Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wall of Murals, Part One

The light rail in Seattle passes by a wall of murals. It has always been my favorite part of travelling to and from the airport- looking at all the murals! But racing past on the light rail doesn't give the mind a chance to linger and observe. I walked along the path in between one wall of murals and the railroad track. I was able to see the giant paintings close up! I took lots of pictures.



  I hate when people tag on murals. It is disrespectful and gives a bad name to street art. There are plenty of boring blank walls looking for adornment...no need to blemish beautiful murals! 



 There is a mural near the zoo that was covered up a couple of years ago. Not by graffiti but by graffiti removalists who misinterpreted the sanctioned mural as graffiti hooliganism. It really goes to show that art is in the eye of the beholder. 


  I have helped paint a mural. When I was in high school, I was in a mural painting club. The artist who ran it told his brood of budding muralists to spit in the paint so that we will always be part of the mural. Years later, when I worked at a pizza parlor, I delivered a pizza to the mural artist's studio. He was building huge, moving sculptures. His studio was chaotic and beautiful, full of commotion and artistic sparks. 



  Sometimes I would drive past the mural I worked on and think "There it is! The mural I helped paint!" It was exciting! Even though my contribution was pretty slight and simplistic, it was still exciting. 




  Probably the people who helped paint the murals along this wall of murals feel the same way when they travel the light rail. They probaly sit reading or looking at their phone next to the window, when they see the familiar image out of the corner of their eye. They look up, just in time to see it as they rush by and think "There it is! The mural I helped paint!"



Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Moon Man Attempts to Kidnap the Ghost Sisters

Here is an illustration I finished recently.


 The three ghost sisters have lived in the cemetery for hundreds of years. When they were alive, they lived in a small house in the wilderness with their mother and father. The ghost children were part of a family of pioneers who left an ordinary life in search of adventure. But the adventure led to disaster one day when a candle set the curtains of their log house aflame. The three ghost children died in the fire before they had a chance to grow up. It happened in the early morning. Their mother and father had been outside feeding the goats when the fire started. Their parents tried to save their children, but it was too late.
    There heart broken parents were going to bury them in the woods, but they were afraid their children's spirits would feel alone amongst the mossy woods with only animal bones to keep them company. They paid the preacher in the nearest town to take the girl's charred bones and bury them in the the town's cemetery.
  After their burial, there mother ran away with another man. She could no longer remain with her husband. The man she fell in love with when she was a young woman had passed on his eyes to their three daughters. Every time she looked at him, she thought of her daughters. With her new man, she had four more children who she tried to love like her first three. But it was hard, because every night she dreamed of her three daughters. In her dreams, she was living the life she was meant to have before the fire destroyed it all. When she woke up to her real life of three dead children and four live ones, she couldn't help to wish be back in the dream where her live children had never been born. Her live children would look at her with unfamiliar eyes and they knew something was missing. But there mother never told them what. The four live children never knew they had any siblings besides each other.
 The ghost children's father joined a crew of a ship. He had always thought his life was in the woods, but it turns out he was meant for the sea. While at sea, he made few friends. He spent his days working the ship and his nights reading books about the afterlife or carving figures out of pieces of driftwood. He told himself he would someday go back to his daughter's graves to bring them flowers and driftwood figurines of their favorite animals. A squirrel for Anna, a sparrow for Mary and a turtle for Clara Jane. But he never made it back to the cemetery where his daughters bones rested. On a stormy day one winter, the ship he was on was crushed by a wave. He escaped the sinking ship by clinging onto a splintered piece of wood. He was swept to an abandoned island where he lived the rest of his life with a few of the other survivors of the sinking ship. They built homes out of palm leaf prongs and driftwood. They ate kelp salad, fried fish and fruit. The ghost children's father never found out if he would have ever gained the courage to visit his children's grave. But he would have been comforted to know that they were happy ghost children.
   The ghost children spent all their days sleeping underneath the soft earth and all their nights playing in the cemetery. They danced around the graves, they sang to the sky and they frolicked in the weedy undergrowth. They never grew older. They were always happy-go-lucky children. They never had anything to worry about. That is until the moon man spotted the children. The longer they were ghosts, the more they glowed with their own delight. From way up in the sky, the moon man coveted their light. He wanted their light so he could create more stars to decorate his glittering empire with. So he swooped down from the sky in an attempt to whisk the ghost girls away from their graves and into the sky. The ghost children did not want to go with the moon man. They wanted to be more then sparkles in the sky. The moon man was strong and determined and the ghost children were frightened.
  But somewhere, far off on and island, the ghost of their father would rattle to life. And somewhere else, buried next to the bones of her grown children, the ghost of their mother awoke. Their children's fear would waken the long dead parents and summon them to the old cemetery. They could not save their children the first time they were in danger, but they would save their children this time.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Flowering Plants and Interesting Animals

