AnimalAlphabetPostcards Preview Set

Here you go. Click an image to look at them all in a slideshow. Let me know if there are any problems.

Napoleon Dynamite, here I come.

Some people are big in Hollywood. I am not an actor and never will be, but I might just be big in Preston, Idaho. I will be speaking at the Oakwood School in Preston on Wednesday night at 7 if any of you care to attend. Preston is, of course, the setting for the cult film, Napoleon Dynamite, so while you're there, you can also say hi the Tina, Napoleon's fat lard llama. Or you might be lucky enough to run into Uncle Rico. I am thinking about wearing my Vote for Pedro t-shirt.
All kidding aside, the nice folks in Preston have invited me to come and tell my story because, as they say, probably half the county has read my books. One woman, whom I affectionately call the "the bookrunner of Preston", has purchased close to 200 books for people in her community. Thanks, Candy. A few months ago when I went to Panguitch to speak to the high school and then the larger community that evening, I had several people tell me they felt I had written about their town. I get the feeling many people in Preston feel the same way about Niederbipp. It makes me feel like I might just bump into Mayor Jim or Sam the baker while I am up there. I hope I do. To the nice people in Preston, thanks for spreading Niederbipp. I look forward to meeting you.
Just an update on the house...I am tiling, the painter is painting...when he shows up. The trim is mostly done, the hardwood has been installed, the cabinets are a month late, we are slightly ahead of schedule and still under budget. The stone mason showed up today and began his work on the rock veneer. We should have electricity this week. I fired the last of my tiles, I think, today. Within a couple of weeks, I ought to have something to show you and I am very anxious to get back to my writing. I can't wait. See you in Preston!

Animal Alphabet: Z is for Zebra Swallowtail

Last week I promised a terrifying chimera for the final week of the Animal Alphabet.

Here it is!

Yes, Z is for the zebra swallowtail butterfly, as the title of this post indicates.

Maybe you don't think it is terrifying (or chimerical). Clearly, if you think that way, you don't know how these things are made. Here is a glimpse of that unholy alchemy. Click to see it more clearly.

Rumor has it that another alphabet is about to begin, full of imaginary (rather than authentic) creatures. I am consulting my sources and limbering my digits.

New Piece!

Hey everybody!

Wow! In the time I have been away theres been so much traffic on my blog! Thank you to all of my new followers, I am so honored there is over 200 of you now, I felt it necessary to sit down and work on a real piece for a change and not just a sketch. So here it is, something I have been working on in my spare time for the last couple weeks. enjoy!

Hello Blogging Wolrd

I am Ally Doman formally known as Ally Porter. I thought it would be fun to join you blogging folk. We are the Domans. Isaac and I have had a crush on each other since the ninth grade so we thought it may be a good idea to get hitched. We've spent the last two years enjoying being newly weds. We have both been working away and Isaac has been taking classes at ISU.
But as of late we have a child.... Which is our new favorite thing! Reagan Kari was born on June 12th, 3 days before my day of birth. She has been a dream baby. We adore her to say the least. She is the first grand baby for my parents and the 14th on the Doman side. Isaac and I have been having too much fun being parents. You always hear how wonderful being a mom is but nothing I ever imagined came close to how special it is.
That's us for a start!

Trapped in a car guy, speak up

Several years ago, someone emailed me or commented on this blog with an idea for a story. He proposed I write something about people who get trapped in a car and have to live there for a long time. I scoffed at the idea at the time, pointing out its many impracticalities, but it unexpectedly came back to me later in a more abstract form and I did indeed write a story based on it. It's going to be in my upcoming short story book, and I want to credit the person who sent me the idea. So whoever that was, if you're still out there and still listening, speak up and you'll be immortalized in the small print of a book very few people will ever read.

