I haven't been on the net lately, due to an upsurge in activity - not exactly energetic sort of activity, but mostly satisfying and creative stuff.
Sorry to all those online who I haven't been in touch with!! I guess that you could say (no rude innuendo intended) that I've been getting in touch with what powers me (as my Power Cards say).
In case anybody is interested, here's what I've been doing -
1. Re-reading all the "Thrush Green" books by "Miss Read" (a pseudonym for the now deceased Dora Saint).
There are 12 of these books in all - not 13 - because I do not include the hideous rubbish called "Christmas at Thrush Green" that was "co-written" by some editor who obviously wrote most of it, and who has changed the whole set of characters so much that Nelly Piggott is actually holding a glass of gin in her hand (and she has been a furiously fervent anti-drinker since she took the pledge at Primary School), and has Ella Bembridge "stomping" instead of "stumping" along (which she has been doing for the entirety of the previous 12 books), which has Albert Piggott as some sort of clownishly joke character instead of his usual surly self, who says totally un-Albert Piggott-like things such as "Just going out for a swift 'alf" (absolute rubbish!! Albert Piggott has never excused himself like this before, and the words "swift 'alf" have never crossed his lips until this wretchedly bad last book). As for the stupidity of making poor Edward Young - who, as an architect, has an eye for the fitting and the beautiful - behave in such a boorish manner over some new (ludicrously badly written) people hanging Christmas decorations on their gates, leading to his young son vandalising said untasteful Christmas decorations - well, all that I can say is that Miss Read would never have dealt with the subject in such a poor way. Also, this "last" book caricatures the vicar Charles Henstock into being a greedy old thing, which is not accurate. The sentimentality in this last book (which I do not include in the series) is appalling. Miss Read, for all her faults as a writer, was never sentimental!!
My fascination with these books, which are admittedly not well-written & not classics - is more than just a mere enjoyment of a serial about various characters who live in a small English village called "Thrush Green".
These 12 books have been published from 1959 to 1995. Yes, they cover 36 years in this reality, but in the reality of the books, they appear to only cover 6 years, since Paul Young is 6 y/0 in the first book, and apparently (unless my memory is wrong) only 12 y/o in the last book (I'm not counting "Christmas at Thrush Green, where he is a bit older). During this time, many things have changed - television has been introduced, and bingo, and the small country fair has died out. Such devices as cassettes and portable phones come into being. Values change - Ella (who never called it a "baccy tin" as that fool editor called it in "Christmas at Thrush Green" - has to begin being apologetic for smoking, and cannot smoke in public places any more. 36 years with all the changes that have taken place in the world, have been compressed into 12 novels that are supposed to only cover 6 years. I find this extremely interesting, as I also find the fact that Miss Green lost sight of her own facts and muddled up the internal time of the books so that - to my mind - the books appear to take place in their own dimension, with time being a thoroughly elastic device.
Miss Green was remarkably good at her geography and the changes in weather and flora of the English year, very understanding of the weaknesses & strengths of her characters, and apart from the first book, which caricatures a number of people, knows her people well. Her sense of time is intriguingly bad, and her changes during the course of the books interests me. The dead Mr. Harmer, who starts off as a History Teacher, gets promoted during the series to the Head Master - and all without leaving his grave!! The Lovelock sisters (probably starting out as "Lovelace" and then having their surnames altered along the way) begin with Bertha being the youngest sister, but seem to eventually settle down with Violet as the youngest. Percy Hodge stays true to his role as a farmer, but somehow changes from being Mrs Jenner's cousin to her brother. The repetition of the anagram of "dairy cats" being "caryatids" interests me as it seems to pop up in various cryptic crosswords in the newspapers of various people in the series throughout the years. Ben Curdle goes from being the favorite grandson of the magnificent Mrs Curdle, to being the only grandson - and this despite the fact that we know very well that the highly dishonest Sam Curdle was also a grandson, and that Mrs Curdle had 8 children in all, most of who married and had children!!
Oh well, I needed a good rant online about that.
2. I'm knitting a rug in 3 or 4 sections. Plain knitting only for quick results, because I'm by no means an expert knitter. So far I've knitted a bit over 5 feet long, in black, green, blues & purple. I intend to put one of these strips on each side of the rug, and then knit the middle section with warmer colors.
