A look inside my real and virtual sketchbook. Based in Catalonia, Spain.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Don't Look Behind You
Well the cinco was a cuatro yesterday and Jordi the teacher is showing signs of cracking. He's like that at the end of every term but I suppose it doesn't help when he asks the others if they actually have taken their guitars out of their cases since last week and be met with nervous giggles. Pia the post lady picks me up now which is great because it is getting seriously hot to lug the guitar ten minutes down the road.
. And now begins the planning of a trip to Britain again as the last time I woke up with a lunatic tooth that now is out with the rubbish somewhere.
Trying to record some guitar playing but the usb ports don't work on this computer and the ancient laptop doesn't want to play. Booger. I posted once on youtube but that must have been when I could plug in the ..oh no...wait. I did it on the camera!
Anyway, I might move to a different webpage on blogger and if I do it will be called "Spotty Dog". The newer blogs have more bells and whistles and I can never have too many of those.
Guess who didn't know there was a reflection tool in the text maker in Photoshop? I promise to be smarter this year.
I was served raw prawns the other night. Mental note to wear my reading glasses when not dining at home (which is not often). "Oh," says the hostess, "I thought you just defrosted them and served them with a wedge of lime?" "Er, you cook them first though," I say. "You do? We always serve them like this."
Having done a little research on the web I discover that I have narrowly avoided death yet again (toxic poisoning)...the closest possibly being landing upside down in a hot air balloon on a Belgian motorway ...or the time an arabian sheik offered my brother a pile of cash in exchange...for me. That was quite scary, actually.
Artrage 2.5. You can use the glitter tool to make fancy dresses or stencils to put the waves in Maureen's hair and Bryony's frock. Melanie wears a dazzling number bought from the local charity shop. Smart lady. All three are looking for suitors.
There's a television advert that was on over Christmas that I cannot get out of my head and it's driving me nuts. A room full of shiny clothing and these huge women going "D'ja wanta bargee doo ya, doo ya, sixty fer a fivaaah, doo ya doo ya, wanna bargee?" Arrrrrrgggggggg!
Ultrafractal 4.0 up and running again. Make a fractal...cut out shapes...paste them onto a background...think, that looks a bit like an animal...and crikey, that could be a human following him... http://www.ultrafractal.com/
Or I could say...I've designed this especially for you to herald the zodiac sign of whatever it is that has cloven feet and to welcome you into 2009...but that would be me just making it up.
Here's a really fine example of a gentleman with a peach of a spirit. This fellow hauls rocks and paving stones from wherever he can in order to partake in his hobby called "Let's block the path and hopefully the old lady with two walking sticks, the man with Parkinsons, the tentative joggers recovering from heart attacks, the runners and the cyclists, and anyone just possibly not looking at their feet because the sea is so beautiful...falls over and breaks something." He actually does this on a daily basis. The first passerby of the day clears it up. Today it was my turn.
He must have a very sad life...or maybe he is just a jili pollas?
Hooray! It's pouring with freezing rain. The village feels like an abandoned film set. The winter transitory folk sit smoking in steamed up BMW's and ancient Mercedes. Broken glass all along the port where the late-nighters forget what bar they are in. I gave Patrick a collection of spices which I put in a big box along with a curry bible. Alice who used to be Frank gave him the same book. Anyway, here's the company. They do mail order and their spices smell like the souk in Bahrain. Fantastic. www.spice-master.com What's your new year resolution?
Alice who used to be Frank arrived back from America via Heathrow and Barcelona. A quivering wreck of her former self...it took three of us to get her dog into a car to go back to her home. Paco and Mari turned up as well and Mari patted me on the head...why? Why have people all my life patted me on the head or stroke my hair, like I'm a dog, or something?
The Christmas tree is up...well...sort of... leaning to one side really. Cycled along the shore for the first time in ages because of the dreadful weather. I spoke to the old man who used to run a restaurant and the old man with the zimmer frame who sits by the Port gave me a butterscotch sweet. The campsite is full of Dutch and British all sunbathing. Christmas spirit in the air.
Yoohoooo......Download a demo of Artrage 2.5...then buy it!! Honestly, this software is a terrific way to feel four years old again. Remember the first box of coloured crayons? I had lost my version in the computer clean-up but I emailed the company and they sent my registration key straight away. Just buy it. It's great value. So, there's one more thing up and running again. I'm dying to put up the tree but it appears to have grown roots through the bottom of the flower pot.
The computer situation is dire. I am balanced on the heel of my right foot, surrounded by cables, headphones, wacom tablet, pen, brazilian jungle, parrot feathers... and in desperation an "ocean breeze" candle burning to get rid of the smell of dog which is invading everything. We are going to try and wash the nine stone culprit today and I pray she doesn't get pnuemonia before her owner returns from her foreign forays.
