Saturday, July 5, 2008

Summer thoughts and Webcomics

Summer warmth has finally arrived.  Our tomatoes and petunias are no longer sulking.  We can sit on our north-facing deck in the evenings (without jackets and blankets!) and watch the burgeoning wildlife:  Flickers feasting on our huckleberries, squirrels leaping acrobatically through the hemlocks, Stellar Jays dueling with the squirrels for the sunflower seeds in the feeder, raccoons lumbering through...we're a fortunate lot, we are.

I'm not on the computer much, now that the outdoors has warmed.  But we're a fickle bunch at my house.  If it gets too warm, back inside we go.  Too warm, for us, is 80-85 degrees - we're Nordic and we wilt.

I've been unusually aware of how fleeting things are.  My grandmother (who lived to the grand age of 103.5) warned me that this would happen.  The older you get, she said, the faster it goes.  My family is gone, with Grandma the last to depart two summers ago.  Why am I so aware of this now?  Maybe because the weather has warmed and I'm spending some quiet time on our deck, time to slow down and ponder things like the cycles of life.

We still have plenty of family on Ken's side, within driving distance if we want a road trip to Montana or Colorado.  All of the cousins are in college now, two of them married.  Families change as the circle grows.  There's a poignancy to family gatherings.  All the grandparents have passed on and I have become one of the older ones, the ones who tell the stories, share memories, bring out the photos and other family ephemera.  And I wonder which of the younger ones will be interested in preserving the things of this particular family era.

Mind you, these thoughts aren't depressing.  It's more of an awareness and it's a good thing.  A sort of carpe diem.

On the humor side, because this is, after all, a humor blog, I enjoy the following webcomics and thought I'd share them here.

Wondermark is one of the more unusual webcomics. Do you have an outside-of-the-box sense of humor?  You might have fun with this one.  David Malki browses his (seemingly) vast collection of Victorian images and pulls them together to create a twice-weekly strip.  The illustrations are Victorian, the subject matter is sometimes anything but.  This is a very busy man.  He has just released Beards of Our Forefathers, a print collection of his strips; he weaves stories about Wondermark Manor, which is shared in installments via email and also available on his website; he established the Facebook and Flickr groups, Bears In Ill-Fitting Hats.  Malki is a fine artist (and filmmaker - see his award-winning short film, Expendable) whose own work surpasses the illustrations he uses.

MyLifeInCube is one man's expression of his lot in life:  working in a cubicle.  This is a single panel comic rather than a strip.  One of the things I enjoy most about this webcomic is the use of unexpected materials.  One day it may be drawn on a fast food napkin, the next on memo paper with a sticky note in one corner.

So.  Off to the great outdoors to water the garden.

Next time?  Cupcakes and Bookcrossing.  Stay tuned.