December 30, 2007

Must be the 'triple weekend effect'...

So this is relaxation... the transformation of a formerly upright & workaday mind into a post-holiday blob without definition. Feeling quite a bit like a leftover plate of dried out Xmas cookies lost in the fog. Entirely too much eggnog too.

You know you've had enough Holiday cheer when you're no longer certain if today is Thursday or Sunday. I think the workaholic in me is having a nervous breakdown from all the enforced leisure time!

It's like one of those dreams where you're trying to get somewhere but never arrive... paddling in slow motion through a swamp of obstacles. Must be the 'triple weekend effect' of the last weeks.

December 24, 2007

Let's go see some salmon!

Here in the Northwest we do love our salmon. Let's go see some! We're off to the 'Locks'. That's where the water from the gigantic freshwater Lake Washington & Lake Union meets the Puget Sound.

Boats and ships of all sorts go through the locks to get to dock. And there's lots of wildlife around too.

Here's a little Kingfisher with polka dot feathers. It's almost impossible to get this close to them anywhere else, as they are so skittish. In March there is a nearby roosting tree where dozens of giant Blue Herons all nest in one tree. It's really quite a sight.

This freshwater is the gateway to many salmon that swim back from their 4 years in the ocean. I guess it's sort of like college for them. They want to return home after 4 years.

I luv this sculpture that is installed here. Usually public sculpture misses the mark, but this one is fabulous.

Fall is the best time to see the salmon. But there's usually some all year round.

It's a mesmerizing sight watching the giant salmon slowly swim past. They're getting acclimatized to the fresh water. Just imagine all the places they've been...

December 20, 2007


Why not smile a while? The Xmas chore is nearly finished! Hooray! Now I can relax and work on more book ideas...

Let's go through the Holiday chore list:

Holiday cards: check
Christmas letter written & sent: check
All 12 impossible Holiday gifts chosen, wrapped, boxed and sent: check (no line at FedEx ground!)
Tree up: check (took two trips in the rain)
Lights up: check
Christmas cookies imbibed: check
Sherry on standby waiting for sundown: check
Multiple trips to department stores completed: check
Multiple online gifts hidden away: check
Gift baskets launched online to distant recipients: check
Multiple trips to small local stores: check
Eggnog on standby: Soy egnnog! check
Holiday music loaded into iTunes: check
Holiday movies rented: check
Holiday monkeys now almost all off my back: check

As you can see... I'm nearly done.

These are some spots for a new book concept I've been pondering. And I'll use them for promotion too... even if the book idea doesn't sell. I luv digital art! The avenues for escape seem to be nearly infinite.

Who knows, maybe some bored art director or editor is clicking around blogs online instead of madly rushing through the stores trying to finish up Holiday shopping! lol!

December 15, 2007

Christmas! It's such a chore!

Basically Christmas is the one holiday of the year with the most urgent deadline. Just what the busy freelancer needs... one more deadline!

It all starts with the guilt and the procrastination... which feed off one another for weeks of pre-holiday brooding. Then when denial won't work anymore, the actual shopping must begin.

This is, of course, a nearly impossible task of searching for that one missing link that will fulfill the recipient's life. Can't be done... even after weeks of brain wracking. The perfect gift remains elusive. But we compromise. Often just buying the first thing you see is the best strategy.

Then come the letters... the standard Christmas Letter. And then the individual letters...

And finally we arrive at the Herculean task of wrapping and addressing. That's an all day job right there... sorting out the wrapped presents. Trying to find the boxes they'll fit in. And then wrapping and addressing them... takes forever.

One is soon on the floor, surrounded by bits of brown wrapping paper that aren't quite long enough to wrap all the way around. And tape that sticks to itself more quickly than sticking to anything else. A frustrating sticky mess! Did I remember to put everything inside? Which box goes to which person? Ugh!

Now comes the mailing... hoping you've met the ticking deadline clock of the countdown to the big day.

