Saturday, July 11, 2009

disc, dogs, dignity

Went Disc-golfing yesterday with Brian, Richard and Jeff. It's always nice to see different techniques... I had never tossed with Jeff before, and he uses what we call the "gangly snap" method. He winds up so tight and releases so quickly and gangly it's surprising the disc actually stays on the course... he was actually quite good! The score total for the day was: Brian, Jeff and I with 38, and Richard with 39. I had to leave after the first nine, but I think they stayed for the remaining links.
We went and picked up Andrew's friend from the airport in Greenville (an hour-and-a-half drive) and got stuck in terrible traffic! We u-turned and ended up winding through Saluda, looking for a way out. The scenery was nice... the town was preparing for "Coon Dog Day", which I guess has been going on for many years now: a day to celebrate the relationships between men and their dogs.
I've been concentrating on some philosophical issues recently, paying special attention to identifying Pride in myself. I use a capital letter here to indicate it's power over my sub-conscious. I'm not talking so much about the obvious pride when gloating or bragging... more the Pride when one is right about something (or thinks he is right about something) and feels the need to make sure everyone knows. It is unnecessary to let someone know I am right when it doesn't make a difference either way. I find myself battling with this all the time. Is it necessary to defend truth? Or am I simply showing an example of the Enemy I've mentioned in this very blog post?
Proof is nothing more than a convincing explanation, depending on who you're talking to.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Meteor Shower at Funeral

My schedule has been too busy to keep up with anything, namely this blog. I've been in and out of town for bead shows, and when I'm home I work on my cartoon when I get the chance. We had a good time in Florida, visiting Cynthia's parents and attending the Bead Mercantile Fort Lauderdale and Orlando shows. My good friend Shannon Hill passed away while we were in Fort Lauderdale, but we didn't find out until several days later. The sculpture above was created at St. Pete Beach in memory of him...

I've been trying to get out to the Frisbee golf course with my friends Brian, Richard and Dave... the excersize is good and the conversation keeps me psychologically in tune.

The cartoon is going very well. 6 of the 8 scenes are done, but the remaining sections are well under way.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

the view outside my window

i woke up this morning and it was relatively nice outside.... a little wet from an overnight rain and a bit chilly.

and then within two hours the ground was covered in snow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

heading home from tucson

the show was great...
the best part was staying with kate mckinnon and her family.
we already signed up for all three shows next year,
and we're staying with kate again. it's nice to have everything locked down already.

i did a couple drawings too.
the first portrait is of my most excellent friend Aveesh Singh:

the second is of Andrew:

and here are a few sketches of character ideas for a story:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

a linking tag from jean yates

and this is her blog:

I was tagged on her blog to write seven things about myself that no one knows...

until now, of course.

1. I was an obsessive-compulsive child. I believed I had an invisible life string attached to the back of my foot and couldn't get it tangled up and other stupid stuff like that, but no particular habit lasted longer than a few months at a time. I had to turn on and off the lights a certain number of times and touch things with both hands in order to feel balanced.

2. I went to art school with Disney Animation in mind, but lost interest when I read the fine print and coincidentally discovered Prosthetic Makeup effects at the same time.

3. I really like stage theater. I love acting and would continue to if I had the time. My favorite role ever was Rosencrantz in Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead".

4. I hate talking on the phone, and always have. It makes my head hurt and my ears burn and my neck always gets sore. Most people don't know this about me, because I try to stay off the phone as much as possible.

5. My top 10 favorite films (in no particular order) are:

A. Amadeus
B. The Dark Crystal
C. The Fellowship of the Ring (if I can only consider one of the three)
D. The Seventh Seal (the 1957 film by Ingmar Bergman)
E. Little Big Man
F. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
G. The Nightmare Before Christmas
H. The Ninth Configuration
I. The Exorcist
J. Raising Arizona

6. My top 10 favorite bands (in no particular order except for #1) are:

A. Pink Floyd
B. Mogwai
C. Explosions in the Sky
E. Grandaddy
F. Moby
G. Tycho
H. Phish
I. Tom Waits

7. I can play a mean ocarina.

the cartoon is really coming along...

i posted the picture of sally the squirrel six months ago and now I've got the sound done, almost all of the animation clips for every character, and 12.5 minutes of episode one completed.

I was able to get the unfinished work on my ipod to show around...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

pride is prejudice

The supremacist is an individual who has failed to develop an understanding of the true power that is wisdom through humility, having formed a superficial sense of esteem by idealizing his/her own random discrepancies of physical characteristics over which no human being can wield control.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

back from minneapolis, on to pittsburgh

minneapolis was a good show. I always enjoy seeing Doris and Bruce, the Iontas from Spotted Moon and the Star of the North artists. For a few years now we've made a tradition out of Saturday night lousy Chinese buffet. It's fun to joke around about the food and laugh about the day's experiences with customers.

and now i'm going to pittsburgh on friday for Jane's Bead Mercantile show, which has always been great. i like the people in the show and I've even become quite familiar with the hotel staff over the last three years.

steve and sarah came over recently to record some music for my cartoon and it went really well. it sounds great considering my lousy recording equipment. i showed my cartoon in progress to several people at the show in minneapolis and received a wonderfully positive response. it was very reassuring to hear people laughing (especially one girl in particular who said she watched a lot of cartoon network and adult swim). so I'll be taking all the equipment with me this weekend and will be working on it every night I'm there.

then I return on Monday night and fly out on Tuesday for the Oakland, CA - BABE! show. Aveesh's birthday is on the 4th, so i'm going early and staying during the week before the show on the 8th and 9th. busy busy busy

but i miss cynthia and azalea when i'm gone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

hard week

we crunched for days before Faeriecon and the turn out was sort of disappointing. no surprise, really... last year was slow and we signed up again for this year with the intention of making all sorts of costume pieces. we made a bunch of horns but that was about it. this past year has been too busy to prepare for such a small show.

now cynthia, azalea and andrew are in new york for the Soft Flex show this weekend. I have high hopes that it will turn out well. I will be here all week working on my cartoon and finishing some piano music after cleaning up the house and fixing up the mustang.

off to the auto parts store and sporting goods store. I started working out recently and really forced myself to do more than ever before... and for the first time in my life I felt great the next day. The pain I felt before now feels like a deep tissue massage. I love it.

office work is almost done for the day. time for fun with bob and steve.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Study in Magic: It's Movement and Application

Part One: Wizardry
Section One: Identification and Transformation of Sorcery


Not far away, not long ago,
just after the sun left the sky;
a woman named Donna LeMar left her home,
concealing her bright, new black eye.

The husband had gone after punching his wife
for late night delivery driving,
where he'd gather around with his friends and tell lies:
how his marriage was healthy and thriving.

Not far from Donna's, a neighborhood block,
as the moon slowly started to climb;
a young man named David McKay raced the clock
to deliver a pizza on time.

He punched at the wheel and he cursed everything,
his adjectives rather absurd.
As he sped by, our friend Donna was watching
and promptly showed David her bird.

She had mistaken young David for Alex,
her husband who drove the same car:
usually pizza in their neighborhood
was delivered by Mr. LeMar.

The lady in waiting for pizza that evening
was one Ms. Melinda Millay,
who never had once ordered food in her life
and happily cooked every day.

Now Ms. Melinda sat rocking in silence,
her eyes back and forth between crying.
Some hours before, she had learned of the violence
her son suffered as he lay dying.

When David saw Donna with finger held high,
his tender, young heart split in two:
he had been seeing his friend's wife for years
and believed her love for him was true.

Enraged and distraught, Dave squeeled to a stop
and revved the gas loud as he could,
conveying to Donna the sound of his pain
with the screaming from under the hood.

David let go the brake, leaving behind
a gust of foul smoke in his wake,
and put the scenario out of his mind
for a moment, for Ms. Millay's sake.

The screech in the street gave Melinda a start
and she jumped up and down in her joy,
convinced in the depths of her fragile, old heart
that someone brought news of her boy.

David was out of the car in a flash
with the pizza and garlic cheese dip,
and jumped up the steps to the porch in a dash
with the hopes of still earning a tip.

Melinda Millay turned on the porch light
and quickly threw open the door,
where there, at the steps, stood a ghost of her son
from only a few years before.

She beckoned him in with her arms in the air,
longing to feel his embrace,
and batted the tufts of her wispy, white hair
away from the tears on her face.

But all that young David could see in her eyes
and all he believed her to be
was a crazy, old woman deprived of her prize;
resolved that her meal should be free.

Exhausted, frustrated, annoyed and convinced
that Melinda would claim she was cheated,
David set down all the food he'd brought in
and said words that will not be repeated.

