Category Archives: photo paffoonies

Living in the World I Once Drew

The Grain Mill

It is normal for the world we live in to inspire us to draw pictures of it. But architects do the opposite. They imagine a world we could live in, and then build it.

David and Me in Cotulla

Sometimes, like in the picture above, I draw real people in imaginary places. Other times I draw imaginary people and put them in real places.

Gyro and Billy on the planet Pan Galactica A

Sometimes I put imaginary people in imaginary places. (I photo-shopped this planet myself.)

Superchicken and Sherry before school

In fiction, I am re-casting my real past as something fictional, so the places I draw with words in descriptions need to be as real as my amber-colored memory can manage.

Valerie and her skateboard in front of the Congregational Church

When I use photos, though, I have to deal with the fact that over time, places change. The church does not look exactly like it did in the 1980s when this drawing is set.

Drawing things I once saw, and by “drawing” I mean “making pictures,” is how I recreate myself to give my own life meaning.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, collage, commentary, humor, illustrations, imagination, Paffooney, photo paffoonies

Return of the Star Wars Figures

On a previous Saturday I admitted to the crime of using 12-inch action figures to play the Star Wars role-playing game.  The Dungeons and Dragons RPG world was horrified.  You are supposed to use scale-appropriate metal miniatures.  How can you simulate combat without small figures on a grid?  I have to confess.  It was via x’s and dots on graph paper.  But we didn’t use the action figures to represent ranges and lines of site in combat.  And one of my players was my niece, an actual girl.  So, I guess, to be honest, we were actually playing with dolls.

But it helps to have a lot of dolls.

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Emperor Palpatine, Snow Trooper, Obi-Wan, Jar Jar, Quigon, Droid Soldier, and home-made Mace Windu

We started play after the first two movies in the Prequel Trilogy.

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Wicket, Imperial Walker, Astroboy (What’s he doing there?) Darth Vader, Little Anakin, and Boba Fett.

We got creative with stories.

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Jango Fett, General Grievous, and Admiral Akbar

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Anakin Skywalker

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Robot from Lost in Space, R2D2, Slave Girl Leia, and a Green Orion Slave Girl Dancer from Star Trek

So there is evidence available to my offspring to help them have me committed to an institution.  The truth is, these are not even all of my Star Wars Dolls.  So this morning’s confession session is now at an end, though all of the horrible truth is not yet revealed.

 

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Filed under action figures, autobiography, doll collecting, Dungeons and Dragons, goofiness, humor, photo paffoonies

This is What Happens When You Leave a Crazy Old Retired Guy Alone With a Doll Collection and a Camera

Yes, I know this is supposed to be a Saturday Art Day Post, but you can make art in many different ways. That can include pictures made with a camera while I play with dolls… er… action figures and try horrifically to be funny. There is an art to that, right? Maybe?

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Filed under action figures, artwork, cartoony Paffooney, comic book heroes, comic strips, doll collecting, humor, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, playing with toys

Dark Thinking

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On a quiet back street in Toonerville there is a haunted house.  Obviously four meddling kids and their talking dog are looking around inside, but they won’t find anything.  It is my dark place.  I am the only one that can go inside and discover what truly is there, for the dark things inside are all a part of the dark side of Mickey.

But Mickey doesn’t have a dark side, you try and argue.  Micky is all goofy giggles and nerdy Dungeons and Dragons jokes.  Mickey is all cartoons and silly stories and he makes us all guffaw.

But I can assure you, everyone has a dark side.  Without darkness, how can anyone recognize the light?

So, I have to go inside the old Ghost House every now and then and take stock of all the furniture, and make note of everyone… and every thing that has been living there.  I go in there now because I am starting to rewrite a very dark story that I really have to get down on paper in novel form.  It isn’t a true story.  Ghost stories never are.  But it is full of true things… old hurts, old fears, panics, and ghosts of Christmases Past.

There was the night I was stalked by a large black dog when I was nine and walking home from choir practice at the Methodist Church.  We are talking Hound of the Baskervilles sort of big damn dog.  I knew every dog that lived in town in those days, but I didn’t know that one. Maybe it wasn’t actually hunting me, but I ran the last two blocks to my house that night faster than I ever knew I could run before.

There was that cool autumn afternoon when he grabbed me and pushed me down behind a pile of tractor tires in the neighbor’s yard.  He forcibly got my pants down… and what he did to me… It has taken more than forty years to be able to talk about what happened.  I wasn’t able to talk about it until after I learned that he had died.

There were the nights spent in the emergency room.  Severe potassium depletion… chest pains that could’ve been heart trouble but weren’t… The morning when my blood pressure was so high I thought I was going to die in front of my second period seventh grade English class.  And the terrible waits in the emergency room when someone I loved was serious about suicide… that was the most terrible of all.

I am not frightened by the grim reaper in the same way that Shaggy and Scooby are.  I have spent time in his company too many times for that.  I do not fear him.  In some ways he brings welcome relief.  And I do believe I can beat him in chess and at least tie him in checkers.

