I’m working on something big again! No, not lizard porn. This is just a little distraction from the big project. I took a photograph of some lizards copulating in a bush and it was blurry and unusable but the arrangement of their limbs was so cunning I had to make this little sketch to memorialize it. Anyway, the thing I’m working on is much, much worse than lizard porn.
The ASDM webpage on which I found the reference photo of the larval beetle offers this statement of caution for desert motorcycle enthusiasts who don’t wear helmets: “Being hit in the face by a beetle this size can be quite painful.” That’s probably an understatement; one flew into my head earlier this month and I wasn’t even coming toward it at 60 miles an hour and it still felt like being hit by a rock.
Anyway, I think these creatures are fascinating, and, for whatever reason, they don’t feel like cockroaches to me. My response to cockroaches is visceral and immediate; if one crosses my path, I feel compelled to smash it as if it’s a vicious, carnivorous alien (even though cockroaches are harmless, vegetarian, and have been around longer than humans). My response to giant palo verde beetles is, “Cool! It’s a giant bug!” And then I take a picture and send it to my nephew or something. He’s at a prime age to appreciate giant bugs.
My first script had the final panel as some snarky remark about how maybe these insects had it all figured out and maybe we’d be better off if we spent our childhood and adolescence underground and then had thirty days to mate before dying, leaving the next generation to figure things out on its own. Then I thought I’d go for a straight biology story, with only a little snark. Then I finished the artwork and thought the panels looked kind of blank, so I put the snark back in, in word balloon form. That’s why the text doesn’t quite fit the space.
If you’re on the east coast, or somewhere up north, this image might not make sense, but today in Tucson it’s into the 90s, and the entire city is infused with the scent of citrus blossoms. It’s really wonderful. The Kids’ grandmother gave us a bag of lemons and we’ve already finished our first pitcher of lemonade of the season, spring in Tucson being more similar in disposition to summer in most of the country.
Knocked this one out in just under 4 1/2 hours; it’s much easier when there’s no text, and I think the image speaks for itself.
To get the wording of this comic just right, I Googled “climate change deniers” and found the wiki, which is chock full of mind-bogglingly specious reasoning and really has to be read to be believed. What is clear is that, for some years now, certain factions have achieved leverage in their fight against reality by accusing their opponents of doing the things they themselves are doing. For example: stating that the 97% of scientists who have studied the phenomenon are lying for their own personal profit (clearly bunkum: anyone who knows a decent sample size of scientists knows that scientists very rarely profit off of anything) when in reality, the people behind climate change denial (ahem…the fossil fuel industry) personally profit from squashing good science.
When I was a little girl, in the early ’80s, I remember reading about anthropocentric climate change for the first time. “Hmm,” thought little Dragon, “this looks like something that requires more data.” By the ’90s, data trends indicated, to me, a reasonably skeptical person, that there was something going on with greenhouse gases and the environment. By the ’00s, there existed enough information that no rational human being could dismiss the danger. But, instead of shrugging and turning away from a small percentage of irrational ostriches behaving in a dangerously self-centered, ignorant, and short-sighted fashion, we gave them a seat at table and an equal voice in a discussion that had been settled to the satisfaction of everyone who bothered applying rationality and logic to the question years earlier.
Guess what? Just because they let you talk on TV does not mean your argument possesses validity.
Admittedly, there’s a little Fox Mulder to me. I want to believe. I’d love to believe that there are aliens, fairies, and beautiful golden carp that grant wishes to those who pull them from the water but spare their lives. It would be wonderful to live in that world. I’d love to believe that, in the next 20 years, we won’t see the continued melting of the ice caps, the continued rising of the ocean, the continued trend in extreme weather, or the continued dying off of countless species (including large numbers of our own species dead as a result of climate based disaster).
I want to believe that so bad. But there’s. No. Evidence.
The house is on fire. Whether or not you believe fire exists, whether or not you believe the fire was started by bad wiring or an anomalous lightning strike or spontaneous combustion, whether or not you think there’s any point to fighting the fire, the fire will still burn.
This comic should probably link to my other comic about climate change denial and my other comic that uses a house on fire as a metaphor for people being married to their irrational beliefs.
