Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Two-tone '53 Oldsmobile

Magic words!

Don't you wish you could do this?

Having absolutely no ability to draw, paint, or make any sort of art, seeing even this kind of clever doodling impresses me. I don't know how people do it. It must be innate, like being able to see maps in your head or doing feats of mathematics without a pencil. I can only look on in awe.

A duck's ass

There was this duck, see, and all I could see was its ass. It went on that way for a long time, so I filmed some of it. The duck's feet were coming right up out of the water, a strange sight, so its bill must have been touching the lake bottom. As humourous as all this is, it's a sign of something not-so-funny, and we all know what it is. Climate change affects everything, from falling lake levels to tropical storms, not to mention forest fires. We separate them out, push them away from us - because don't we have to laugh, once in a while? Especially when a duck keeps showing its ass.

Amazing predictions! (and why none of them came true)

This series of weird futuristic paintings was done around 1900, in an attempt to project an image of that War-of-the-Worlds-sounding, impossible date: The Year 2000. The strangest one of these has to be the device that fits on the kid's head to force learning into his brain. I guess back in 1900 or so, they predicted information would be beamed in directly, perhaps through electricity, or injected like so much brain juice. 

These are interesting, but of course almost none of it came true. We didn't end up flying everywhere on bat wings, after all. It echoes what I kept hearing all through my childhood: "By the year 2000, we'll. . . " (be able to levitate off the ground, eat all our food as pills, have a talking robot to clean the house, etc.)

None of THAT came true either, but the phrase "by the year 2000" hung around until. . . well. . . you know.

Does anybody remember Y2K? Remember the panic and doomsday feeling everyone had, running around in tiny little circles waiting for the end of the world? Whole books were written about the mass rioting, famine, billions of refugees and general-all-around catastrophe that would happen when the date rolled over from all those 9s to all those 0s.

None of it happened.

My favorite moment in 2000, perhaps in my entire life, was when I looked in a remainder bin at Chapters and saw fourteen titles on the same subject: The Y2K Disaster, Millennial Catastrophe, Mankind's Final Hour, Goodbye to the Human Race, So Long It's Been Swell,  and blah blah blah, pure bullshit!

My point is. . . if I have one. . . humankind does tend to brace for the worst, and it usually doesn't happen. I'd like to apply this to Trump, but it's difficult. When the "worst" happens, it usually jumps out of nowhere. But there are times, my friends, there are times. There are times we have plenty of opportunity to prepare.

And we don't.

Now that I look at it more closely, the schoolroom scene is even more sinister. Textbooks are being fed into a giant machine with a crank, presumably ground up, then fed into the brains of the zombie-looking children. They look to be wearing headsets. Did they have headsets back then? If not, then this painting at least predicts something about the future (though they left out the iphones).

Or are the kids' brains actually producing those textbooks? This is getting too weird.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

National Catfish Queen, 1954

I honestly do not remember if I posted this already. If so, here it is again. I refuse to believe that she caught this, and with that puny little fishing rod! But they made women tougher back in 1954. The fact this took place in New York City is even more mystifying.

Hardest instant noodle to cook!

           Noodle or science experiment? You decide.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Cactus flower

Fleur de Cactus, ma petite sœur, tu es choisie par le Seigneur
Pour fleurir en Sa maison tout au long des jours de ta vie.
Fleur de Cactus, ma petite sœur, tu es choisie par le Seigneur
Pour chanter la gloire de son nom sur les sentiers du Paradis.

Burning reels

I wish this were mine. . . 

. . . but it isn't. It's the work of a filmmaker named Sam Spreckley, who has a number of interesting experimental films on YouTube. Some of them have only had 7 or 8 views. While this makes me feel just a little bit better about my own wretched, nearly-nonexistent total of views, it's a shame, and it shouldn't be like that. His sparse description of himself in the "about" section hints at a career beyond YouTube, which is merely a catch-all for his bits and pieces:


Scottish video artist and film maker... here and there... dumping ground for assorted projects....

SURFACE ii is described as

Published on Feb 5, 2012
exploring sound and vision through the destruction of 8mm

It's one of the few which had a decent number of views, but that's after five years! Though the description of the film is very short, it appears to be old 8mm film which has been melted down or scorched and burned in some interesting way, with accompanying sound effects.