All of the hatred from all of the people
that led down this chain of events
gathered as one in a moment of evil
and spit out a virulent offense.

Then black turned to white and the dark became light
and the power of love ran it's course
when Melinda Millay played the angel that day
and a sponge for that negative force... all of the memories haunting her nights
from the years that she spent with her son;
the arguments, gripes, disagreements and fights
were finally coming undone.

Melinda then realized that anger was merely
a sign of an impatient mind
as the face of her son slowly faded away
and young David's creeped in from behind.

She reached for her wallet that lay on the table
and David's eyes followed her hand,
where the Balance of Goodness showed David the truth
in a way that he could understand.

He saw in a mirror-- or was it a photo?
A boy who could pass as his twin!--
-and all in a moment, young Dave was exposed
to a glimpse of the pain she was in.

He glanced at Melinda and covered his face,
then left without taking his pay,
and hoped Ms. Millay would forgive this disgrace--
for David had nothing to say.

He ran from her house and rammed on the gas,
sped along Ms. Millay's road,
jumped from his car and up onto the grass
of his girlfriend's humble abode.

All he could say when she opened the door
was simply, "Forgive me", and then
he turned to his car and returned to the store
and never saw Donna again.

He hung up his keys, changed from his clothes
and told all his friends he was leaving;
then gave back his polo, his nametag and hat
and the money that he had been thieving.

Later that evening, when Alex went home,
he found his packed bags in the yard.
He begged and he pleaded, but Donna repeated
that splitting up wasn't so hard.

Kindly, she waved as her husband departed
and gave him a hug on the lawn,
then proudly, defiantly lifted her finger--
discreetly, though, after he'd gone.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

nice time last night here at the house

Cynthia and Andrew went to visit our friend Anne in Atlanta. They left around 3 and then Steve and his new wife Sarah hung around for most of the evening. After a hamburger cookout we played some music. Sarah is really good at sight-reading for piano and played some of my old compositions. I never finished any of them, but hearing her play the beginnings so well brought them back to life for me.

Then Steve and I got guitars and Sarah got out her mandolin and we played some other songs we've written. Sarah has a great voice and I have some other folk songs I wrote years ago that I never performed in public because I thought they would sound better sung by a woman. I'll be bringing those out next time!

Sheila went to a party at one of our friends' house. About an hour passed between Steve and Sarah's departure and Sheila's return. During that time, Azalea and I played Butterfly Memory on the coffee table... and she was amazing! I used 8 pairs of 16 cards and scattered them around before lining them up in a perfect 4x4 pattern. I could tell if she was going to get one if she hesitated at all after seeing the first card. When she was successful, it was instant! She would look at the first card for just a fraction of a second and then drop her body weight onto the card with both hands.... and they were always cards she had seen within the last 2 attempts. So today we will practice more and improve those odds!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

good times in california

having a lot of fun out here in california...
first at the ISGB show in Oakland,
then in Pasadena for the Bead and Design show.
heading home soon next tuesday night so I can unpack and repack in time for the Interweave BeadFest in Philadelphia. crammed schedule! I hope I have time to finish some office work and clean things up around the shop.

first picture here is Kira from Saki Silver holding Carter Seibels' display for ISGB. It was very well done; the beads looked like delicate little flowers atop the thin wire stems:

second picture is Sak, Kira and Aveesh (the shadows are Micky and me). before flying kites we played with the remote control porsche for awhile and chased Finn around for some good laughs....

third picture is a white pickup truck on fire on our way to the show on thursday morning in pasadena. never saw anything like this even when i lived here for three years...

last picture is a view of the city at night from our balcony. again, nothing like i saw when i lived here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quite a crowd at Bele Chere

Nice festival! There was a lot of great art there, like a clay flute maker and a couple ladies who made amazing orchid sculptures out of polymer (we bought a few).
I couldn't believe how hot it was. I don't ever remember it getting that hot before. But the crowds showed up, as you can see. It was fun.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Game

Contents: 1 universe, incl. solar system and planet Earth.

No. of Players: 1 to Everyone

Ages: All

Setup: Survive early life long enough to construct substantial moral, social and psychological foundations. Become capable of self-sufficiency and knowledgable of basic scientific laws.

Object of the game: To break down the concept of time and understand it's use as a language, a series of words (i.e. hour, era, generation) and symbols (i.e. a clock, the stages of sunlight from dawn to dusk) created to enable order within society.

Hints: Imagine if the world never turned on it's axle and it was bright all day, every day... and organic life was free of the need to sleep. The surface of the Earth would appear to bubble with creative instances; each life would swell into adulthood and fade into deterioration without the nighttimes to distance us from our pasts. Our minds would be free to experience the purity of moments, to embrace them as attributes of ourselves instead of shadows of the people we once were.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Two Observations

The Purpose:
To transform oneself into a compassionate being whose actions, intentions and contributions to the advancement and enhancement of the entire human organism shine as an example of good's triumph over evil and love's necessary role in the creative process.

The Secret:
Every particle of matter,
molecule of gas,
human emotion and thought
is Magnetic,
with a polar opposite that is positive or negative
in accordance with relativity.

The hatred we feel for the things we onced loved is as intense as that love we once felt.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

a step up in production

Amazing job by Tony on this Rumi Bird Pendant wax tree... 99 pieces on there. We used to think that 32 was pushing it on the small centrifugal flasks, but now we've got this huge perforated vacuum flask that puts us on a whole new level. It's burning out as I write this. The moment of truth is upon us.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

getting ready for denver, co show

tony has been working hard in the garage, doing an awesome job on wax trees in preparation for the rocky mountain bead bazaar. we'll probably be casting on Monday night or Tuesday morning. Cynthia is hard at work on her book proposal for Interweave, as my meeting with them in denver is friday before the show.... and I've been hard at work on my new cartoon!

I now have the vocal tracks for the elephant, squirrel, acorn and bumblebee. I still need the carrot, jackalope, peanut, turtle and incidental characters. It's a lot of fun! But I need to complete the entire soundtrack with music and everything before I can start animating over it.

Here is a picture of sally in development:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

day 4 of a 5 day fast

I've been fasting for the past four days while using an herbal cleanse, and I suggest it to anyone who has thought of doing it. Sure I miss food, but the herbal drink is substantial enough to give you that "feeling" of being full.... and you take it 5 times a day, so it really isn't so bad. My skin has completely cleared up and changed in color from grayish to pink-orange, and I feel lighter on my feet than I have in several years. Kudos to Blessed Herbs Co.!

On another note, I'm far along on my cartoon. The script is done, the characters are designed and most of the voices are locked down. I want a different actor for every voice, so it doesn't seem so cheap. My friend Melissa is coming over tonight to record the main character. Hopefully I'll have my own voices and Cynthia's done by then so I can start putting some of the audio together for the first scene. I'll be gone this weekend in Philadelphia for a three-day show, so I should be able to get a lot done at night after each day. The animation will take a while, but if I am able to get onto a network, it will be worth it.... and then I'll have to come up with 12 more episodes! I can't wait!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

been in cincinnati for a week

I haven't blogged in a long time. I can't just tell everything on here, so sometimes I delay writing an entry in the hopes that I will think of something that isn't either deeply personal or terribly boring... and so what results is a blog that isn't updated with sometimes a month or more between entries. I enjoy writing on here when I have the opportunity, and (for a while) was even trying to force myself to update as often as possible, such as the wizard story (which I plan to continue, but trade shows abound and I usually only have three days at home and four away.) Creative writing is a psychological escape, one I enjoy doing most when at home. It's hard to write at home because I'm always either working or spending time with the family.... so I am forced to do it when away, when time permits and the countless distractions subside.

I've been visiting my mother for a week and I've had a nice time. Cynthia has been working on some awesome projects and wanted some quiet time to finish them up so I took the opportunity to come visit some of my family with Azalea. We got to see my sister Jenny, my grandparents on my father's side and my uncle Steve.

Played some games at Steve's house and had a great time! I swear, everytime I go over there he has some game I always dreamed of seeing or wanted to create myself. I find it very entertaining to escape into a fantasy world through games.... it takes a lot more brain power than just crashing in front of the TV for a movie. You have to interact with it directly and your decisions determine the outcome (like the climax in a movie), only the outcome is different everytime and you learn a lot about how your own brain works when putting it through such tests. It's great to play a game when socializing and catching up with someone, because it keeps you seated and settled and provides a justifiable distraction when the conversation idles.

I also got to see my old elementary and high school best friend Bryan Edwards. We were inseparable back then, and all the sudden we completely fell out of contact when I started college. It's been twelve years, so he looks different and sounds different and that's a little wierd, but we had a great time reminiscing and catching up. I hope to do more of that when I visit my mother next time.

