Archive for the ‘Ken St. Andre’ Category

City of Metal Monsters . . . Part 2   Leave a comment

Somewhat to my surprise, I ran out of space while creating this blog long before I had finished my tour of the town. But I’m not going to just quit. I have a lot to show you and a little to say, so, onward, my friends.

CC18stagecoach

Cave Creek was founded in 1870. In those days people traveled from town to town in stagecoaches that looked something like this, but made out of wood, not iron.

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For a town built around nostalgia and western kitsch, what could be more nostalgic than a 50’s style diner?  No, folks, cowboys  don’t go to the drive-thru for a hamburger. You’re more likely to see Fonzie and the gang here.

CC26BigEarl2

Cars really did look like this back in the 1950s. With this front, it was probably a pickup truck, and cowboys do love their trucks.

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Just beyond Big Earl’s was the psychic shop. Plenty of people were eating hamburgers, but no one wanted their palm read.

CC24highboot

And a shoe shop, and the Sockfish Trading Post.

CC27desertfish

The fish may have wanted me, but I looked, and I didn’t want anything that it had for sale.

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Frontier Town was a complete shopping mall, old west style. You’ve heard of, or maybe you’ve seen the car on the roof. Back in the day, the put a covered wagon on the roof. Many odd denizens could be found in Frontier Town.

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. . . the red, white, and blue moose, somewhat out of place in the desert . . .

CC32velociraptor

. . . the velociraptor–too small to be a T-Rex. I wanted to take my picture with him, but was too stiff to get down to his level . . .

CC33SunDevil

the Arizona State University Sun Devil and his little pal. They look like they are suffering from heat stroke.

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I found someone I could not talk to, but he didn’t mind being in a picture with me.

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Do you know where the Petrified Forest is? You probably thought it was up in northern Arizona near the Painted Desert, but nope, most of it seems to be right here in Cave Creek Arizona. (I have never seen such huge pieces of petrified wood before, and I’ve seen a lot of petrified wood.)

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CC45petwood3

I walked a couple of blocks past the petrified forest shop, but I had run out of things of interest on this side of the street. I crossed the street and started back toward my car about a mile behind me.

CC46.5TurnedAround

This seems like a good place to end this segment of the blog. We are 2/3 of the way through this tale of wonder (as in I wonder why Ken is telling me all this).

To Be Continued.

 

 

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City of Metal Monsters and Creatures, Part 1   Leave a comment

On this beautiful warm January afternoon, I went out and explored the hidden Arizona town of Cave Creek. The town is a little Scottsdale somewhat off the beaten track, nestled among the volcanic hills 20 miles north of Phoenix. I’ve been hiking in the area a couple of times and thought I’d like to see the town. Come walk through it with me now.

CC!sign

I started on the southwest corner of downtown and walked through it. Most of the interesting places are on the south side of a street that is basically running from west to east at this point though it was north-south before getting to this sign.

CC2ironhorse

The horse almost looks real, doesn’t it? I passed this on a wrong turn before I found the town itself. Cave Creek is farther east than I though it was, and you get there from the Carefree Highway.

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The hills are on the edge of Saguaro desert country. Vegetation is about half cactus, and half mesquite trees.

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It’s kind of a WTF moment. Why would anyone create a life-sized metal rhinocerous. It is just about the first creature you see when entering town.

CC5rhinoface

It’s for sale, you know, but I don’t know how much it would cost.

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It’s a well known fact that desert crocodiles lurk beneath the sand and lurch upwards to catch their prey.

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There was also a rusty dragon hoping a pedestrian would come too close. I told him I was really a troll, and he let me go by.

CC8prettypig

Not all the animals in Cave Creek are made of iron. Here is a beautiful ceramic pig, only one of many painted denizens of this desert town.

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There were plenty of metal people around. Lots of musicians, though I think they’d clank a bit.

cc10desertgroup

Metal critters don’t eat each other, so you can find all sorts of unlikely groupings.

CC11Indianmaid

Metal, ceramics, and also painted wood. As wooden Native Americans go, this girl is a real beauty, probably a mom, though as she seems to have a kid and a dog. I didn’t notice the skulls at the time, or I might have bought one.

CC12fluteplayer

Kokopelli? It looks like a Navajo flute, but his finger work is atrocious.

CC13buffaloman

Half man, half buffalo, this guy appears to be dancing. I find this all very strange, as there were no buffalo in this part of the country.

CC14stallion

Almost looks like a unicorn, doesn’t it? Hi ho, Ironsides! Away!

CC15drinker

Can I have a shot of that, pardner?

CC16longhorn

Now this is a critter you might very well meet in this part of the world, and you don’t want to make him mad.