The Days Fly By

Someone once shared with me that as a mom of young children, it can feel as though the days move slowly but the years fly by. I suppose some days for me are like that, particularly if Eliana decides she doesn't feel like napping. Mostly, however, our days are full... not necessarily with huge plans or a jam packed schedule; but full of laughter, kisses, snuggles, books, songs, pretending, and the simple joys of getting to me Eliana's mommy. The years... or more accurately in our case, weeks and months... do feel like they're flying be.
How in the world am I already 24 weeks pregnant? I am one of those people (who some call crazy for this) who loves being pregnant. I truly do. And there's a part of me that's a little sad about the fact that this pregnancy is moving so quickly. I am eagerly looking forward to meeting Isaac and Eliana's little brother (whom we have named Jacob!); but I really do love the pregnancy part, too.
And how in the world did this little cutie get to be almost 19 months old already?

It amazes me that she has grown and changed and learned so much in what is actually such little time.

Most of all, how has it been nearly three years since I met my sweet Isaac? Has it really been that long? Sometimes it feels like a few weeks ago that we were holding him; yet at the same time, in some ways it feels like another lifetime. In less than two weeks we will celebrate his 3rd birthday... which in many ways is unfathomable to me. 2008 sounds like a long time ago.

There is so much about fall that I love-- the crisp cooler air, all things apple and pumpkin, football... I could go on. Yet this season is a poignant reminder to me of all that was lost... who was lost. I remember so clearly back to October of 2008, walking into the hospital the morning Isaac was to be born, and it still felt somewhat like summer. By the time we left to go home, leaving the hospital holding a picture of my boy instead of my little boy himself, it was as if the seasons had changed overnight... a seemingly fit metaphor for my internal state. And as the leaves fell that autumn, it was as if they were mimicking the the trails of tears that often flowed.

It's a strange thing to approach Isaac's third birthday not only with Eliana here, but also with his little brother Jacob in the womb... a juxtaposition of expectancy for this little life growing inside of me, and a longing for his big brother who is still so deeply missed.

This past week I had the opportunity to attend a MOPS dessert with other moms of young children... many of whom attend our church. I was sitting and talking with a few moms I hadn't met before, and as we got to talking, a few of them put together who I was... and one of them asked about Isaac. I am so grateful. It's not often with having Eliana here, and now being pregnant with Jacob, that I get to talk about him. Of course I love talking about Ellie, and about how this pregnancy is going; but like any mother, I love all of my kids and deeply appreciate the opportunity to talk about Isaac, too... especially this time of year as the missing becomes more pronounced.

I was getting Eliana up from a nap recently, and she pointed to my tummy and said, "Geebock!" (her pronunciation of Jacob). I said, "That's right, Ellie! Jacob is in Mommy's tummy!" I have explained to her that Jacob is her little brother, just like Isaac is her big brother. So she continues and says, "Geebock. Ellie's brother" and chuckles. Then she looked at me thoughtfully and said, "Isaac's brother, too."

And I fought hard to contain the tears.

I am so glad she knows.

London International Creative Competition's Talent of the Year

Isaac McCaslin is the London International Creative Competition's Talented Artist of the year

Meet Baleen

Anyone curious about the RV-livin' author lifestyle? I made a slightly drunken introduction for Baleen, my beautiful home on wheels.

giant fighters

Hey palaroonies, this is a new mini comic I'm working on at the mo'. I reckon I'm gonna release it for the Leeds Alternative Comics Fair.

Animal Alphabet: Y is for Yapok

I'm posting this late enough on Monday that I know at least my pal Ben Towle, at the very least, has already scooped my entry for this week in the Animal Alphabet.

Well, be that as it may, I say Y is for yapok.

A yapok is a South American marsupial (a sort of possum, like most if not all New World marsupials) with cool webbed feet. And its feet and hands are webbed because it does its hunting by swimming around in a river and noodling.

Aw, that's nothing, you say. Otters do it. Sure, the yapok has a cool name, but what's so special about it?

Well, think for a second: we know it's a marsupial, which means Mama Yapok carries her babies in a pouch. But she also spends a lot of time submerged. A yapok's pouch has a strong sphincter that closes it up watertight while Mama is swimming.

