Category Archives: photos

Pez Head

If you have seen any of my numerous posts about dolls or old books or even, you guessed it, Pez dispensers, you know how badly I am gifted with hoarding disorder.  You know the disease.  Every old string-saving grandpa or scrap-booking maiden aunt you had as a kid had it.  Piles and piles of useless and pointless things all neatly stacked and sorted somewhere in the house, or possibly garage… lurking like a monster of many pieces waiting to take over the whole house.

I can’t help it.  Collections have to be completed.  If you see it and you don’t already have it, you must possess it.  Twenty-seven cents short of the full price with tax included?  Go out to the car and dig in the cup holder.  Oops!  Can’t part with those particular State Quarters.  Will they take that many pennies?  Have to try.

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Lately I have been victimized by a combination of my disorder and the fact that Toys-R-Us is a convenient restroom stop on the rush-hour drive along I-35 to pick up the Princess at her high school in Carrollton, Texas and my son Henry at his school in Lewisville, Texas.  It is a killer two hours and I need to go potty at the halfway point.  And I can’t make my way to the restroom without passing the Pez dispenser display.  And I can’t pass the Pez dispenser display without… well, you know.

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What can I say?  I’m diabetic.  I have to visit the restroom frequently.

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And they do look good on my bookshelves with a lot of the other junk I collect.

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And not all of these are new, bought some time this school year.  In fact, not most of them.

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And they only cost a couple of dollars each.

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And I do resist the urge to buy one once in a while… honest, I really do.

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And see here?  Only Minnie Mouse and Pluto  on this shelf are new.  And how could I leave this collection without Minnie and Pluto?

And it’s not like butterfly collecting, which I shamefully admit I did as a kid.  You don’t kill and mount Pez dispensers.  Although I admit, I really don’t know for sure how their factory works.

But I also have to admit, Pez dispensers aren’t the only thing that turns my collecting urge up to the highest possible settings.

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So don’t hate me for hoarding.  If you’re worried, all of these things are available in stores too.  And I have worked on my photographicalizing skills a bit to share them with you.  And who knows where these treasures will end up when I pass on to the cartoonist’s paint box in the sky?  My daughter has vowed not to let them end up in a landfill somewhere.  Somebody will play with them and love them when I’m finally done.  MAYBE EVEN FUTURE GRANDCHILDREN.   There is a possibility, you know… always a possibility.

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Filed under collecting, foolishness, happiness, humor, photo paffoonies, photos, self portrait, sharing, strange and wonderful ideas about life

New Stuff Happens Here

Well, Spring is sproinging with a great green ferocity.  The wisteria that is eating the corner of the house by the pool is blooming.  The pool is full of winter rainwater and must be drained before it begins to bloom millions of mosquitoes.

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So, I rented a pump and started to drain the swamp.  (Yes, I know I could make a joke here about somebody orange who promised to drain the swamp and is instead putting swamp monsters in it…  He got his Supreme Court Scalia Dragon added to the murky deeps of dollar politics yesterday… but I won’t because I hate how the Twitter Baby in Chief is always filling my perceptions with dirty diaper business.)

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I collected some neat new Pez dispensers by stopping at Toys-R-Us to use the restroom halfway through my daily rush-hour trek to pick up my son from his school in Lewisville.

I found Fluttershy to complete the My Little Pony set, and I picked up all three of the Smurfs.  Brainy Smurf is my favorite Smurf because I like the way he constantly gets put down when he is trying to be too smart for his own britches.  It’s really nice when that happens to somebody who isn’t me.

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And when, at midday, I got so stuck in traffic I had to stop and take a break in Hobby Lobby’s air conditioning, I found some HO scale dragons, Pegasus, and a unicorn to add to the denizens of Toonerville.

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So life has generally been good to me, even when it is a little bit bad.

 

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Filed under autobiography, collecting, feeling sorry for myself, happiness, humor, photo paffoonies, photos, self portrait

Trudging Towards Tomorrow

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My three kids used to be cute, even with goblin grins.

I spent a lot of time yesterday looking at old photos.  The journey seems a lot longer looking back than looking at the trail ahead.  But there are good things beside every signpost on the road behind us.  I am proud of where we’ve been.

The Three Faces of the Princess at the Kingdom Hall;

  1. “We’re going to MacDonald’s afterwards, right?”
  2. “What do you mean REAL FOOD?”
  3. “Yes, that was me that farted.”

