Friday, May 25, 2007


Ahhhh, is there anything better than the long weekend? Well sure, world peace, calorie free cupcakes that taste good and longer than long weekend breaks, but let’s be realistic here. For my long weekend I am…I don’t know…hmmmm. Well, since our 9th wedding anniversary was on Wednesday and we decided that instead of giving each other gifts we would buy some new stuff for our apartment, we do need to go find a new lamp for the living room, a buffet for the dining room and possibly a new coffee table, or a pantry cabinet or storage for the bedroom…one of the three. So that’s…not very exciting at all.

WE might could go to the movies (heh…”might could”…I learned that in North Carolina) but really? The movies on a long weekend? The weekend when Pirates opens, I don’t think so. Oh and for the record, I am a casual fan of the Pirates franchise. I really like the first movie and I was happy enough to see the second because hey, Bill Nighy is always awesome, but I really am not a big fan of the ride. I once got stuck in the part right by the prison scene for about 40 minutes. Right by the sleeping pirate. You know, the one that looked like he was getting a blow job from the pig? I think that they have since moved the pig over a bit but I can tell you that after 40 minutes of sitting there listening to “Yo-ho-Yo-ho” and the pirates in the cell whistling for the dog…I lost an awful lot of love for that ride. I do, however, adore one Mr. Geoffrey Rush and it makes me very happy to see that he is back as Captain Barbossa…but I probably still won’t go see the movie, I never do.

Ah but my love for Captain Barbossa…hey, have I ever told you about my action figure collection?

Wait…don’t go! It’s not that nerdy!

Seriously, I do have an action figure collection but it’s whimsical and clever, I swear! Really.

Let me tell you how it started. See, years ago, I went to see Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves a movie I cannot recommend. Except…I can. Somehow I had missed a little film that came out about three years earlier…a little blip of a movie called something like Die Hard. So I wasn’t exposed to a certain British actor that I now love so dearly until the travesty that is the nightmare of Kevin Costner NOT EVEN FAKING a British accent.

Anyway. I immediately became smitten with Alan Rickman and since the movie was this big thing because it had that crappy American actor in it, there was a lot of Robin Hood merchandise around. When I came across the Sheriff of Nottingham action figure, I had to have it. Here was a mini version of the character that made a bad movie worth watching. A tiny pocket sized representation of a fine and brilliant British actor who somehow made everything he touched a little classier. How cool is that?

So I had this action figure and I kept it for years and years, mint in package, on my shelf but I didn’t really think anything of it…until one day this movie called Mystery Men was announced. By this time I was heavily involved in the dark world of comics and toys and all their evil accoutrement and it struck me that here was a movie with one of my other favorite, older, stately, gentlemanly actors (Geoffrey Rush!!) and there was a very real chance that I would be able to get an action figure of his character, Casanova Frankenstein. How cool was THAT? Very cool. And then I realized that the actors I like, the kind of British-y, Australian-y, over-educated seeming guy that appeals to me, makes a very unlikely action figure and that I should really start a campaign to get action figures of them all.

And thus began my quest. It has modified itself from my original mission and that Casanova Frankenstein figure was never actually produced. And it would take another four years for Rush to play a role that would produce a kid’s toy, but it did eventually happen. And that’s the charm of this particular collection. As much as I would like a Marquis de Sade action figure from the movie Quills, that just isn’t going to happen. Since the appearance of the Captain Barbossa figurine, my quest has faltered. But I did FINALLY get my Geoffrey Rush figure. I think I may have actually finished my collection but just when I think that, I am tempted back. Some great actor will announce that he is playing a role in the latest comic book car-wreck and I realize that I could possibly have…say…a Peter O’ Toole action figure (not really but I would love one of those).

But come on, did you ever really think that there would be a Jeff Goldblum action figure? Well there are actually two, one for Independence Day and one for Jurassic Park. And speaking of Jurassic Park, there’s a movie that provided my second favorite action figure, Roland Tembo, as played by Pete Postlethwaite, and how about Jean Reno? As much as I would have liked a Leon action figure (I think there might actually be one now), I did actually get the Godzilla version of this fine Frenchman.

