyes and wattles are crudely painted."
"Stupid machine,": I said.
"A rubber chicken is thin skinned." the machine said.  "A shallow, empty headed prop. A novelty that wears off quickly and becomes annoying..  Self centered and self absorbed, yet oblivious to-"
"I'm not self centered!" I said.
"If you're not self centered,  maybe you'd have noticed there's now three other people waiting to for their reading, while you're holding up the line." it said.
I stormed away, avoiding eye contact with the others.
In retrospect, I probably should have asked if there were any constructive steps  I might take to upgrade my soul to a rubber duck or a lawn flamingo. 
I still want my nickel back.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Digital Drawing Board II

Here's an update of the picture I posted earlier.  Dialog (and some details) have been toggled off so I don't spoil the story in advance.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bad Dreams

What's up with these nightmares?  My life is easy.  I've never been traumatized.  Never done mind altering drugs.  Yet  every night, when the dreams roll in, they're bad.  
This week I was chased by  a swarm of batlike things.  Batbugs or Mothbats.  There was a switch in the room to turn them off but I couldn't find it because they were biting my arms, shoulders ears and cheeks.
Then I found myself wandering up a sidewalk, after dark.  Rain fell.  I could taste the drops.  Gloomy jazz music played and a narrator chimed in "abandoned by her friends and family, she was never seen alive again.  Her savagely beaten and strangled body was found in a ditch..."
Where does this stuff come from?
The next night I dreamed that I hadn't slept for three days. Then I looked out the window and saw flames and smoke topping a nearby hill. I went outside and discovered distant flames in each direction, miles away but getting closer.
Stupid fire season! I thought.It gets worse every year!
I tried to comfort myself that I'd "only" die from smoke inhalation before the flames reached me.  Then I figured a blaze this big was  hot enough to roast me from a distance, the way a campfire gloop-afies a marshmallow without touching it.  Was I doomed?
Wait!  There was a way out, to the southeast.   I scampered up  the road to safety.
A fifty foot plume of flire rose ahead of me, blocking my escape.
"Someone's doing this on purpose!" I yelled.

Crazy dreams!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Koala Chicken

Here's something I did for an acquaintance who needed a picture of a "Koala Chicken" and didn't have one handy.
The double thumb isn't a mistake- koalas really do have two on each hand!
I drew and colored this in ArtRage.  I wasn't too familiar with the brush I used to color it, so it turned out a bit flatter than what I had in mind.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Nightmare at Fifty Feet

My friend Frank* went to a street fair with his friend.  They hopped on
 a ride called "The Zipper."  It's something like an oblong Ferris Wheel.  The  cars
 swing and flip (you can see one in action here).
It started out great," Frank recalls.  "Music was playing, the car was rocking and there was this incredible view as we rose higher and higher."
"Then the car leaned backwards.   Suddenly, this fire hose of vomit sprayed down from the car above.   There was a safety grid but it let everything through.  And it kept coming!  We tried to move out of the way but there was nowhere to go."
"So it's all over us and we're going 'Stop the ride!  Stop the ride!'".
It didn't stop.

"The operator guy saw what happened!"  Frank says.   " I'm sure he heard us too, but he kept the ride going anyway!  We were trapped in a puke-spin-cycle for another three minutes.  Or maybe it was longer.  I think he let us ride a few extra rounds, just to be a jerk."
"Finally the damn thing stopped and we got out.    We were soaked!  My friend punched the operator.  Meanwhile I'm running  the fair, stripping off my shirt and pants and shoes and looking for a place to wash them.   It sucked!"
"Ever have a moment go from perfect to pure hell in seconds?"

*name been changed

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Tail o' the Hack

I was proud of this blog for a long time.  I didn't think it was the best one out there, but I thought it was amusing.  Funny pictures!  Smartass observations!   Look how  clever I am!
Then this occurred to me: If the blog was really that special,  it'd have way more visitors, way more returning visitors, and a Technorati authority higher than one.  Ha! I scolded myself.  You're a self-absorbed hack.   You can't draw, you can't write, and you can't draw a crowd.  Nice work.
Then I got a surprise.
My visitor counter recorded a sudden influx of visitors, all from a network of people I know.  What was this about?   Was I being rediscovered?  Maybe my blog wasn't so bad?
Then learned this.  Minutes earlier, someone had shared an app which lets you deface (a snapshot of) any website you choose.   They were picking this site so they could blow holes in it and splatter it with blood!
Well, I'd always wanted to entertain a larger group, right?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Another Preview Pic

Another picture from my mini comic, drawn with ArtRage.   I'm having fun drawing it but it's taking longer than I planned! 

Friday, July 02, 2010

A Bear for Punishment

My home computer has been mangled by a spyware and my laptop won't connect to the internet, so I haven't posted anything new.
In the meantime, here's a Warner Brothers cartoon I like.
When I was little, I couldn't understand why Paw was so cranky. As an adult, I think he's the most sympathetic character.