12 January 2011

There's something in my eye...

Wow.  365 days.  I can't believe it's actually the last day of this project!  I feel like I want to say so many things, but now that I'm actually sitting down, typing it out, of course I can't think of any of those things!

We've gone through a lot this past year, from births and deaths, job loss, finding old friends, getting ready for my 20th high school class reunion, and tons and tons of music and movie references!   Although sitting down to do this day in, day out has been, on a seldom occasion, a bit of a chore (just ask Jenny - she's enjoyed it, but she's definitely glad it's over for a while!), for the most part it has been 1) really therapeutic to just write out what's going on in my convoluted noggin, and b) it has forced me to have to be creative every single day!  I think I'll miss that the most, because I know myself, and without some sort of deadline or someone to hold me accountable, I just won't do as much creatively.  It's much easier to sit in front of the boob tube and watch "The Simpsons".

This is why I'm sure that the end of this must signify a hiatus, not a grand finale for the blog.  I've already got something in mind for my next big ol' project, but yeah, I've gotta take a little bit of time off. I don't think the next one will be every single day, either - too hard to work that out logistically if there's traveling to be done,  or if I just happen to be extremely busy (which I'm also hoping will happen soon - I want to work, dammit!) :-)

I sincerely thank all of you who have taken the time to read this drivel - hopefully it didn't sound too much like the incoherent ramblings of a mad man!  I wish I knew, besides the people who "subscribed" to the blog, who all has read it - I would thank you all personally!  If you happen to be reading this at a later date, or if you have just discovered the blog via a Google search for "Pastor Of Muppets", or "does Andy Vanslyke have a tattoo"(yes, those are two of the phrases that have led users of Google to this blog.  I love it!) , or whatever, please feel free to drop me a line at any time - I still want to hear feedback: what did you think of the blog?  What, if anything, did you get out of the actual painting?  Did I help you achieve total enlightenment?  

Also, if you haven't gotten enough of a "365-Stroke" project, please check out this other one I stumbled upon the other day.  It's pretty interesting! 

Anyhoo, now that we've gotten all the schmoopy stuff out of the way, we'll move onto the last bit of business for the blog.  For my final stroke, I took a cue from my favorite TV show of all time, Cheers.  In the opening scene of the first episode, Sam Malone is seen walking out of the back room to open the bar.  In the final scene of the series, he's seen walking into the back to close the bar (about the 7:55 mark).  Thus, the series comes full circle.  Similarly, I finished my painting with a curvy stroke of Medium Magenta.   

So there you are, folks.  One painting, 365 strokes.  I'm sure I'll catch y'all on the flip side really soon.  Before I go, here it is - the finished piece:
Here 'tis - the finished piece.  Howzat for ya?

11 January 2011

Things that go "bump" in the night...

Maybe it's due to all the Scooby Doo I watched as a kid, but I am so intrigued by the paranormal.  Ghosts, spirits, haunted houses, monsters, you name it, I love reading about it or watching movies about it.

I remember hearing about a few "hauntings" or just plain weird phenomena growing up.  One of the stories was that of a "Ghost Light" around Joplin - a spooky light that appears occasionally, seemingly floating through the fields outside of Joplin, around Quapaw, Oklahoma.  Several people I grew up with apparently have seen this light.  There are also lights like these allegedly seen in a small town not too far from Joplin called Hornet, Missouri, and one in northwest Arkansas.  Maybe it's the same dude, and he just really gets around! :-)

I also remember hearing some story about a certain bridge down there in Southwest Missouri on which you could drive halfway across, turn the engine off and put the car in neutral, and the ghost of an indian would push you across the rest of the way.

I never saw any of this stuff - guess I was too busy hanging out on the Square in Cassville with my friends to go out to the middle of nowhere to have the peewoddin scared outta me.  There does seem to be an abundance of paranormal activity happening in the Ozarks, though.  In fact I just read a little book called "Ozark Tales of Ghosts, Spirits, Hauntings, and Monsters" by W.C. Jameson that's just chock full of stories of weird stuff going on down there.

In addition to stories about the ghost lights being featured in the book, there's a pretty cool story about a "haunted gravestone" in a cemetery in Southwest City, Missouri.  Apparently on the top of the headstone there's a small statue of a woman - possibly an angel.  While that's not unusual, the weird thing is that there are multiple pictures of the same headstone, and the woman is in different positions - despite the fact that the figure is carved into solid marble!  Ooooooh, spoooooky!