My little holiday mailing secret is FedEx ground. Usually there's no line at all and it gets there in 3 days or so and you can track it's every step along the way. And it doesn't cost that much extra. Needless to say the post office line at this time of year will drive a person Postal!

Then comes the Holiday itself.

It's all those family relationships that make the Holidays such a trying time. Each year that same glaring emotional spotlight of the holidays shines all too brightly, probing the hidden places that I'm happy to just leave out of sight.

Next comes the trial of the gift exchange. I think the best metaphor for that is an intercontinental ballistic missle exchange! One answers each received volley with matching armament, and hope the desired effect is achieved!

I can offer up thanks to Amazon and online shopping for the push button ease of long distance Holiday gift exchange... I don't know how anyone could survive without it.

Ho Ho Ho... Bah Humbug!

I can't wait till the Xmas chore is all done so I can relax and watch the lights blink on the tree and enjoy a quiet eggnog & brandy.

Honestly I don't know why I keep doing it year after year. Most of my family doesn't bother sending me letters and wrapped gifts and all. Maybe just a phone call will be the perfect gift next year. But I'll probably go through the whole thing again all over.


December 9, 2007

The Artistic Brain vs. the Logic Brain

You know you're probably not working with all cylinders when it takes 3 tries to get the Blogger codes typed in correctly. I suspect that after the second failure, the computer signals to send up the 3rd grade code this time, so the persistent moron (me) can finally get through.

I've been fascinated, of late, by the phenomenon of the artistic brain vs. the logical brain.

Thinking about it, I'm a living example of this basic divide of intelligence.

I flunked college algebra 3 times... but I was at the very top my class in Geometry, where I excelled almost without effort. Although I prefer to forget everything I can remember about flunking college algebra 3 times, I remember with glowing pride how the geometry teacher would call me up to solve the real sticklers.

After all the other poor students had run out of ideas, she'd say "John, will you solve this for us please?". Then I'd waltz up to the blackboard with a prideful smugness to demonstrate how easily the various arcs would intersect to provide the correct solution to the problem.

Hard to believe its the same person who can't do Algebra. But it's good to be good at something. It's just how to make money with the Artistic brain... that's the real stickler.

December 8, 2007

The 'Beret Effect'

Whew! One must wear many hats in this line of work! I am amazed at how much time I seem to spend just scheming... instead of actually just enjoying making art... or writing.

By scheming I mean figuring out the next move in sending around dummy books, writing cover letters, making mailing lists, putting together promotional cards, printing mailing labels, working on one's web site... and probably one of my least favorite hats, changing the domain registrar of one's web server!

That one really bites.

But seeing that its wintertime, I'll talk about some real hats that keep one's head warm. Like my beret.

It's true that there exists a very real phenomenon known as the 'beret effect'. I doubt it's entirely in my imagination.

I have noticed that when one simply switches one's hat from the standard baseball cap to the wintertime beret, people act differently towards you.

Old ladies smile more readily on the sidewalks, as a sign of seasonal cheer.

The women at the grocery store seem to look up when they see a beret go past in the avacado section. And most alarming of all, the lady cashiers seem to grab one's hand and press the change & receipt into one's hand.

It's true... I'm not just making this up.

Of course the men mostly look at you a little funny... sort of like you're a harp playing choreographer. I don't get what the big deal about a beret is. It's not like I have green hair, or umpteen nose rings or tattoos. It's only a little beret.

I suppose it's that people imagine I'm an artist. That must be it.

But they don't have to imagine... I really am one.

December 2, 2007

The weather has turned inclement...

Here the weather has turned inclement...

Might even keep the postman from getting through on his appointed rounds... I notice the postmen aren't what they used to be.

But the cat knows where things are still hot & summery! She's secure at the top of her food chain after all!

Today it's just pouring down a miserable mix of gloppy rain & snow.

When the Lewis & Clark company arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 1805, they had never encountered such miserable weather. By all accounts they could hardly wait out the winter they spent here, until they could once again return to sunnier climes.

It's the damp humidity... that's what makes it so miserable.