Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Calvin and Hobbes

I fell in love with Calvin and Hobbes the first time I read one of Bill Watterson's stunning cartoons.  Over the years my love affair deepened.  I bought all of the books as they became available.  I still reread them and the smaller portion and I quote them at each other.

They are a joy on many levels and for many reasons.  The drawings are a delight.  In turn I have empathised with rebellious Calvin - and his poor put-upon parents.  He made his teacher's life hell.  Calvin loves nature and hates organised games - except Calvin Ball which has only one rule - that it cannot be played the same way twice.  And in Hobbes, he has the best friend anyone could ever ask for.  Someone to fight with and fight for.  Someone to have fun with, and a companion on the darkest days.  An alibi - and a scape goat.  Some of the cartoons are hilarious, others moving and/or thought provoking.

When Watterson stepped aside and retired the series in 1995 I grieved.  Twenty years on, my love affair with Calvin, and more particularly with Hobbes continues.

Watterson has always shunned publicity, and stayed out of the public eye when ever possible.  He gave his last interview to a journalist in 1989 and last spoke publicly in 1990.  Essentially he has out-done Greta Garbo. 


To me at any rate, the quirky charming characters are much more important than his personal life.  Just the same I wondered whether he had a Calvin in his life - or had perhaps been a Calvin.  So I was more than happy to be given his biography.


Except that when I started reading it I discovered that Nevil Martell, the author of the biography, had never met Watterson, never spoken to him - or even exchanged emails.  Not for lack of trying, but still...  And Watterson's family and friends respect his barriers and give only very limited information and interviews.

As a result, it is a biography with holes in it.  Information chasms.  I did learn that Calvin is entirely a feat of imagination.  There is no tear-away terror in Watterson's life who inspired Calvin's creation, and the man himself was a well behaved child rather than a rebellious non-achiever.

I also learnt that the absence of Calvin and Hobbes memorabilia and spin-off products is deliberate.  Watterson refused to licence products, and with the exception of a couple of calendars (which Watterson drew the images for) the books and the cartoons are all there is.  Which I respect, while hypocritically admitting that I would happily drink from a mug with either Calvin or Hobbes on it.

There was one element of the book which floored me though.  Martell seemed to think it was a big issue - and it had never occurred to me.  His question was:  Is Hobbes a tiger, or (his words) a doll?

Of course Hobbes is a tiger.  A ferocious tiger.  Some days an attack tiger, other days a big pussy cat.  Who happened to be Calvin's very best friend, loved tuna, comic books and couldn't be trusted not to draw moustaches on the super-heroes. 

Reluctantly I will also admit that Hobbes is also a stuffed toy.  I know which perception I prefer though.  I am very, very grateful that my mind is more flexible than my body and that it happily accepts two contradictory realities simultaneously.

I gather that Watterson has turned his considerable talents to painting.  I wish him well - and would love (when he is ready) to see some of his work.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sunday Selections #208

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.

Like River I usually run with a theme. This week it is the Orchard Swallowtail butterfly (I think) which captured my interest.  Jewel who considers herself a mighty hunter wanted it too.  Fortunately she was thwarted.  Again.








Ephemeral magic.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sunday Selections #207

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.

Like River I usually run with a theme. This week's photos are a salute to my inner child.

It is crowded in my head, and quite a lot of me's jostle for centre stage.  My Inner Child is large, healthy and frequently wins.  Which is fine.  She approaches life with awe and wonder, and believes that one can never have too much fun.  She welcomes silliness and laughter too.  She also gets on with the other characters who inhabit my head. 

I discovered Paddington Bear as an adult.  And fell in love. His thought processes are quirky and he is a bear of infinite charm.   I have numerous Paddington Bear books and this year the smaller portion gave me some more.  And an absolutely gorgeous Paddington to go with them.





And, as my birthday treat, when the skinny one gets up we are going to see Paddington Bear the Movie.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Waste not, want not...

I have shared my life, and my home with a cat (or more commonly cats) all of my life.

And a home is not a home to me unless it includes at least one animal.  Just the same, it is also true that everything in our house is covered in a patina of cat fur.  I can vacuum, dust and clean until the cows come home and there will still be cat hair.  Everywhere.

Years back when an allergist requested that I bring a teaspoon from the vacuum to our first appointment what I took to him was dirty cat hair.  Interestingly of the ten most common allergens the only ones I am not allergic to are cat and dog hair.

I have frequently said that if only I could knit, I could knit another cat.

Which is why the smaller portion included this book with my Christmas presents this year.


And the author was not joking.  She does indeed make handicrafts from the cast-off fur from her cats, and those of her friends, and assures us that 'No cats were harmed in the making of this book'.

Finger puppets, coin purses, trinket boxes, book covers, portraits, badges...  This book contains a step by step guide to making these things - and more.



I laughed when I opened the parcel and read the book with a great deal of interest.  Her instructions are detailed, and I suspect quite easy to replicate.

Will I follow suit?  Not a chance.  I appreciate the work which goes into making them, but these are too cute for me.  Nauseatingly cute.  And far too fragile as well.  Like the cats they came from, these craft items would moult.  And none of them purr.

She is much, much more diligent than I am and less wasteful as well.  The piles, clumps, mounds  and mountains of fur that our cats discard will continue to collect in corners on their way to the compost bins.  And the vacuum.  And the furniture.  And our clothing.  And everywhere else as well. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sunday Selections #206

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 

The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.

Like River I usually run with a theme.  The skinny one had a birthday this week and we headed off to our Botanic Gardens to celebrate.  It was another hot, hot day and the time we spent wandering in the Tasmanian Rainforest Section was a treat.  As is usual, many photos follow.





There were lots of lizards about.  Some tiny, and others a couple of feet long (counting the tail).  There were also staff putting up signs everywhere warning that Eastern Brown Snakes had been seen.  Not by us.







If you embiggen this one there is a dragon-fly perched on the dead leaf.










And then the clouds rolled in, and the humidity increased.  Later we got some blissful rain (another birthday present for the boy).

It is too long since we have been to the gardens.  We have to go back.  Soon.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Do you Ever Wonder

why when a kind and considerate soul feels obliged to tell us something for our own good it is never anything nice?

Do these scrupulously honest people only see the negatives?  There seems to be an assumption that if you haven't heard otherwise you are doing fine.  Just sometimes it would be nice to be handed compliments out of the blue.  Mind you, as a related aside, why is it so much easier to accept and believe criticism than the opposite?

And no, this post isn't the result of one of these charmers materialising in my life, but of a post by the lovely Cloudia which made me think.

And, while I am on a roll, I could do without these people as well.



This is the effect they have on me.


or this


Just the same, I am very grateful for the people I have found in the blogosphere.


And a tribe I have found.  Thank you, one and all.