a bunch of commissions

Over the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of commissions instead of working on Parallax. 2020, you know?

 

Here’s some moderately large images of the clean ones; click for the full-size version.

And here’s some thumbnail links to the NSFW ones. Click for full-size.

(The last one there is for me and the SO. I wish I had managed to take a Horny Sex Slave Vacation to Cartoon Saturn during the last few months of 2020.)

the miracle of life

Over the past twelve weeks, we have gone from “one of the cats that lives under the house just came in and had two kittens at us” to “there are two young cats wandering around the house who will hopefully be enjoying a meeting with the neighbor who is interested in adopting them”. We watched them grow from tiny little nuggets who couldn’t do anything but squirm sightlessly towards their mother’s nipple and peep loudly when they needed to have some help eliminating waste, to a couple of sleek mini-panthers. (Both of them are pretty much entirely black; one has white toes on his left rear paw just like mom.)

And lately I have been thinking about how amazing this is. A collection of chemicals can ingest other collections of chemicals, break them down, and build them into a new collection of chemicals that can run around on its own. Even if you look at this on a purely physical, anti-mystical level that’s pretty goddamn amazing. Even when you feel like you’re drowning in kittens because you have to pass through the room they’re in to do anything because you live in a shotgun house, which is a series of rooms linked directly to one another with no hallway (except for the little one around the bathroom).

A cat came into my home and made some kittens and it’s kind of amazing.

Also I am very glad I am never gonna have kids because, damn. This has been stressful enough.

a modest proposal: basic income edition

Shower thoughts. And dishwashing thoughts.

Awrite, so one of the right-wing objections to the idea of “basic income” (“everyone gets enough money to live on”) is that nobody has to work for it. And that there are a lot of jobs that need doing that nobody would do for fun.

I have a suggestion for getting around this. Everyone who gets the Basic has to spend one day out of the week working… in one of those jobs. Four days a month gets you enough money to not need to take any other job, if you live a modest life. With “enough” determined by regular examination of how much it costs to live where you live and not have your living situation be a deep cause of unhappiness.

How these jobs are determined could vary. Ideally every citizen has some voice in what jobs are allowable for this. Some jobs are for the state. Some are for private industry – businesses could come to the Basic Job Bureau and apply have people come work for them. But there is a price for the businesses that do that; if you take advantage of the free-to-you low-level employee provided by Basic, then you have to do the one day of Basic Work as well. Whether or not you want to. With your pay shared out to all your employees instead of going into your pocket.

There are probably many objections to this, starting with “yeah good luck getting the rich assholes who’ve never worked a day in their life to agree to it”. There would also be exceptions to the “everyone” parts of these. My hope would be for there to be more exceptions made for people just running on Basic than people with multiple employees.

Bureaucracy would include things like “keeping track of what people end up doing well and taking pride in, and who is an early bird or a night owl” and “making sure everyone gets whatever training is needed for this week’s Basic Job” – I could see you ending up with a monthly rotation of gigs rather than something new every week, for instance. Maybe sometimes your Basic Job is working alongside someone doing the same thing for the first time, and training them. And also “making sure that no Basic Job requires risk to life and limb”.

Anyway, I am sure other people have had thoughts like this. But I had them today while cleaning myself and the dishes and felt like sharing to see what kind of reactions I get.

Kingdom to Harmony

sometimes you just look at the screen late at night and a golden snake falls out of your fursona, you know?

this shit happens.

pizza with an old boss, sorta

Well. I’d been dreading this for a while and it finally happened tonight.

There is a pizza place nearby. Theo’s. They make pretty good pizza. Their serving process is a little goofy: you make your order at the counter, then they give you a stand with a laminated picture of a celebrity or a cartoon character on it, for you to put at your table so they know where to bring the pizza when it’s done. Harmless enough, right?

Not when one of them is Ren and Stimpy, and you worked at Spumco.

They were totally chill about it, thankfully. Swapped with Glenn Danzig. Who may have his own litany of terrible associations but I just know of him as a musician who exists.

I put it out of my mind and spent the time waiting for the pizza to come out with Kim Stanley Robinson’s new book, “The Ministry For The Future”, instead of with my memories of working under John. It was a good pizza, too.

off the upgrade train

Well, it’s official, I’m now one of those people who isn’t upgrading her machine any more. I used to always be running the latest OS within about a month (to make room for bugs like “iTunes deleted my entire library omfg”) but I’m still on Mojave and here’s Apple releasing Big Sur to the public. I never bothered upgrading to Catalina because “finding replacements for a couple 32-bit apps I like having around” doesn’t sound like a thing I wanna do. Nor did “see how well the new Music app implements the particular corners of iTunes I am used to using, and if it constantly tries to get me to subscribe to Apple’s streaming service like the stupid iOS music app”.

I will do it in a couple of years when I get a new computer, I guess.

I feel like this is a marker of getting old.

Lord Valentine’s Castle: some thoughts

Recently I felt like it was time to re-read Robert Silverberg’s 1980 book Lord Valentine’s Castle. It’s mostly an excuse for a travelogue of his fictional world of Majipoor – a huge, low-gravity world somewhere in an unfashionable corner of the galaxy, ruled by a succession of humans, inhabited by a half-dozen different alien races who have ended up there, including the mysterious shape-shifting natives. I think it might have been the first book I ever read with that sort of setup but it certainly wasn’t the last, and I doubt it was the first one to do that kind of setting, either.

