Charlize Theron, with a duck head

That's right. You saw it here first. Charlize Theron, with a duck head. This rare shot was captured - probably with much danger to himself - by Patrick Hillman over at Blowing Shit Up With Gas. He's good at that kinda thing - discovering all manner of strange and head-shake-inducing secrets of celebrities, and then posting them for the world to see, for it's own safety. Rarely do we see such "Candid Camera" shots as this, though. This is a real treat. I mean, who knew her mother was of the feathered persuasion?

Actually, what I want to know is, how the hell does she manage to cram that long neck and bill into a full-head human-mask all the time? Talk about cramps. And ruffled feathers. Still, I think she should be proud to show the world her true face - it's actually quite pretty. And she doesn't even need makeup, the lucky bitch. Look at those eyes! I'd kill for those eyes ...


Ok, any other takers on the sticky-note exchange? This is the first response (thanks Patrick!) and it was fun. Send 'em in, peoples! Mum? Patrick B.(co-worker dude)? Hot Lemon? Anyone? I'll post this week's sticky tomorrow (meant to today, but forgot, and I'm at home now while it's at work).

Sticky-note Art Exchange

My previous post, "Pebble Drop, Phase One," garnered some great feedback, along with the idea of a sticky-note drawing project that just sounds like fun. So, I'm going with it.

Here's how it works:

Every week I'll post a quick, very much unfinished and basic sketch on a sticky-note, any anyone and everyone who wishes to can grab it to use in their own creative drawing (by hand or with a computer program, or both) using the sketch as the basis of the drawing, and including it in all its pale-yellow glory somewhere in the drawing. Take a look at my Pebble Drop post to get a better idea of what I'm talking about.

Once you've finished your masterpeice, e-mail it to me at dragonlaugh[at]comcast[dot]net and I'll post it here for all to see with proper credit and a link to your site.

Or, you can send me a sticky-note sketch to expand upon myself. Just e-mail it to the above address, and once it's done I'll post it and credit (and link) you with the idea.

This promises much fun.

And you don't have to be a fantastic, award-winning artist to participate. I'm not. Just doodle, or sketch, or draw stick figures, or go all out and play with oil paints or computer art programs if that's your thing. Use any style or technique you want, color or black and white, or both. It's just art - fun is what matters.

Come and play, and spread the word!

Here's the official first sticky-note sketch for you to expand upon - make of it what you will:

Sketch 1

Pebble Drop, Phase One

Pebble Drop 1
© C. Vandever, 2007

This started as a quick random sketch on a sticky note, which was tossed aside and ignored for an hour or so before I decided I actually kinda liked it. It just sort of spread out from there. I'll play with it in either Photoshop or Alias Sketchbook tonight or towmorrow, so keep an eye out for whatever final version of it emerges ...

Streeeeeetchingks, yaaawningks ...

One more day. Juuuuust one more day. One more small assignment (piece of cake, baby). Then I can slaughter creepy crawly scaly stinky things in Sacred. Or in The Witcher (which the boy just convinced me to go ahead and buy the other day, insiting that I deserve it ... I love that man.)

One more day. Then I can sleep. Then I can read. Then I can draw.

Then I can drool on myself for a little bit, becuase no one's looking to see how smart I am.

(And I am, really ... * slurpk *)

One more day, then one whole week of bliss.

P.S. check out The Witcher. You'll like eeeeet. I promeeeeese ...

* snort *

* wipes drool off of chin *

Bad omen, or typical class structure aggravation?

Should I consider it a bad omen that the very first actual marketing class I've had (Marketing and the Virtual Marketplace) I hate? Should I be wary of the fact that marketing - my concentration for this degree - seems to me to be basically a whole fuck of a lot of explaining to higher-ups just why they should ok the spending of any money at all in order to create high-profit advertising campaigns?

Or is it just the school aspect of it that has me having to explain and account for and legitimize every step, time and time again? I mean, that does show that I'm learning, but is the class structure based on making sure we understand the concepts, or a horrid reality (or - dear god please no - both?) Do marketing directors have to inch their way through red tape at every turn in order to explain to numbskull chief financial officers that yes, we really do need to spend X amount of dollars in order to draw in new customers and keep our current ones happily returning? Are CFO's really that dumb? Will the vast majority of my career consist of explaining myself? I mean, I'll be the one with the fucking degree in this, after all - shouldn't they just do what I say with a minimum of bitching and toe-stepping?

Is money really that much of a moron-maker of people who, by their rank and title alone, should know that it takes money to make money?!?