This is a rough sketch of an idea from a comic book that I'm making. My hands are dropping off with the cold...
Played dreadfully in class yesterday. My teacher actually asked if I had not had any time to practise last week! He liked the Christmas bottle of wine though, ha, ha. Nothing like a rioja to soothe the savage brow.
This is what it's supposed to look like. Guitar class this afternoon. I love this time of year. The Polivalente is full of very excited little people in ballet tutus and cowboy boots. The theater doors are flung open and the stage alight with prancing and clumping dancers. The mothers hang around outside smirking with pride.
This is an old cartoon which I've posted before (click on the image to enlarge it...if you want) but crikey my computer and files, CD's everything in a big mess. I'm reinstalling all sorts of software but can't find half my stuff. I'm also getting really cross so will shut up and direct you to a piece of baroque guitar. Even if you don't like the music it's worth a look to see absolutely beautiful craftsmanship in the making of the instrument. Makes me drool looking at it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfVZRevRKv8&feature=related
The poor people who are staying in the house of Alice who used to be Frank have given up and are heading back to Britain today. During their brief stay they have endured...getting lost on the motorway and flagged down by police, freezing rain and wind, a massive tooth infection, three visits to the doctor and virtually everything is closed here because Spain shuts down in December.
The above is on nice, handmade paper by http://www.khadi.com/ I haven't actually finished making cards yet. Getting a bit late.
I'm having to revert to some quite old software until I get the computer situation sorted out but Essentials Painter 2 is actually very nice. It is bucketing with rain. Arthur and Holly snore on. The house is beginning to smell like kennels....eeerrggg.
(written by my father about when he lived at Oakley Court)
Replying to my wife, you told us that you were intrigued by the story of the Venus of Milo. We have kept some relevant notes, but above all the memory of Mr.Olivier telling us this bit of history is still fresh in our minds.
In 1948 we found a flat to let which was not easy at that time and went to see the landlord, Mr.Olivier. He was pleased to find that I spoke French since he was of course French himself and he let us have the flat for 5 Guineas/week, half my income.
From time to time he invited us to join him for a game of canasta or just for a chat and one evening he told us his story.
"When I was a young man I was called to my uncle's house, as he was on the point of dying and wished to speak to me. He had a last request which I was to fulfill.
My uncle was the son of Louis Brest, who in 1820 was French Consul on the island of Milo, an Ottoman protectorate. He called me to his bedside and asked me whether I had seen the Venus of Milo in the Louvre. Of course I had and I wondered how that could be important to his last wish. He then told me that the pedestal bore an inscription stating that this famous statue was offered to the nation (France) by the Marquis de Riviere, ambassador in Constantinople and by Dumont d'Urville, commander of a French man-of-war. My uncle commanded me to go to the Louvre, have this inscription blotted out and have his father's name, Louis Brest, inscribed instead. Needless to say I thought he was a bit ga-ga but I was willing to promise anything. However I asked him to tell me why.
His story sounded rather like a typical Marseilles invention. Apparently whilst Louis Brest was consul in Milo, his gardener used to dig up bits of archeological remains from time to time. One day he came to the consul and said he had found something that was perhaps worth seeing and indeed careful excavation revealed the magnificent statue. The consul had it cleaned and set up the the entrance hall of the consulate for everyone to admire. Well all kinds of people went in and out of the consulate and it soon got round that this statue was exceptional. One person who visited the consulate was a Greek archeologist and he was quite agitated when he eventually left. The next day the Greek ambassador arrived and admired the statue, then he said that this was of course a Greek statue and should in due course be sent to Athens where it would have a place of honour in the museum. My grand-uncle prevaricated, he thought this would not be possible, he would have to consult the French government to whom "the request should properly be forwarded. As soon as the Greek had left he sent a courier to the Foreign Office in Paris, explaining his dilemma. By return he was told that on no account should he allow the Greeks to take possession, a ship of the French fleet happened to be cruising in the Mediterranean and would be instructed to call at Milo to take the statue back to France.
A few days later or rather a few nights later, burglars, hired by the Greeks, broke into the consulate and despite a struggle in which the arms broke off, the consular servants could not stop the thieves carrying away the statue. It was loaded onto a Greek merchant ship in the harbour and this was due to sail the following day. However early in the morning of the following day, the French battleship sailed into the harbour, blocking the entrance. It trained it's guns onto the Greek merchantman and told them, surrender the statue intact or sink to the bottom. Dumont d'Urville, the French commander, did not mince his words. The consul's problem was how to resolve this stalemate.