We are basically right with God.  Oh, I know I haven’t been a very good Jehovah’s Witness the last three or four years.  Being an atheist might have something to do with it.  But I actually  believe in God.  It is just that my God is a bit bigger than theirs.  My God is not some old man with a white beard on a golden chair in some invisible dimension.  He is everything there is.  And he doesn’t have to promise me eternal life and goodies for a lifetime of doing what I believe is good and right and benefits the lives of others.  I don’t do it for theological dog treats.  I do it because I know in my heart it is right.  And I live for the here and now.  Because that is the only part of existence that is relevant to me here and now.  “I am a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, I have a right to be here.” (from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann)

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We used to do a lot of camping and traveling.  We have seen some amazing things in amazing places.

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The Grand Canyon is improved by having my middle son posed in front of it.

At the Grand Canyon Railway Station;

In a land where dinosaurs once roamed;

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You can find dinosaurs for tourists without spending big bucks to visit Jurassic World.

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Don’t worry.  The Princess is the scariest dino running with this pack.  That goofasaurus rex is going to regret that nose-bump to the back of the head.

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In the end, she ate every last one.

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But my kiddos hatched a replacement, so they are not personally responsible for the re-extinction of the dinosaurs.

Appreciating nature;

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Posing with dead nature.

Posing with living nature, including wild and feral cousins, is also fun.

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Filipino nature and wild and feral Filipino cousins.

And we have allowed ourselves to have fun along the way.

But children grow up and begin to have their own lives.  They get jobs.  They learn to drive.  And we have to fearfully accept the consequences of the monsters we have probably created.

As I continue trudging down the road of life, I am somewhat weary because I am old.  My bones have a lot of walking-around mileage on them.  My heart has a limited number of beats remaining.  But my biggest regret is… you can only go back and walk the path again through memory and old pictures.  Time and I march onward.

 

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Filed under autobiography, commentary, compassion, daughters, family, feeling sorry for myself, goofiness, humor, kids, photos

Travel Troubles

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My wife visited her home in the Philippines as a consequence of her father passing away there at the beginning of the month.  It has been a mixed bag of treats and tragedies.  Yes, there was a funeral involved.  But it has been years since the six sisters and one brother have been together.  They were able to re-connect with friends and family, eat their favorite foods from the old days, and gain weight.

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Here’s what they looked like once upon a time before anybody came to the United States.

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They are a bit bigger now.

But things always happen to complicate simple happiness-es.  Somehow, before she left she managed to put her green card in the wrong pile while sorting stuff to go and stuff to stay.  As a resident alien for more than twenty years, she absolutely had to have that green card to get back into the country.  So, my daughter and I tore the house apart for three days trying to find it.  Then, after throwing my hands up in despair of ever finding it, I managed to sit on a pile of stuff near her bed in the bedroom and realize with my very intelligent behind that I hadn’t searched that pile yet.  There it was!  I rushed it to UPS with the carefully copied address triple-checked against the text my wife sent me with the warning that it should be written exactly as it appeared in the text.  But, naturally, the clerk at the UPS Store was confused by the idea that the zip code had to come before the name of the province.  I should’ve asked to see how he wrote it down.  The green card finally arrived there two weeks late because the Filipino UPS couldn’t find Tatang’s house.  They called the US twice asking for other ways to contact the household.  Of course, on our side, we had the advantage of there being no convenient phone in the neighborhood.  I finally had to send my wife the tracking number, and she tracked down the package herself.

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Of course, we were not home free on the whole return trip thing either.  During her journey home, my wife encountered a flight delay in Shanghai that made her miss a connecting flight in Los Angeles.  It was a gift of an extra day of travel courtesy of terrorists in Turkey.  So, it was a huge relief when yesterday, we were finally able to pick her up from the airport.  Of course, now her luggage is missing.  Virgin Air had to comb through their entire inventory of lost bags and still didn’t find it.  So, there’s a continuing battle we didn’t particularly need either.

Still, in spite of the fact that so many things went wrong, and it was all about a loss of a treasured family member, the adventure has ended, and she is back home again, safe and well.