  I took pictures of various flowers and other plants while walking from work the other day. 








    I have been watching a series on Netflix called 'Life Stories' all about animals, and I have learned about some pretty interesting animals! One being a fish called the lungfish. The lungfish hangs out in shallow ponds, but sometimes the ponds will evaporate. The lungfish isn't deterred by this dire situation. Instead of succumbing to an ill-fate, the lungfish burrows into the muddy ground. In the muddy ground, the lungfish can wiggles it's body around to make a little home for itself. Once it has created it's safe underground home, it covers itself with mucus so it can remain moist. Afterward, the lungfish waits patiently for the rain to create new ponds. It can wait for several years! Part of the reason that the lungfish can survive outside of water is that it still has lungs, so it can breath air. 
 The other amazing animal I learned about is a spider called the wolf spider. When this spider has babies, the babies cling to their mother and live on top of her as she goes about her business. For the first couple days of their life, they live on dear old mom! The images of the mother spider plodding along with all her little ones living on her is both creepy and amazing! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Graphic Novel Palooza!

  A friend from work recently asked me to give her a list of good graphic novels. Here is the list I made her:

Trades/ more traditional comic books:  (All of these books are continuous stories so you should definitely start from the first book.)
  • Y:The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan. The first volume is called ’Unmanned.’ It is a story about a plague that wipes out all the men in the world except for one affable fellow and his pet monkey friend. 
  • The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman. The tone and content is very similar to the show, but the story arcs are different. 
  • Sandman by Neil Gaiman. The Sandman comics are fantasy books based on the dream world. If you’ve read and enjoyed any Neil Gaiman books, I’m sure you will enjoy his graphic novels! (Volume one called ‘Preludes and Nocturnes.’ )
  • Preacher by Garth Ennis. This series as lots of supernatural elements to it such as vampires and demons.
  • Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire. This is another post apocalyptic series, and it is really good! It is about animal human hybrid children. It is really eerie and mysterious. (Volume one called ‘Out of the Deep Woods.’)
  • Fables by Bill Willingham

Stand Alone Graphic Novels/ authors
  • Jason. He goes by Jason without a last name. I love his stories! His stories often seem simple at first glance, but they are beautiful, insightful and thought provoking. Here are some titles:
  -I killed Adolf Hitler
-The Three Musketeers
-The Left Bank Gang
  • Daniel Clowes
-Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron
-Ghost World 
  • Jimmy Corrigon: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
  • The Under water Welder by Jeff Lemire. This story is unsettling and twilight zone-esque.
  • Heads or Tails by Lilli Carre. This one is a collection of short stories. They are strange and cute at the same time.
  • Black Hole by Charles Burns
  • Pop Gun War by Farel Dalrymple. A surreal story and beautiful art.
  • Temperance by Cathy Malkasian. Another one that is surreal, eerie and folkloric.
  • Only Skin by Sean Ford about mysterious disappearances. 
  • Paging Dr. Laura by Nicole Georges. This one is a memoir.
  • Adrian Tomine
-Summer Blonde
-Shortcomings
  • Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson about friendship and relationships. 

Making the list really got me in the mood to read more graphic novels! So the last time David and I went to the library together, we rummaged through the graphic novel section. I also put holds on graphic novels that sounded interesting but were not currently at the library. This resulted in a large stack of interesting graphic novels to read!