I'm going home tomorrow so Azalea can be back in time for a slumber party with her friends Nathea and Cassie over at Tony and Lisa's.... and so I can catch up on work and get a casting done before the Interweave show in King of Prussia, PA. I'm looking forward to that show. Miami is the week after that and Denver is two weeks later, followed by San Fransisco the week after that when Bob Burkett will be flying back with me to prepare for Bead and Button in Milwaukee in June. So the schedule is looking full but all is well and the future looks bright. I will try to find time to blog as much as possible.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

back from tucson and cleaning up

we just got back from tucson and most of us have healed from the annual sickness. seems like we get sick everytime we go.
i got to see a lot of people i haven't seen in a long time and met a lot of new friends! especially wendy, jess and todd from vintaj... we've known each other for a while but i really got to know them this week... and we're talking about making some collaborative pieces and maybe even our own trade show some day!
it was a good time all around. our most successful tucson yet!

i just started working on a new cartoon idea. and i won't say anything about it except that the main character is an elephant who considers herself an agnostic theist. she is very kind and considerate toward her arch-nemesis, an angry athiest peanut who is always weary of ellie's intentions.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Leaving for Tucson in five days!

and it's crazy around here... but it's also a lot of fun to cast such a large variety of things! Bob and Tony & Lisa and I are all taking turns on the torch and managing the equipment so everyone gets everything done. It will be nice to relax on the road after all this work for the past few weeks.
We just cast some bronze a few days ago, and it looks great.... even though 2/3 of them didn't come out. What we did get is cool... I'm excited about experimenting with ammonia and copper-topper on it.
so we just put a deposit down on a little 8-day old Shiba Inu puppy! A year ago Cynthia told me she never wanted a dog, but the right one can change anybody!
And we're going to name her Kitsune (Japanese for "fox").... she's red and looks just like one!

Friday, January 25, 2008

a little reflection

I'm conflicting with emotion via silent contemplation,
as misery and apathy promote self-condemnation.
My heart reveals itself, so I approach with apprehension
to find a loss without reprieve and love without pretension.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Golden Key

In a far away land of kings and queens,
of jester’s tricks and courtly scenes,
when people carried bows and swords
the lands were ruled by dukes and lords.

There were no cars or telephones,
no diamond saws for cutting stones.
‘Twas flints they used to sharpen knives;
‘twas knives they used for ending lives.

No Haagan Daaz or Oreos,
no Lucky Charms or Cheerios.
No Cherry Coke or Mountain Dew;
just water, wine and veggie stew.

They lived content but shorter lives,
and rarely men outlived their wives.
To no surprise, death hindered birth
when war erupted on the Earth.

Then darkness fell across the land,
the hourglasses lost their sand.
“The sun set down one night,” they say,
“and did not rise the following day.”

The sun decided late one night
that men weren’t worthy of it’s light.
‘Twas locked behind a hidden door
when men were selfish, fighting war.

Diseases brought abundant tears,
some famines lasted fifty years.
The people lost all will to live
‘cause no one had strength left to give.


Late one night, like a singing bird,
a little child’s voice was heard.
“I know the answer!” was his call.
“I’ll bring light back to one and all!”

“The sun is locked away, you see,
confined, and feeling quite lonely!
I’ll seek him out and set him free
once I have found the Golden Key!”

“Hooray!” the people screamed with joy.
“Our hearts are with this young, brave boy!”
With food in his bag and a sword on his hip,
the boy set out on a foolish trip.

He searched among the white corn stalks
and looked beneath the river rocks.
He searched each house in all the land
and dug holes in the ocean sand.

He panned the lakes and climbed the trees,
he walked the woods and sailed the seas.
He searched, regardless of his fears,
which grew as months turned into years.

He looked above and underground,
but that Golden Key he never found,
until, at last, his thoughts consoled
the fear that he’d finally grown too old.

His bag he packed, his sword threw down,
the time had come to return to town.
His home was not a familiar sight:
his friends had long since taken flight!

He bought an old cabin and lived out his years
writing his story and crying his tears.
He’d spent his whole life in pursuit of that key,
and never quite realized it’s proximity!

The key had become to this man like the Grail,
and a legend was formed from his sorrowful tale.
He’d searched for the key just to bolster his pride,
while the answer was actually deep down inside.

The very last lines of his diary read,
“I’ve lived a full life, now it’s time to be dead.
We must all know the question is not ‘Where’s the key?’
The question is ‘Who?’ The answer is—“

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bob Burkett is here!

and all is well. He arrived safely in Charlotte at 9:30pm.
So tomorrow we'll be working on wax and new molds for Tucson!
and our friend Jen will be helping out and learning the casting process with us!

Cynthia and Azalea arrived safely in Orlando. Cynthia will be representing at the Bead Mercantile show in Ft. Lauderdale this weekend... and then in Clearwater next weekend. It's good that Tony and Lisa from Zoa Art are doing these shows, too. They will be next to us at the Best Bead Show at the Kino Center this year as well.

thanks to my dear mother I acquired a nice lathe recently and Bob had the idea of creating bottles with it. So I'll be working on all sorts of exciting new things this week! and I've always dreamed of creating my own sweet chess set. I was thinking of spinning out some chunky basic posts and then hand-carving the faces and detail.... but that will have to wait until after we get back from arizona.... locking into bead mode now!

Monday, December 31, 2007

A poem for my father....

This situation has been a tragic one, but should not be forgotten. I can either let it depress and inhibit me, or uplift and inspire me.

This is a poem I wrote for my father, and I wish I had the chance to write this before his funeral so I could have shared it with the people there:

Every day a new beginning,
Every day a precious end.
Suffer not from loss at ending;
Endings start the clock again!

Time continues, new life grows,
sprouting from old life's decay.
On to where, nobody knows;
yet unknown, it brought this day!

Let this day be one of learning,
each day worthy to defend!
For every day's a new beginning,
every day a precious end.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Paul James Ogden, 1951-2007

My father just went to his Home in the sky this morning at 3:38am. He was a great man. I will miss him dearly.
Biology has taught me a bitter lesson. This whole situation makes me feel even more like a spirit "trapped" inside this temporary physical existence.
I can still hear him and feel his presence and sense his mind. He dwells within me now.

Friday, December 07, 2007

wisdom throughout the ages.....

Still reading Don Quixote; for many years i've been told it's about this guy who goes crazy and runs into the world finding exciting quests for himself and his compadre, Sancho Panza the aloof, stupid sidekick.

but i've found it's actually about a man who realizes that goodness, kindness, chivalry, charity and sacrifice are the keys to an enlightened state of being. He then discovers that once he had the realization he became obligated to it.... or in other words, a person is wasting his life when he can't live up to at least what his mind is capable of comprehending.... or in other words, exercising Will Power is like proving to yourself that your brain is working properly.

Don Quixote is becoming more and more enlightened with each passing adventure. He applies to his future experiences the knowledge he gains from screwing up in previous ones. One of his most common problems is to seek recognition and fame for his wonderful deeds….

I'm still only about 120 pages in, out of almost 1000. I just read a section where Quixote is once again praising himself for a job well done, and questions Panza about his lack of enthusiasm, to which Panza replies:

“I’m a peaceful man, sir, meek and mild, and I can overlook any insult, because I’ve got a wife to support and children to bring up.”

This stuck with me, because it’s true that nothing can harm you emotionally when you live for such a noble purpose.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

just finished casting, getting ready for orlando!

Tony Blackwell put this wax tree together for me, and I think he did an amazing job! The picture doesn't quite capture the glory that is this piece... he crammed about 50 charms on there!

So we're getting ready for the Bead Mercantile Orlando show... and we'll be staying with Cynthia's folks down there. Then on Tuesday our friend Jeremiah from will be attending a show where his work will be on display in Miami, so we're going there to support that and say hi and all.

If you come to the show in Orlando, mention my blog and I'll give you an additional discount! You've got to come get some of the little charms in this pic!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Getting ready for BABE! bead show in San Fransisco...

So Tony is out in the garage making wax trees and Lisa is in the office helping me get ready for the big show in California this weekend. We'll be casting nine flasks tomorrow, the maximum amount I can fit in my kiln. Bob would be proud!

I look forward to hanging around Oakland. Last spring Bob and I walked around the Jack London square and hit the cool Barnes and Noble there on the water. But this year I'll be heading up to Antioch on Sunday night and staying on Bob's boat for the first time. Maybe I can talk him into building a fire with me at the little local campsite...