This is my first experiment with filters; I didn’t actually do the work in Photoshop, but in the Photos app that comes with this Mac OS. There’s something very magical to me about this image, although I think I could improve it by giving the sky a blue cast. In reality, it was a gray, cloudy day when I took the original photo, and no amount of tinkering changed that. Maybe I should have cropped it?
The Chicago Botanic Garden has long been one of my top places in the world. I grew up just a few miles down the road and my parents always had a membership, so I spent a lot of time there as a child. This is the Japanese Garden, Sansho-En. I consider it unique among gardens in that it is equally beautiful and interesting regardless of the season. Even in the dead of winter, even under many inches of snow, it still retains a quality of life that always inspired me, even in the deepest throes of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
One of the main reasons I moved to Arizona was that autumn and winter in the midwest were draining my life force, physically and emotionally. The changing of the leaves, the fading of the green, filled me with great sadness. But at Sansho-En, these things did not happen. It is always colorful. It never looks dead.
We saw this huge pile of seed sorghum–milo, if you like to be specific–by the side of the road in Kansas, just in the last hour of sunlight, glowing like (The Man and I agreed) the sand dunes at Death Valley and the hills of the Painted Desert combined. I took about 100 pictures, most of which were pretty breathtaking, and settled on this one with the grain auger visible (top right) to represent the set. The different strata are caused by the different weights of the parts of the grain, the chaff and such. Every section shifted into its own spectacular pattern, so choosing a favorite wasn’t easy.
There was also a lovely field just to the south, all full of rolled hay bales. It was cold as a narwhal’s nose but at least it hadn’t snowed in that part of the world, as it had in Denver the day before, rendering all my pictures washed out and gray skied. It’s a long story, why I didn’t update Friday, but this is Friday’s update.
It’s weird how dialog is always full of swear words in my head. Like, it seems funnier when it contains f-bombs. But I edit them out anyway. If you depend on that kind of language for humor, you might start substituting shock for actually being funny. This is still cute when it’s rated G.
This comic was fun to draw. I had to go back and put little faces on all the natural wonders to anthropomorphize them. And then I had to write about it so I could use the word “anthropomorphize” in my blog.
Also, I really like the white test on a black background. I have an entire story I want to tell that way. Realizing that doing all the letters in all caps would increase readability.
This particular batch of Costco garlic just seemed most photogenic. There was one with brilliant red stripes, and some with particularly twisted scapes, and ones where the skin remained like a protective bubble after all the cloves had been plucked, so I took them to their very own macro photo shoot in and impromptu photo studio made of black construction paper and a lamp and was medium-pleased with the results. This is my favorite one of the batch, although it was hard to choose a favorite from such disparate details.
Axillary buds seems like a funny name to me, probably because the axillary part on a human is the armpit, but I’m pretty sure that’s what you’d call the thing we’re looking at here. I also think they look like pumpkin seeds.
Speaking of things that look like other things, the next day I pulled another set of images off my camera, and when the app that does that opened, it flashed all the thumbnails of my last gallery and I was like, “Whoa, who put all this hardcore porn on my computer?” But really, it was just the thumbnails of the garlic. Full size you can see it’s a blurry picture of a plant. but a fast glance at a small image makes it seem like something less appropriate for general consumption.
There are a couple more I might upload later. There’s still some writing to be done tonight.
So much for going out with a bang. I did intend to finish up the week slash month with a real powerhouse of a depressing real life comic, but alas, it seems not meant to be. It’s almost midnight and I’ve only got about half the script nailed down. I lettered the part that felt certain, but even if I had the entire script, it would be 1 a.m. before I even started the illustrating part, which takes a lot longer. So, instead, please welcome the newest addition to the RedBubble QWERTYvsDvorak store: the Flying Sea Turtle Express. Get it on a mug!
Yeah, it’s the design from my sister’s wedding, but I thought it would look good in other formats, too.
It works as a poster, too.
If you would like to peruse a wide selection of Flying Sea Turtle Express projects, including shirts, hoodies, skirts, and leggings, you can click here.
In the meantime, I’ll head back to my depressing comic and try to get the script worked out tonight and you can see it in November.
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.