So, yeah, the dark resources are all still there… still in place at the bottom of a deep, dark well. Bad things do wait in the future… but they are in the present and the past also.  I am not a slave to fear and evil has no power over me.  So, I think I can safely write a horror story.  And I admit I am not Steven King.  But I don’t want to be him.  I want to be Mickey.  And that is certainly scary enough for me.

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Filed under autobiography, battling depression, Depression, feeling sorry for myself, ghost stories, horror writing, humor, novel plans, photo paffoonies

“Mickey, What’s Wrong With You?”

20171228_091308Yes, I am trying to answer that old question that old girlfriends used to ask me back when they were young and I was young and too stupid to answer honestly.  You know, the question always asked right before they tell you, “Why don’t we just be friends and leave it at that.”

After having spent my Christmas money from Mom on an 18-inch giant gorilla action figure of Kong on Skull Island to terrorize all the dolls on the Barbie Shelf after midnight when all the dolls secretly come to life, I feel more prepared than ever before to answer that particular question.

I am not in my second childhood.  I am still in my first one.  Yes, I reached the ripe old age of 12 and then Peter Pan Syndrome set in bigtime.  On the inside, I will always be 12 years old.  I still, at 61, play games and play with toys.  I never really grew up.

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I am not a Brony, but I am still buying My Little Pony dolls, and can name all six of the main characters.  From left to right, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Sparkle.  And yes, I have watched the cartoon show and like it, but am still not a Brony, okay?  There are a lot of things wrong with me, but I am not that bad!  My kids, however, are embarrassed to be seen with me when I am shopping for toys at Walmart, Toys-R-Us, or Goodwill.

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I still play with the HO scale model trains that I have owned and collected since the first year I was actually twelve.  I would love to get them running again.  The Snowflake Special and the Toonerville Trolley seen in the picture both still ran the last time I tested them four years ago.  I still love to paint buildings and HO scale people to live in my little train town.  I am still working on a set of townspeople that I bought back in 1994.  German villagers circa 1880.

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I have always been fascinated by imaginary places and the people who live in them.  Especially imaginary places in the fiction of the past.  Places like the castle of Minas Tirith in the realm of Gondor in Middle Earth, and like Pellucidar that David Innes and Abner Perry discovered at the Earth’s Core in their boring machine called “the Prospector”as part of the Pellucidar series created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan novels.  So, another thing wrong with me is that I live mostly in the past and entirely in the worlds of my imagination.  I have very little to do with the so-called “real world”.

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So, to sum up, the things wrong with Mickey are; A. He’s a goofy old child.  B.  He still plays with toys.  C.  He likes girly stuff.  D. He confuses fantasy with reality.   No wonder the girls used to run away screaming.  And I haven’t even added the part about Mickey thinking he is a nudist now and walking around the house naked when no one else is home and forced to see the full horror of it.

But maybe you should think on it for a moment more.  What if the things that are wrong with Mickey are actually good things?  What if he’s found the secret to long life and happiness in spite of a world full of troubles and illnesses and blechy stuff?  It could be true…

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Filed under action figures, collecting, commentary, doll collecting, goofy thoughts, humor, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Life is a Book

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Life is a Book

I write chapters in it every day

The themes are more numerous than the stars

And the themes are always… always complex

But I work through them

One word after another

And soon I will close it

And write no more

But it will still be there

My book

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With the conclusion of Stardusters and Space Lizards, I have now completed a novel nine times.  The seven titles above are the ones I am actually proud of having written.  I am beginning to feel like a novelist.

I should point out that I don’t claim to be a professional novelist.  I have spent a lot more money than I have earned by writing.  But I am not a hobbyist.  After teaching ended as the career that defined my life, writing became my life’s work.  I am trying to become a published novelist.  But “published” is becoming an increasingly complex idea.

Catch a Falling Star is published and available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and I-Universe, the actual publisher.  I-Universe is an Indie publisher, but connected to Penguin Books, and so owned by one of the big five.  Aeroquest is published by Publish America, but I could’ve copied from the encyclopedia and they would’ve bound it into a book form.  I am embarrassed to even own up to having written it.  Snow Babies was a contest finalist manuscript and supposed to be published by PDMI Publishing LLC,  but that publisher folded after the editing was done and so it never found its way into print. Magical Miss Morgan is currently with Page Publishing, a vanity press operation that already collected their fees and don’t seem to be publishing my work.  I am looking into the process of suing in case they don’t come through on a process that is already a year overdue.  And I am determined to see the rest of my books in print if that is in any way possible.  Who knows?  Someday somebody may actually read and like my books… by which I mean somebody that I haven’t paid to read it.  The last one I paid to read one wrote the review on somebody else’s book by mistake and then corrected the error by writing a fudged book report on the back cover blurb.  My luck as an author is reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s luck as a painter.

My life is a book.  I am still writing it.  And I will never let go the pen while I still have life enough to hold it in my hands..