That's why I have drawn a yapok with a Ziploc.

Next week: a terrifying chimera.

New story

Had a unpleasant night last night. Wrote an unpleasant story this morning. Enjoy.

Animal Alphabet: X is for Xenopsylla cheopis

I'm posting this Animal Alphabet entry a day early because I am going to be in the classroom almost all day tomorrow.

Often you have to cheat a little when you get to X. One very popular ABC in our house spells fox backwards to get its X animal. Dr. Seuss just lists a few words you can use x in. Another of our favorite abecedaries basically coins a word from the Greek. And quite a few just resort to words that start with an "x" sound, like "expotition."

My cheat this time is to turn to scientific binomial nomenclature, which is full of Hellenic formulations. There's a horrid species of flower bug, for example, named Xylocoris maculipennis; it's notorious for practicing not merely traumatic insemination but male-to-male traumatic insemination, in which the aggressor's sperm migrate to the testes of the victim. There's also the death-watch beetle, Xestobium rufovillosum, the common name of which refers to the ticking sound it makes by banging its head on old furniture and old timbers.

But if you're going to do up a bug, why not go right to the top of the ladder of nastiness?

It may not be the most lethal animal on earth any more, but this week X is for Xenopsylla cheopis, the oriental rat flea, a.k.a. the plague flea.

(Clicky, enlargey.)

John Donne had no way to know what terrors a flea could really be guilty of. This nasty little guy is a disease vector both for the bubonic plague and for a strain of typhus, and when it carried the Black Death through Europe nearly half of the population died in a four-year period.

I tweaked the anatomy a bit to get the cartoon going, since I didn't just want to reproduce the standard on-its-side-on-a-microscope-slide image that other people have done better than I can. Any overly picky entomologists can have a full refund.

This is hardly the first flea to appear on the Satisfactory Comics blog. We've been "asked," in the past, to draw manga fleas. And Satisfactory Comics #5, of course, featured as its main villain the world-dominator manqué The King of Fleas.

(Maybe one of these days I'll finally post the Kang of Fleas.)

Next week: you wouldn't think you could carry a pouch there...

The Last of the Concrete

Today was a glorious day! It was the last concrete pour for our remodel in which we created the front steps and walks. It was also the last day of drywall work. The project-the last four months- has kicked my butt. I have lost 20 lbs and spent every night in my dreams either pounding nails or walking the aisles of Home Depot looking for lumber, tools, etc. I am hoping to be done soon. I actually spent a significant amount of time in the studio this week and it was awesome to have my hands back in the mud. I feel like I am centered again.
This house project has been a great learning experience for me, one that I should never like to least not for a long, long time. I have gained a great deal of respect for those who work construction. I have really missed the autonomy I have enjoyed in working alone over the past 10+ years. Having to rely on others to get things done has been a real bear. I am at least a month behind where I could have been because I have had to wait on inspectors, contractors and friends to do their part so I could move forward with mine. The fun part is yet to come--the mosaics and tiles I have been planning for years. I can hardly wait. Their will be tile throughout our home, about 500 square feet of tile that I have been making over the past ten years. I am very excited about putting it all together in a meaningful way. I am excited to be able to share it with all of you at my open house in December. I am excited to get this project done so I can sleep better and so I can get back to my writing. I am anxious to continue my writing. My mind has been filled with great stories as I have worked and I am anxious to share them with all of you.
So, the house still looks like it might be a ghetto house and there are still a million and one things to do before we're finished, but today was a good day. I never have to build another concrete form for my house. I can start cleaning up the drywall mess. I can start the finish work and paint and the house might start looking like a home again. I can't wait!

Spot for Rojo Projects

Photography Special

This post is for all of you local folks...
A good friend of mine has started a photography business, and is running a back-to-school special! If you ask me, the price is right, and I know you will love the images that Taylor will capture for your family.
Want to know more? Check out Taylor's blog by clicking here!

Shima the movie, Teaser

the savage slipkiss

Coloured up one of my drawings from the previous post.