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Friday, October 31, 2008

Two More For You...

...before I stop wasting time and downloads on YouTube. Cannot tempt the evil gods of FAP.

If I Hear 'Thriller' One More Time...

...I am going to run around screaming in circles until I collapse and dogs jump all over me. (Dogs think they are being greatly helpful by jumping on you when you fall down. Trust me on this.)

How come Halloween brings out 'Thriller' by the zillions but no one plays Everyday is Halloween? A question for the ages.

Just for you, children. Happy Halloween. And before anyone asks, yes, I was a goth, once upon a time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why 'Chuck' is Evil

Brett has 'shows' that he watches religiously. Several of them. (That is much easier now that we have a DVR. Before, there was often shouting, rearranging of feeding schedules, and much whining.) I don't watch much tv, and if Brett is gone I don't actually turn the thing on at all. I keep maybe a third of my attention on those shows I like.

One of Brett's favorite shows is 'Chuck', a fantasy/spy sort of thing on Mondays. It's a cute show. Cute guy, cute girl, fun plots. It's also gotten very evil lately. Why evil? Some people behind the show have been putting a lot of eighties and early nineties music on. Tunes that wake up dormant memories (not always good ones) and get stuck in your head. A couple of weeks ago it was Air Supply. Last week it was Mmm-Bop. What the hell is that, the Hansons or something like that? Evil. This week...well, this week was worse. It was "The Touch." If you are about my age and were at all geeky, you will recognize it. Suddenly I was sitting in a theatre with 240 little boys and wondering if Optimus Prime was really going to die. Sad, sad, little geek girl.

Evil. Evil evil evil. I hate you, Chuck people.

(edit: Air Supply was on this week, Jess was thinking Huey Lewis and the News- Brett)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fantastic Four

So I'm finally getting to these commissions. I have a few others done but they need to be scanned. I revamped the costumes a bit, but I think this is the best Thing I've done yet. I've never been a big FF fan but Terrax was fun to draw:)

Up next, Deadpool, more cowboys, and Pumyra from the T-cats. And some more dinos;)

On another note. we won't be moving to New Mexico. So I'm going to try to get this place winterized in the coming weeks:)



Monday, October 20, 2008

Interview for Dinosaur George

I did an interview recently for Dinosaur George.

I just happened to check his blog and it was posted:) So if you want to ask him some questions or listen to me babble incoherently on another blog go check it out;) George, is the creator of Jurassic Fight Club, which is always good for some monster action and various other DVD's he's currently doing. He goes around to schools and educates the public about.. what else Dinosaurs! Check out his website for more info:)

I'd love him to come up to El Paso but I doubt the people here would be very interested, the city has like 20 museums, but if it doesn't have anything to do with the Mexican culture (which is rich and full and on every street, they really hit you over the head with it here.) The city won't support it. They had a private dinosaur museum and they asked the city to help them built an actual Natural History museum, the city was not interested, even though they have dinosaur trackways here. A natural history museum, might not be cultural but it IS EVERYONE'S HISTORY. That's what happens when you cater to the tourists. I'm ranting incoherently again... I need to stop that;)



Thursday, October 16, 2008

And God said SUE!

So a fellow comic artist and Atheist by the name of Martin Wagner, creator of the comic Hepcats, has had a lawsuit filed against him, by a creationist. And why has this happened? Well this creationist posted something on Richard Dawkin's web page about 'proof' of gods existence. Basically Martin ripped him a new one and hurt his feelings, so much so that this 'man of god' accused him of being a drug addict and a pedophile by altering Martins wiki page (I actually saw the changed page, it has since been changed back.) You can read all about it on the blog Martin made to give you all the juicy details;)

So this creationist has filed a lawsuit against Martin, and Martin is fighting back with his own suit. But lawyers cost money so if you read his story and want to help out, he's giving away a t-shirt with a $15.00 donation. I don't know him but after reading everything that happened I am happy to help him out:)



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Palin as president

Oh very fun!

Hat tip to Pharyngula.