T.J. just decided to do all the Innovative Bead Expo shows next year. So check out their site! They have around 20 shows in the New England area and we'll be at every one of them!

I got a chance to write a lot on my story this past weekend in Pittsburgh and hope to have a chance this weekend after Bob passes out for the night. The thirty-page outline is only a paragraph or two from completion and then I can start on the layout (chapter-by-chapter plan and deciding what illustrations will accompany each chapter). And then on to the writing itself! haha...

Sunday, November 04, 2007


WOW! What an awesome show in Pittsburgh this weekend! Just got done packing up and having dinner...
Thanks, Lisa from Cleveland! (She bought three of Cynthia's hand-sculpted-one-of-a-kind resin portraits) and really made my day! You rock!

so now I'm ready to drive back tomorrow and start casting frantically for San Fransisco (BABE! Show in Oakland). I'll be seeing Bob Burkett this weekend, he will be driving down for the show and I offered him a stay at my hotel. He's been having some pretty serious health problems here recently and I've been very worried about him. It will be nice to see him and find out how things have improved since I've last talked to him.

Anyone who hasn't read Don Quixote, I suggest it to you. I am still near the beginning because it is almost a thousand pages long, if not more. But even so far, I have taken a message from it that is profound beyond description. The best I can do is this: Once an individual has discovered his potential, he is obligated to it. The realization itself binds you to the deed.

But maybe I'm just reading into it more than I should....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

back from mn, leaving today for nyc

great show this past weekend in minneapolis! lots of people came out and we did really well. the new faeries (silver body, shibuichi wings on cynthia's blog and holly black's site) sold really well! i got rid of 3 or 4 of them!
now we're busting ourselves in the garage on this fusion beads (in seattle) custom job. they're celebrating their fifteenth anniversary on nov. 1, so we're casting a silver coin with their logo for them. tony's out there right now making all the waxes while I slowly tree them and prepare them for casting.
i've been reading a lot of Eliphas Levi recently.... right now i'm engrossed in "Mysteries of Magic", which is more or less just a digest of several of his writings. From his list of 22 axioms, here are a couple I enjoy:

Axiom 1: Nothing can resist the will of man when he knows what is true and wills what is good.

Axiom 3: To will what is good with violence is to will evil, for violence produces disorder and disorder produces evil.

Axiom 12: To affirm and will what ought to be is to create; to affirm and will what should not be is to destroy.

Axiom 20: An iron chain is less difficult to burst than a chain of flowers.

Axiom 21: Succeed in not fearing the lion, and the lion will be afraid of you. Say to suffering- "I will that thou shalt become a pleasure," when it will prove to be such, and more even than a pleasure, for it will be a blessing.

food for thought........

Thursday, October 18, 2007

heading to minneapolis, mn for show...

so i'm getting ready now for the Twin Cities Bead Bazaar this weekend...
going alone, so I'll just read and draw all weekend. I'm so inspired by FaerieCon! I'm hoping to have some prints of my own work next year.
and my book and the blog story and everything... i'm probably trying to do too many things at once, but it never hurt me before.
oh well... here is a link to the show this weekend:

the new dark crystal flute I made for the show...

this one i made with ApoxieSculpt. It is obviously much more like the one in the movie than the bamboo version I made last december. (earlier post on this blog).

It sounds good, too. I played it while I walked down the stage during the costume contest. I had to figure out some tunes that sounded good on it, because it isn't in key at all.

but I'm planning on making another one very soon that is in key and is mass-producable. we've been discussing a new website around here where we can sell all our cool, magical non-jewelry wares and possibly do a show in the future...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

with Brian Froud, Theo and Holly Black!

Meeting Brian was the highlight of my weekend! He is so nice and signed five of my books with little drawings and everything! He loved my costume and we got to talk art and design for awhile at the show and at the ball at night. My costume award was one of his posters signed in pencil!

What a great time. I met a lot of really cool people and can't wait to go back next year! I must include another photo of me with Theo and Holly Black (she wrote the Spiderwick Chronicles). I really hit it off with Theo and hope to spend more time with them in the future. He's so cool. When I got back he sent me links to several websites he works on (including Holly's) where he put up images of our beads! (here is a link to her site:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Me at Faeriecon as Jen!

and I won the contest for men, too! thanks to wiesel's awesome sewing ability and the nifty ears.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Part Seven - The Cave

Turstin watched as the goblins descended, two by two, into the cavernous opening beneath the tree. When all but four of the goblins had disappeared into the secret cave, the goblin leader motioned for Turstin and his master to follow them into the abyss. Turstin was hesitant with his movements, but the wizard walked forward determined, unafraid, eager to join the wretched party.

“I don’t want to go,” Turstin spoke quickly.

“Quiet,” his master said, and held his hand in front of Turstin’s face for silence. Turstin tried to speak, to voice his concern for their apparent demise, but the words became stuck in his throat.

The wizard sat on the ground in front of the tree and rolled onto his belly, grasping the gnarled rope. As he slowly disappeared into the trees’ base, he kept a solid stare on Turstin, who imagined his master being eaten alive by the sylvan beast. The thought put Turstin in mind of his own hunger and he shook with desperation.

“Get in there, you,” the goblin leader grunted and poked Turstin with his rusty old spear. Turstin buckled, convinced the jab had drawn blood, and held his side as he fell to his knees. The goblin leader and one of his kin hobbled toward Turstin and picked him up from under his arms. Without concern for his wound they dragged him toward the tree and shoved him mercilessly into the cavernous hole.

All was black to Turstin’s eyes as he slid into the opening, and after a few seconds he felt a number of hands grab him and pull him forward. When the hands let go, Turstin fell several feet into a pile on the soft, mushy dirt. He pushed himself up into a sitting position and tried to look around, but the impact with the ground had skewed his vision, blinding him temporarily. “Get up, you little weakling,” a gruff voice demanded. Turstin glanced up, expecting to see one of the goblins grimacing down at him: but his heart fell in his stomach when he saw the contorted face of the Great Andolian Wizard looking at him with disgust and disappointment.

“Can you try to compose yourself?” the wizard prodded.

Turstin stood wearily and took in a deep breath, desperate to dispel his master’s poor impression.

“I’m okay,” he said. “I’m sorry. I had the wind knocked out of me.”

“Fine,” the wizard said. “Just stay behind me and try not to let your emotions get the best of you.”

Turstin stepped forward, tensing his muscles and forcing himself to breath with steady inhalations. A crash behind him grabbed his attention, and he was able to dodge out of the way just before the Greust leader and his companion came tumbling down behind him.

“Out of my way,” the leader yelled, and kicked Turstin in the shins before pushing his way through. “Just two more left and we can move on toward the dungeons.”

“Dungeons?” Turstin winced. “They’re not taking us to dungeons, are they, master?”

The Andolian wizard laughed, and tried to cross his bound hands across his chest. The action reminded him of his situation and he allowed his arms to fall to their original positions.

“Did you think our confinements would be elaborate?” the wizard chuckled. “No, we won’t be treated as kings, my little friend. Be prepared for a struggle.”

The goblin leader pushed his way past the Greust standing before them and waved his arm for the group to follow. As Turstin passed, the goblin leader caught his eye and smiled at him. “We have a special place for you, my prince. Would you like something dark and dusty, or would you prefer something damp and moldy?”

Turstin tried to ignore the goblins’ jeers, but the idea of confinement terrified him. He looked to the ground as his captors edged him forward, and before he glanced up again the sound of clanking bars and locks filled his ears. The room in which he was trapped wasn’t big enough to lie down in.

“Master?” Turstin called. “Master, can you hear me?” Turstin listened closely for an answer, but none ever came.

“He’s gone,” a goblin replied. “You’re on your own now.”

Monday, August 20, 2007

Part Six - The Tree

Turstin remained close to the wizard, bound by a single, thick rope stretching from his belly to the wizards’ back. He stared at the ground, watching his master’s heels as they popped out from beneath the elaborate Andolian robe. Once the wizard had stopped prodding the Greust leader with questionable statements about their current goblin politics, the rest of the ambushing party had calmed down and the only sound Turstin could hear in the forest other than an occasional hoot owl were his own footsteps; everyone else, it seemed, had perfected the fine art of Inaudible Maneuverability.