In the past few years, pop-culture marketing has caught up with me. The first “hip” action figures I saw were the Reservoir Dogs figures. And although that provides me with Tim Roth, Harvey Kitel and Steve Buscemi figures, I have yet to succumb. It kind of takes the fun out of the quest.

Monday, May 21, 2007


So here is my Illustration Friday for this week. The topic was “signs” and I kind of…well…here’s the evolution of my drawing, and a little peek into how my brain works, which may or may not be disturbing.
When I saw the theme “signs” I immediately thought of the image I posted for mother’s day, the mommy x-ing sign.
But since I had JUST posted it for that, it kind of seemed like a cheat so I looked to older pictures to see if I had anything interesting I could use. This is what caught my eye:

I liked the idea of sign language but since the rock and roll devil horns aren’t actually a part of ASL, I wasn’t sure how to make it work. Then I started thinking about pictographs and I came up with this:

Now I like the "Caution: Rock Ahead" idea, but it still wasn’t quite what I wanted AND, since I try to limit the time I spend on Illustration Friday images (kind of part of the challenge for me) I felt like I was running out of time. Oddly, the next thing that popped to mind was…Shakespeare? How does that happen? How does my mind always go back to the bard? Well, perhaps that’s a post for another time BUT I had been talking about Marlowe and Shakespeare with a friend, and I did buy myself a Shakespeare necklace last week AND someone had asked me what my favorite Shakespeare plays are just a few days ago…so I guess it was already in my brain…but how it got to signs? Well, portents are signs and there are some interesting portents in Julius Caesar and the idea of a flaming hand pictograph just seemed like a natural…so…

Twisted logic, I know, but there it is.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Hey! Thanks to the Ambitious Hamster there is now a link to the Paper Lotus etsy store in the side bar! OVER THERE ---------> LOOK!!!

Pretty cool, eh? All kinds of groovy stuff should totally go check it out...really...NOW!!

Sorry, didn't mean to be pushy.


Fuss and bother to be specific. Busy, busy me. Trying to do work and do play and do all the things I mean to do but never do (like mopping the kitchen floor…ugh). And now another weekend past and another floor not cleaned and…oh well. Life is too short, right? What’s the point of having a floor you can eat off when you have plates and a table? The plates are clean. The table is clean..well, clean enough.

So, like I said, I have tried a number of things lately that I would like to recommend. There’s nothing in it for me BUT I do know that many times I have looked at something and thought…hmmm, I wonder if that is any good…and with no references or referrals I felt adrift. At the moment most of my recommendations are food…well…ok, not all of them. And most of YOU will not be interested, but you might be and that’s enough for me.

Vegan Pizza at Whole Foods: The Whole Foods near my office has a pizza bar. On any given day they have for or five pizzas for sale by the pound. It’s all thin crust and brick oven-y and I do love pizza, but I don’t always love cheese. It’s a tricky situation. A few weeks ago (that’s how long this little note has been in my bag!) I got up the nerve to try their vegan pizza and it was…good. Really good. Really, really good. I don’t know what their toppings were though. The ingredients listed Veganaise, which seems odd but I think forms the base for the creamy topping…OK I know that “creamy topping” not only sounds un-vegan it also sounds unappealing, but this was good. It also had a lot of roasted garlic and some sort of faux chicken. TVP style, not seitan. If you are vegan and you see it, I’m thinking it’s not a bad bet. If you aren’t vegan but you’re curious, I have to say I really liked it, get a small piece. If the thought of Veganaise and TVP freak you out, try the BBQ chicken, which is also good but not nearly as surpisingly good.