Spinosaurus marocannus

So here's the situation, there might actually be 2 species of Spinosaurus. One from Egypt (Spinosaurus aegyptiacus ,) which is all the original material that was lost in WWII, including a partial lower jaw, a few neck vertebrae and some of the back bones with the 'sail' (these were found jumbled together in a bone bed along with crocks and other animals so they might not be from the same beastie, which is why I don't always draw the sail.) And the other consisting of a partial skull or maxilla (it's the front part of the skull containing the upper teeth,) along with a crest, was found in Morocco.

It is ASSUMED they belong to the same animal by some, and others think it's 2 separate animals. As you can see the Morocco specimen, which this drawing is based on, had a MUCH more gracile head, so much so that when the original Spinosaurus lower jaw material is added it looks...well comical. We won't know the actual truth about either of these animals (or would that be the truth about THIS animal?) Until more specimens are found:)


Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Spinosaurs all toned up

This is the Spinosaurus I mentioned the other day. I added a quick tone while Jess was doing the dog food.

I think I was trying to composite the new skull material with the original stuff, but the skull is a little to thick and massive on this one.

I'll have to try again:(

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Horse Lubbers

We've been inundated with these Grasshoppers this year. I don't know why they are called Horse Lubbers, or even what a Horse Lubber is (sounds illegal), but evidently when there's enough rain the eggs hatch and you get great swarms of these things. This one was in a bin out by the water tank this morning. They are about two and a half inches long.

The dogs love them. They make great toys. Unfortunately, they are also 'toxic' and make the dogs sick when they eat then. We've had a couple get quite sick, with vomiting and lethargy, after eating one. For a while we would grab them up and toss them over the fence (the Grasshoppers, not the sick dogs), but they just come back, so now they get squished and tossed over the fence. Only other Horse Lubbers will eat the carcasses, the ants and other bugs don't touch them. They are supposed to taste bad, proving that dogs have no taste buds. Or perhaps the wriggly crunchy texture is too good to pass up.

They are really quite pretty, and have lovely crimson wings that they use for display. This one is a male; the females have bigger butts and smaller wings.

Here is a blog with much nicer pictures, and some pictures of their open wings.

Open mouth, insert gun...

Remember this is just MY opinion, feel free to disagree with me:)

Now I'm going to do something I don't normally do, shoot myself in the foot (hmmm on second thought I think I do this a lot!), but I grow tired of hearing how great this book is. The book I'm talking about is called: Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages. Written by Thomas R. Jr Dr Holtz and illustrated by Luis V. Rey. Now I have other books with Rey's art he's the guy who draws the extreme foreshortened dinosaurs, while it's interesting and dynamic sometimes the color choices bother me, but that's not important.

Why didn't I like this book? Well it was boring... very boring. I'm sorry Dr. Holtz, but I found the book dull. It had a few facts that I thought were interesting but it just didn't work for me. I think it's the 'just the facts' mantra of the new paleontologists, no speculation just sort of takes the fun out of Dinosaurs, it's like going to school to learn and you are told to read the chapter and answer the questions. You read the chapter with the dull, dulcet sounds of Ben Stein in your head, you answer the questions and then your brain dumps the info. I NEVER learned anything this way. You don't get any vivid images in your head reading this, you don't flash on what life might have been like in the mesozoic. It just a steril white lab. And while the text was boring the art was... well, please take away Mr. Rey's computer and photoshop, he should not be allowed to use them until he gets some proper training.

As I said before I have other books by Luis Rey, I'm not a big fan of his painted stuff, but I do quite like his pencil work, there's a flow and force to it. In the book A Field Guide to Dinosaurs: The Essential Handbook for Travelers in the Mesozoic by Henry Gee and Luis V. Rey, Rey's pencil stuff is my favorite, and there is a lot of it. In the Holtz book.... he tries his hand at doing the dinosaurs all on the computer, they look lumpy and squishy, they don't integrate into the background photographs he keeps placing them into, the colors are muddy and unattractive. It looks like someone trying to do a bad impression of his usual energetic art. The computer is a wonderful tool....if you know how to use it.