As he staggered along clumsily, Turstin was terrified by the thought of what may happen in the hours to come, twisting his hands in their binds as he imagined being subjected to unspeakable tortures for the sheer pleasure of his captors. His irritation grew as the goblin behind him continued to prod him hard in the back with its massive mauling club, but Turstin tried his best to ignore it. Besides, nothing really dampened the excitement he felt deep inside at being the assistant to the Great Wizard of the Andolian Draugh! Had he known this, he thought, he would have conversed much differently with the wizard when they sat at the campfire. The members of the Draugh are quite famous, he had heard many times before, always the topic of conversation among eager school boys and in the work yards. The Draugh were renowned for their immense power and involvement in almost all of the major events of recent history. The wizard, above all, maintained an unshakable reputation for his strength and knowledge among the people of the local villages. His shoes and clothes are beautiful, Turstin thought, and it was at this moment when the desire to truly follow this master of magic and wisdom began to grow and glow and swell inside Turstins’ heart.

The wizard suddenly halted, and Turstin nearly ran into him. Looking around, Turstin noticed all the goblins had stopped; the Greust were standing in a half-circle, facing a towering, old oak tree with large, entangled branches hanging down to touch it’s dead leaves that covered the ground. The goblin leader produced a long portion of rope from his side bag and threw the majority of it toward the tree while grasping one end. The rope flew easily over a thick, sturdy branch and the goblin quickly brought the two ends together to tie them. Turstin nearly fainted, envisioning the noose that would suffocate the life out of him, and shuffled with eager steps to position himself behind the wizard. Will he allow this?, Turstin thought, and prayed to whatever god would listen for his master to use some of that famous Andolian thaumaturgy to save them now.

“Are we going to die?” Turstin asked, staring wide-eyed at the wizard.

“I don’t know, actually. I can’t see very much out here, and they certainly are sneaking around a great deal,” the wizard answered nonchalantly, and through a small prestidigitation with his left hand he illuminated the area with golden light.

The Greust leader spun toward the wizard, jingling with charms and keepsakes that hung from his beard and belt. He was furious, swinging his spear around to jab the wizard in the chest. “Put it out, or I’ll have you on a spit,” the goblin grunted, and grimaced from the wizard to Turstin.

“What are we doing here, little one? Is this to be our end?” The wizard looked at Turstin briefly and grinned.

“What? Here?” the goblin chuckled and raised his arm to point toward the tree. “No, you great lummox, I can’t be having my way with you... your destiny is for Kreuch to decide.”

The goblin leader turned away from the prisoners and scuttled toward the tree. Taking the rope in his hand he turned to the wizard and said, “Oh well, I guess you can keep your pretty little lights, doesn’t matter much now anyway.” He got down on his knees at the base of the tree and shoved his fist with one end of the rope into the ground. A sudden jerk yanked the rope out of the leaders’ hand and he fell backward, letting out a small yelp as he rolled onto his behind. The other goblins laughed and the leader chortled, “Ah, gets me every time,” before regaining his stance and turning in a full circle to address the entire company: “Two at a time, now, and don’t forget to tug when you’re through.”

A cracking and tearing sound the likes of which Turstin had never heard in his worst nightmares issued from the base of the great oak. He watched in horror as the trunk split and shifted and lifted from the dirt, exposing a large opening to what appeared to be an infinite blackness, lonelier and more terrifying than the furthest reaches of space.

“Dreth, Yurgun, you first,” the leader grunted as he pointed to the two goblins who had obtained the wizards’ shoulder bag. “Litlur, Grot, you’re next.”

The wizard crossed his arms over his chest and took in a deep breath. He smiled, pursing his lips as he said, “So this is the entrance to Kreuch’s kingdom, huh? I’ll have to remember this.”

“Doubt it,” the goblin answered quickly. “You’d be lucky to live through the night. How else do you think we’ve kept it secret this long?”

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Part Five - The Token

Turstin hurried as he dressed under the close watch of the goblins, worried one may lose patience and let go an arrow. The wizard was obviously the grand prize, he thought, and the goblins were known for their lack of compassion; they could easily justify leaving a useless apprentice behind if it meant accomplishing their mission with less obstacles and more efficiency.

The wizard was annoyed, watching the Greust quickly gather all of his and Turstin’s belongings into a grimy burlap bag. One of the goblins reached toward the wizard and grabbed the bulk of his shoulder bag, pulling it away as though trying to tear it free. As soon as the wizard grabbed the strap and pulled it away from the little monster, two of the creatures’ horrid companions joined in on the struggle and nearly yanked the wizard off balance. In an instant, a long handled blade cut through an opening below the wizards’ elbow and separated the bag from his hold, sending him backward over a goblin that had been hunched down on all fours, waiting behind its victim’s wobbly legs. Turstin gasped, lunged toward his master and helped him to sit up. The wizard was livid, staring with burning embers at the goblin gloating over the shoulder pack.

“Take me to your king Hiulir. He will not tolerate this sort of treatment toward a member of the Andolian Draugh. I only spare you now because I respect his hierarchy in goblin matters,” the wizard stated quite frankly while he stood, slowly regaining his balance and composure in the midst of his captors.

“A member of the Andolian Draugh? Ha, ha, ha…. What luck,” said the goblin leader. Turstin looked to the wizard and received a silent warning: the look on the master’s face told him to keep quiet for fear of the goblin’s discovering their true purpose. The goblin leader pointed toward the Greust with the wizards’ shoulder bag and instructed them to search it. One of the goblins reached inside and pulled out the only object in the bag, a large metal disk. He discarded the empty bag on the ground and handed the disk to his commander.

“A Draugh token? I should have expected this,” the leader chuckled. He walked to the other side of the fire and picked up the empty shoulder bag. “This token hides the contents of the bag… there could be anything in here. Better hold on to it…. Khreuch has ways of finding things protected by these spells…”

The wizard stumbled forward and spoke loudly; Turstin could sense the desperation in his voice. “Krueuch? Why would you have anything to do with that old bastard of a Greust?”

“Watch it," the goblin mumbled. "Kreuch doesn’t take to insults very kindly, and I’m sworn to an oath. I mean, I understand that he can be hard sometimes,… but he’s in charge, see? Not much choice in the matter.”

“Take me to Hiulir. He holds command over the regions,” the wizard insisted.

“Dead,” said the goblin matter-of-factly. “Overthrown. Kreuch is in charge now.”

The wizard smiled and held his arms forward, wrists upward, made available to bind if the goblins so wished. “I will go with you to see Kreuch," the wizard offered. Turstin was surprised, terrified, wondering what could have possessed the Great Wizard of the Draugh to submit to the goblins so readily. “I look forward to it, actually. I’m not so sure he fully understands the importance of such matters, and it would be good for us all if I were to educate him on a thing or two.”

Several members of the Greust mumbled incoherently and moved forward with pointed spears. The leader grinned and motioned for the wizard and his apprentice to be bound.

Within moments Turstin and his master were tied up around the torso, slowly shuffling forward as the goblins pushed them away from the dying campfire. The wizard continued to smile as though pleased with himself. He cleared his throat and announced, “I’m sure Eliades will be less than pleased with Kreuch when she hears about this, but you’ve given her no choice.”

Silence fell over the group. Every goblin stopped and spun where he stood, grimacing at the wizard, salivating as though eager to dismember him on the spot. “What do you know of Eliades?” the goblin leader grunted. “You’re just digging yourself in deeper and deeper, you old damn fool. The Greatest of Fires belongs to us, and no one but the Greust controls it.”

“We’ll see about that,” the wizard chortled. The goblin leader glared angrily at the wizard, but was ignored. “You know what time it is, my little friend. The Rekindling is upon us.”

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Part Four - The Fire

Turstin sat cross-legged with his back against a rock, covering himself with the wizard’s traveling cloak, shivering and glancing nervously from left to right and back again. The wizard perched atop a small boulder several feet above ground, looking through the large, blazing fire at Turstin’s face, studying him indiscriminately.

A snap somewhere in the surrounding darkness stole Turstin’s attention. He stared wide-eyed into the bushes for just a short moment before forcing himself to look away, trying desperately to compose himself on behalf of the wizard’s insufferable scrutiny.

Suddenly, a terrible urge pulled on Turstin’s mind, one that was contrary to his very demeanor while in the presence of his master ever since the day they first met. Turstin had never once looked directly into the wizard’s eyes, more out of respect than fear; but now fear took control of him as he struggled against what felt like a gigantic invisible hand cupping the top of his head, turning it slowly toward the ominous figure on the rock. He clenched and pushed against it, tried to squeeze his eyelids shut and grabbed hard onto his knees as he fought and tried to resist. Only a few seconds later, the wizard had a firm hold on Turstin’s entire visual scope, but let go soon after they made eye contact. Turstin did not break this connection, though he could have; the urge to resist had been miraculously transformed into an urge to never look away.