Veggie Riblets by Gardenburger- One of the big problems that non-vegans seem to have with vegan food is the belief that faux meats should taste like real meat. They don’t. Period. Now for me, and for most vegans, that’s a good thing. These veggie ribs are good. They don’t taste like meat and they are good. That is not an oxymoron. And the sauce is lovely but sweet, so if sugar is an issue, think twice. But the texture is good, not mushy and the flavor is…clean. I highly recommend these if you already enjoy veggie burgers or what we call “smeat” (soy meat) in our house. They are low in fat, and are quite convienient. Four minutes in the microwave. I had them with some veggie soup for lunch but they would make a very good sandwich or would be nice with some salad and baked fries for dinner.

Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops-I’ve actually been enjoying these for a while now. I originally read about them over at the Candy Blog and sought them out just to try the pomegranate flavor. They are lollipops, yes, but the flavors are so much more…flavorful than your average lolly. Are they good for you? No, they are still sugar on a stick but sometimes we all need a little sugar. Kids might be a little iffy on the strong flavors but I think adults will appreciate them just fine.

Liz Lovely Cowgirl Cookies-Sorry. I didn’t like these. If you need a vegan cookie, they may be ok but since I don’t NEED a vegan cookie, then these won’t make me switch over. I found them oily and flavorless. Sad. Bad cookies are sad. I know a lot of people DO like these so perhaps my cookie standards are too high. I say unless you are in dire need of a vegan cookie, don’t bother. WAIT! WAIT! I just read the website and they say that these cookies are kind of intended to be…well…undercooked, I guess. Now I am a confessed batter eater, I would much rather have a bowl of cookie dough than the cookie itself so…on that level…no, didn’t work. But now I am curious about their other cookies and would be willing to try another flavor. Don’t dismiss them out of hand, but take into account my feelings AND if you are not a fan of vegan baked goods…perhaps not for you.

We7 music-OK, I’ll be honest, it was the name “Peter Gabriel” that got me to look at this site. Then the words “free music”. I don’t quite know HOW I feel about it yet but it’s worth taking a look at. Ten seconds worth of ad? Not all that long. There are only a few artists on there at the moment as it’s still in early stages but pretty decent, respectable artists…we’ll see.

Daily Lit-Well, thanks to this I am finally reading a book that everyone else read in high school. Surprisingly, I am enjoying it immensely. I get a chunk of it every weekday and it’s a very manageable chunk at that. Excellent concept, good execution. Hey, anything that gets people to read gets high marks from me!

OK, so there are a few random recommendations for you. I don’t intentionally pimp for others but you know, sometimes I try something that I think is worth mentioning. See, it started with "fuss and bother" and it kind of ends with "I bothered with these, you might want to as well." See? Circle of No. OK. Fine.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I haven’t done an Illustration Friday in a while …The topic is “citrus” and I remembered that I have this picture, also done for Donovan’s mama. When she was pregnant she wrote me emails detailing…well…pretty much everything about her pregnancy. I saved all the emails and as a shower gift, I pulled my favorite quotes and illustrated them. Those buttons at the top left hand side of the page represent the fact that these were emails and the grapefruit…well…I think you can see what that represents…


I haven’t been posting much art lately because…well, I haven’t been posting much lately at all. But in honor of mother’s day here is an invitation I made several years ago to a baby shower…Donovan’s baby shower in fact. And happy Mother’s Day to mamas everywhere!

This weekend is also my father’s birthday. Here is a pear I made for his birthday card a few years ago. See, I gave him a box of pears for his birthday and I thought it was fitting because the French word for father is “perĂ©”…right? Get it? No? OK…moving on…

Finally, Jules is not a mother or a father…as far as I know…but she does own a Mini. She was terribly excited when she bought it so I made her a mix cd to play when she had the top down. Of course I had to do a little drawing of the new car too…

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


The valley smells like a campfire and strangely, the Westside smelled like gingerbread this morning. Weird.

