Tag Archives: bees

Stung

bee sting_edited-1.png

I guess you’d call this creative non-fiction, but it would have been more creative if I had used the actual Anglo-Saxon expletives that were called upon in the situation instead of the family-friendly grawlixes.

I didn’t write a comic last night because chronic pain prevented me from feeling or expressing humor. I figured I would have better luck today, but as it worked out, chronic pain is still preventing me from feeling or expressing humor. So here’s a sad slice of life instead.

Since the artwork is so simple, I gave shading another try, and it seems to have worked out nicely in the first 2 panels. However, that technique doesn’t appear to translate to the up-close view of panel 4, which, frankly, is a bit of a failure. I’m not sure it even looks like a leg, let along a leg with a giant bee sting on it. I hope the inclusion of more grawlixes expresses the pain, at least. It’s supposed to be a picture of a leg, with a giant, swollen bee sting below the knee. Since I work from photos half the time, it’s perplexing to me when a finished drawing doesn’t resemble anything. I mean, what’s up with my toes in panel 2? Whatever, I’m done. Maybe I’ll have better luck tonight. Who knows? In addition to the usual suspects, and this gigantic bee sting, I also created the world’s largest blisters on both my heel from wearing Doc Martens without socks.

It’s a hard knock life.

Buzzy Bee Mandala

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Bees: not shy about anything at all. 

I very much like bees. That is all there is to say about that. The colors are nice too.

Been working on a longer comic all week. Took quite a while to nail the script down and hours to do the lettering, even though the original idea was about two sentences long. It needed fleshing out. I typically do the lettering first, but not always; the tighter the artwork needs to be, the more important it is to get the words in beforehand, or you might end up without enough space for the text. The artwork is going to be pretty complicated, because I need to draw a lot of famous people, and obviously, it’s harder to draw famous people because they have to be recognizable as specific humans rather than just being circles with dots for eyes and a parenthesis for a mouth.

It’s a funny, one, too. I hope. I’ve never done a funny one this complicated.

So I should probably go work on it instead of on this, since hardly anyone ever reads this blog on Mondays anyway.

Bee Cool, People

She works hard for the honey, so hard for it, honey.

She works hard for the honey, so hard for it, honey.

Here’s a crisp little honeybee for your pleasure. Captured this image near the pollination garden at ASDM, which was simply buzzing not only with her close kin, but also her cousins, the solitary carpenter bees. Despite the fact that carpenter bees are unreasonably large and fairly slow moving, I was unable to get a clear shot of one that day. This is unfortunate, because they’re shiny and astonishing and people don’t seem to be familiar with them. At my old place, there was a particular one living in a dried agave stalk who used to always hang out when I was doing yoga. They’re perfectly comfortable with humans.

I did minimal color correction on this one. It was already pretty sharp. I like the little grains of pollen on her head. I guess bees don’t suffer from allergies.

Tonight, The Man and I attended a Yelp Elite event at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in conjunction with Natures Connects, which is a traveling exhibit of giant Lego sculptures. In addition to free nighttime access to the gardens (very nice this time of year) we got tamales from the Tucson Tamale Company, small batch paletas (a kind of Mexican popsicle, if you’re not from around here), much booze (a hallmark of Yelp Elite events), a chance to play with Legos (with an Instagram contest for best Lego tree), and a scavenger hunt (tied for first, winning 2 free passes to the gardens–usually we have a membership but ours has lapsed, so this is a nice bonus). There were also gift bags with nature-themed playing cards, a jigsaw puzzle, a tie tack, a highlighter that’s also a Lego block, and a coupon to the gift shop.

Last night I wrote a sonnet. Tonight I’m playing with fonts.

Just Like Honey from the Bee Mandala

Just like honey, from the bee

Candy drops and sweet emotion 

Monday was a good day! My article about Jews in comics got a good reception, and mercury got up over 102, which means a couple things: my fingers and toes and nose didn’t get frozen even when The Man blasted the cooler, zero traffic picking the kids up from the first day of camp (people flee this city when it gets hot), and the pool finally reached 80 degrees! Hooray. Now I have a compelling reason to get my butt off this couch. I will be conducting all further business from within the confines of my swimming pool.

People sometimes ask how to survive in the desert in the summer. This is how to survive in the desert in the summer. Also, we have an ice maker.

One thing I spend a lot of time doing in the pool is rescuing bees from drowning. I guess when we’re not in it it’s flat enough that they don’t break the surface tension, but the kids and I must have pulled 15 bees out of the water in 30 minutes. Well, I pulled most of them and the Boy got a couple. The Girl is still timid, even though she’s seen me do it a thousand times. Seriously, the last thing a drowning bee is thinking of is stinging you.

You can observe them very minutely when they’re all wet and out of sorts. They shake their wings vigorously, too fast for the human eye to see, and use their front legs to brush the water off their midsection. They even brush off their long tongues. If they’re still wet, they lean onto their front legs and use their back legs to dry themselves. The longer they’ve been in the water, the more time they take to combobulate themselves.

This mandala reminds me of butterscotch and toffee and caramel: all the mostly-sugar candies, and also, of course, honey.

Dragon Comics 93

Some things are just private. Sheesh.

Some things are just private. Sheesh.

Bees are fascinating. I can watch them for a long time. Some people freak out about bees, but generally speaking, unless you’re doing something to aggravate them, they’re not going to bother with you. You can just go stand right next to the hive and watch them zooming in and out, hovering as they maneuver through the traffic, zipping off and landing again like little helicopters.

I mean, don’t lose your cool if there’s one on your head. It probably just likes the smell of your shampoo. Just having a bee on you usually doesn’t result in a bee sting, unless you freak out and do something threatening, like slapping at it. Most creatures don’t like to be slapped. Try gently brushing it away. If you’re in nature, try to walk through some leaves.

In the summertime, they like to visit my swimming pool, which I don’t understand, because it’s saltwater, but that doesn’t seem to deter any creature. The bees misjudge and break the surface tension a lot, though. I’m always pulling them out of the water. I just use my bare hands. They never sting. I like to hold them in my palm and watch them dry their fuzzy selves before they lift off again. I guess they’re too heavy to fly when they’re waterlogged. They’re certainly completely unthreatening in these situations. The only place I’ve ever been stung by a bee is the bottom of my foot: in other words, I actually had to step on one before it tried to hurt me.

Bees are super important, obviously, in terms of the health of the environment that sustains us, but also super cool.

To me, there really is something very passionate about the bee at work. I’ve had moments watching one penetrate the depths of a flower with regular thrusts, then suddenly turn around and look at me in a way that seemed sheepish. It definitely felt like I was interrupting something.

Bees don’t have a work ethic, but they do seem to work ceaselessly. When they’re too old to gather pollen, they do tasks at home. Bees don’t give up; they keep at their job as long as they’re able, and they never require creative inspiration. They just know what to do, and then they do it, and they keep doing it until they die.

I’m no busy bee, but in a way I envy their steadfast intention and finality of purpose. If only I could go about my task, day in and day out, with such unyielding determination.

ETA: A kindly redditor has informed me that I have the work-life cycle of the bee backward, and that it is the youngest bees who stay at home and care for the hive and the oldest bees who fly out to gather pollen. Reddit has a thousand and one household uses.