The wizard was beaming, smiling at Turstin as would a proud father. Turstin immediately felt comforted, relaxed and strangely invincible while in his master’s vicinity. The wizard leaned forward and Turstin heard a soft noise emanate toward him; the sound became words that floated on the air, but the wizard’s old gray face never moved.

“Be afraid of nothing. We are perfectly safe in these woods.” The crackle of the fire burnt the sound away as a large teetering log atop the roaring heap cracked in two and rolled into the surrounding rocks.

“I understand,” muttered Turstin, embarrassed, but then turned quickly to his right when another snap in the darkness seized his notice. He wanted to giggle at the absurdity of his nerves, but withheld as he shook his head exhaustedly and looked back toward the wizard.

“Why did you submit to me for this journey?” the wizard asked him suddenly, returning to normal speech. Turstin was taken aback, flustered and sickened by all the constant changes in mood, but found comfort in the fact that his master was at least still smiling. He sputtered before answering timidly:

“Well, um… I didn’t exactly know what this whole thing was about, and I just heard in town that you were looking for assistance, and I know I can carry stuff and help you with most of your basic traveling needs, so I submitted… more to the pressure of my mother than anything.”

“You heard nothing of the details?”

“Well, not before we left. I mean, you said something earlier about some great fire and the idleness of fortunate people and something else…," Turstin mumbled, feeling uneasy at the inconsistency of the wizard’s glowing, kindly attitude versus the subject matter of his prying questions.

The wizard detected Turstin’s uneasiness and said smoothly, “You seem to have no knowledge or even… interest in magic at all. It was my intention to train someone in my craft... but unfortunately you were the only person who submitted for……” and the words stopped.

“Oh, I’m definitely interested!” Turstin said with bold enthusiasm. “I don’t know anything about it at all, but I’m all ears if you... well, if you would have me.” Turstin hoped for an equally excited response from the wizard, but the old man said nothing. Turstin sat back and sighed.

The wizard continued to stare straight ahead, unmoving. After several awkward seconds, Turstin moved slightly to his left, noticing that his master’s gaze did not follow; the wizard’s eyes squinted as the smile left his face. Turstin leaned to brace himself on his elbow and turned completely around to see what his master was looking at; a small gasp escaped him as he realized he was staring straight down the shaft of a crooked, jagged arrow and up into the eyes of the ugliest creature he had ever seen or could have imagined.

The nasty, festering ball of flesh grunted and chortled, “Well, I see... come on, Greust, stand up...” and the woods seemed to Turstin to be suddenly infested with a whole army of hideous creatures like the one standing before him, all bearing worn, partially broken weapons. Turstin wrapped the wizard’s cloak around his shoulders more tightly and shuffled away from the troll-ish monster, staring at the wizard accusingly. The wizard glanced at Turstin and blinked, slowly opening his mouth.

“So what?” he said. “I can be wrong about some things too, you know.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Part Three - The Bridge

The towering monstrosity stumbled backward, away from the wizard. He knew he was bound to whatever task the wizard may demand of him, however dangerous or tedious. Anger bubbled along the sedimentary muscles that formed his hideous face, casting dust where wrinkles crushed together. In a swift motion, his right arm swung upward along his waist, pounding its fist thunderously into the left palm, breaking finger pieces into shards that fell in low thuds to the ground. Turstin lifted his left arm to shield his face and leaned the staff in front of the wizard as a way of protecting the old man. The wizard calmly batted the staff from obstructing his view and looked pitifully at Turstin.

The creature lunged and pitched forward, thrusting his arms toward the river. In a moment, several other rocks lying about began to grumble, crack apart, shift and lift into malformed structures resembling enormous men. Dazed and drunk with sleep, they tumbled about as they stretched their legs and struggled to maintain balance. One stood quickly to straighten his back and reach toward the stars, but leaned back too far. Toppling into one of his confused comrades, his spine broke in the middle and his torso fell in an avalanche; the two figures crumbled together in groans and rolled about until the pebbled pieces lay lifeless in the sand.

By now, the Magician had lost his patience: he made an obscure sign with his left hand and directed it toward the original creature. Without a sound, the leader and his five remaining kin began to move toward the water. They waded in formation, one after the other, until a fine line of stepping stones began to form along the tops of their jagged heads. Turstin looked to the wizard for instruction and received an invitation to lead. “No, no... after you, please,” he said with a shudder.

The wizard whisked to the shore and jumped solidly from one rock to the next. He looked over his shoulder at Turstin and beckoned with a short wave. Turstin quickly tightened his pack straps and belt and held his staff aloft as he followed, hopping to the first rock successfully. He jumped for the second rock but slipped on its slimy surface, cracking his shin on the monster’s shoulder and creating an uneven splash as he fell sideways into the water. The unfortunate creature turned away from Turstin and brushed the boy’s kicking feet from his back, sending Turstin helplessly on his own.

The magician chuckled from the opposite shore and said, “Well, there’s no use now, my fine gentlemen. I thank you for your assistance. You are freed.” The stone monsters immediately disbanded, some wading off to the shore, some simply sinking into the murky water and out of sight. “Come on now, Turstin. Let’s get you out of those wet clothes and next to a warm fire.” The wizard smiled, put his hands together and walked into the woods.

Turstin was annoyed with his master’s lack of assistance, but felt more comfortable in the water than atop the cracking heads of the rock men. Holding his staff above his head, he trudged cautiously to the shore and was wringing out his clothes when the magician returned with wood and kindling.

“You can hang your clothes to dry on this,” the wizard said as he handed Turstin three sticks. “Stand two of them in the sand and lay the third across them.” Turstin quickly did as he was told, trying to watch with great interest as the wizard built a pyramid with the sticks.

“It is love that brings fire,” the master announced. “It is the union of wood with wood.” And in the same way as Turstin himself would have done, the wizard piled old, dry leaves around a flat log and spun a stick in one of it’s divots until smoke began to thicken the air.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Magic Lamp (a new squirrelbirds song)

Rub this magic lamp three times; a genie will appear.
His skin is red, his hair is black, his eyes are crystal clear.
He will look into your heart to find what you desire;
a brand new car or peace on earth or wealth when you retire.

Make sure you word your wishes well.
Listen here, my boy….
Make sure you word your wishes well.

Those were the words the old man said to me today;
after handing me the lamp, he laughed and danced away.
I held it to my face and gazed into its mirror shine.
A greedy voice inside my head said, “Finally it’s mine.”

I thought about the things that I could use.
I said, “Forget that dumb old man”
and thought about the things that I could use.

I studied it suspiciously and rubbed it on my cloak;
it shook and jerked and issued forth a blinding cloud of smoke.
The genie floated on the air and bowed his head to me,
then offered up his wizardry to grant me wishes three.

What an amazing opportunity!
I told myself don’t screw up
such an awesome opportunity.

I wished to see an end to all the pain and poverty,
I wished to see an end to all the woe and agony,
I wished to see the world become a better place to be.
The genie smiled and spread his arms and granted them to me!

Approaching me benignly, he embraced me…
then reached his hand inside my heart
and stole my life away.

As I lie here dying, I now realize my mistake:
every wish I asked him for was phrased for my own sake.
He took away my life to make me blind to everything,
to all the pain and all the woe and all the misery.

The Squirrelbirds at their first gig!!!

Steve and I played the open-mic at the Dripolator here in Asheville last night and they offered us a gig the first friday night of September!

So if you're around, come see us!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Part Two - The Light

Turstin, the apprentice, pushed his way through the dense brush, continually snagged by the sharp, bristly branches of the surrounding pines. An attempt to free his pack strap from a jutting thorn bush spun him around; the struggle left him at a loss of both breath and direction. Turstin’s heart quickened as he realized he could no longer hear the footsteps or occasional scolding of his master.

“Lord, I have lost sight of you! Where are you?” Turstin braced himself on a rotten, old fallen tree trunk. The softness of its decaying splinters put Turstin in mind of thick, matted hair. He withdrew his hand quickly and held it out for balance, perching precariously on a large, uneven rock.

“ASTAVES SYLVANIE EDULAMIN!” his master called. The great booming voice of the magnificent seer overwhelmed the forest ambiance, sending several of its nocturnal creatures into an uproar. Squirrels skirmished up into the branches, raccoons hurried beneath low bushes and a frenzied flock of birds burst into the air in a moment of alarm.

A soft glow appeared, permeating the blackness of the dense growth, illuminating the surrounding area as if it were bathed in midday light. The apprentice shielded his eyes until they adjusted to the growing radiance. All was white to his eyes, yet they remained open and unburned. The master’s silhouette slowly darkened into view, standing directly ahead of Turstin. He floated on the light as would an angel delivering blessed tidings.