There was indeed much baking over the weekend. I made a massive pan of brownies. My new favorite recipe is the one from Nigella Lawson that you can find here. Specifically, this is my new favorite RECIPE not necessarily my favorite brownie. Don’t get me wrong, they are really good, but I like a little more cake-like brownie if I am baking for myself but, this recipe makes a very nice fudgey brownie that’s not too runny. They cut well, mix up quickly and it makes a HUGE pan, so it’s great to take to parties. But these weren’t for parties. They are for mother’s day and my dad’s birthday. So there were the brownies, lemon cranberry bars and chocolate chip bars. All seemed pretty good to me. They were safely sealed and packed and are winging their way across country now.

There were also cupcakes. Vegan “Crimson Velveteen” cupcakes with vegan “velvet” frosting. Generally I am no fan of red velvet cakes. I have seen the recipes and I know how much food dye goes in there and it doesn’t sit right with me. And red velvet recipes are often pretty much a white cake with a few tablespoons of cocoa thrown in. These cupcakes though...they were…good. Really, really good. Mind you, I did not put in all of the two tablespoons of red food dye called for but the cakes were comfortably red. It wasn’t that scary electric red they can sometimes be. The icing was smooth and lovely and I would so make these cupcakes again. In fact, I may make them this weekend!

Things have been a little goofy lately. I’ve been to three parties in the past week and that’s three too many for me. I am feeling the effects of the crappy air quality and the lack of good sleep and I’ve not been getting much done but the basics. Hopefully I’ll catch up with myself soon.

Hmmm…well, I do have a handful of random things to recommend but I am not really prepared for that today. And I do have a bunch of half written posts but they are…half written…

What was that gingerbread smell anyway? Weird.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Well, I went to see Spider-Man 3 this morning. One of the occasional perks of my job is getting to see “comic-book” movies. It’s nice. Except in this particular case, I can’t really recommend the movie. Hey, YOU might like it, me, not so much. It wasn’t really offensive but it was really long. And just kind of there. So…yeah. And I can’t even say much for the previews. Shrek 3, Across the Universe, Balls of Fury, that animated thing about the surfing pengiuin…nothing that really interested me. I guess there is a reason I don’t go to the movies all that much.

I am looking forward to the weekend though. I have a bunch of pictures to work on and I really need to make my mother’s day and dad’s birthday presents. I am thinking lemon bars (but more like lemon brownies than those lemon bars that are gooey, since they have to be shipped) for her and brownies for him. Does that sound good? It just seems that food is the best present now because it doesn’t take up much space, it’s consumable, they can share it and lemon bars and brownies are not really something they would make for themselves. I don’t know. I guess I would like a box of brownies. I can do without the lemon bars though.

I think I may also try a new vegan cupcake. I was thinking about the “Crimson Velveteen” which is, of course, a take on Red Velvet cake…which I don’t really like. I never got why anyone would want to put a whole bottle of red dye in anything…but hey, this only takes two tablespoons…or is it teaspoons? I can’t remember. Either way, I guess it will be an interesting experiment.

Speaking of cupcakes…Cupcake Show is getting married this weekend to her poet boy, I don’t actually KNOW either of them but they seem like really nice people so I sent them a card and some cds. I hope they have a wonderful day.

Here is the playlist from the “mellow” cd. What do you think?

God Only Knows-Petra Haden
I Melt With You-Nouvelle Vague
All of me-Django Reinhardt
I'm In Love With A Girl-The Best Of Big Star
Wild Horses-The Rolling Stones
I Want You-Holly Cole
All I Want is You-Sugarplum Fairies
Some Kind Of Wonderful-Joss Stone
Can I Hold You-Colin James Hay
She’s The One-Robbie Williams
It's Always You-Chet Baker
The Way You Look Tonight-Bryan Ferry
All The Right Reasons-The Jayhawks
Never Tear Us Apart-INXS
Lips Like Sugar-Echo and the Bunnymen
Just Like Heaven (Acoustic)-The Cure
My Baby Just Cares For Me-Nina Simone
Let My Love Open The Door-Pete Townshend
The Strangest Girl-Looper
Into Your Life -Nick Heyward
Hold Me Now -Thompson Twins
Such Great Heights-Iron And Wine

And here is a little cupcake art too…