It is an oddly relaxing book. Silverberg’s focus is much more on wandering across this place than the intricacies of plot or character; the titular Valentine changes, and goes through the odd bit of danger, but once the first of its five sections is over and he’s become unequivocally convinced that he is, indeed, the Lord Valentine of the title, the Coronal of the entire planet (“king”, basically, though it’s not entirely hereditary), mind-swapped into an amnesiac body as far from his castle as it’s possible to get, pretty much every obstacle is solved by Valentine thinking really, really hard at someone and convincing them that he is the Coronal, which almost invariably results in them immediately going to their knees and accepting his complete authority. The only people he can’t sway like this are the shape-shifting natives of the planet, and since that encounter takes place midway through the book, it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to find a way out.

Those almost invariable results of “I was wrong to ever deny you anything, o great and powerful Lord Valentine!” bring me to something I’m not entirely certain Silverberg intended: this story is wholly built around the assumption that Valentine’s office is divinely ordained. There is nobody who questions whether or not he is fit to rule once they have been convinced that he is really who he says he is. He is the Coronal, and everyone across Majipoor venerates the Coronal. It’s a curiously traditional attitude for a book advertising itself as SF to take (though this is the softest of soft SF, really it’s just an excuse for a fantasy land with occasional lasers and an assortment of critters who aren’t straight out of Tolkien).

There are a couple of bits where this is vaguely touched on. Characters talk about how the false Coronal is poisoning the entire world with his succession of selfish decrees designed to enrich himself and his cronies, and to fight against his fears. Which, well, those sure resonated with the end of 2020 in the United States, where we have a con man who stumbled into being the President and ended up making the country literally sick with his botched, selfish response to a pandemic that sprung up just before the last year of the first term. Though I think Trump is more a symptom of a sickness that’s been growing in this country for my entire life, if not for its entire history.

And if you care about spoilers for a forty year old book, do not click through to read more… Continue reading

long day

Today I went to the park with Nick and read a while, and also sat there listening to a distant band playing and watched the tiny trains now fitted out with plexiglass shields between the seats pass by, and felt like the place I’d moved back to was just about as magical as all the phantasmagorical cities described in the book I was reading (Lord Valentine’s Castle, by Robert Silverberg).

And then we went home and I hopped on the bike and went down to the hardware store where I got a new shower head and a long strip of edging; I was mostly there for the latter, which I intend to nail onto the bottom of the doors to deal with the fact that there is a gap between them and the floor that’s probably big enough for a tiny kitten to squirm under, not a thing you want when one of the cats who lives under the house came inside and said “hi I don’t know what’s happening” and ejected two tiny kittens into our lives. (Said cat is currently living in a box in Nick’s room, nursing those two kittens.) Cycling home with an eight foot piece of wood strapped to the side of my bicycle was awkward but surprisingly easier than I feared it might be.

And then I went out to pick up some barbecue for dinner and when I got back it was just in time to see the mama cat trying to cover up after pooping on the yoga mats in front of my standing desk, because we had changed the litter to something theoretically more suitable for tiny kittens than expanding clay bits, and she no longer registered it as a place to poop and had been holding it all day.

So after cleaning that up I hopped on my bike again and went out to grab some litter than I hope she will find more acceptable and we refilled the litter box and we very pointedly refrained from screaming at this poor little kitty who is probably already weirded out by the change from outdoors cat to indoors cat.

And then after some video games to de-stress I put in the new shower head and took a shower and that was really really really good.

Also goddamnit I upgraded my site’s WordPress installation the other day and now the Classic Editor is broken and I have to use the new editor and I really hate it. I accidentally hit return in the middle of the previous paragraph and I could not reconnect the resulting two paragraphs by hitting delete, it is really annoying.

forget it, peg, it’s halloweentown

So there I was sitting in Bean Gallery thinking “I should try to do a Halloween costume doodle of my fursona that’s not a witch”. Because “witch” is totally the default costume for my fursona.

I tried a couple of things and then I was like, hey, she is completely pitch black, and it is eighty two degrees farenheit at the beginning of October down here in New Orleans, “nothing but some bone body paint” is an option. And some panties because we do have public nudity laws down here.

Since moving back down here after experiencing a decade and a half of Actual Winter, I find it kind of amazing that I never really thought about how different Halloween is down here from the version presented in most American media, which is pretty much always set in a New England fall where it’s actually getting chilly. Same with Christmas, really – all that snow is so foreign to what “winter” is like down here where we start whining about how cold it is around the mid-sixties.

The Dance Of The Fourth Veil

Around a month ago, I was lying in bed, just kind of zoning out. And I had this image float into my head, of a decadent ruler’s court, with a heap of half-naked people around their feet, a dancer swishing away in the foreground, and shafts of light passing through it.

I decided I wanted to draw it. So I got up and roughed something out. Added some quick flat color to distinguish the characters fro each other, and grabbed some cloud styles from a previous piece to let me quickly paint a nice tropical sunset sky. And some numbers on it so I could post it as what the furry scene refers to as a “group YCH” – that stands for Your Character Here, a kind of commission where the general pose is set, and the client gets to have it finished as their character, with varying amounts of input onto costuming and backgrounds.

I posted it on Furaffinity and it ended up having a few slots get bid up a lot. Including the “pet” slot in the front, which I’d kind of added as a joke – there was a new furry art site making the rounds at the time that was having a very loud debate on whether or not it was going to ban horny art of “feral” characters, which is to say “animals who talk but are still clearly animals, rather than animal-head people”.

I collected references, and spent about a month working on it. It probably would have taken half the time if I hadn’t been fighting a laptop whose battery life had dropped to a half hour, though September was a crazy month all around even without that…

Here’s a thread on Mastodon with a bunch of WIP shots, if you are curious how I go about something like this. It’s definitely an organizational challenge to orchestrate reference art for ten different characters, all the parts of the sketches, and the actual finished art.

also here is a naked version, click for embiggenation.