A few months ago, I went to Universal Studios Florida with some friends—mainly to visit Hogwarts. (These are the same friends that I made the Yule Ball costumes for last year. We do love us some HP.) We had an amazing time, as expected, and so I have memorialized some of my favorite parts of our trip in a cut-paper diorama, as expected.
Featured scenes include the Jurassic Park water ride, chasing the Lorax through Suessland for a photo op, the guys getting stuck on the broken E.T. ride for 20 minutes, the Red Rip Ride Rocket or whatever it’s called (by far the Best Rollercoaster Ever Made), and—of course—Hogwarts, Weasleys’ joke shop & Gringott’s Bank), as well as the Hogwarts Express that connected Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
The green Hulk rollercoaster is attached to the bottom of the box. It’s also a great rollercoaster, but the inside of the box was too crowded for a second one. I really needed a bigger box tbh, but I wanted to incorporate this particular box, because it came from the St. Augustine Distillery, where we stopped for a tour and some samples en route to Hogwarts. I highly recommend you pop in there if you enjoy adult beverages and are in that part of Florida.
I am proud to say that I have recently increased my moose knowledge by about 98% due to an almost-direct encounter with moose-kind. While visiting Lake Massasecum in New Hampshire last month, I witnessed a moose swimming across the 409-acre lake. Said moose seemed to be criss-crossing randomly, but moving at a rather determined pace. While watching breathlessly through binoculars, I began to question the moose’s motives. And then, being a worrier, I began to worry about the moose.
When the zoo closes and all the people go home, the animals clock out from their jobs as species ambassadors and diplomats. Some like to unwind at Furry McMurray’s, an all-animal pub on the north side of the zoo. It is a very chill place.
The sloth arrived 45 minutes ago and has just made her way to the bar. She would like to order a sloe gin fizz please. No rush though—take your time.
And this is what I’ve been working on since my last post, when I wasn’t randomly visiting goat farms, making cheese* or working as an ambassador for my species. I’ve been doodling animals with beverages and animals doing people things for quite a while now, and there’s a bit of a backstory developing. There’s an air hockey table that the otters especially enjoy…
All the random little drawings in my sketchbooks are coalescing into a cohesive Thing. This could be a goal, even… more on that story as it unfolds.
*YASSS, I have acquired the ability to make cheese in my kitchen. #lifechanging Also more on that—and the goats—later, I’m sure.
I enjoy the pufferfish. This here is the porcupine variety, which is an actual thing. The sea floor is made from giftwrap, printed boxes, and a magazine. I made it not really knowing it was a sea floor I was making. Then I saw these fish in my sketchbook and I knew exactly where they should live. A little Photoshop later, and voila!
I made the most delicious jam from my homegrown serrano peppers. We’re blessed with a long growing season here in the coastal south (high of 77F yesterday), so the serrano bush is still pretty heavily-laden—and here it is first of December! This will probably be our last batch though. *sadface*
I discovered rather late that we might’ve been picking them too young. I peeped the peppers at Publix, and theirs were twice the size of ours. Oh. well, damn.
But mmmmm, they did make a mighty fine jam.
As an Intuitive Cooker, I don’t really measure anything (and often stray far from the recipe unless I’m baking, baking is a science). So I just sort of looked up basic jam-making how-tos online, and then went for it. I used 4 or 5 thingies of berries + about the same amount of peppers + 2 or 3 cups of raw sugar. Roasted half of the peppers first, then blended them into a pulp—seeds and all—with the remaining peppers and berries, and cooked it all down with the sugar. Didn’t even add any pectin and it’s jelled just fine, yielded 3 or 4 little jars.
10/10 would do it all again next year. Need cheaper source of berries tho.
I successfully grew food this year, and thereby achieved one of my life goals. I’m really rather proud of our results—we lost the squash and taters early on, due mainly to inexperience and beetle larvae—but the eggplant, pepper, and okra were rather prolific… and delicious. I have included in the drawing members of the Organic Defense Team: two resident lizards, Fred and George (who I never saw again after Hurricane Matthew *sadface*), the toad that visited occasionally, and a representative from the ladybug squad. Oh, and the little orange spots all over the background represent the marigolds.
We even grew a 6′ tall papaya tree; it volunteered from the compost and was 2′ before we identified it. It never bloomed or anything and even if it did, we don’t have a mate for it (papayas have male and female trees, did you know that?)
I learned a lot, had tons o’ fun, and look forward to stepping up my efforts next year, with total self-sufficiency as the end goal. y’know—if the world doesn’t all go up in flames before then.
Sharpie fine points, color pencil, ink/watercolor.
Last Friday, a few friends and I went out to the edge of America and watched the sky fall down. We witnessed about three hours of the Perseid meteor shower from a secluded beach near Morris Island. There were snacks and beverages, and we talked of many, many things. I saw a fireball so immense that I have to question whether I actually imagined it—it was almost too big to be believable really, and no one else can corroborate. /i know what i saw tho. it was HUGE./
Pick a card—this one please! I’ve entered a contest with Playing Arts, maker of artistic playing cards. Each deck features the work of 55 artists from around the world, and I hope to represent the 3 of Clubs in the next deck. I need your vote!
Tom Robbins has been one of my favorite authors for many, many moons. Villa Incognito is one of his newest books. It’s got all the familiar Robbins tropes—the distinct spicy flavor and colorful phrasing, outlandish plots and kooky characters… but sadly, the story doesn’t really hold together very well. Tom was quite advanced in age at the time of Villa’s writing (2003); and since he’s previously written many a brilliant and delightful book in his career, he will be forgiven for …this hot mess.
Tom was still kickin’ it in the Pacific Northwest last time I checked. Hope what I said about this book doesn’t get back to him. I love Tom, I do. See how I put his name down at the bottom with the tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog/trickster spirit)? That’s my tribute, see.
If you’ve never before read a Robbins, don’t start with this book. Get you some Skinny Legs & All, or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, or Another Roadside Attraction, anything from that era.
Truth be told, I stalled out on this bookcover, having finished the book months ago—but I had no ideas whatsoever, and was overwhelmed with a certain malaise of disappointment and inertia. And weirdly, I felt like I couldn’t move on and read another book until I’d fulfilled my commitment to draw a cover for this one. Afterall,
…a promise one makes to oneself hurts twice as much when it’s broken.
And now I am finally free to move on to the next great read, yay!