3. I'm also knitting a shawl for myself to wear in bed when it's a bit cold and I need to draw. I started off with 160 stitches, and am decreasing as I go, so that it will end up as a triangle. I'm sticking with plain stitch for this too - I don't like stocking stitch, and I thought of making the first part with moss stitch, but gave up on this idea. In both of these knitting projects, I'm going for practicality, quickness and ease of knitting, along with colors that I like, rather than fancier designs and lacier work.
4. I've been cooking some cakes and also experimenting with uncooked beans - four bean mix. So far, the beans have been a problem, and I need to find a better recipe, hopefully not involving tomato. Interestingly, I buried some of the uncooked beans in the garden (some old ones) as an experiment, and they sprouted and were growing well until the blasted mower man whipper-snipped them down, along with a lovely white blooming cactus and a small tree that I was going to transfer to the back lawn.
5. I've been planting various things in the garden by the kitchen window, and so far the alyssum, nasturtiums and geraniums are blooming, and the rosemary cuttings are growing well. I've surrounded them with stones, in an attempt to keep the mower man from razing them to the earth, and also to try to keep the moisture in, as we aren't getting much rain, and summer is on the way. The magnolia tree that I planted by Seth's window is doing well, and the calistemon that I planted by the kitchen window is thriving. The calistemon is a red flowering one, and I planted it to replace the two daisy bushes that the blasted council men chopped down when they cut our big tree down in their overly zealous attempts at keeping the area free of fire danger. What is it about people with bloody whipper-snippers and chainsaws in their hands, and their manic disregard and seemingly snarling hatred for what the earth brings forth??? They all seem to believe heavily in the scorched earth policy, and destructivity. I could go into another rant here, but I'll restrain myself, although it's difficult.
6. I made a little writing folder, to put some fine liners and a couple of sketch books in. I have an earlier one that I made when I had a sewing machine, and I keep meaning to ask one of my sons to take a photograph of it in case anybody's interested in seeing it and making one for themselves.
7. I had my first walk in about 3 years down to the cemetery, and two kookaburras landed in a tree nearby and laughed their wonderful song. I've also gone for some walks around the neighborhood, and have seen some lovely native wax flowers and the usual yellow everlastings in the bush around here. Coincidentally, I had been thinking of bridal creeper, and how much I missed seeing it, and I was lucky enough to see some in the bush only a couple of blocks away.
8. I feed the wild birds every day, by throwing out bits of bread onto the back lawn. I've been a bit overwhelmed by the birds this year, because more and more are coming in to be fed, and I'm already going through half a loaf of wholegrain bread every day. The variety of bird life in this suburb of Bendigo is remarkable - myna birds, wattle birds, blackbirds, sparrows, crows, magpies, galahs, red & green parakeets, peewits and some gorgeously beautiful birds with deep green/gold backs, blue and black heads and white tummies. The wattle birds swoop Shade (our black cat) every time he appears either on the window sill inside or outside the house, or when he goes outside. The wattle birds are no respecters of his dignity or his privacy - my youngest son saw one of them swoop Shade when he was taking a quick toilet break - made even quicker by the wattle bird's assault on him. Yet, as before, the wattle birds do not swoop or attack Ash - our big grey & white fluffy cat - or myself or my 3 sons. Unfortunately, it did swoop my new daughter-in-law, but this could have been an accident, and it might have hit her head by mistake when it was aiming for Shade, although I did wonder if the black head wrap that she was wearing attracted it's attention.
9. Doctor and dentist visits, although dentist is out of the way for a while now. Doctor is as per usual - my new one - and seems - so far - to be better & far, far more professional than my old one, thank God. Well, so far anyway - one can never trust these people & unfortunately they are merely human & prone to much error, and some of them take a great advantage of their position of authority.
10. Drawing, and putting down watercolor backgrounds for drawings. I did something that I haven't done before, and that I really should have done a few years earlier - I finally did a chart of all the colors in watercolor that I have. There were 122 (I think) colors, from 6 different watercolor sets. I managed to confine these to the one page, and although I wasn't successful in getting good gradations of each color, it gives me a better idea of which colors are where in the sets, and the look of each on paper. I now wonder if it's best to have a lot of colors - many of them in the same or similar shades - or to just have the one set of 12 colors that I had when I started out. There is something to be said for having less choice, and thus having to experiment more, although I love having a real purple at last, and not having to fuss around so much with mixing blue and red.
