Slippery Slopes

In central Iowa you’re surrounded by blue skies and farmland for miles. You drive along the highway, passing the occasional semi-truck with a smile and wave. The air is sharp and cold at 30 degrees but you roll the window down to feel the breeze on your skin, the light dappling your arms with an occasional shadow, courtesy of a leisurely passing cloud. It takes its time, and so do you. 1, 2, 3 turns later you see brown signs beckoning to the state park. You’re almost there yet the flat, open landscape belies your destination.

Activate a hard right at the grandest sign and find yourself in a tunnel of trees. Even without their green finery, the naked branches elegantly arch above your vehicle. The farmland disappears behind the silent sentinels and the land rises up to greet you.

Welcome to Ledges State Park.

black_walkers

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

It’s a glitter nail polish kind of week.

My goal of posting daily art in 2013 fell off the wagon faster than drunk college students on a hayride. (Yes, we have those in Iowa.) However, I just completed my first motion graphic video for the office. This project devoured my hours with a ferocious appetite, but I’m excited about the end product and feel inspired to produce more personal work.

It’s challenging to stay motivated to learn new skills and create personal art outside of a full-time career, but sometimes a coat of glitter nail polish is the boost you need. (I’m sure this works for gents, too.) I am sparkly and I am ready.

Also, I confess I ate an entire bag of sriracha-flavored chips while I was animating. In one sitting. I must never again do this.

Thanks for listening, Diary.

Satisfaction No Burger

Sometime around the vague age of seven, I decided to sneak out of my room late at night to see what my parents were watching on television. The angle of the bedroom hallway kept me out of sight of authoritative eyes, but gave me a reasonable view of the Bright Screen of Wonder.

After seeing a short scene where a man places a shotgun on a kitchen counter and his (girlfriend?) turns into a hideous monster, I ran back to my room in terror. I carried a vivid memory of this scene with me for nearly two decades, and never discovered the title. Eventually I wondered if I’d invented the scene in a dream. It was rather challenging to Google “Man places shotgun on counter. Bullet or something rolls off edge. Girl bends over to pick up bullet, turns into disgusting monster when she stands up and attacks man. Man shoots girl. Neighbor makes phone call. Movie or possibly tv show.”

I’ve occasionally described the scene to various movie friends with no success. However, thanks to an awesome nerdy/cinephile coworker, the great mystery of my life is solved. “House,” you sassy horror/comedy, we meet again!

The Swine-Slinger of Men

Scrod, weakest of war-lords

Was known among men for deeds

Divine. He stood at his mighty Grill

With semi-handsome head held high,

Born to turn meat bare-handed. Scrod

Manliest of men, flame-bearer’s time was

Nigh. Not nimble-minded, Scrod chortled when his

Merry wife handed him the purple pickle jar.

Cried he, “The pickles shall be free!”

Alas, Sarah, his silly wife left her

Hapless husband with the purple pickle jar.

Scrod heaved and grunted with Tim Taylor technique

And super-human Hulk strength.

His muscles bulged but the burgeoning bottle

Would not budge and the poor little pickles

Remained in their prison-home. No hot

Water or bologna weaponry would

Scrod, slinger of swine, condescend to

Wield. The epic raged within the

Cooking-room ‘till the feeble plaster walls

Began to fall. Into the living room Scrod

Lunged, grunts growing into screams of

Conquest. Perhaps the primal urge to

Liberate lonely vegetables arrives at an early

Age, for Scrod’s super-semi-handsome son

Came down from his attic room up high

And said, “Hey Dad! Let me try?” Scrod ceased

His senseless efforts and, panting, smiled at Sulliver.

Sure of his own superiority, Scrod relinquished the

Purple pickle jar, Sulliver, youngest of

Youth-warriors, accepted the challenge and

Let loose his trademark yodeling cry.

Sulliver stretched his palms to the sifting clouds

Cradling an azure sky, lifting the pickle jar

As an offering to the blazing sun. Breathed but

Once did he, and with a flick of his wrist the pickles

Flew, sparkling, into the steaming, sun-setting, crimson

Afternoon air. Jaw dropping, Scrod gaped at his smug son,

Wild-boy of the nature-lovers, fresh from his newest victory.

Scrod, the middle aged, feeble parody of war-lords had

Finally lost his masculine crown to his rising son.

Sighing, the balding Scrod decided to diligently become the most

Crotchety of veteran-lords and went into the house to pound

Nails. Suddenly Sarah, queen of the weird women, came to

Retrieve her pickles and saw them scattered on the

Luxurious lawn. Sighing, she threw up her hands and went

Into her torn kitchen to fix a meaty meal for her mighty men.