Modern writing online is a spoken word history, transcribed in real time, in text, of people abandoning pedantry, then militantly enforcing shortcuts, and believing this is the only world. Shorter and shorter, make it shorter. No time, no time. That three minute video is an Oxford comma too long! Get a move on! Skip to the punch line! Climax now! No time for setup! That white rabbit isn’t late, he’s dead and gone! Who was he anyway? One hundred and forty letters or don’t tell me. I only speak between breaths if I ever speak at all. Don’t have time to wonder! On to the next thing! What’s the matter with you, old man? Don’t you know how to write? On to the new hieroglyphics! Kill that second space after every period! Emote meme shorthand you dumb bastard! We merry new pedants of the arrogant unsigned would assign you a deficit if we remembered you at all. Peter Pan had dementia and we forget the ones we kill. RIP and on to RFID. Old Mother UPC calls little QR to lunch? A question mark at the end of every statement. Schwa?
Now I’ve said too much.
This is The Sad Circus by the Sea. It’s a project that I have been working on, abandoning again and again, coming back to, arranging and re-arranging, over and over for the past ten years. But here it is finally as a web comic that Tavisha and I intend to begin in May of this year, which you can help make happen by donating to the temporary site here: http://www.tavicat.com/tavicat/SadCircus.html and by buying prints here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RikkiSimons?section_id=13064155.
The Sad Circus by the Sea was originally intended to be a comic that I was to write and paint and that Tavisha was to draw, but as I did more world building I sort of got lost in the place. I ended up with so much material that it became a novel, which I wrote and re-wrote, and pitched to publishers and agents and found no takers. They said it was too sad. Then I re-wrote it with our friend Eric Trueheart, and when again the book saw resistance we decided to pitch it as a TV series. Again, a bit of a fruitless, exhausting effort. So, I’ve come back to the beginning, and it was probably better off as a comic all along — something not so complicated, just a series of little stories that take place long before the adventure in the novel. This feels like the right thing to do. We’ll get back to the bigger book idea some other time. For now, just funny little stories.
The Sad Circus by the Sea is the where Poosh the trinkkit circus clown lives with his sister, Pihtzee, on a little water moon circling a sentient gas giant. Here he makes his little life, trying to calmly make his way, maybe taking a moment for himself arranging pens on his desk, before his sister comes crashing through the wall, or mechanical salamanders get sick on his garden, or robot eggs come tumbling from space … .
So! Our adventure begins in May. But we’ll update with more comics before then, and hopefully by May get an actual functional site working.
My mother-in-law, Dyane, “Dee,” (pictured on the left) passed away last night. She had dementia for nine years. Tavisha and I did the best we could to care for her while trying to comprehend just what it all meant. Just what were we witnessing as we watched this funny, explosively absurd person slowly fall apart? In a sense, we really lost her nine years ago, when the disease first struck. I remember she called me on the phone and said, “Something is wrong. I feel like I’ve walked into a dream.” That was in 2003. The day before that call, she seemed perfectly fine, just Dyane, just her usual bizarrely jovial lovely Dee.
My first attempt to voice GIR in 1998, I tried to imitate Dee in the audition, something that, shall we say, didn’t work, because Dee is un-inimitable. When she found out I was voice acting, she said to me, “Oh! Tell them I want to be a vooooiiiicccceeee!” It’s impossible to copy. You will herniate your face in the attempt. Her powers were incredible.
Until the moment has passed, you often don’t realize that at any second this could be the last time a loved one derails or exasperates you, and only when they are years into the disease, do you finally begin to comprehend what you’ve lost. You miss their strangeness. You miss the out-of-the-blue debates you had with them about aliens, psychics, ghosts, or whether or not the dove they saw on the way home was the Holy Spirit. It can be good, sometimes, when loved ones boggle you with nonsense. If you’re boggled, you’re alive. They’re alive! We’re all alive together and driving each other crazy! Hurrah!
When it’s gone, you wonder if their ideas go somewhere where they can finally be understood and appreciated. Somewhere there’s an idea about ghosts haunting a bath towel that gets spoken into the wind even though no one is around to say it, and the wind approves, nods its head knowingly and laughs. I wish I could say right now, “Dee, I don’t think these popsicle sticks you’ve made into runes really predict the future,” and have that debate go on for hours like it used to. I would love that right now. But that was nine years ago. Now, I’ll have to argue with the wind, and hope it boggles and delights me just the same. Maybe, if I listen, I’ll still be able to hear an echo of her ideas as they roll past the moon. I think the moon would love Dee. We certainly did.
