Wednesday, November 8, 2017

An Animated Fire Story

Now THIS is cool, by San Francisco PBS station KQED.

Arts Editor Gabe Meline--who self-published zines when he was a kid in my hometown--proposed the idea, and Video Producer Kelly Whalen (now I know TWO women by that name!) came to my daughters' house to record Karen and me.

 I think it's cleverly and sensitively done. In particular, Kelly and animator Farrin Abbott had to edit "A Fire Story" for time but ran all the proposed revisions by me to be sure I was OK with everything, and shared a rough cut as well. The version below is a "director's cut" that includes the original story's profanity. There's also a version that omits it because KQED hopes other PBS stations will pick it up.

Many thanks to Gabe, Kelly, Farrin and KQED. I'm very happy with both the process and its result.

A Santa Rosa Cartoonist’s ‘Fire Story’ Comes to Life from KQED Arts on Vimeo.

Friday, November 3, 2017

All I've Got is a Photograph

That title courtesy of Ringo Starr....

As we dig through the remains of our house, I've been taking photos of things that catch my eye. Some are sad, some are just weird.

Formerly a Honda Accord, left in my garage the night of the fire. The insurance agent on the phone didn't quite believe that when I said "totaled" I meant "TOTALED."

I'm pretty sure this handful of ashes was a copy of my book Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? My publisher and I went to great effort to layer two different types of paper in the book, never knowing it would have forensic applications someday.

We found these Art Deco salt and paper shakers that belonged to Karen's grandmother sitting side by side straight up in the ashes. They barely look scorched. So far, this is our miracle recovery.

A molten mass of glass, porcelain and other matrices, built around a little swan at its center. It's almost pretty.

Two steel cans full of change, mostly pennies. Anyone interested in making a quick six bucks drop me a note and I'll send them your way.

A surprising survivor: a relatively fragile terra cotta drum, formerly topped by leather drumheads. The fact that terra cotta came through OK makes sense, although many other fired ceramic pieces became very brittle and fell apart in our hands. 

My neighbor's car bled molten aluminum all over his driveway. 

The EPA sent inspectors around to basically look for any jugs, bottles and cans of hazardous chemicals. Since every jug, bottle and can in our neighborhood melted, their task was quick and easy.

The old manual typewriter that got me through high school and college.

A long-arm stapler I found in the footprint of my studio. Coincidentally, I took the photo below of the very same stapler just a couple of weeks ago to post to a Facebook discussion about staplers, because that's the sort of topic that comes up from time to time. I really liked that stapler.

I'm pretty sure this is Mom's Flower: a delicate little bulb plant that for years after her death bloomed on her birthday, August 22. It didn't bloom this year, which we chalked up to weird weather and such. Looks like it's coming up now.