I love curling up with a good graphic novel and getting immersed in a world of story and pictures! I haven't got to them all yet, but here are a few I've read and enjoyed.

The Death-Ray by Daniel Clowes:


  Daniel Clowes unique and slightly depressing twist on the super hero genre. A disempowered young man discovers that smoking cigarettes gives him incredible strength. With his new ability, he decides to become a masked hero. But with the introduction of the death ray, he is forced to make decisions on how he is going to us his new found power.
  Daniel Clowes is the first graphic novelist I ever read (Ghost World in high school) so I will always have a soft-spot for him. He did not let me down with this book. It was a contemplative, thought provoking book about an unusual adolescence experience, yet still true to the real adolescent experience. Here is an interesting interview from i09 I read of Daniel Clowes talking about 'The Death Ray.'

Freaks of the Heartland by Steve Niles and Greg Ruth:


  This is a dark Southern Gothic story about children's ability to see true morality despite the example of their parents. The story is about a group of children kept hidden from the world because they were born to look grotesque and strange. The small country community where they all live wants for the children to have never existed, but the other, traditional looking children want their peers to be free to be kids. This was an interesting and dark story with beautiful art.

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol:


  Anya's Ghost is about how a self-involved yet still good-hearted teenage girls brush with death leads her to befriend a ghost. She thinks of the ghost as benign and sometimes useful, but she soon discovers her dead friend is more sinister than originally thought. This book was an interesting read and a great take on the experience of being a teenage girl.

The Hidden by Richard Sala:


  This one was one of my favorites I've read so far from the stack of books I checked out. It was an eerie and interesting story about an apocalyptic event. The world becomes violent, chaotic and unpredictable with people acting in very inhuman like ways. The people who still have their senses try to escape the chaos. Two travelers come across a strange man who leads them to a place that reveals the origins of the mysteries.
 I've read Richard Sala once before and liked his work and thought "I'll have to check out more by this guy!" But his book led me to more actively seek out his works. I put holds on a couple more of his books at the library. I like this book because it is unsettling and contemplative with a unique story line.

Dockwood by Jon McNaught:


As you can guess by looking at the cover, 'Dockwood' as beautiful art! The story is a very simple story about how ordinary days are full of small wonders. Things that seem mundane are actually full of beauty. This was a good book and a good reminder to appreciate the beauty of everyday life.

Gast by Carol Swain:

 
Gast is the story of a girls move to the country side. The girl becomes fascinated by the natural world around her. Her curiosity leads her to investigate nature. But soon this curiosity expands toward wanting to know more about people, in particular, a village man who recently died. This is a very interesting, compassionate and beautiful story.

I always love to learn more about graphic novels and comics so let me know if you have any recommendations!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Piles of Dirt and Kaspar

   Sometimes lots full of dirt can be quite pretty.....










   I learned about an interesting historical character recently, a boy named Kaspar Hauser. He was found staggering the streets of Germany with a letter clutched in his childish hand. The letter was addressed to a captain of a cavalry. The letter declared that his father was a cavalry man and the boy also desired to follow in his fathers footsteps. But young Kaspar seemed to have no grasp of language himself. He could only say a couple of phrases which he repeated over and over again. Eventually, a kindly man taught the intelligent youth how to speak German. Kaspar was able to reveal more of his past. He said he spent his life living in a dark room with only a couple of toys as companions. Every morning, he was given bread and water. Sometimes his water would taste bitter. After he drank the bitter water, he would fall asleep and later wake up to find his nails and hair trimmed. At first, everyone was enthralled and sympathetic to Kaspar. But as time went on, people were suspicious that he was a hoaxer and a fraud. But no one was able to prove one way or another if Kaspar Hauser was a fraud, and before people really had a chance to investigate, Kaspar died from a fatal stab wound. Hauser said before he died that he was stabbed by a stranger but many suspect that he stabbed himself. To this day, both his life and death are a mystery. 


