Happy Halloween

Tubby wishes you a happy Halloween.

jack o' cat


Another Curb Sign

I don't know why I took just the one picture. There were three different signs along the quayside and on Bull Island, plus a Gaelic version of this one. But I only took this one, so it's all we've got:

I love the clouds in this picture. It was a beautiful day on Sunday.

A Cowboy in Dublin

Another wee toaty explorer in Ireland!

cowboy in dublin

I wasn't terribly happy with the wee toaty explorer with a pick-axe, so when I took the bus down to the city centre on Sunday I brought a wee cowboy.

front shot of cowboy in dublin

nose and cowboy

cow and cowboy

It was the middle of the day and there were quite a few kids in the park, but nobody bothered me during the whole shoot. With the bright ribbon and the sunlight, I thought I'd get run off or at least quizzed, but I suppose people are just not interested.

Some of the kids were filming their skateboarding; maybe they got me, too.

long shot of cow and cowboy

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

A Man, An Axe, Pexananama!

I have no idea what that title means, but here's a wee toaty explorer, busily at work at the rock face.

close up axe clay man

I placed him here near Kingswood Cross/CityWest, some bit to the west of Dublin, Ireland.

opposite view axe clay man

There's not much around here. For the most part, it's housing and business park.

busy axe clay man

But there are some nice stone wall remnants.

little wall

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

Doing the Numbers

After three days of coaching/training, I've come to the realization that I only have two days' worth of jokes. It's a good thing this gig is two sets of two-day sessions.

Four dinners in Ireland so far: Five servings of potato. Monday: Pizza and chips (read: fries); Tuesday: Pear and goat cheese tart (delicious, by the way), with chips and baked potato; Wednesday: Chicken shwarma and chips; Thursday: Burger with chips.

One more wee toaty explorer, making three continents and four countries.

The fair to Dublin is €2.20.

I Just Figured They'd Want to Skip the Stereotype

Downtown Dublin:

Dublin Picture

But if we embrace ours, they should be allowed to embrace theirs.

Outside Dublin

It's nice to know that we're not the only tacky ones.

You have the choice of a giant stone Ghandi:

Or the equally giant Ali:

Doesn't this just shout "PIE" at you?

And yummy pie it was, too.

At what is this stick sign pointing?

Have you seen this sign? It's indicating a turn onto North Bloomfield Road. What would we find?

Just Using the Word "Queue" is Suspicious

So, I was visiting my local Staples yesterday in search of pens and stuff for my upcoming European coaching tour. I don't know what your Staples is like, but ours has about four cashier lanes separated from the big aisles by little islands of cheap impulse purchase junk. When I was ready to check out, there were two lanes with cashiers, each with a single customer. At the same time, there was this guy (I'll call him THE PATRIOT) who was hovering out in the islands of junk. He was holding a laptop and sort of looking around.

I figured that he was waiting for someone or something, and I went to the line on the far left.

This is the conversation that ensued (to the best of my memory):

THE PATRIOT: Are you in a hurry?

MOI: [Worried he was some sort of proselytizer, either religious or sales] Indeed I am.

THE PATRIOT: You must be. You see, in America, we have a certain way of standing in line.

MOI: Yes, I see. And I am standing in line at this register.

THE PATRIOT: Maybe you are from another country? You must be because you're so rude.

MOI: Rude? I chose a line and went with it.

THE PATRIOT: That's not the way it's done here.

MOI: I think it is.

THE PATRIOT: You are being so rude.

MOI: Dude. That cashier over there is free, why don't you take that position? [I'm still waiting because, as usual, I've chosen the slower line]

At this point, the store noticed our confrontation and started yelling at us both to go to a register. They opened up one at the service desk and hustled me over and they begged THE PATRIOT to come to the open register. We did and the day went on.

Something about somebody telling me how "things are done in America" really got my hackles up. I don't think I'm normally rude, though I realize I didn't help de-escalate this situation. On the other hand, we weren't shouting or hitting or anything; but it was a lot more testosterone-driven posturing than I usually participate in. (Imagine me pulling in my stomach and thrusting out my chest every time I spoke!)

It was so out of left field that I wasn't ready with any witty retorts. I wish I'd whipped out the Constitution and said, "Now, which article is it that defines how Americans line up again?" or just shouted, "Fine! Fine! Call the INS! If we don't queue up the way you want, the terrorists win!"

But I didn't.

It is annoying when the store layout isn't conducive to a particular style of lining up, but I think having laned cashiers means standing in separate lines, while having countered cashiers (a la drug stores or 7-11s) can go either way (airports and banks help with the rope line). Do you believe in a particular lining up?

Honestly, I never did think he was in line until he started calling me unAmerican. And then there was no way I was going to budge.

Hark, a Frankenstein

I've been re-reading Frankenstein as I prepare for the secret project. I didn't remember the frame story at all. There's this emo letter-writer called Robert Walton, who is moping here and there wishing for a friend.

It felt so much like a Kate Beaton comic, that I had to draw one:

What's great about Hark, A Vagrant, is Kate's eyes. That's as close I can get, I think. You folks should go read the entire catalog of her comic.

Oh, Deer

deer and tree

Had a visitor this morning. She decided to hang out for a while.

"That's my birthday tree!" I shouted. "You better not eat it!"

Another Thing I Didn't Know About

Apparently we now have a PETCO in the county.



So, I've made a decision.

You may remember that a while back, (wow was it really back in July?!?) I introduced a new project that I was contemplating, ripping off the idea from another person: Pick a book and make an illustration for every page.

