Tag Archives: photos

The Scent of Lemon Blossoms


Maybe this year is the year that life will hand me sufficient lemons for a sizable recipe of lemonade.

If there was a technology that allowed photographs to capture smells, lemon blossoms would probably be up there with cat pictures in terms of popularity. In fact, if cat pictures smelled like cats, image of lemon blossoms might be more popular than cat macros. There are few scents in the world that compare to lemon flowers in the spring (it’s spring where I live). I had a Spanish teacher who once told us that there is a word in Spanish that means specifically the aroma of lemon flowers, but of course I don’t remember what it is.

I was happy to spend some time taking this pictures right up in the cloud of this delicious smell. Only later did I realize that the settings were all wrong for the light and the lens and everything else. But you can see it’s a lemon flower. There are probably 100s of them, although in my experience, 3/4 will fall off in a strong wind and 95 of the tiny lemons that result from the remaining flowers will die without explanation long before they reach maturity.

Most of this tree isn’t fruit-bearing: it’s whatever thorny, hardly rootstock they graft the lemony part to so it survives in this climate. I’m gradually pruning that back to give the good parts a chance to thrive but the thorny bit is the life support system and the only part high enough to get sun over the garden wall. The parts of my lemon tree that are fruit bearing are low-to-the-ground and a small percentage of the tree, but one day I know this tree will fulfill its destiny of being amazing.

Gratitude for air redolent with the esters of lemon flowers.

A Stock Photo Is Worth 1000 Inexplicable Words

stock photos 2_edited-2

In the real world, birthday parties and boxing gloves mean something. In stock photo world, they mean something else. 

Feeling a bit out of sorts and unable to finish the 3rd fairy tale comic, I went for another ridiculous stock photo caption comic. These images all happened to come from a BuzzFeed article entitled “60 Completely Unusable Stock Photos,” and I chose them primarily to prove the headline wrong. They’re totally usable. You just have to stretch your imagination a bit.

Curated collections are always nice.

People rag on BuzzFeed, but I like it. You don’t have to sift through as much crap to get to the lols like you do on Reddit, and they actually produce some pretty credible journalism. You have to read their news section; there are good longform investigative articles on interesting topics, and you can also get the latest current events, often with original material if they have a reporter on the ground.

It’s just a coincidence that 2 photos have birthday themes and 2 have boxing gloves. In face, I reshuffled the panels to make it clearer that guy waiting to punch the little girl in panel 1 is not the same guy punching the professional in panel 4.

Even though yesterday’s comic was the funniest thing I’ve written in a while, it didn’t seem to impress any strangers on the Internet. Come on! The Man laughed out loud, and so did the Fox. I think it’s brilliant.

Even if this comic wasn’t my masterpiece, I guess I still made a decent mark on the world today. I went to read to kindergarteners and got about 27 hugs afterward. Then I made The Man some leek and potato soup and a strawberry pie that were apparently so good he had thirds of each. Cream soups are a bit rich for me, but he grew up on a dairy farm, so he’s got 34% butterfat running through his veins.

Tomorrow I will be super creative.

The Season of Lights


Luminarias show the way on the darkest of nights. 

I fully intended to draw a comic today. I fully intended to do a lot of things. But none of those things happened. Other things happened instead, but very few of them were intentional or productive. The season of very little natural light does funny things to my brain.


The fountain in the cactus garden under red and gold lights

The biggest bump to this day was the publication of my article about Travis Hanson, who draws awesome dragons and other things like that, sometimes with magical tales to go along with them. I urge you to check it out if you’re the least bit interested in that sort of artwork and storytelling.


Do you know why this tree is blue? Maybe it hates winter as much as I do.

In lieu of something hilarious, please accept these photographs from a luminaria event at the botanic garden down the street. It’s a fun evening of lights and music, and even though I’ve lived here for 6 winters and have had a garden membership for a lot of that time, I never attended before, in part because it cost money and in part because I don’t tend to do a lot of Christmasy things. But in this case, I got in free, because The Man’s band was among the many musical acts of the evening. Since it’s a klezmer band, it wasn’t too Christmasy, either.

Everyday Beauty


There is a roof on this porch now; art to mark the passage of time.

I had an idea for a really deep comic; it took me about 45 minutes to write the script and another 30 to just figure out the storyboard, which source images to use. Since the comic itself is about symbols, there were a lot of choices to make. Most of the text would make sense with a variety of images, but the meaning would shift slightly depending on which image paired with it, and I wanted to draw some very straight lines, so to speak. Sometimes it’s easier to make an appeal to the present by talking about the past.

Now the concept of the comic is locked down, but it’s past midnight, which means this interesting idea won’t see the Internet until Tuesday. And all I have is a couple artsy photographs of all the construction work we’ve been doing around this place. That’s one great thing about photography; it helps you small the small, everyday beauty of things to people who haven’t got an artist’s eye.


They came off the roof, and they’re going back on the roof.

These pictures aren’t color corrected or anything. The second one could probably benefit from a little red boost and some judicious cropping, but it also has some merits without any help.


A little slow on this one; it could have been a picture of 4 hands in the window, one of which was holding a hammer. So the meaning changes a little. Perhaps it’s more ambiguous.

Everything has its lovely details if you know where to look, or if you’re compelled to look for small beauty because the ugly details are huge but hard to focus on.

Friday is the kickoff for the 4th Ave Winter Fair, which means I will see the Bear! And maybe buy some new prayer flags for my new porch.

Thinking about Seahorses

Seahorses have been on my mind for a while. Who doesn’t love seahorses?

Seahorses at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Seahorses at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, taken June of last month.

They’re adorable, they’re soothing to watch, and they have the interesting characteristic of gender-swapping gestational duties.

Seahorse at Gumbo Limbo, a sea turtle rescue I visited last week in southern Florida.

Seahorse at Gumbo Limbo, a sea turtle rescue I visited last week in southern Florida.

The drawings I summon, whole cloth, from my head, don’t always come out the way I envision them. Sometimes I feel the muse is guiding me (as I did with Athena), but usually I end up with a cartoonish representation of a thing that I can describe better in words than in pictures.

This is what it looks like when I try to draw a seahorse from my own imagination with no referential images.

This is what it looks like when I try to draw a seahorse from my own imagination with no referential images.

A few weeks ago, I had a brilliant idea for a T-shirt, which I ran past my stepkids. They seemed to think it was a pretty amusing idea, and I’m very happy with the sketch I drew a few days ago. For this image, I looked at a bunch of photos of seahorses, but I also looked at the design of a popular cartoon I wanted to parody.

Can anyone guess the name of this noble lady?

Can anyone guess the name of this noble lady?

I’ll be working on the digital version of this image today, and hope to have a good design within the week (if you know what fandom I’m spoofing, you probably realize that her mane is flowing in the wrong direction, and besides which, I didn’t make her head big enough for her eyelashes), but first, I’ll be blogging a bit more. Now that I’m started to get page views and followers, I’m going to attempt to update 5 days a week!