11. I still only use my 0.4mm fine liners. I have some other ones, but I like the 0.4mm ones the best. They're so efficient and give such great effects, and I still have only scratched the surface of all that they can do. Old 0.4mm fine liners give different effects to new ones & mediumly worn ones, and this fascinates me. I use Artline fine liners, and they aren't water-fast. I have to be careful, because one drop of water makes the lines run. I've had 3 pictures that this has happened to, and although I was able to save them, it annoyed me. Some day, I might experiment with the effects that water can get on the lines. I also like sticking to 0.4mm fine liners because not only are they readily available at shops, but there's something very pleasing to me about only using the one thickness of nib - kind of like only using a 2B pencil for all of your drawings. Also, it's interesting because a black fine liner will only give black (although I guess it might fade to a kind of brown over the years), and to get the different gradations of tone, you have to use various methods - dotting, putting on small strokes of fine liner etc. It's a fascinating study, and I can't see myself moving on from it because I don't see myself ever exhausting or even discovering all the various uses of this medium.
An interesting note is that an artist called JS Goodall illustrated all the "Thrush Green" books. He started at this in 1959 and drew the pictures for the last book in 1995. It's fascinating to see how his drawings compare from the first book to the last book. Frankly, they seem to rather deteriorate (my personal opinion only) and I wonder if this happens to many artists. With writers, some start out better and then deteriorate, but the opposite also happens to some - they start out with really crappy books, and then find their voice (for want of a better term) or hit their stride, or find their niche, and they go on to produce some marvellous works. I don't believe that this has happened to Stephen King or Clive Barker - it's a personal opinion only, but I believe that their earlier work was their best. Every creative person is uneven of course - as Lovecraft pointed out in one of his best bits of writing (an essay on horror writing and horror writers), and one can't expect every book to be a masterpiece, or even liked by many, just like it is with art.
Well hell, I've gone from ranting to rambling, and this journal entry is way, way too long.
My 3 sons are all well, although I was a little horrified when one of them told me about a man who has a fetish for knitting ie wearing knitted stuff all over his body. My son saw a video of this on Youtube. I asked him which stitch this man's peculiar outfit (it even covered his head & face) was knitted in, but my son didn't know. My son then went on to tell me about various other fetishes that he saw on the Cracked site, and also about some men having a fetish for seeing "hot, naked women" drowning in quicksand. As well as this, he told me that some men screw their cars, using fake vaginas called "fleshlights", and fitting these into the exhaust pipes. Honestly, if these men want to screw their cars, why on earth don't they "man up" (as my sons would say) and use the exhaust pipe how it is - metallic, often rusty and filled with dirty emissions? It seems a bit too wimpy to use a fake vagina inside the exhaust pipe - either take the car how it is, or leave their horny bits out of it, I say!!
My new daughter-in-law has settled in and seems happy. She and my oldest son (her husband) have various interests in common & are best friends, and it's nice to see my oldest son content & happy.
12. I finally got the tattoo of the moth on my right wrist. It's in black, purple and a tiny bit of red, & I'm very happy with it. It's based on a design that my oldest son drew for me. I think that I finally have enough tattoos now, but I mean to ask one of my sons to take a photograph of it and I'll upload it here.
13. I have a number of videos to make for my channel on Youtube, but I haven't had enough spare time to do this, so these projects are still on hold.
I absolutely detest what Google have done - linking up our channels with bloody Google+!!! Bloody Google has taken no notice of it's channel-holders ever since it took over Youtube, and the site has steadily deteriorated in user friendliness. For instance - to get to my inbox now, I have to go through 3 different screens, instead of just clicking once on my channel name and then clicking on "inbox". I'll keep on uploading videos, but I will have as little as possible to do with Google+, which is basically just a cheap rip-off of Facebook, which I also detest. Quite enough of my time is taken up already online with Youtube & DA, without adding more online sites. I've let every other site that I belonged to lapse now, & forcing me - and all the people who hate it - to belong to Google+ is a pretty cheap and crooked trick by Google. Do they think that all we want to do with out lives is to bloody well sit on the net all day and all night, chatting vacuously to anybody about anything? Boring!!!!!
So I must admit that the changes to Youtube don't exactly make me want to leap on the net - they piss me off and help to make my time on the net take longer, less interesting & more annoying. Google has the best search engine, but it's seemingly pathetic otherwise. I'm not sure about the changes to DA - whether I like them or not. I might finish this over-long entry now & make a poll about it - it's time to change my poll anyway.
Best wishes to everybody - friends & watchers - me over & out.
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