Here's a test painting for the first page -- which in the edition I'm using is actually page 63:

page 63

Now, you offered some excellent suggestions, and I was glad to receive them. However, at the end of the day, I had to go with a book that none of you recommended. The main reason for skipping your suggestions, to be honest, was my worry about intellectual property freakiness. All of the books you suggested were modern. Now, some people (Lucy Knisley, I'm looking at you), seem pretty confident in this area, but I thought I'd steer clear.

lucy kinsley art

My plan, by the way, is not to do anything nearly so representational. I'm still learning how to art and I'm not going to make a graphic novel.

The only art I've put on my own office walls so far (I've only been here a year, people) is a print of Picasso's Don Quixote. I love that print. So the most obvious public domain work I could think of was Cervantes' great novel.

But then I found it was 1072 pages long.

Yeah, I'm not doing that. Instead, I've chosen another work, a book that I've always felt more familiar with than I really am. I suspect it represents one of the most egregious examples of movie adaptations diverging from original source, and so my knowledge of it is a mixed bag of memories of reading it, memories of the movies, and memories of horrible Halloween nights. In fact, to see if this was going to work, I just re-read the first 20 pages or so, and I don't remember any of it. So this work seems to me to be a great subject for page-by-page reflection.

It is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus.

Of course, I have made this decision the week before I'm to fly off to Europe to do some coaching, so the first illustrations (aside from the one above) will have to wait a while. But I wanted you to know, mostly so that I have incentive to actually get this done.

While you're waiting, I invite you to go look at some Wee Toaty Explorers.

Sometimes the Internet Listens

I asked for this a year and a half ago. Well, it's what I wanted anyway. Another reason not to expect the user define the implementation.


Earlier in the summer, we bought a couple of kayaks and got a season pass to Scotts Flat Lake. We used our massive math brains and figure that we would have to visit 16 times to make the pass worthwhile (compared to paying for each and every visit).

This was visit Number 16:

scotts flat

We had a quick paddle around, a game of adventure bocce ball, and a nice cookout. All-in-all, I think it was a lovely end to a summer season.

I'm coming up on a year in Nevada County. I think it's gorgeous here.

We saw all these "Open Studio" signs along the way, yesterday. Don't know what that was about, but there do seem to be a lot of artists in these parts. You know what I think would be awesome in Nevada City? A plein air festival/contest.

Yum, Lunch!

That's sugar-free chocolate pudding on the left, Cool Whip and peanut butter on the right.

Talking About the Weather

There were these things in the sky today when I went out for a paddle on Scotts Flat Lake. I think they're called "clouds" or something?

clouds over lake

Honestly, these last few days have given us the first rain since May, as far as I can remember. This is something it's hard to explain to East Coasters: From June through September, we could plan an outdoor activity for any weekend we wanted and not have to worry at all about being rained out. I can't tell you how often as a kid I moped around the house because a Little League game or a picnic was rained out.

But even with the rain, I was able to get a good paddle in today and a nice bike ride yesterday. Apparently, there was a big downpour yesterday while I was riding, but I didn't get any of it. My ride was only 12 miles, but the terrain around here does some interesting localizing to the weather.

I saw some interesting signs on the ride. Can someone tell me what a Coca Cola Sale is? I was riding on Sunday, so I missed it.

Coca Cola Sale sign

And I have to tell you: I've got visions of a crazy-haired mad scientist running around looking create mutant zombie hornets or something. [Hmm, maybe I should pick Frankenstein for my illustration project. Lordy, I'm procrastinating on selection there.] These signs just popped up all over the place recently.

in search of hornet nest

And, finally, this poor wee kitty was waiting awfully patiently for fudenjüce to open. By "patiently," of course, I mean he was howling his fool head off.

cat at fudenjüce

What's Up, iTunes?

So, I'm not sure when this started happening, but it hasn't always been the case:

When I play a podcast on my iPhone and then sync with my laptop, iTunes on the laptop properly reflects that I've already listened to that episode and remembers how far in.

However, when I play a podcast on my laptop and then sync, iTunes on the laptop remembers that I played it, but not how far and the iPhone thinks the episode was never played.

This might have started when I decided to only sync some of the podcasts (not enough space to take the video ones over). Anybody else have this issue?

Where and What

I haven't done a "where is this?" post in a while. I'm pretty sure this is in the county.

Your job: tell us where you can see this.

BONUS POINTS: what is it used for?

Here's a bonus picture:

Oh, say, can you see the wee toaty explorer?

So, I got sent to Baltimore for the first time to do a gig. We moved out here to the West Coast almost a year ago (me in mid-October, the Brunette in November), and though I've been traveling from time to time, I haven't been sent home. And folks, let me tell you, it was weird. Weird to land at BWI and not go into the garage to get my car or go over to the bus stop to ride down to Greenbelt. Weird to rent a car and head to a hotel. It was a new-old experience.

reading the paper

But that passed quickly. I've lived a lot of places, so there are ghosts everywhere in the country for me, pretty much. What I did not expect were the strange little memories to pop up in the middle of my session.

For example, my step father used to work the presses at the News American. The paper disappeared along with many other second papers back in the '80s. What would bring it up on this trip? I have no idea.

a box

I was worried about rain this trip, so it's nice I found a couple of places that were a little bit covered.

canon flag and light

There aren't enough stars on that flag.

inner harbor

I remember when the Inner Harbor smelled like cinnamon and tea, and there was nothing but a flat expanse out there on the left side of this picture. My memory is filled with visits to various nationality festivals with vendors of delicious and exotic foods, but I am sure it was a dirty place and the celebrations few and far between. Still, Baltimore always makes me hungry.

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.