Anyway, I just think stuff like that is cool.  It's one of those things I can spend hours and hours checking out on the internet, although most of it, especially with the youtube videos, I'm still very skeptical.  It's not that I don't believe in stuff like that, it's just that I know that there's a lot of "video trickery" and stuff.  I'd love to see some actual proof for myself. 

For this, my second-to-last stroke, I did a little "silver ghost" streak.  Hopefully he doesn't come off the canvas and start roaming around our 140-year-old house!  Well, I guess if he does, it's better him than any "real" ghosts! :-0  BOO!

09 January 2011

4,3,2,1, Earth below us, drifting, falling...

I love Google Maps.  Especially now that they've gotten so much more sophisticated, even having (in most places) a "street view", in which you can actually see what you would see if you were actually driving down the street in the area at which you're looking.  Yes, I know that's also kinda creepy, but still, you gotta admit it's pretty cool!

I've always just loved maps in general.  I've never been able to travel like I wanted to, so I've always just "traveled" around vicariously through my maps.  Whether it was a map of Missouri, or California (growing up I wanted so badly to go to Los Angeles!  I used to know my way around that area without even being there, just because I had memorized the locations of the different cities in the Greater Los Angeles Area!), or an atlas of the United States, I was constantly looking at my maps!

I can even remember when I was even younger, when we first moved into the house we built in Washburn, and we had that brand new plush carpet, I would "draw" the shapes of different states into it by smoothing out the carpet, then rubbing the opposite way, so the carpet stood up, causing a "shadow" effect.  Yes, I was a dork (and Jenny, you be quiet - I know you still think I'm a dork!). 

I still have a couple of different map books and atlases in my car and a couple more here in the house, including a nice thick World Atlas upstairs.  I look at that all the time, traveling from state to state, then across to Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe - all the places I so want to travel to!  I get lost in the book for a good 1/2-hour sometimes before it's time to come home

I threw down a couple of different greens and a little bit of brown this evening because those are the main colors on Google Maps.  Have I mentioned how much I love that page? :-)

08 January 2011

Like a spider monkey on crack...

It was cold earlier, so Jenny made some hot drinks.  For herself, some hot chocolate, and for me she made some coffee with some hot chocolate in it - some really, really strong coffee!  Needless to say, I'm ju-u-u-u-ust a bit jittery right now, and caffeine usually doesn't affect me that much!  I'm in total ADHD mode right now - I can't pay attention to a dad-blasted thi- GO COLTS! :-)  Boy, I hope I can get to sleep tonight!

I think we're both getting a little stir crazy here at the house, Jenny especially.  She hates to be just sitting around with nothing to do.  She feels like she needs to be more productive, or to go out and do something, but 1) it's just friggin' cold out, and 2) we got no moolah, so home we are.

We've been watching a lot of movies!  I can sit and do that - watch movie after movie - but again, she really can't.  She's watched three since last night, and that has really surprised me!   She's been doing a lot of reading, though.   I've been reading some again, too, and I finished up a couple of paintings I'd been working on.

I'm really trying to get into painting mode again.  I've got all these ideas for things I wanna do, I just need to get off my butt and actually do them.  This one I called "City Sunset".  I did most of it with a squeegee, then finished it up with some knife work - no brushes at all.  I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. 

Inspired by this painting, I tried to do a Phthalo Blue and white stroke in the upper left-hand corner.  It didn't lighten up as much as I would have liked, but that's okay!  Now, if you'll excuse me I think I may go run some laps to try to drive some of this caffeine outta my system!  Buh-bye now!

07 January 2011

Okay, so call me dense, but...

...I just figured out that there's a "stats" button here on Blogspot that tells you all sorts of information on the traffic you get on your blog.  For instance, to date there have been 2,871 page views - that's a whole lot more than I ever expected, lemme tell ya!   It tells me that the most popular (or at least most read) post was the one from September 25, most likely due to the fact that around time for "Octoberfest", a bunch of people apparently Googled "Eins, Zwei, Drei, Zuppa!", a German drinking phrase, and my blog came up 4th on the page (which I think is pretty cool!), which led people to read it. 

It tells me which sources have led to most page views, be it Google searches, links from Facebook, or other sources.  It tells me the percentage of people who are viewing it on a PC, a Macintosh, even if it's an iPhone, Blackberry or PlayStation (I had no idea you could even get on the internet from a PlayStation!). 

