Santa Barbara

So today was my first full day in Santa Barbara. I got up and visited the same coffee shop I went to last night (it’s two blocks away, I’ll probably be a regular there until I leave this rental), and met my hostess on the way back when I picked up a plush husky that her kids had left on the ground and put it somewhere more visible. Then I sat with the computer and hopefully nailed down exactly why dragon.style went down last night and this morning, and hopefully made sure it won’t happen again any time soon. Welcome to the People’s Glorious Social Network, which is maintained by people in their spare time rather than people tied to a pager.

I thought about doing laundry but blew it off; cobbled together an outfit that passed the sniff test and walked a couple miles down to the beach. When I got there I realized that Santa Barbara has one thing I kinda consider a problem in places I might consider living: it’s generally a very smooth slope down to the sea, which means that if a tsunami happens the whole place is basically fucked. Yes I think about things like this. I come from a place regularly savaged by hurricanes; I can’t not think a little bit about the local disasters when I wander around a place.

It’s a nice town aside from that. Lots of Spanish architecture, which always makes me happy – New Orleans’ French Quarter is actually mostly Spanish work, so that tends to feel kind of homey to me. On the way down I was delighted by all the flowering plants; it may be the dead of winter but flowers are still happening and bees are doing their thing.

Birds of Paradise! Growing all over, opening their petals to all and sundry.

Xeriscaping getting pretty aroused here. “It’s tentacle season”, said a friend who lives in town, and this definitely wasn’t the only one of these absurd obscenities I saw.

At one point I tooted that “I am filled with happiness by the sight of a Latino dude driving by in a pickup truck with large knobby wheels and a CONVERTIBLE TOP that’s down.” Because that is such a perfectly California thing. I hope he had the most awesome day, because seeing him and his car sure made my day.

My first stop was the beach, where I took my shoes off and stood in the Pacific for a bit. I tend to feel a need to do this every time I’m near it; it’s some kind of ceremony I don’t entirely understand. This time it felt somehow important to tell the ocean that my mother had died since the last time I stood in it. It didn’t care; I didn’t expect it to.

I may have left a sigil drawn on the sand some distance from the beach, in sand made wet by my feet, asking for the ocean’s aid in bringing me back to SoCal again. I may have photographed it and posted it in a secret place. I may even have wandered away down the beach and been completely unable to find it again when I passed back, and been pleased by that. Nah, I’d never do anything like that.

I wandered about downtown. Sat in the outdoors section of a cafe looking over Nick’s script for Parallax and liking what I saw, while slowly eating a “BLT”. Which, this being California, was served on a six-inch long sub-type piece of bread. And was open-faced, full of some mild but tasty hot sauce, gourmet pork bellies, artfully shredded lettuce, and a fried egg daintily perched on one end.

Eventually the shadows got long enough that I decided to walk back to the place I was staying. About an hour, going up seventy feet over two miles – I might rent a bicycle for a few days tomorrow. I changed my clothes, then went out to that nearby cafe again and roughed out a couple pages based on the beginning of the script I mentioned earlier.

And now I am sitting here while the laundry machine in this apartment does its thing, wondering if I wanna go find some kind of supper, or if the sandwich I had around brunch plus the snack bar I had in the morning is enough given that I had a personal pizza last night… maybe another snack bar to fill in the gaps? Feh, I wish I’d thought of this on the way back and stopped at Ralph’s. I really don’t feel like walking a half hour there and back after all the walking I already did today.

The bottom of my coat now smells vaguely like the sea, and this makes me happy.

Today, I got on a train in San Jose. Five hours later I got off in Santa Barbara, where I’ll be spending most of the next week.

Normally I’d have pulled out my computer and gotten something done on a trip like that. Trains are great for working – room to spread out, and really shitty cel/WiFi. But this time I went to the observation car, plopped my ass in a seat, and just watched. For five hours. And I am pretty sure I made the right decision. There were some amazing views as the train wound through the mountains outside of San Luis Obispo. Lots of farms and hills and distant mountains before that – which would normally be tedious but were kind of compelling, once I’d made the decision that I was going to experience the vast majority of the terrain I was covering.

And then, finally, the train came around some hills and there it was. The Pacific Ocean. I think I have missed being near it ever since I left LA a bit more than a decade ago. I kind of haven’t let myself acknowledge how much I missed it, and I won’t let myself remember this when I go back to Seattle, either. I drank in prettt much every inch of its coast I could. Endless waves on rocks. A little town with lots of trailers and a couple kite-surfers. The occasional lone surfer on a secluded beach. A single car parked by a scenic picnic bench. And. The sun. Slowly setting out over the Pacific.

basically the shittiest photo of a beautiful sunset I have ever taken

 

I lived in LA for most of a decade and I never got tired of its sunsets. Every one was gorgeous, and I often stopped on the way home from a long day feeling sad about where my animation career was going when I’d cross a street and see yet another magnificent sunset.