“Come to me,” the master urged. “Pay no mind to your steps.” Turstin walked with confidence toward his master without ever taking his eyes off his goal. The light dimmed as he neared the wizard, and the surrounding darkness had completely enveloped them by the time they reconnected. Turstin forced his breathing to slow into a soothing pace as a soft breeze caught his hair, cooling both his face and temperament. He turned toward the wind to take in the fresh air and found himself facing a large, wide river.

“We need to cross,” said the wizard. He stood for a long time with his eyes closed, entangling his hands into various formations. Turstin shifted his weight from one foot to the other as he waited for instruction.

After some time, the wizard opened his eyes and walked toward a large, nearby stone. Kicking it with all his strength, he screamed into the night air: “EMOVA SEDIMENTIS EDA CONETRIS!”

A great rumbling issued from the rock and shook the earth deep beneath the sand. Turstin wobbled and braced himself on his mentor, grasping the wizards’ thin, bony arm. The stone broke and separated into large masses that moved individually and yet remained somehow connected, forming a grainy monstrosity that stood and bent beneath the sky like a hulking, human form. Turstin covered his ears to protect them from the intensity of the creatures wail.

The sound faded long after the stone man had finished his cries. He glared at the wizard and his apprentice before shaking, flexing and stomping thunderously toward them. “Why have you woken me?” he demanded.

The wizard leaned forward and patted his new friend’s shoulder tenderly. “You will help us,” he replied with a smile.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Part One - The Departure

On a cold, misty night outside of a tiny village, a small group of simple townsfolk stood gazing hopefully into the dark looming forest lining the main road. They watched with held breath as the local wizard and his apprentice slid down the overgrown slopes into the foreboding brush. All hearts and eyes were with them, supporting them, carrying them with their dreams of freedom and security.

The wizard stopped, turned and glared over his shoulder at the apprentice who stumbled behind him. "Back straight, one foot at a time. Learn to feel with your feet before completing each step. You will soon be able to achieve this in one fluid motion, and it will seem to any onlooker as instantaneous. TheVillage Mage should always maintain stable composure."

The apprentice listened to his master with an attentive ear, concentrating on each word. He closed his eyes and breathed in through his nose, inhaling the apple scent of crushed chamomile as his teacher skipped gently ahead of him across the blanket of flowers that covered the forest floor. He spread his fingers at his sides and tried to push the tinge of anxiety out of his throat, down through his body and into the ground.

The apprentice attempted to walk with confidence, but was tripped up by the nervousness in his feet. Losing his balance, he wobbled and grabbed for a nearby branch, calling to his master, "Where are we going, my Lord? What do we seek?"

The Great Wizard stopped again, his demeanor rich in patience and love. He blessed the night sky and prayed for Wisdom. "The One is disturbed," he explained. "A terrible force is consuming the minds of humankind. Consciousness has suffered a great loss in the battle against the Self. The Fire of Eliades must be rekindled to burn away the idleness of the fortunate." The apprentice closed his eyes, squeezing the words through a sieve in his mind, filtering the confusion from his thoughts. He opened his eyes wide and peered into the impenetrable darkness, hoping for a light to lead him. Finding none, he swallowed his fear and took a blind step forward into the great woodland abyss.

Friday, May 04, 2007

a song steve and i are working on, sort of goofy...

breathe in deep and hold your breath
don't think about the inevitability of death
close your eyes and clear your mind
don't let your selfish thoughts come sneaking up from behind

open up the channel in your spine
embrace the spirit up on high
and focus on the space between your eyes

once you've got pranayama down,
that's prana and asana sharing the same sound
some say it keeps you on your toes...
to take a glass of water and drink it through your nose.

sit in your meditative pose
make sure those beady eyes are closed
and suck that water up your nose

vivekananda says it hydrates your brain
cleans your pores and makes you more impervious to pain
keep drinking water through your nose every day
your hair will maintain luster and never turn to gray

if you succeed when you first try
without a whimper or a cry
then you're a better man than I

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Illustration Friday Submission, Pencil on Paper.

Friday, March 09, 2007

reflective perspective

Let me his heart's eye to suffer emotion
Let me his mind's eye to ponder devotion
Bless me away from subjective perspective
Blind me within so my view is objective

Friday, January 19, 2007

tucson quickly approaching...

working like crazy right now in preparation for the big shows.
made a lot of waxes yesterday and cynthia has cleaned them up already!
i'm going to tree the rest of them up today and hopefully be casting shibuichi tonight.

i'm looking forward to the trip, because we decided to drive this time. i like long road trips, gives me a lot of time to think about a story i've been working on for several months now. every time i drive, i add more to the story and write it all down when i get to a computer.

tj cleaned up the garage last night while i was sleeping. i couldn't believe how amazing it was! There is nothing like working in a super clean environment. It's very easy to concentrate on the task at hand.

back to work now... planning on making another 1500-1700 pewter beads within the next week. i've got tj and tim helping, so it just may be possible....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

steven tyler from aerosmith wearing green girl beads!

I was thrilled when a customer emailed this pic and the link to his blog, where he mentions the beads in the first paragraph:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

a spell for self love

Here is a thought to consider when feelings are hurt. It helps me find the source of the majority of my problems, not surprisingly:

Sometimes my heart is broken when honest words are spoken.
Sometimes my feelings shatter when words lack flirt or flatter.
Sometimes I am the source
of a negative discourse
when drowning in a sea of self-remorse.

Monday, December 25, 2006

double chamber flute

Finally figured out how to make the inverted "Y" shaped flute that I've always wanted. The gelfing Jen plays a similar one in The Dark Crystal, where I got the initial inspiration. I have been playing flutes and ocarinas since about age 14. I'll include more pictures from my collection in future blogs, and some sound files of myself playing them when I get around to it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

what is love, anyway?

"Love" is a word I use to describe non-selfish, non-sexual, non-prejudiced compassion. Justice can be an act of compassion, revenge cannot. It's easy to justify the wrong things we do with the wrong things that have been done to us.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

a sense of self worth

I was talking to a friend of mine this weekend in San Fransisco about how I have changed throughout the years. She hasn't known me for long, but was surprised when I explained to her how shy and self-loathing I had been for a majority of my life (up until about two years ago...)

She asked me what was responsible for my change,

and I told her about how I had been stuck in an unending cycle:
Shy people are often misunderstood as snooty, as was I. Being treated that way made me even more shy. The cycle goes on and on until someone breaks it, and it had to be me.

And it happened one day when I made the following realization:
People who act negatively toward me upon first meeting do so for one of two reasons. Either they are joking, or they are judging me based on a stereotype. I know I have never been a mean person and have never brought harm to anyone. Confidence comes from knowing my true self, and what I know about myself is comforting.

People who think they are a great judge of character from the get-go are also disillusioned, assuming that a few minutes of communication within the entirety of an individuals' life is sufficient to make an accurate diagnosis.

It's just an excuse to close someone off. Usually a result of favoritism, most commonly brought on by the desire to fit within a particular social clique. People establish their status by notifying those who they feel are not worthy. Or in other words, put someone down to make him think he is below you.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I hear a lot of philosophers talk about the illusions we live by.
I've thought about this, wondered about some illusions in particular:

Time, of course, is one. We are physical creatures that are born by the circumstantial coupling of our physical parents... and then we die when our bodies can no longer stay alive. Humans have figured out a way to log this period of consciousness by creating the system of time. Amazing that humankind existed before time. Even as children we live simply as moments between nighttimes before we understand what time is and how it works. And then as we become more and more disillusioned by the numbered years, we convince ourselves that we cannot do certain things because of age without ever even trying.

Another illusion is pain. I saw a man on TV having varicose vein surgery and they cut open his leg while he just lies there without the aid of any drugs at all. He held warm saliva in the middle of his tongue and thought about a beach paradise. I think anyone could be capable of this with a little work. Pain is a signal that our bodies send to our brains to alert us of potential damage. We know that having a leg cut open is perfectly fine when performed cleanly and carefully, so why do we flip out anyway? Is it possible to ignore the signal when knowledge of the situation overrides it?

Off the top of my head, I can think of two other illusions: the pleasure of sex and the taste of food. I know there are many others, and becoming aware of them is the first step toward controlling them.

So therefore I know I am still being deceived…

Saturday, August 19, 2006

another lesson for me

My goal is to progress from one psychological stepping-stone to the next throughout the course of my life; the journey will never end, because perfection is subjective. (Each stepping stone, in truth, is an analogy for confidence: a "progression from one stepping-stone to the next" is the changing of a belief into knowledge.)

I fail every time I try to advance from one frame of mind to the next, because what I am really doing is projecting false confidence in order to will it within myself.