Science tells us that the universe is expanding. Stars and galaxies are moving apart at ever greater speeds every year. In a hundred billion years the only stars that will be visible from this part of the universe will be in our own galaxy. The rest of the universe will be too distant for our telescopes. People like Dee are a galaxy of wonder. You have to appreciate and love them before they shift out of sight, before they move on to wherever they’re going, and all you can see is their dying lights in your mirror, and then just a memory.
Dyane Blackford (born Dyane Hata), was born June 5, 1945, in Colorado, at a Japanese internment camp. She is survived by her mother Pauline Kubota (94), her brother John Kubota and his family (wife Betsy, and children Samantha and Jake), by her daughter, Tavisha Wendi Wolfgarth-Simons, and by Tavisha’s father, Ron Garth, and by me, her son-in-law, Rikki.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go debate with the wind.
What is this from? :O
Here’s the opening credits too: http://youtu.be/ajiAvb_XfNM
I first discovered the series when I found the model kits for the show’s robots when I was 13, in 1983, at my local hobby store in Riverside, California. The kits came in beautifully painted boxes with instructions that contained detailed schematics of the robots’ interiors and mechanics. It was such an astonishing find, because Riverside was so remote back then, so far from anything interesting or foreign. I still think the robot designs are elegant and beautiful today.
In my book, Hitherto a Lion, the main character is a biomechanical lion named Fel. Here is a work-in-progress by my brother Robert. It’s a picture of Fel after he has activated his morphological armor covering.
Here is a synopsis of the book:
Thirty billion light years from Earth, two hundred toroidal colonies spin within a black nebula of organic matter. The human colonists of the Hæl triple star system are under siege by the Bœzch invaders. Cognizant beings cannot hide from the Bœzch, and when a human falls into their red, spindly hands, they are spun into stardust, until the theory of them is gone from the universe.
Now Fel, the black biomechanical lion, wearily hunts the Bœzch across the African toroidal colony known as the Long Savanna. Here he is tested. Here he is followed by a haunting song, a ghost of his former self, and a dream of a familiar human woman ….
You can buy a kindle version of the novel here for $2.99: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DEKAIU
Okay! Here are some paintings and prints for sale, Tavisha and I did them for Gallery 999. First, I give you Tavisha’s water colors:
"Can’t Catch Me" — Prints Available $20.00: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114226839/cant-catch-me-gallery-999-haunted
"Lucky Clover" — Original Art Available $80: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114183206/lucky-clover-haunted-mansion-999-gallery
"Lucky Clover" — Prints Available $20: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114240721/lucky-clover-print-gallery-999-haunted
"Going My Way" — Original Art Available $75: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114231915/going-my-way-gallery-999-haunted-mansion
"Going My Way" — Original Art Available $20: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114242137/going-my-way-print-gallery-999-haunted
And then my oil pastel paintings:
"Doom Buggy" — Original Art Available $65: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114174219/doom-buggy
"Doom Buggy" — Prints Available $20: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114236829/doom-buggy-print-gallery-999-haunted#
"the Happy Bride" — Prints Available $20: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114237610/the-happy-bride-print-gallery-999#
And that’s it for ghosties! Please be enjoying forever.
I have two original oil pastel paintings up for sale at Etsy.
The Happy Bride: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114173622/the-happy-bride
I made these for the Gallery 999 show last weekend, and since they have yet to find a home, I dropped the prices on them to make them easier for you immediate consumption. I mean, I assume you’re going to eat them.
Please be enjoying them.
Sweet kitty Fargo left us this morning and went back to space. He was very peaceful when he went, and though our hearts were breaking, we were happy to know he would no longer feel bad. Thank you to everyone who donated to his medical care. You helped us to have an extra year with him.
I don’t know what else to say about him right now. I’ve written so many adventures for Pippi and him that I can’t remember which of them are true. Though I’m sure he fought a dragon, and I’m sure flew through space. Those must be the true stories. How could they not be? He was Fargo.
My lap is too light without him.
My kitty Fargo is in the hospital again. His kidneys are being jerks, like kidneys tend to be. He’s my little friend, so if you’d like to help him by donating at our Tavicat site, we can maybe teach his kidneys to behave. If you do think you can help out with his $2000 bill by donating here, please specify if you would like signed GIR prints or if you are just donating our of awesome kindness: http://www.tavicat.com/tavicat/donate.html
Thank you, you are lovely creatures.