Should I be disquieted at the thought that I may have signed up for something that will drive me batshit for the rest of my too-young-to-retire-yet life? I'd make a better (and much much happier) manager, based on my other classes (all of which have been about management of some kind or other).

... If I were a manager, I could fire stupid people. Or just make them explain themselves for my own amusement. If I'm a marketer, I may be the amusement, even though it would be my research and decisions which would make the company sucessful.

These are not good thoughts to go to bed to.

I'll see what my future marketing classes are like, and hope that they're infintely better than this one. I loathe this one. I'm so glad it's almost over. If future marketing classes turn out to be just as hideous, I'll switch my concentration to management. I wouldn't even have to take any extra classes, because the classes for marketing and management concentrations are the same all the way up till not quite three-quarters of the way through the program (I know because my boss is concentrating on management and we compared our classes.)

I could switch concentration as late as summer of next year without having to backtrack and make up classes, so I have plenty of time to decide, but for now I'm a little ... well, disappointed.

Zombie cheeks and exploding spiders: How I spend my Sunday evenings.

Did you know that your salivary glands can become blocked, completely randomly and with no warning signs? Did you know, further, that a salvary gland blocks are similar to kindey stones, in that not only are the blockages tiny little "stones" naturally created by the body, but that in order to get rid of them you have to wait for them to just pass through? Difference being, of course, the location of the passing - in the mouth rather than, well, you know - down there.

See, you have more than one set of salivary glands, but the major set are the ones in your cheeks, right where the mandible meets the skull (lower jaw with upper, in other words), right in front of your ears. Each gland has a tube running from the gland to the mouth, and that's what those tinsy little salivary stones need to pass through. Of course, tiny as they may be, they're bigger than those tubes (hence the blocking action.)

Did you know that if one of those major salivary glands gets blocked, within fifteen minutes of blockage that side of your face will swell horribly, from your temple to a good two inches down your neck, with a huge bulge right in front of your ear?

Have you guessed by now that this hurts like an M-Fer?

Now, do you know the truly horrifying part? Let me tell you. In order to get those stones to pass, you need to - obviously - salivate. Profusely. Being as the tube to release the saliva produced is blocked, this only creates more swelling, and an incredible amount of pain. If you don't salivate, and keep a heat pack on your cheek, the swelling eventually goes down to a slight puffiness and the pain subsides to a more tolerable level of constant agony. But if you're not salivating, there's nothing pushing against that blockage to get it out, so it just stays there, and the issue remains (and so does the pain).

I had to rush the boy to the hospital last night. A short five minutes before dinner I walked into the kitchen to find him rubbing his right cheek with a look of alarm. In response to my knee-jerk, "Are you ok?," he responded, "NO. Something's wrong. Something's really wrong." His jaw hurt a bit, but more importantly it "felt really weird," whether he moved it or not. But it was on the other side of his mouth from the molar that occasionally bothers him, he had not been hurt at work in a way that might affect his jaw, and he hadn't eaten anything hard that might have cracked a tooth.

Neither of us knowing what was wrong, we went on with dinner, hoping the issue would turn out to be some mysterious something that would go away on it's own. Cause, you know, sometimes that happens. I grabbed my plate and headed for the bedroom to eat and work on school assignments, and the boy sat down on the couch to eat and watch TV.

Ten minutes later, I heard the boy yell out, "Oh my god, sweetie! Come here!"

Now, last time he yelled this it was because an enormous spider had just walked in the front door like it owned the place, and needed dispatching (we're both creeped out by spiders, but I have a bit more guts when it comes to getting close enough to kill them, or catch them and let them go outside.) In response to that last yell, I had picked up a hammer and smashed it onto the back of a spider whose body alone was about the same size as the hammer's head. (Note to spider-smashers: Always use a hammer bigger than the spider you wish to smash. If you don't, they don't smash. They explode. Really.)

Expecting another spider, I mentally prepared to pick twitching hairy multi-jointed legs off of my shins. Upon walking out of the bedroom and seeing his face, however, I knew a marauding creepy crawlie wasn't the issue and left the hammer in its place, instead running forward to see what was wrong.

The right side of the boy's face was hugely swollen, to the point that I wondered if, if the swelling got any worse, a different kind of small explosion might occur. He looked half normal, and half like something a Costume and Makeup Expert might create for some sort of zombie move where the victims grow strange pulsing lumps all over their bodies that finally explode and leak out greenish oily pus, eight before they turn into zombies themselves. (Gross visual, huh? Thanks!)