Now, the Greeks wanted the statue, a Greek relic, the French wanted the statue, a French find, but in fact the island of Milo was under Turkish rule. Louis Brest was a good friend of the Sultan in Constantinople and got in touch with him for help and for a ruling on what should happen. With true eastern diplomacy the Sultan pointed out that the statue had been discovered in the grounds of the French consulate, that in international law these grounds were French. He had a firman (document) drawn up, dated 8th October 1820, in Turkish and Greek stating that under the circumstances the statue quite evidently belonged to France and that if the Greek did not surrender it immediately they would incur his great displeasure and so it was that the statue was transferred to the man-of-war named 'ESTAFETTE' and transported to France.
Now, my dear nephew, you will understand why my father's name should be inscribed on the pedestal and not that of d'Urville. He did nothing except sail his ship as ordered whilst my father was the discoverer and avoided its loss to the nation by his diplomacy. With that my uncle sank back and looked at me. What he evidently saw was a look of disbelief and he hit a small gong to summon his servant :"Jules, go to my desk and at the back of the bottom drawer you will find a rolled up document, bring it here and show it to my nephew". There indeed was the original document drawn up by the Sultan in Constantinople. I was to take this with me to the Louvre and arrange for my uncle's will to be fulfilled.
Eventually I did go to the Louvre and told them my uncle's story. They were of course most interested, particularly when they saw the original document. They wanted to buy this since it proved the real history of the discovery, but I refused to let them have it. It was mine and I intended to keep it. As a compromise the Louvre agreed to make an addition to the inscription on the pedestal, mentioning Louis Brest's part, but they would not erradicate the name of Dumont d'Urville...............". And thatis the truth of what happened way back in 1820. "
This time it was our eyes which registered mild disbelief and Mr.Olivier soon dispelled this. We were sitting in his library and he drew back a small curtain to reveal a stout steel door to his strong-room. He went in (without us!) and brought out the original document in Greek and Turkish, giving the Sultan's edict, together with a translation in French. The translation dated back to 1919, authenticated by Heron de Villefosse, curator of antiquities at the Louvre.
This was an exciting story and it is a pity I cannot reproduce Mr.Olivier's delightful mixture of English and French with a nasal Marseilles twang.
Latermy father in Switzerland, having read my letters about the affair, found several articles in the local papers giving different accounts of the discovery. He contacted Mr.Olivier and later Mr.E.Miolesco in Istanbul to try and get more information, but without much success. Finally he wrote to the Journal de Geneve giving them our story and stating that, on a visit to England he himself had also seen Mr.Olivier's document.
I enclose the original newspapers of 1951 giving different versions, the last one, dated 26th August containing my father's comments. You will note with pleasure that he refers to Oakley Court 'chateau' as Little Windsor. We would of course like you to return these papers to us in due course for our own archives. I have also made a copy for you of a letter written by Olivier to Miolesco who had requested sight of the firman. I would suppose that the document is now finally lodged with the Louvre.
If you have a good raconteur on your staff,I am sure this would make a pleasant bed-time story in the bar. I personally believe Mr. Olivier's account as the only true one, the embellishments may be his but the basis is indisputable.
Oh,oh......computer reformatted...the software for my favourite drawing programme remains stubbornly hidden somewhere. I have toothache which mysteriously always happens around this time of year even though I had a checkup a couple of months ago. Alice who used to be Frank has gone on holiday and left her very, very large dog here. She has a lovely personality but sort of smells of stale Chanel No5 and have you ever tried shifting a nine stone dog from the middle of the road when she decides it's time to sit down?
Here is a perfectly beautiful piece of playing, musical instrument, piece of music.
Looks like the computer will possibly be running properly by next Tuesday in which case I can plug the tablet back in. Meanwhile I'm supposed to make back up copies of everything which is impossible because the USB ports are not recognising memory sticks, camera, wacom tablet and every time I put a CD into the drive the computer restarts....eeerrrggggg.
I've got to start making the Christmas cards. I have borrowed a guillotine, I have the paper, I bought what the lady assured me was gold glitter (to add the tacky bits) but it turns out to be for cosmetic use. It sticks to the skin beautifully but not paper. I now have nice, glittering gold hands.
Cycling around the corner in a zennish state of mind to be confronted with the horrible guy in the next street with his equally disgusting, fat, boxer dog careering towards me like an enraged bull. Everybody on the street loathes this guy and his dog. They must have been away a few months because I had almost manged to wipe the ugly couple from my brain. When the French family on the other side of the street are here they carry a big stick with them because of this guy.
I bought some really nice Viking fibulas last year (turns out they were Finnish) from a very nice fellow from Germany. So this year I thought I would get some more...they were super reasonable prices. So I sent an email asking if he still sells because I couldn't remember his seller name and I got an email back today saying he's in rehab. Don't know what to make of it. Hope he gets better is all I can think of.
