. . . Reinstall Universe And Reboot.

I thought I was handling this just fine, after all we all knew it was coming. I heard the news on Thursday and while I’ve been sad, I thought I was mostly OK. Then I walked into the library to exchange my books and there was a big pile of books along with his picture. I started to cry. The librarian who put them there started to tear up. We talked for a few minutes and then we laughed. Proper fitting memorial.

I got home (with my new books) and found the invisible wombat wobbling around in circles muttering (wally, wally . . . Crivens!) This is not a good sign. The ground under my feet doesn’t feel quite real, I feel distinctly off balance, nothing is quite right. (There is however the distinct possibility that this surrealness is due not entirely to my grief but instead to a recent (brief) severe illness and hospitalization.) FYI — the invisible wombat is not a Terry Prachett invention. The invisible wombat is mine and he’s been with me practically forever. For a better idea of the dynamics of this relationship watch the movie Lilo and Stitch — I’m both of them.

If you’ve no idea whatsoever who I’m talking about . . . well I pity you. You’ve been missing out on something entirely wonderful.


Here are a few things you should google: Terry Pratchett, Discworld, Discworld quotes, Hex (explains the heading of this post). Don’t forget to click for images. Google has helpfully put up a list of his books — click on it. Then go read them.

Meanwhile I’ll be trying to pull things together. So far the best I’ve managed is a momentary state of “out of cheese”. Which is dire enough to be going on with.

GNU Terry Pratchett

Another childhood treasure recovered via the local library sale, Yay!

21 balloons cover

The 21 Balloons by William Pene du Bois was published in 1947 and won the Newbery Award in 1948. Which it totally deserved. I borrowed this from the library as a child and was enchanted by the rollicking adventure story therein. I spotted the spine at the library sale and yoink, it was mine! Rereading it reaffirmed my memory of it being fast-paced, wild, and just chock full of bizarre inventions and architectural wonders.

21 balloons title page

It is the story of a retired schoolteacher who resolves to spend a year aloft in a specially constructed airborne house. The house/balloon is where you start to see some definite steampunk influences.

21 balloons house cross section

Of course his trip does not go to plan, he ends up crashing in the ocean and shipwrecked on Krakatoa. Yes, Krakatoa, and not at all long before it exploded. Wow! The book is all about his adventures in ballooning and his interactions with the rather bizarre inhabitants of a secret colony on the isolated island.

21 balloons electric house

The island is where steampunk meets surrealism in earnest. The above image is from the “electric house” with a living room full of bumper-car chairs and a couch that holds four children and goes the fastest of all the furniture. What a scream.

At night they sleep in elevator beds. And every single house has a different and often highly imaginative architectural style. What Fun!

21 balloons merry go round diagram

Even their leisure activities are different. Check out the Balloon Merry Go Round. I just love the way this is depicted in a technical sort of diagram showing how it works.

21 balloons merry go round in air

And then as an illustration showing the children in it in mid air. The way in which this book is written is kind of unique. It’s a fascinating mixture of actual history and fantasy inventions. It has a dry wit that I found highly entertaining. My favorite line is a newspaper headline after the teacher is found in floating in his escape vehicle: “PROFESSOR SHERMAN IN WRONG OCEAN WITH TOO MANY BALLOONS, and the subheading: Refuses to Explain How or Why“.

21 balloons vegetable stall

Even the illustration style is perfect for this story. The above image is a vegetable stall decorated for the professor’s homecoming celebration. Love that watermelon and banana zeppelin.

From the many, many reasons to find this book worth reading I highly recommend that you choose one and seek out a copy. It’s still in print which I think is just dandy, and there are plenty of vintage copies available is you prefer that sort of thing.

I know I’m supposed to say how inspired I am about the prospect of a brand spanky new year and all the wonderful things that I can/could possibility do with it.

210 things to do

However all I seem to be able to think about is how little I have achieved in recent years and how daunting the process of making any genuine progress can be.

Perhaps I am not alone in feeling somewhat frustrated by all this New Year’s Resolution crap.

Let’s all try to maintain a positive attitude and baby step our way to better things.

santa and elves cooking

Wishing everyone a Very Happy Christmas and a Fabaroo New Year!

Dig those crazy elves; the sniffing, the recipe-reading, the bodacious little bum on the one closest to the oven. Fun, Fun, Fun!