My own efforts at animation and making still things move are pretty weak, and I know it, but I work at it because it's fun. I can't draw or paint or do anything visual worth a damn, so to me this is new. But I need reminders of what real filmmaking is.

But seven or eight views? This is what is wrong with the internet, among many other things. 

On wings of strange

Bentley, doing nothing

Saturday, August 26, 2017


Please note. This blog is becoming so gif-heavy that it's basically a gif blog, which is not what I set out to do. Early on, I used it as a place to express my opinions about all sorts of things. I know I shouldn't care about numbers, but getting 10 or 12 readers for a piece I spent hours writing (often on subjects that harrowed my soul) is pretty frustrating. Basically no one is interested in that sort of stuff, maybe because the internet is inundated with it.

I published three novels, a lifelong dream, and practically nobody read them. Nobody warns you that you have to actually SELL books. That part is left out. I'm glad I wrote them, but to have them fall into a black hole is one of the great disappointments of my life.

The things I post now, animations (which I know almost nothing about) and gifs, which I am learning to edit even after they're finished, is like playing with plasticene or collecting frogs or pretending I'm a horse, something I would have loved as a child. The process is everything, or almost everything. 

I post these Barilla pasta ads from Italy because they're so damn gorgeous, and resemble each other so much. They're a collection, a set. I love series of things, and old ads, old cars, old technology. I almost made a gif, but this time, not.

Hurricane Fur Wizard

The Hurricane Fur Wizard started life as the Fur Wizard, one of those handy-dandy products pushed on obnoxious TV commercials, but it didn't sell very well. It was nothing but an ordinary double-sided lint brush, the type with bristles that point backwards to collect the lint, fur, dust, etc. on your furniture and clothes.The only selling point was the scabbard that you stick it into, which supposedly scrapes off all the collected fur so you don't have to do it with your fingers.

Then at some point, seeing sinking sales figures, the As Seen On TV geniuses thought, hmmm! What if we "rebrand" it as the HURRICANE Fur Wizard? It sounds like one of those rotary cleaners that whirls an entire room into a vortex of cleanliness, except that really, it's the same product: an ordinary double-sided lint brush.

How a blue brush that picks up dog hair can even remotely resemble a hurricane is beyond me, and I have no idea if the name change helped sales. But I confess I love As Seen on TV ads. Lately they've been choked with tiresome pitches for faux copper cookware, and as for that old Southern lady (the one who makes pudgy pies in the toasting iron), how I wish she would go away.

But the older ones, the "has this ever happened to YOU?" ones with the "oh, NO!" and the "wah, wah, wah, waaaaaah", those I love. The newer ones are a mere shadow, but I suppose we have to be happy with what we have.

Don't we.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Harold Lloyd Dances!

This animation didn't go quite the way I intended! Harold's dancing is much more awkward here than in real life, but I had only one frame to work with. Getting his legs to bend at the knee was the hardest part. 

Harold was simply adorable in A Sailor Made Man, and in fact he really did dance. I never did figure out the scene where the men danced with each other, but maybe it was a sly reference to "those long ocean voyages" where men lost track of their orientation for the duration of the trip.

Cranes flying over the Loire valley

                   Watch on YouTube/full screen for maximum effect.

Safety Last in 28 seconds!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Love Biscuit

Spinning girl

The splash of a drop


Imagine my surprise when my TV-watching enjoyment (that juicy Scientology series) was disrupted by an ad for a new Lego movie. Some sort of sendup of Japanese creature-feature flicks, only the monster was a hideous creature called. . .



Right. So the monster in this strange-looking film is a cute little brown tabby named Meowthra, presumably a take on the immortal Mothra. I'll tell you something, cute as this cat is, he is not a PATCH on my Bentley. 

Bentley appeared on the famous Pictures of Cats website which originates in the UK, where cats are king. As a matter of fact, I sent them a gif and they made this charming triptych from it. You should check out this site if you're cattish at all.

Still pictures will never do my Bentley justice, for his face is sweet and expressive and kind of mournful. His eyes are big and sad, perhaps because he lives with abandonment issues. He was a stray when he came to us, savaged by a dog and left for dead. Does my companion animal need a companion animal, perhaps?

And I love it when he sleeps funny.