Timbobig, the only blogger I follow, has pointed me in the direction of Glen Hansard who I never knew about. A great discovery for me.
Here's a link. He's buzzing from the other side of the universe. Apparently he offered some very good advice. If you ever face an insurmountable wall, turn to the opposite direction and start walking and eventually you'll go right round the world and come out the other side. This makes sense to me and I wonder if my usual approach of trying to dig under it may be completely up the wrong street. enjoy... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqSB51x8Wh4
I may have posted a bit of this image before? It's from when I had the demo version of Adobe Illustrator CS3. Honestly, it was great...for sixteen days. Now they have a new version out CS4 but crikey, it costs about sixty squillion quid. I know the software can do a million things but what about us who are not students or companies? I would even do artwork for free for Adobe if they gave me a version at a reasonable price. Hello? Hello, Adobe? IIlustrator CS4 are you listening............?
If I were a bird I would take a running jump off a mountaintop today. The clouds are scudding across a brilliant, blue sky. Leaves are yellow-flashing through the air. There's shadows dancing on the glass door...my guitar case just fell over..... the police closed the main road yesterday because there were tiles blowing off the apartments and smashing onto the cars.
Well, Adobe Photoshop 2 has perfectly nice brushes. Arthur is howling which means the massage lady next door has a client. Henry, the neighbour on the other side has taken off in the dead of night as he always does at this time of year. His new wife hides in the house all day and absolutely everybody in town thinks she is wanted across Europe. For what? Nobody knows. Something to do with boats. And everybody knows she was married before she snaffled Henry and she never divorced and the reason she married Henry is because he's already had two heart attacks and he owns lots of apartments in Germany. See, it's all happening here. The wind is still roaring.
Must be full moon or something...the wind continues to howl...I have a lot of things I am supposed to be doing right now and am in major diversion activity. So, here's some magic playing by guitarist Gaelle Solal. I will never reach such technique but it's good to have dreams and anyway, I'll just plod on and maybe in twenty years time....ha, ha...OMG I'll be 75. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rbVCgFT5JQ&feature=related
I think the whole world is on ebay today. Thought I would buy something medieval like a coin perhaps for a possible Christmas present but it keeps redirecting me to Tibetan gem encrusted daggers which I am not interested in. Blowing a gale again.
Here's a link to a brilliant animation called "The little girl who was forgotten by absolutely everyone...even the postman." By Katytowell on Youtube. I wish she lived around the corner! The person who invented the little girl, that is.
Playing with the motion button in the above drawing.
I often pass a jogging lady when I'm on the bike by the seafront and we always exchange "holas" and today I bumped into her on a street and we said "hola" and she asked if it was too windy on the beach and I said yes (this is in Spanish) and I ask if she is French and she says no she's English and German. And then there's that pause when two english speaking people realise why are they speaking to each other in Spanish. Anyway, it was funny and I'll certainly meet her again.
A 20 euro note flew out my pocket as I was cycling down a steep hill but I actually saw it on the way back! I had to climb down a ditch and over a metal fence to retreive it from a pile of rubbish. Watched the whole time by a man with a bucket skulking in a doorway. I wonder what he thought I was doing?
And, I just finished a ten hour render of an animated fractal using the demo version which is a new version of the one I have and it's just finished.....so now I have a very nice yellow , unanimated square with "evaluation copy" all over it. I'm going to upgrade anyway. Ultrafractal 5.0.
One and a half hours queuing in the police station in Reus this morning to collect a piece of paper. Panic attack crawling across the floor trying to get its hands on me. It seems strip lighting plays a big part in my panic attacks . Anyway, now I'm wrecked but I did go to a wonderful shop that is so crammed with fancy dress costumes and bolts of material that it is difficult to walk down the aisles which are about 40 cms wide. Bought six handmade buttons.
If I were a cartoon I would have smoke coming out my ears today. I saw, for the first time, the paperwork needed in Britain, for a Home Information Pack, which is a delightful scam the government there has invented for getting money out of people when they sell a house. I cannot believe the stupidity of some of the many hundreds of questions. How about this... Bathroom fitments...please mark Included, Excluded, None. Taps, Plugs, Soap and toothbrush holders, Toilet Roll holders
and in External areas... Water butts Clothes line Dustbin
Television and telephone... Television aerial (in another part of the questionnaire it asks where is the television aerial) Radio aerial.
Apart from the fact that I am mad at the idiocy of a person who would quibble over a toilet roll holder etc, it's a huge scam, an utter waste of printing and paper, an appalling waste of the seller's time, the buyer's time, the estate agents, the solicitors. And what a SAD, SAD reflection of what Britain has turned into. AND; AND:::::A British estate agent here in Spain actually stabbed a guy to death two days ago over a house deal. What is wrong with the world?