And Yes Indeedy, I am fiiinaaaaalyy feeling a bit better — it’s been a terrible, horrible, very bad year (well, it’s been bloody difficult at the least). Here’s hoping the new year holds good things all around.


ps: I just updated my blogroll to fix addresses, delete really inactive blogs and add a few new favorites — enjoy!

tashlin front cover

Frank Tashlin’s How to Create Cartoons.

I enjoyed the post James Gurney did on Frank Tashlin so much that I decided to share some more pages with all of you. Also to alert any of you who don’t read James’ wonderful art/illustration blog to this quite amusing book. Definitely check out the Gurney Journey post as it covers different pages than those shown here.

tashlin 8

These faces show the SCOT method Tashlin demonstrates in this book. SCOT means square, circle, oval, triangle which are the basic units that all the pictures are composed of.

tashlin 12

Notice how each figure has a little diagram next to it showing the arrangement of basic geometric shapes that comprise its composition.

tashlin 15

I liked the pages others had posted so much that I dug around until I found a post that contained scans of the entire book. The style is a bit dated, it is from 1952 after all, but it’s got a lot of still valuable information and the authors treatment of the subject matter holds true. On the other hand you (like me) could choose to look at it through nostalgia goggles which render it entirely wonderful.

I found out earlier this week about the death of Patrick Woodroffe 1940-2014 (specifically May 10, 2014). I first found out who Patrick was when I bought his book Mythopoeikon for my Dad for Christmas. We both got a lot of enjoyment out of that book. Like Omni magazine, it opened new doors of perception for me.

It took me a few days to pull together the few books that I have about him and assemble these images for you. His work often has a luminous stained glass glow to it — lots of color and heavily saturated color at that. Be sure to click on them to view them larger. There is a massive amount of detail to appreciate.

Masked Ball

Masked Ball

Take some time and look at this one closely, this is one very wild party.

Cover art for Dangerous Visions volumes one and two

Cover art for Dangerous Visions volumes one and two

Better known as Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions, these were edited by Harlan Ellison and if you haven’t already read them put them on your to-read list.

Hortus Conclusus

Hortus Conclusus

Chez Nous

Chez Nous

Home of Tinker and Darner, the hole-eating Ducks. Free patching, mending and cobbling. Your holes are our bread and butter. no job too small.

I would love to have someplace like this to go and escape the ordinary.

Corn Fairy

Corn Fairy

Beware the Frumious Bandersnatch

Beware the Frumious Bandersnatch

Check out the tag hanging from his ear: Trust Me. I’ve only seen a couple of his paintings with an Alice theme; I would have loved it if he had done an illustrated Alice in Wonderland book.

Micky's New Home

Micky’s New Home

Micky and Friend

Micky and Friend

Ichtheological Metamorphosis

Ichtheological Metamorphosis

work in progress

work in progress

If you liked these pictures at all, and/or if you want to know more about Patrick Woodroffe; please go over to the Lines and Colors blog. It’s a great blog which I really should add to my blog roll because it’s a particular favorite of mine. Then you might want to do a Google image search — there’s lots of good stuff out there.

or more properly: The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex.

Smekday cover

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time but didn’t get around to it until very recently. I’m sorry I waited — it’s truly wonderful.

Smekday is smart, funny and it should be on the required reading list of every entity seeking to be a fully rounded rational sort of being (with a sense of humor). It’s chock full of delicious salty, crunchy sarcasm; it doesn’t pull any punches; and it made me laugh, repeatedly. I loved this book.

Things that stood out for me: Happy Mouse Kingdom, the always perfect, antiseptic fantasy, the land of fake rubber noses on a string. The wonderful comic book sequences. The day they went into a store and Tip says to J.Lo to get only essentials and he turns up with an armload of paper, pencils and other art stuff (and she lets him keep them).

My favorite quote: “The Boov weren’t anything special. They were just people. They were too smart and too stupid to be anything else.”

Go read it — Now! First chapter available as “look inside” on Amazon. Buy it , borrow it from the library (I did), just be sure to read it.

Then wait with me for the movie to come out. It’s expected to release for Thanksgiving 2014. In the meantime, Dreamworks has made a promotional short called “Almost Home”. Go watch that on YouTube. Watch it five or six times; you’ll feel better, I did.

almost home



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