 

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Filed under family, feeling sorry for myself, humor, photos

Granny-Quest 2016

 

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I have developed a need to create a portrait of a grandmotherly woman whom everybody loves and who exudes “Have-a-cookie”-ness.  You see, my newest novel project, Recipes for Gingerbread Children, has as a main character a lovely old Holocaust survivor named Gretel Stein.  And she is a talented baker of gingerbread cookies.  She has, in fact, a magical ability to create symphonies of joyous triumph over evil in her little oven in her very small house.  So I need to do a portrait of that very same old woman.  I have to have a picture in my head of the person the story is about, and I have to translate that picture down onto the page by drawing it first.

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So I began that process by trying to find the right combination of wrinkle patterns and granny smiles on the internet.  I tried a Google image search for “cute German grandmother” which inexplicably yielded numerous photos of internment camp war criminals, who were also old ladies, and cartoons of Adolf Hitler.  Talk about the proper context for “What the French-fried Fricka-see-see!”  So, I took the word “cute” off the search.  I found a wealth of German grandma pictures that ought to fit the bill if I can just tweak the portrait in the right ways to bring to life Grandma Gretel.

Grandma's School pic from 70's

Grandma’s School pic from 70’s

I then selected a picture of a German grandma taken in the 70’s because my story is set in the 70’s and the glasses appealed to me as German-grandma appropriate.  So, I started drawing.

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And, of course, it turned out completely wrong.  This granny picture will probably remain forever slightly unfinished, because as I drew it, I found I was transforming the portrait into a picture that was not Gretel Stein.  Instead, it was my own Grandma Beyer that it was beginning to look like.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved my Grandma B deeply, vastly, eternally… but she is not the same as the grandma in my story.  Well, not completely.  Therefore I must try and try again until I find the old woman I really want to portray.

 

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Filed under artwork, characters, doodle, humor, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, pen and ink paffoonies, photos, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Teacup Pigs

As an artist I have definitely become aware that popular art comes in popular waves.  What do I mean by that?  Well, think about superhero movies.  Since the Iron Man movie came out, the superhero movies have come in tidal waves.  I discovered another tidal wave of teacup pigs.  To be fair, it was actually John Oliver who put me onto teacup pigs with a throwaway running joke on his show Last Week Tonight .

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John Oliver, the only picture in this post who is not a teacup pig.

He introduced me to the horrifying wave of cuteness with a couple of pictures which he apparently pulled from Pinterest.

But I have to warn you, the tidal wave of sickeningly cute pig pictures headed your way is tsunami levels of big.  They are going to inundate your life to a degree rivaling pictures of Minions, Grumpy Cat, and Disney Princesses.  It is already swelling phenomenally on Pinterest, and it will soon take over Facebook and Instagram like a zombie apocalypse of cute little porkers in people disguises.   And like zombies, they are fairly easy to tell apart from regular people, and, in a way, they will eat up your brains as you post porkalicious pictures of pixie pigs on Pinterest instead of paying attention to important things like how thoughtlessly racist and narcissistic the last thing Donald Trump tweeted was.

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So, this is fair warning.  The teacup pig-apocalypse is on its way.  It soon will be taking the place of internet cat videos as a thing inexplicably and inescapably on your mind.

 

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Filed under blog posting, commentary, goofiness, humor, photos, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Learning Photographically

Being all artistical and everything, I struggle a bit with being able to reproduce my artwork on this blog.  Sometimes I can get a good picture, and sometimes I simply can’t.  The biggest problem I have encountered is the problem of light.  I can lose so much quality in the color and the detail because of bad photography that it bothers me to the point that I seriously consider whacking myself on the side of my own coconut with a brick (with the intent of knocking some color back into my eyeballs).  Of course, I am smart enough to realize that probably wouldn’t work, so I haven’t actually tried it yet.  Do you see the difference in the two pictures of my painting above?  Do you fixate on all the yellow-gray mud in the second picture the way I do?

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I found a light fixture that I could put a 300 watt bulb in, and I managed to set the whole thing up for under ten dollars.  It helps a lot.  It was able to put some of the color back into my work.  Now, I have to clean up my studio/bedroom a bit so it doesn’t look quite so junky.   I need to find that old bottle of cleaning fluid that I rubbed last time and discovered Clean Gene the Cleaning Genie.  I have found that cleaning stuff up requires magic.  It also makes me realize that I have just revealed one of my magician’s tricks as far as posting artwork.  A magician is never supposed to reveal his secrets…  Oopsie!  Never mind.  Pretend you didn’t read today’s post.

 

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Filed under art editing, artwork, cleaning genii, humor, photo paffoonies, photos