 

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H.P. Lovecraft, The Master of Madness

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When I was but a young teacher, unmarried, and using what free time I had to play role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and Traveller with students and former students and fatherless boys, I came across a game that really creeped me out.  And it was quite popular with the kids who relied on me to fill their Saturday afternoons with adventure.  It led me on a journey through the darkness to find a fascination with the gruesome, the macabre, and the monstrous.  The Call of Cthulhu game brought me to the doorsteps of Miskatonic University and the perilous portals of the infected fishing village of Innsmouth.  It introduced me to the nightmare world of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

“H. P. Lovecraft, June 1934” by Lucius B. Truesdell

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Old H.P. is as fascinating a character as any of the people who inhabit his deeply disturbing horror tales.  He was a loner and a “nightbird” but with little social contact in the real world.  He lived a reclusive life that included a rather unsuccessful “contract” marriage to an older woman and supporting himself mostly by burning through his modest inheritance.  As a writer, he got his start by so irritating pulp fiction publishers with his letters-page rants that he was challenged to write something for a contest article, and won a job as a regular contributor to “Weird Tales” pulp magazine.  He was so good that he was offered the editorship of the magazine, but true to form, he turned it down.  He resembled most the dreamer characters who accessed the Dreamlands in various ways, but let their mortal lives wither as they explored unknown continents in the Dreamlands and the Mountains of the Moon.  He created a detailed mythos in his stories about Cthulhu and Deep Ones and the Elder Gods.  He died a pauper, well before his stories received the acclaim they have today.

I have to say that I was so enamored of his stories that I had to read them as fast as I could acquire them from bookstores and libraries all over Texas.  My favorites include, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Dunwich Horror, and At the Mountains of Madness.  But reading these stories lost me hour upon hour of sleep, and developed in me a habit of sleeping with the lights on.  In Lovecraft’s fiction, sins of your ancestors hang like thunderheads over your life, and we are punished for original sin.  A man’s fate can be determined before he is born, and events hurl him along towards his appointed doom.  H.P. makes you feel guilty about being alive, and he shakes you to the core with unease about the greater universe we live in, a cold, unfeeling universe that has no love for mankind, and offers no shelter from the horrors of what really goes on beyond the knowing of mortal men.

Loving the stories of H.P. Lovecraft is about deeper things than just loving a good scare.  If you are looking for that in a book, read something by Stephen King.  H.P. will twist the corners of your soul, and make you think deep thoughts to keep your head above water in deep pools of insanity.  I know some of his books belong in yesterday’s post, but we are not talking about happy craziness today.  This is the insanity of catharsis and redemption.

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The Art of Miniatures by Mickey

The Princess on her balcony.

These images were created by me by doing a number of things I learned to do as a kid who loved model trains. Some of the buildings are made from HO railroad model kits. Some are knickknacks found at Goodwill and repaired or repainted or altered by me. Most of the people are plastic and lead figures bought unpainted and painted by me. All of it is put together by me, and it tends to take over the house to the point it makes my wife complain.

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Apple Blossom Time

When you get to be old and burdened with deteriorating health like I am, you appreciate the renewal of spring with a new intensity.  This year has been like that.  Cold weather and dehydrating cold were worse this winter than I can remember… especially since I feel it in the marrow of my bones now more than ever before.  But the inevitable rebirth did eventually come.  The apple tree my wife planted in the hope that Texas heat would not destroy it is putting out more blossoms than ever before.

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The first flowers to put out their winter-weary heads this year were relatively stupid daffodils.  They came out in February only a day before an ice storm came along to slay them for their daffy dunderheadedness.   I didn’t take their demise very well.  I suffered a lot this winter and was looking for the sun with desperation.

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But then, in March, dandelions poked out their bright, dandy heads and decided to stay.

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And, though we have had plenty of wet weather and rain, the flowers apparently all had a big meeting and decided the time had come to make their yearly assault and wrench the world out of the hands of Jack Frost and his icy minions.

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Wisteria began climbing the back corner of the house.  They like to spread their purple majesty out over the area by the cracked and derelict swimming pool.  It is moist and shaded out there, somewhat protected from our cruel Texas sun.

My wife’s bed of roses, both red and yellow marched out into the open air and began to dance gently in the wind like grand ladies decked out in their Easter best , showing off their color and their sass for all the world to see.

I am coming back now too… less seriously depressed.  I completed a doll collection last week.  The educational problems my children were facing are now seemingly straightening out.  It is a time of rebirth… happiness… and flowers.  My smile has returned.

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Spitzen Sparkin’ Daze

My old laptop is not happy…

It’s seen much better days,

It growls and grumbles, snorts and fumbles…

And gets revenge in many ways.

Now it thinks a tiny font…

Is funny next to this

And zooms the screen five-hundred percent

To make the next rhyme miss!

And hopefully, I can afford//#%& a new c om pu ter soon

Because this one is veery weiiird

And totally out of tune.

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Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, goofiness, humor, photo paffoonies, poetry