Information about Kaspar Hauser found:
Winder, Simon. "Kaspar Hauser: The Original 'Forest Boy." The Gaurdian. 19th September 2011. Web. 21st April 2015.  

"Kaspar Hauser." Wikipedia: The Free Encylopedia. Wikipedia Foudation Inc. 5 May 2015. Web. 21 May 2015.

Jack, Albert. "Loch Ness Monsters and Raining Frogs: The World's Most Puzzling Mysteries Solved." New York NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks. Ebook.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Snoqual-you...No Snoqualmie!

    I finally visited Snoqualmie Falls. Snoqualmie Falls is near Seattle and it is definitely a place that draws a lot of tourists. The 268 ft tall falls was made famous by the TV show Twin Peaks. In the shows intro, Snoqualmie Falls is seen raging, the water splashing into a white haze below. It is amazing to experience it in person, because it is not just about the sight of all the water flowing down, but also the sound it makes. It is a beautiful sound! It has a comforting roar to it...like the sound a mighty, yet kind beast would make.




  Here is a picture of David with a look of utter disappointment because he is not allowed to climb. How dare this sign get in the way of a man's desire to climb! Actually, at first I wanted David to take a picture of me with the frowny face by the 'No Climbing' sign, but I kept laughing. David is a much better actor than I. But, as a short person who is often forced into situations where I need to climb (like to get to a high cupboard), I am quite a good climber...so I too am saddened when my desire to climb is stifled by bossy signs, even if the signs are bossy for my own protection.  

First I can't climb, now I can't use my drone! Rules, rules and more rules! 


  Someone put a sticker on the back of this spotlight. This could only have been accomplished by one of three ways: climbing over the fence, stretching their arms Rubber Man style, or using a drone to fly over the fence to stick it on the back of the light.... some people, no regard for the rules!
  While watching all the water falling, I wondered if anyone had ever rode down it in a barrel, the way daredevils do down Niagra Falls. An at-home internet investigation gave me no further information. However, I did discover that a man named Mr. Blondin walked on a tightrope over the falls! (Snoqualmie Falls History)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Heaps of Abandoned Shoes




  I found some interesting things to take pictures of on my walk from work to downtown.


When a fence has this much barbed wire, it just makes me more curious to know what they are protecting. It must be something pretty good to adorn the fence with such a lavish crown of barbed wire. Hmm...what could be happening behind the gate....Alien experiments? Could their be stashes of ancient pirates gold? Top Secrets for sure. Top secrets that are either sinister or delightful.






   There was something a little eerie about coming across all these discarded shoes. What are they doing here? Why are there so many? Why is there only one pair? Who did they belong too? And do I even want all these questions answered, because what if they are answered and the answer is simple and boring, full of zero mystery at all.
   Abandoned shoes is an actual 'thing.' It even has it's own Wikipedia page! That is how you know something is an actual thing.  The Wikipedia article has a really boring theory that we see more abandoned shoes then other attire because shoes are hardier than a jacket. I don't' think this explains it all though.
  The Abandoned Footwear Wikipedia article also talked about an incident in which an expressway in Florida was covered with abandoned shoes. Apparently, there were thousands of shoes sprinkling the highway and interrupting the normal flow of traffic. This sounds spooky too! It reminds me of stories about storms where it rains fish or frogs. But it turns out there was a semi-normal explanation and the shoes were from a charity that was sending shoes to Haiti. This still doesn't explain how they all got on the highway.
  Something spookier than abandoned shoes though are abandoned feet! There is a sea called Salish Sea that borders British Columbia, Canada and Washington State (Where I live!). For some reason, there have been eleven different detached feet found in the sea since 2007! Only two of these feet have been left feet. It is a mystery to why so many detached feet end up in this sea. Very strange, indeed!





Information about abandoned footwear: "Abandoned Footwear." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 9 October 2014. Web. 2 April 2015. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandoned_footwear>

Information about Salish Sea: "Salish Sea Human Foot Discoveries." Wikipedia: The Free Encylopedia. Wikipedia Foundation, inc. 27 March 2015. Web. 2 April 2015  < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salish_Sea_human_foot_discoveries>