I don’t have a point I’m making here. Just that I sat watching terrain pass by for five solid hours and holy crap I wish I could have that kind of attention span more often. And that I’m in SoCal again.

also Santa Barbara we need to talk about your font choices darling

Shower Thoughts: Muppet Edition

This morning I found myself watching the episode of Muppets Tonight guest starring The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. In the shower, I ended up singing the theme from the original Muppet Show, which got branded into my kid brain in a way the Muppets Tonight theme never did.

Well, because I am old and haven’t really thought of that theme in ages, I sang fragments. Mostly Statler and Waldorf’s lines:

Why do we always come here?

I guess we’ll never know.

It’s like a kind of torture

to have to watch this show!

So that question was on my mind. And I came up with the objectively worst answer: Statler and Waldorf were a gay couple who contributed a lot to their city’s theatre scene; they worked behind the scenes for years, helping with every aspect from stagehand to finance wrangler. They made their world a brighter place. But they died in solidly Christian territory, without acccepting Jesus as their savior. And thus, their purgatory. Endless confinement in their box seats at the Muppet Theatre.

It’s not too bad. They never feel thirsty, or hungry, or tired. But holy crap it’s sure not good.

(This is of course the objectively worst answer because “they’re actually dead and in hell/purgatory/heaven” is always the worst possible recontextualization is a story.)

m.s. found in an open text editor window

Writin’, she says. It fives yself something to do when y’r all alone by yourselfs and getting way-ass stoned.

So stoned yez got the death fear coursing through your brain in crackling Tronwave obstacle courses.

So sez Tipsy Zerphichore, the Space Cyber Pilot.

Thrill to her electric purple techno adventures, every Friday this fall on SpaceTube!

That’s the pitch and it’s terrible and garish and loud and Extreme and that is probably the road i’d rather go on with oarallax omfghow m

how much time DO i wanna giv to parallax anyway rn

parallax gets me nick cuddles and parallax gets me cum snuggles but parallax is Not Drowning City Damnit

oh hello Eyes strobing at the edge of my vision, dark voids of personal symbolism from Rita thou art the High Priestess between paired negative portals, blinking black and white strobing bells of resonance, sing O sing of another take on the Tarot omfg no that’s TOO damn far from my personal visions even if it WOULD have the broader net of Tarot Enthusiasts – no the Dawn was more than enough, she’s my slow burning bit of fan art to draw in people to My Vision (though i could use that ych as the Lust in a deck somewhere down the line? that could be a fun slow-burning back-doodle project? The Slutty Porn Tarot of Pushy Garnet, ha ha ha nnnooooo)

megapolisomancy 1: the freeway

come to within a block or two of the freeway

and sleep

with your spine aligned to the flow

open up your senses (no, the other ones)

and just dip in

like a pelican skimming the surface of the water

like a spaceship skimming a sun’s photosphere with its fuel scoop open

don’t take too much, you see, you’ll drown

perhaps make a few passes, skim down going both ways, bring in a bank of the opposite polarity to better balance within

but be careful, you’re not the only one to know that all that hurry, hurry, hurry going in one direction for years on end carves open its own kind of ley line

and be careful to not get sliced to ribbons on the complex harmonic fields generated by the intersection of  whole cloverleaf (i found Rez to be a useful metaphor to pass through intact, YMMV)

now i know why I miss LA, it’s a giant hole in the world torn by its neverending gyre of freeways, and it must be real good for sucking in popular stories or something, because it is our nation’s source of Dreams.

Where To Find This Fantastic Bitch At The Furry Con

me this morning: I should deal with nailing down the last leg of my post-FC travels today, also maybe go get my hair dyed, also maybe like draw some comics

Also me this morning: Hey what’s FC’s theme this year I need a badge oh geeze “fantastic beasts and where to find them” okay lemme steal the typography from that recent drawing and faux-airbrush the hell out of the dragonsona in Witch Mode I guess.

It’s only three so I guess I can still maybe get some of that to-do list done…


The type was stolen from the drawing I posted the other day, and slightly modified. It’s worth noting that it’s actually just a bunch of white shapes; I have a style applied to the type layer that gives it a gradient fill and several overlapping outlines. It’s a lot easier to tweak it around this way; I don’t have to worry about rebuilding complicated compound paths or making multiple shapes have their gradients line up or anything like that. I just move stuff around and it magically blends in.

(The two strokes that are turned off are for a thicker outline to the type that I ultimately decided to not go with. My art files tend to be filled with a lot of their history like this.)


