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Expensive creepy machines

The Met has got a show on at the moment called Making Marvels. It’s about two hundred years worth of eye-wateringly expensive things European royalty commissioned between 1550 and 1750. If you click either the catalogue or the picture album links on the page I linked above, you get a 404 error.

Boo, the Met.

Fortunately, I found their YouTube playlist. Don’t miss the famous draughtsman — with his clothes off, no less.

Lots of cool things to see on their Twitter hashtag, as well.

Yes, I’m still haunting Twitter for news of the coronavirus. Today in town, a family of Chinese tourists stopped me to ask directions and I ’bout came out of my skin. If one of the buggers had coughed…

January 27, 2020 — 9:15 pm
Comments: 7


This is neat. Spanish photographer takes high resolution video of birds in flight and isolates the birds from the landscape. He uses movie cameras and slow motion and films them for several days before picking the image apart in Photoshop.

His name is Xavi Bou and if you click that link, it’ll take you to a Google Images search of his name. Do go look; my little black and white photos don’t half do him justice.

I love watching birds in flight. I could do it for hours.

But tonight, the storm rages, so I’d best be off. Go look at pretty pictures.

January 14, 2020 — 7:26 pm
Comments: 14

Aiiii! Kill it with fire!!!



Steamboat Willie was released on this day in 1928.

At least, that’s what the V&A Museum of Childhood tells me. First Disney cartoon with fully synchronized sound, and first cartoon ever to have the soundtrack created after the cartoon.

The cartoon Mickey, I have to admit, was seriously cuter than this stuffed toy produced a few years later. What is it with old toys and seriously nightmare-inducing teeth?

Oh, I passed the stuffed rooster again today. It’s going for £74 and an odd number of cents. Not as eye-watering as some of those toys, but no thanks.


November 18, 2019 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 8

And he never said why…

It’s in the Plaza Vieja (Old Square) in Havana. It’s a sculpture of a woman, nude but for stiletto heels, riding a giant rooster with a giant fork slung over her shoulder. The title is Viaje Fantástico (Fantastic Voyage) and the artist is Roberto Fabelo.

Perhaps it’s an homage to prostitution. Perhaps it’s a giant rude pun. I couldn’t say. He certainly didn’t. Who knew commies could be so playful and enigmatic?

Do follow the link and have a look at it from other angles. It’s a seriously good bit of modelling work (look at that left hand).

I follow a number of figurative sculptors on FB and elsewhere. It heartening how many of them are genuinely good. There was a time I thought representational art was dead.

It’s not. It’s weird, but it’s not dead.

September 30, 2019 — 8:47 pm
Comments: 11

Behold, the size of mine ego!

Handwriting font. Specifically, my handwriting font.

There are many places online you can do this, many for free. They vary in the number of characters they’ll allow (special characters like ampersands and em dashes may not be included), but they all work similarly. Download a template, write the letters in the spaces provided, scan and upload. And viola, .ttf file!

I almost had a hissy fit when I realized I’d done all my work on a template that wasn’t the template of the website I had intended to work with. But as I had done a lot of the work in Photoshop, it was an easy matter to move it from one to another.

The particular site I used is Calligraphr. They have some neat features, like letting you adjust the letter spacing (my handwriting is generally crammed together tight) and letter variants (because if you get a big enough sample, the lack of variation in the letter forms sticks out).

I might even pony up the $8 for one months worth of enhanced service, so I can do a complete character set — numbers, symbols and so on. You get to keep the font when you’re done anyway, paying or not.

Behold, a handwriting crabbed by two and a half decades of communicating with engineers.

June 4, 2019 — 8:55 pm
Comments: 13



Neat article about deep fakes. You know, where they take an image and make a pretty convincing animated version of it. They’ve got it so they can work off a single still image. Watch them Facebook profile pics, everyone!

Unfortunately, you’ll have to go to Twitter to see the animated version of Mona Lisa.

Which brings us to Mona Weasel here. It’s a thing I did for a website I used to do, years before this blog. A thousand years ago in internet terms. I stopped updating it and then one day the URL got poached by Japanese schoolgirl porn, or something.

I got me an internet footprint goes back to the Eighties. I’ve been saying stupid stuff in public for three decades.

My P’shop skills have improved somewhat, anyhow.



May 23, 2019 — 8:48 pm
Comments: 10


Cannot watch Notre Dame burn. Just cannot deal.

We heard about the news from my mother-in-law before it hit the top of the BBC (I think it might have been a smaller item down the page) — process that for a moment. Drudge had it front and center, though.

Take my advice: don’t go to Twitter tonight. I’m coming to the conclusion that the only purpose of Twitter is to make me psychotically angry.

Beautiful gargoyle picture above from Peter Adams Photography. I would say “courtesy of” but I don’t think it counts as a courtesy if you didn’t ask.

April 15, 2019 — 9:38 pm
Comments: 10

My giant monkey comic book came today!

If you don’t know what this is: Richard Meyer is a guy who loves comic books. A little over a year ago he started a YouTube channel to talk about it. It quickly became all about how social justice was ruining the funny books. This made his channel very, very popular and made the current crop of comic book professionals very, very angry. And they were all like if you’re so smart, why don’t you make your own comic? And then he did. So they picked up the phone and scared his publisher off*. So then he self-published. I was one of the first few hundred backers, me.

It looks pretty good. I don’t know yet. I can’t read comics sober.

*it turns out, intefering in somebody else’s business deal is against the law. They particularly do not cotton to such conduct in Texas, where much of this happened. So not only did I get to see a neat comic book, but also a very amusing lawsuit (ongoing).

March 26, 2019 — 9:14 pm
Comments: 6

Lambs, you say?

Artist: Ed Harrington.

If you’ve never read Silence of the Lambs, you should. It’s the only book my stepmother ever recommended to me, so I felt obliged to read it (I don’t read much fiction, and I really hate fictional murder stories).

I actually stood up out of my reading chair at one point, when the plotline took an unexpected turn. You know the place.

Hated the movie.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

March 22, 2019 — 9:16 pm
Comments: 6

I like this lady

Neat idea: a crowd-sourced database of historic watercolors. It’s a British charity and they’re just starting, so it isn’t very fleshed out yet, but click the link and you can do a word search of their db.

Before the camera, watercolors functioned just like snapshots. They were quick takes, often by amateurs, usually intended to capture data rather than pretend to great art. There are millions of them in collections high and low, in drawing rooms, museums and ladies’ diaries. This could be an important resource, if they don’t run out of money.

Go have a poke around. It’s fun.

This very skillful portrait miniature turned up on a search of “North Carolina.” She is Mrs John Willis Ellis, smilin’ at you from 1846 and I love her.

Good weekend, all!

March 1, 2019 — 8:27 pm
Comments: 14