Beginning of August is always …

The beginning of August is always a time filled with autumnal anticipation. The weather is still warm, but things are ripening in the garden. If something is going to bloom, it will have done it already or is just on the verge.

The verge. That’s what it is. The verge of autumn.

It’s a short post but that’s how the month of August is going to feel. Before we know it, there will be Halloween candy on the shelves (if it isn’t already there) and Facebook will be full of pumpkin spice jokes and memes.

New animation abilities

Wow! The user interface in Chaoitica has really improved and making an animation has been made pretty easy. I can’t directly upload the video here, but here is a still from it, and it gives me a lot of inspiration for building more.

New systems check-in

Every 10 years or so I get a new computer or impose a new system on my workflow, and I have just finished another transition.

Besides being able to download a new version of Chaotica to experience the new Garageband which is resident on the new iMac, it’s been quite a wonderful shift.

As soon as I am able I will be buying the professional version, finally, of Chaotica, so I can finally make the animations I have dreamed of.

Regarding Garageband, on the surface, it is still the Playskool application for song-making but there is enough to fiddle with now that makes it a little easier to imagine actually composing with it.

So, deep in the heart of winter, I am feeling a well-spring of creativity eager to force its way to the surface. Coupled with the VR work I’m doing in the Oculus, I am very excited for the future.

Yaaaaaas 🙂

Thumb comics about #Clubhouse

I started a little comic about my Clubhouse app experiences. As you can see, the style is stabilizing over time and as soon as I get these basic structures ironed out, I will be reay to made them somewhat larger and on better quality paper, but also to not have them bound up, but single sheets. This first batch, though, are on a simple Moleskin knockoff. Maybe I can eventually auction off the pilot sketch book.

"The Chariot," oil on panel by Melwell, 20x16


“The Chariot,” oil on panel by Melwell, 20×16

The seventh card of the Major Arcana is the Chariot.

7. THE CHARIOT.—Succour, providence; also war, triumph, presumption, vengeance, trouble. Reversed: Riot, quarrel, dispute, litigation, defeat.

I have always loved the Crowley Deck version of this card because the charioteer is holding a huge cup filled with life, movement, and sacrifice. I also appreciate the Cancerian symbolism.

Here, I have captured a little bit of the forward momentum of a moving chariot. the charioteer is holding his shield. It may help to know the warrior has sipped his adversary’s blood from the bowl-shaped form of the shield. Many have been sacrificed on the point of his virtue, and rolled under his wheels, to complete the symbolic imagery.

Picking old wounds: Playing a Yamaha Guitar

Photo by Justin Clark on Unsplash

Photo by Justin Clark on Unsplash

When I was around 10 years old, my mother gave in and bought me a guitar with Green Saving Stamps she had accumulated our first winter in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The guitar was a Kay Standard, the bottom of the line and had a 16th note silk-screened in white paint over the place where ordinarily there would be a pickguard. I learned a few folk tunes on it, Bob Dooley and The House of the Rising Sun were the first tunes I was able to apprehend on my own with the limited resources of a 10-year-old in Michigan in the mid-1960s.

All this time I was holding onto a savings account my grandmother had started for me when I was little. When she counted the bank for the little tavern she owned with her husband, Bob Connor, and if I was with her when she went to the bank, she would give me a dollar or $5 if I helped with some of the chores. I would help her sift out the cigarette butts from the shuffleboard table and also to count the red quarters from the jukebox.

I learned to count and I helped her with the little things and it was Grandma who helped me understand the value of salting money away and it was Grandma who taught me there was no job too humble, because to work was to stay alive. She was the youngest of a family of nine children whose parents died from the Spanish flu epidemic in Arkansas and Oklahoma. She knew how to save, and she knew how to laugh.

I slowly added to this account over time and by the time I was 13 we had moved to Ohio and I bought my first real guitar. It was a 1967 Yamaha FG180. I loved it and it was certainly easier to play than the Kay, but by this time, as a self-taught folkie, all my bad habits were pretty well set.

This guitar helped me get out of my teens alive. My mother, a jazz singer, hated the folky music I played with it, so my playing was relegated to my bedroom, although once, while she was having a drunken party she woke me up to come downstairs and play for her friends. They stood around me in jolly swaying groups. It was the only time I felt my mother was proud of the fact I played the guitar and sang at the same time. But she was drunk, so I’ll never really know what she thought. I played Sisters of Mercy, by Leonard Cohen, and it never happened again.

When I was in my early 20s, I had a car accident which took away my singing voice for almost seven years. Between that accident and a rude comment by a group of male pickers in college, I ended up selling the guitar to pay rent.

I didn’t pick up a guitar again until I moved to Taos in 1986. I discovered the silence up in the canyon caused me to want to play again. I bought a little nylon-stringed guitar (that I still have) from Casa de Musica when they were located in the Cantu Plaza. Since then I have had several and have had two stolen from me. One was a Fender Squire electric I inherited from my real father (whom I found after decades of being separated). The other stolen guitar was a Guild and I don’t want to talk about it because I truly loved that guitar and I still tear up.

I have been loaned a Yamaha and as I get accustomed to the neck, the action and where the sweet spots are, I am thrown back to my teens and how that Yamaha guitar kept me sane (more or less) and alive. [After writing this I am returning the Yamaha and not only am I returning the instrument, it represents another return to heartbreak. I can’t write about it. I can only suffer with it.]

I need to find an FG180, buy it, settle in and face a lot of those old memories from the past. Will it make me sane? Or will it just open old wounds? I’ll find out.

Lenny’s Best Joke

It was in Tiny Lenny’s Nosh Bar galley kitchen in Eugene, Oregon, that I heard Lenny Nathan’s best joke. He had a million of them. His storytelling skills were sharply honed. I still remember his pattern of speech, and I can hear his voice if I really listen to my memories of those many nights in the Nosh Bar.

But it was especially this joke that somehow epitomized the Nosh Man and his humor. After a while, all we had to do was put on a particular expression, make a little pause in the patter, and he’d echo the punchline. Here it is:

There was this guy. He was standing there and he had a box and he had a whistle. Another guy comes up and said, “what’s that box for?”

And the first man said, “If I blow this whistle, all the bees in the area are going to come and get in this box.”

The second man said, “I don’t believe it.”

So the first man blew the whistle and all the bees in the area swarmed him and then went into the box. The first man snapped the box shut.

The second guy started to get concerned and said, “That’s amazing! But what about the bees? How will they breathe?”

[There was a long pause, and when Lenny told this joke, it was all he could do to keep the sparkle in his eyes and not leaking out of the corner of his mouth.]

The first guys sez, “Fuck ‘em.”

And we would howl for hours.

Photo by Thomas Stephan on Unsplash

A wet run

I’d call it a dry run, but I will be making a mess anyway. Putting together my plein air kit so all I have to do is toss it in the car and take off. Living where I live is lucky because I really don’t have to go far to have a spectacular view to paint. This tie around, I’ll just be making sure I have everything I need in the kit before I strike out farter than the edge of the driveway.