The most impressive thing to me, however, was the statistic of where in the world my readers are.  Obviously, I expected a huge number, actually I expected everyone to be here in the States - not so!  Apparently, in addition to the many readers I have here, I'm also read in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, in addition to Australia, China, South Korea (guess I'm too much for Kim Jong Il and the Northies), and a good number from Russia!  Wowee!  I really had no idea, and I think that's just the coolest thing in the world!

I wish I would have discovered the Stats page a lot earlier - I would have tracked it a little better!  Maybe with my next project (whenever that is - I'm gonna take a break for a bit after this) I'll keep a better eye on all of that. 

Anyway, with only 5 days left after this one, I would definitely like to thank everyone who has read my blog, or even taken the least bit of interest in it!  Don't know if I'll keep posting further blogs on this particular address or not yet - I probably will, if for no other reason than to make it so that Ma doesn't have to update her bookmarks to find it! :-D

I did a little bit of orange and blue today - didn't really want to slight any of the wonderful people from all of the countries I mentioned today by choosing colors of one flag or another, so I went with the colors of the blog!  I wanted it to be a longer, more solid stroke, but it's hard to do that with all of the texture I've put down in the previous 359 strokes! ;-)

一个美好的夜晚 Hebben een goede nacht!  Avoir une bonne nuitAvere una buona notte! 좋은 되세요! У спокойной ночи!  Bíodh oíche mhaith! Have a good night!

06 January 2011

June 3rd is my birthday.  I'll be 38.  It will also be the first day of my 20-YEAR CLASS REUNION!!!  Holy COW, how did that happen?  20 years?  That's two decades!  One-fifth of a century!  630,720,000 seconds!  Songs that we loved in high school are now being played on "oldies" and "classic rock" stations. 
There are people I graduated with who now have kids who have graduated from high school, and even some with kids who've gotten married!  My buddy Brandon has eight - count 'em - EIGHT KIDS ranging from 3-17!  Wow!

Needless to say, we'll all have a lot to catch up on!  A good number of us are on the Facebook, so we get to check in with each other occasionally, but most of us haven't seen each other in at least 10 years, if not the entire 20 years!

I know that when I moved up here to St. Louis, my main goal was to get into a band and make it big before my 10-year reunion.  I realized that wasn't going to happen, but I still kept up the charade, because I was actually in a band at the time which was playing a lot of good sized gigs, and we were working on our next album, which we were sure would be our big breakthrough!  Yeah, that didn't happen. 

At this point, I'm just working my butt off to be able to tell everyone I'm actually gainfully employed!  Maybe by then I'll have found something I really like to do - maybe even playing music!  I've got a little less than 6 months to make it happen! :-)

I did a mix of a little crimson, some red, and some black, for the colors of our beloved Southwest Trojans.  I really am looking forward to seeing all of these guys and girls again!  I don't care if I'm a big rock star or not (we all know that ain't happening!) I just want to see everyone and catch up on what they're doing, and reminisce about "the old times".  

I hate those meeces to pieces!

[Quick note - this post was, in fact, done last night - Blogspot suddenly went down, and I actually thought that I had lost it all!   It's back up this morning, so everything's hunky-dory!] 

Okay, so when writing about cartoons, everyone (including me) always focuses on the really big names - your "Scooby Doo", "Smurfs", "Bugs Bunny", and "Superman" kinda stuff.

I was watching some "Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics" today (yes, really - I found a DVD of some episodes at the library) and started seeing all of these characters I had totally forgotten about: Jabberjaw (a shark who sounds and acts an awful lot like Curly from the Three Stooges), Augie Doggy and Doggie Daddy (Daddy's voice is modeled after Jimmy Durante), and Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinx (today's blog title was Jinx's catchphrase).

It got me thinking about what other lesser-known cartoons I enjoyed as a kid, but had forgotten completely about.  I used to love like "Fangface", "Godzilla", "Jeannie and Babu", "Speed Buggy", and "Grape Ape". 

They don't make cartoons like that anymore, ones that are just plain fun, and you don't have to think about them anymore.  The ones I've seen on Saturday mornings these days are all about stupid card games and really, they're so violent!  I mean there was always some violence back in the day, but it was always very, um, cartoonish!  There wasn't any gunfire, or people really trying to actually kill someone.   Characters got hit with pipes, fell off of cliffs, but there was never any actual fallout from it - the occasional stars or birds circling their heads, but they were always okay.

Oh, well, like they say,"You can't go home again".  I did a little light purple splotch for my buddy Grape Ape.  I do miss those shows!