There’s also some interesting trickery going on in the pattern fills. I’ve managed to apply a gradient across a pattern fill, which is normally impossible. But if you pile a pattern fill on top of a gradient, set the pattern’s opacity to 0%, and turn on ‘Knockout Group’, then the pattern will be punched out of the fill. You can see that I made two versions of the same oval-brick pattern, one with red outlines, one with the same outlines expanded and punched out of a red square. I used the second one to do the highlights on the gown, which are perfectly aligned with the rest of the pattern. It’s a pretty cool trick to have in your arsenal.

(You can also do this by having different shapes on top of each other, grouping them, and abusing Knockout Group on the group.)


Pretty much everything in this drawing has a gradient on it, to give it a little life and make it feel more like something knocked out by an airbrush artist in the early 80s. Or maybe like someone working for Lisa Frank.  The hair’s two variable-width strokes stacked on the path, with contrasting gradients on it. The glowing sigil is pulled from another con badge, given some of the same gradients, and set to ‘screen’ mode. About the only shapes in this piece that have a solid fill are the irises of the eyes, and some of the deep blue blurred shapes involved in the shading.

 

Oh yeah, and all those little gleams? Art brush. Two long translucent ovals and a blurred circle; select it and make quick little swipes with the pencil tool wherever I want.

looks great, plays terrible

Somewhere back in August, I made a file titled “Peggy At The Con Of The Crimson King”, and meticulously reverse-engineered Roger Dean’s logotype for the 80s/90s computer game company Psygnosis. There’s a font out there that claims to be based on it, but half of the characters are swiped from his logo for Shadow of the Beast and they only sort of work together, so I just ended up making a bunch of art brushes based on his shapes and using those.

And then I let it languish in my working directory for the rest of the year because I didn’t like any of the sketches I’d done for the character. Today I loaded it up and did a decent rough, then did my best to pretend I was an airbrush jockey via a bunch of gradients and blurred shapes and masks.

Now I just need someone to do a furry con whose theme is “vaporwave” and I’ll have the perfect badge for it. But I probably won’t do badges in this style at the con because holy crap the typography took at least twice as long as the figure. I could re-use the brushes and styles I made but it’d still be like twice the work of “type name in a font, draw character” and I dunno if I really feel like seeing if there’s any market for $100 badges.

also here is a closeup showing the amount of detail I made Illustrator do in the eyes, because I wanted to capture a little bit of the INSANE STARING GLARE that Dean put into the stylized owl-head of Psygnosis’ secondary logo.  There was also a bunch of angular bullshit around the eyes based on that but it got covered up by the chrome hair, oh well.

Someone on FA asked for this on a t-shirt, so I posted it on Redbubble. Go here if you want one too.

glowtide

so, new years eve party. pretty good. things done:

  • kissed an otter after he stonedly declaimed his willingness to be my tool for refining raw chaos into power
  • talked to a fox (i think?) who had, like, actual moments in Rita she had *memories* about
  • publicly warned some folks that there is a magic spell at the end of the printed copies of Rita and told them its general intent (you wanna know? ask me at a party when I’m stoned enough to let the Magician speak)
  • sent a perfectly terrible wish to a genie
  • buried my face in a tiger’s tits
  • then the ex and i left at ten because we are old people  who can only take so much social at any one time, especially when baked off our asses

and now food, and probably stoned snuggling in the bedroom some time after that

many thanks to the folks at the blazewing eyrie who hosted the party, it was wonderful as always 💙💚💜💚💙💜💗

dream fragment: maternal visitations

Nick had brought back a cold or something from the flight home, and I’d caught it. So we were both sleeping pretty fitfully.

I dreamed that various dead women related to me were coming to my door. Most notably my mother and my father’s mother. All dressed in white, bright against the dark night. And you know that thing where you see someone coming through the window and try to get out of sight so you can pretend you’re not home? I did that.

Then I woke up and wanted to poke Nick to make sure he was still alive. But I could barely breathe. Couldn’t talk, my throat wouldn’t move.

And then I woke up for real and cleared my sinuses out. I’m glad I wasn’t stuck in a half-awake state barely able to breathe for a while, that would have been a hell of a nightmare.

Time For A Good Book

A few days ago I was in the space of wanting to draw and having no desire to work on big projects, and no other ideas. So I asked on Mastodon.

“Kalinda.” “Kalinda.” “Naked in a coffee house.” “Kalinda TFing someone.”

I didn’t feel up to an actual TF scene so here’s a snake lady naked in a coffeehouse. With sensibly-sized boobs, and with absurdly oversized ones, because I felt like drawing big cartoon titties.

big cartoon titties version, absurdly huge cartoon titties version

If you are curious, the book is part six of the Penwiper Saga, “The Curious Adventure of the Gyrobicupola”.