But the biggest thing that irks me about this book isn't the book itself, it's the other paleontologists and bloggers who keep saying how great it is. I've read some great dinosaur books, Gregory S. Paul's Predatory Dinosaurs of the World, Robert Bakker's Dinosaur Heresies. THOSE were some great books, both written and illustrated by the authors. Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages is not one of them. I don't understand why everyone keeps falling over this book. I can only guess that Hotlz is now considered one of the 'big boys' and no one wants to tell him the truth? He seems like a nice guy (but the 'wait for the paper' mantra of his drives me insane.) Is that it, you don't want to hurt his feelings? He's a big boy, I'm sure he can take it. And what about Rey? Why is his art so popular? Is he the Jack Kirby of paleoart? Is that why I don't like the art and everyone else does (I was never a Kirby fan, I understand what his art did I just never liked it)? Maybe I just don't 'get it'? It's entirely possible, I zero in and limit what I like and dislike quite quickly. If anyone has any other idea please let me know!

So why am I shooting myself in the foot? Well for years I tried to get into the paleoart business. With little to no success. And now I'm criticizing what others consider a great achievement. I'm just a lowly peon in the world of paleoart and I fear if Holtz or Rey actualyl read this I may very well get 'black listed'. It's happened to me before but I do believe we all have to take a few stands here and there. I've come to accept that I will never be welcomed into the paleoart community so why should I keep my mouth shut any longer? I draw dinosaurs for fun, I will not stop even if the majority of paleontologists don't like me. I don't care.

And I'm spent;)


Friday, October 10, 2008

Connecticut Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

From the decision in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health (emphasis mine):

"We conclude that, in light of the history of pernicious discrimination faced by gay men and lesbians, and because the institution of marriage carries with it a status and significance that the newly created classification of civil unions does not embody, the segregation of heterosexual and homosexual couples into separate institutions constitutes a cognizable harm."

More here and here.

Brett and I are married. I don't remember for how long, I think we got married in '97. (We count the years of our relationship from our first date, not from our marriage date.) We got married for all the usual reasons: tax breaks, ability to make legal medical decisions for each other, if one of us dies the survivor will get all their stuff without any legal wrangling from the relatives. That kind of thing. For us, a piece of paper marking the legal recognition of our relationship was not important for validation of the relationship, but I can see where for some people it could be extremely important. Emotionally it could be a great lift to be able to legally marry your loved one. Especially for a group that is, in general, discriminated against, and who may still feel the need to hide their relationships from their family. Plus, we have gay friends, and if they want to get married they should be able to. Personally, it strikes me as kind of hinky to say "I love my gay friends, but they shouldn't be able to marry if that will make them happy. Marriage is only for straight people." Some friend that would be. 'Separate but equal' didn't work before, and there is no reason to believe it should be acceptable now.

On a related note Arkansas plans to drop their ban on unmarried foster parents:

"The agency [Department of Human Services] said it would end its plan to formalize the prohibition, which has been in place since an executive directive was signed in 2005. The department said it will instead propose allowing state workers to place foster children case by case."

The Arkansas Family Council, a conservative group, is backing an initiative for the November ballot that would ban unmarried people from adopting or fostering children. They admit that the initiative is aimed specifically at same sex couples, but also acknowledge that it would affect heterosexual couples as well. Talking about biting off your nose to spite your face. Or in this case, to spite the children. Nice people.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Unnamed dinosaur

They recently found 17 teeth from a carcharadontosaur in South America (they have special 'wrinkles' on their teeth so they are easy to identify) but teeth is all they found. It's not really that important they found teeth, it's were they found them, or rather when. It was thought that these carcharadontosaurs died out 20 million years before the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs. But these teeth seem to show that they (comprising, animals like Giganotosaurus, Mapusaurus, and Carcharadontosaurus) made it to the end of the Cretaceous. Cool! So I drew this a few weeks ago, it's ENTIRELY speculative since it's based on 17 teeth but I used it's close relatives to make the rest up.

In other dinosaur news another large meet eater was found in South America, Aerosteon riocoloradensis. The interesting thing about this beast, is that it appears to be a late surviving allosaur, or at least, a close relative. Allosaurus lived about 150 million years ago and this guy managed to hang on until 85 million years ago, that 65 million for the math impaired;) And it's changed very little. When you got something that works you stick with it! You will hear that this animal had air sacs and such and it's a big deal... well not really, it did have air sacs, but MOST dinosaurs had them (at least the theropods and sauropods,) even the big ones. I still need to do a drawing of it, I have one started just not finished yet. I also have another spinosaurus that I don't remember drawing, I'll post that one soon.