And then in cases when I feel like I have grown in some knowledge, the success was due to what I learned from the failure. (To make the analogy more literal, it's like falling off one stone as I try to get to the next... and then I have to get back on the first stone again and learn how to do it right.)

I fail when I act on behalf of myself. The answer never has to do with me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

fellowship with Existence et al.

i have thought about my relationships with animals.
we only had one pet while i grew up. she was a dachshund named winnie. she was very kind and very loving to us, as we were to her. i know now that as a child i waited for her to become kind and loving before i did.
frick and paddy, the cats i have now, are comfortable with me because i am comfortable with them (and none of us are potential food sources for the others, so i'm sure that helps).

i was sitting outside today on a concrete block behind my house and i noticed a spider on my jeans. i would have normally jerked and swatted him off in one motion, but today i watched him.

i even felt the surge in my chest that always follows the discovery of insects coming into contact with my person, but i just watched him and stayed perfectly still. he was a little wigged for a moment, as i'm sure he could sense my anxiety. when finally i relaxed and went about my normal breathing, he seemed to be alright. he even hung out for awhile. we probably would have had some good conversation too if we could have.

point is, i think i'm starting to understand how love can open doors even between species. i imagine a terrified human would look more like a terrifying human to another animal. fear kills everything.

we live our lives in fear of the worst that could happen, and fear lives our lives for us.

i don't fear the things i love and understand.

definition of wisdom

to have wisdom is to know what love is.

to know the difference between love and what you think is best for someone else.
to know the difference between love and pity.
to know the difference between love and sacrifice.
to know the difference between love and lust.

these are things you can experience with a loved one, but they are also things you can do for selfish reasons.
The biggest mistake we can make when giving love is to expect it to be given back.

Friday, August 11, 2006

religion as a financial prospect...?

i was thinking recently about the many "spiritual gurus" who have made their ways into the media by being such idealistic images of the enlightened (i.e. people who run off to india for their spiritual journeys and dress in robes and paint their foreheads and all that).

that's fine and all if they need that in order to improve their relationships with their "gods", but i wonder what kind of spiritual journey they are on. if someone's journey doesn't involve other people,... well then... what are they doing? and if that IS what they are doing, what's so wrong about the people here in the states? are they not as worthy of the guru's time and effort?

do people need their spiritual leaders to play a role and dress in costumes? i wonder if these leaders are doing so in order to fulfill some prerequisite they themselves have determined... for the purpose of impression, which can only lead to money through the sales of books and audio tapes. because if any "god" requires something so materialistic as a dress code, i have to question that "god". that's for man-made religion to take care of.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

the path

Anything that may be keeping you from enlightenment is a result of selfishness (enlightenment is not exclusive to buddhism). Light is a result of love and goodness, because light could not exist without creation. To be filled with Goodness and Love is to be "En-lightened".

It is difficult to remove selfish intention from one's life, and this gets more and more difficult as a person's mind becomes more and more reprobate to his own selfishness (i.e. a selfish person who is never challenged fails to see his actions as selfish and finds justification through pride).

A "wise" man, I'm sure, once said there is no praise or blame on the path to enlightenment. I agree there is no praise, but the word "blame" fails to represent what it is suggesting. True, blaming anyone for your own spiritual shortcomings is ridiculous and lazy. But finding responsibility and isolating the problem source is the only first step one can take if his intention is to defeat it. Is this "blame"? Or is this maturity? Anyone who is searching for the real problem source will find the answer lies inside his own mind, and will most likely require the individual to deny himself some "right" he feels entitled to.

It's all about eliminating your own entitlement. We deserve nothing, because there is always someone who needs it more. And giving love to someone for no reason is what God does, and is what God would have us do.

Say what God himself would say,
Live how God would live your day.
Do what God himself would do,
and God himself will live through you.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

thoughts on conflict...

Just got back from WI and that was kind of okay. Not as good as I was hoping. Long drive,too. Got caught in 2 hr. traffic in chicago both ways and then got detoured in KY for two hours.

But the time was good and I saw my parents and that was nice. Tim went along with me and so of course we found ways to entertain ourselves. Watched a movie, played some pool, had some beers.

Talked a lot about the psychology of interaction. A person's behavior can be very influential to the others around him/her. A person who walks into a bookstore with a crappy attitude will have the tendency to treat other people crappy and those people will be affected, and may likely become crappy as well... like the incident I spoke of in the car parts store.

I find that love is very powerful because of what it can accomplish and what it can teach the person feeling love. The more you genuinely love something, the more genuinely interested you become in it and the more you learn about it and understand it. The less you consider yourself in a situation, the more you keep on the outside by not involving yourself. The intensity of love is determined by the issues that divide two individuals.

Watch any kind of fighting match (boxing, ufc, etc...) and the guy with more hatred for his opponent will lose. He summarizes the person into a simple image and hates him without considering his ability.

The man who loves his opponent will learn him and understand him the moment they meet. It's easy to defeat someone who hates you because anyone who hates is unintelligent and wrong. If he doesn't know you, he can't hate you for any reason that even has to do with you. He hates you for his own reasons... and I laugh with that person, because there is nothing else to do but counteract his absurd hateful action with an absurd loving one.

Hatred is easier than love, because it doesn't take any work; just one lazy decision.

But love is more rewarding because it requires a sacrifice. You have to knock yourself down a notch for that Thing you love, and sometimes that can hurt, especially when you aren't at the top of anyone else's proverbial ladder.

I hope I am never again at the top of someone else's ladder (I'm sure my parents felt this way at one time). I would feel it was wasted on me :)

Friday, August 04, 2006

leaving for Madison, WI today...

scurrying around right now trying to get ready for Ayla's show in madison this weekend... just signed up four days ago (they are so nice to us, letting us in at the last minute. :)
i've been putting bob burkett's beads on the site slowly, but it's hard to keep them in stock. i should have all of them up within a few days.

been thinking about a screenplay, too. maybe not a fairy tale yet. more of an observation of humanity: i had an altercation at a car parts store with another customer and left feeling like an a-hole just because i allowed him to pull me down to his level. I've also been working on a piano piece for the past several months and I've been stuck at the end of the bridge for a while now. so i put the two together and decided that the character in my story will use his experience at the car parts store (and what he learned about himself) by applying it to his music, showing him how to harmonize the uplifting primary melody with the depressing bridge melody, forming a duet of two voices: his desire for pure joy and light of love made stronger by a negative experience that has been magically transformed into goodness by someone who has simply shown love and understanding.

Or in other words, "Selfishness" is when you break a chain of goodness that has naturally made it's way to you. Allowing an act of negativity to continue through you is a result of "Lack in a Sense of Self-Love" (i.e. one selfish act justifying another). "Selflessness" (which is sort of an absurd word, if you look at it literally...but for my purpose here is being used simply as an opposition to selfishness... maybe "Ego-lessness") is when you break a chain of negativity by absorbing it's full force (unconcerned with entitlement, no need for justice or praise for oneself, not looking to blame anyone) and transforming it into love before you either send it on or say goodbye to it.

that's my story, briefly. i'm debating whether i want to go to the show by myself and write this, or if i want to take t.j. or tim up on their offers to come along just for the ride. Conversation is always better than listening to music. And although I have made some very important discoveries about myself while driving, nothing is better than companionship. I will ask tj first and then tim (he went last time)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

music and friends on the mind

my roommate from college, Steve Gornick, is visiting us this week. That was ten years ago now!
He and TJ and I lived on 9th ave. in Columbus, OH and we all went to school at CCAD.
Anyway, "Oso" (a name steve is commonly known by) is here and he is very musically driven... more so than I, actually. But it has been very inspiring and we've been working on new songs.
Here is an electronic piece I wrote last year, and we've talked about reworking it together:

Waking and Walking Again

Thursday, July 20, 2006

our first film project

so I've been thinking about the first project I'm going to film when I get my camera and all that. I may adapt a W.B. Yeats fairy tale, as most of his stories (especially those categorized within "Trooping Fairies") are lively and unusual and very visual. Then again, I see the benefit of writing my own for reasons of creativity. I wouldn't want to misrepresent the true meaning of Yeats' stories... but I don't want to restrict myself either.
I'm thinking about a story of a man who accidently builds a cabin in the middle of a well-traveled, woodland fairy path. And then a wretched little creature approaches him with a riddle to save his soul....
Fun stuff. Good times. Anyone in the Asheville area who wants to work on some projects, let me know.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

my cartoons on newgrounds!

Here are the links to my cartoons on newgrounds (or you can click one and navigate to the others on the site):


Waiting Room

The Man With No Arms