No, no. The swelling on the boy's face wasn't pulsing. But at the time and owning a wild imagination, I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if it started to.

We quickly ran through all the possibilities we could think of. Allergic reaction? No - he hadn't eaten anything new. Tooth troubles? Possibly, but he'd never had problems on that side, only the other. Bug bite? You'd think he'd have felt that, and seen it, especially on the face. Tonsil problems? Maybe. Lockjaw? Good god, but maybe. We were clueless, really.

The swelling got worse in the few minutes that we wondered what it could be, and the boy was scared. Hell, I was scared, imagination running rampant with all manner of believable and unbelievable possibilities. So, to the hopsital we went, the boy still hungry because he made my dinner first, then his, so I had already started eating and he'd had only a few bites before the swelling started.

After a too long but not nearly as long as it could have been (past experience speaking) wait, the boy was finally taken to a bed. After another long wait, a doctor came in, asked a few questions, felt around the boy's face and neck, shone a light into his ear and mouth, and pronounced that it appeared that the salvary gland on that side was blocked. She said this almost cheerily, then related (not quite as cheerily, but still with more smile than the situation warranted) the only way to fix it other than surgery: forcing profuse salivation, and alternating that with a heat pack. As she mentioned that the process would hurt, she kept that "oh, isn't the sun beautiful and the flowers gorgeous today?" attitude, and the boy merely groaned. I glared when she wasn't looking: Why are you so goddamned chipper about this, bitch? Can't you see that this pain you speak so lightly off has brought a six-foot-plus, used to hard labor and the bruises and cuts it entails, man to the emergency room, frightened?

I'm all for a friendly bedside-manner, but let's do please keep the smiles contained to smile-worthy news. Ok, I guess it's smile-worthy that his face wasn't going to explode or his head rot off, or that no surgery was required (yet) to fix the problem, but.

The prescription: the ingestion of "a bunch" of sour lemon candies. For a diabetic. Unfreakingbelievable.

So, duly released after this sunshiny examination, we headed home. I stopped at the gas station on the way and the boy bought Lemon Heads. Thirty seconds after popping a few in his mouth he almost yelled again and continued a loud chant all the way home; "Oh my god. Oh my fucking god. Owwwwwmygod." The swelling which had gone down considerably during the wait at the hopsital was back in all its angry force before we got home, which was less than five minutes from the gas station.

The boy spent the rest of the evening before bed sprawled on the couch with a heat pack and an angry look on his face, not speaking much and groaning occasionally. Later I (feeling horrible to have to cause him more pain) reminded him that the only way to get the stones to pass was by salivating. Giving a dirty look to existence in general, he sighed and grabbed the box of Lemon Heads.

Almost immediately the apartment was filled with the ride-home-"ohmygod"-chant. Feeling like a sadist, I quietly left him to his misery and went back to my school work. Eventually the chanting and then even the groaning died back down, but the generally murderous look etched on the boy's face whenever I tip-toed out to check on him told me that didn't mean the pain was gone. Bedtime saw not much of an improvement beyond a reduction in swelling.

This morning he looked almost normal again, but still hurt pretty badly. he sent me a text halfway through the day: "this is unbearable," and had to leave work an hour early because he was dizzy and so distracted from the pain that he was afraid he'd make a mistake and blow up someone's car (he's a lube tech at a local oil change and car wash shop). Right now he's busily shooting Hitler's paranormal hordes in the PS2 game Return to Castle Wolfenstien, which I think is helping to take his mind off the pain. The 800 mg Ibuprofen may have something to do with that, too, but he always seems to brighten up when he's killing things on the PlayStation. Sorta like me and demon-slaying in Sacred (did I mention I un-restricted myself and bought the expansion pack, Sacred Underworld? It rocks. And no I don't feel guilty, damnit. I'm still getting A's - all but one of them perfect scores on one class, even, so there.)

Sigh. The poor boy. If it's not one thing it's another. Less than a week ago he finally got over the nasty cold/cough bug that made its ugly way through every inch of town, and now this. Before that, it was his back. Before that, another cold. Before that, a strange heel thing (did you know that - also completely randomly - the bones that hold your feet together can separate, which causes all manner of pain, sudden loss of strength in that foot leading to falls, and permanent foot damage if not cared for properly and quickly?) Before that- I forget.

I almost hate to ask, "What's next?"

I think I'll go out and buy him a lucky rabbit foot. With a four-leaf-clover anklet on it. Chained to a horseshoe. With a tiny bottle of holy water attached to the clover-anklet (I don't know about lucky, but holy's gotta help, right?)