To be Continued . . .

 

Art Show at the Brewery   1 comment

Friday evening, February 20, 2015, I accepted an invitation from my artist friend Gilead to come to an art show at a local Phoenix brewery.  I did not go for the booze, but just to see my friend and admire whatever art might be present.  I found the place at 30th Street and Washington and went inside, where I talked to my friend, and chatted with other artists and craftsmen.  I stayed about an hour, and tried to take at least once picture of everything worth seeing.

Brewery front door at 30th Street and Washington in Phoenix.

Brewery front door at 30th Street and Washington in Phoenix.

 

Gilead and his wife Stellar. Gilead does the best goblins and monsters.

Gilead and his wife Stellar. Gilead does the best goblins and monsters.

 

Gilead's painting: Swordsman meets big lizard.

Gilead’s painting: Swordsman meets big lizard.

 

Artist in early stages of painting.

Artist in early stages of painting.

 

Mosaic artist.

Mosaic artist.

 

I’m fond of pretty rocks. This shows me something I could do with them.

 

Rings and things, originals for ladies.

Rings and things, originals for ladies.  Royal purple–a great color.

 

More hand-crafted jewelry

More hand-crafted jewelry. Husband and wife artist team–I have seen them before at local sci-fi conventions.

 

I think it's going to be Batman.

I think it’s going to be Batman.

 

Just plain strange.

Just plain strange. I have no idea where this painting is going.

 

The musician thinks everyone came to listen to him. He wasn't bad, but nobody came to listen to him.

The musician thinks everyone came to listen to him. He wasn’t bad, but nobody came to listen to him.

 

Breweries seem to be about big aluminum tanks. Who knew?

Breweries seem to be about big aluminum tanks. Who knew?

 

No idea what is inside them. The tanks are not labeled.

No idea what is inside them. The tanks are not labeled.

 

Art on the wall in the back room--1.

Art on the wall in the back room–1.

 

Art on the wall--2

Art on the wall–2

 

Art on the wall--3

Art on the wall–3

 

Art on the wall--4

Art on the wall–4

 

Art on the wall--5

Art on the wall–5

 

Art on the wall--6.

Art on the wall–6.

 

Art on the wall--7.

Art on the wall–7.

 

The cafe/pub side of the brewery. It's a small room, smaller than my  living room at home.

The cafe/pub side of the brewery. It’s a small room, smaller than my living room at home.

 

Another artist at work. He works small, but it's fantasy.

Another artist at work. He works small, but it’s fantasy.

 

Tanks for the memories.

Tanks for the memories.

 

Best in show--imho--Of men, maids, and monsters.

Best in show–imho. It took me a day to get it. This is a picture of Fox and Mulder in an alien encounter of the worst kind.

 

The pictures are displayed in the order in which I took them. After a little less than an hour of walking around looking at things and talking to artists, I took my leave.

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If you’ve ever gone to an art show that was a bit underwhelming, why not leave a comment?

–end

Jenn Czep’s Mad Tea Party   1 comment

I don’t go to enough parties. One of the things I’d like to do is attend more of them, just to meet people, hang out, and have a good time. So when I was invited to a Mad Tea Party with a Wonderland theme, I decided to do it if I possibly could. The afternoon before the party, Facebook reminded me of it again, and I went “Ack! I don’t have a costume.” That did not seem like enough commitment to me, so I went to Bert Easley’s House of Fun and bought a hat. With that as a basis, I made the costume you see below from a couple of thrift store purchases earlier this morning Can you guess my alter-ego?

Leaving my house for the apartment. Trolls were an alternate party theme, so I posed with my mascot, but I left Bruiser at home.

Leaving my house for the apartment. Trolls were an alternate party theme, so I posed with my mascot, but I left Bruiser at home.

Entrance to the House of Rainbows.

Entrance to the House of Rainbows.

 

Dragons in the library.

Dragons in the library.

 

Talking teacups--this was mine.

Talking teacups–this was mine.

 

The Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit examine thier places.

The Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit examine thier places.

 

Jenn keepa a home for wayward pirates.

Jenn keepa a home for wayward pirates.

 

Jenn (in green) surveys the scene.

Jenn (in green) surveys the scene.

 

Partiers.

Partiers.  Things haven’t really gotten going yet.

 

Plenty of good things to eat.

Plenty of good things to eat.

 

The skies clouded up and rained on us a little. The party room got dark.

The skies clouded up and rained on us a little. The party room got dark.

 

I think this man's name is Don. I don't know him. He had a totally different conception of the Mad Hatter.

I think this man’s name is Don. I don’t know him. He had a totally different conception of the Mad Hatter.

 

Giving my hostess a hug.

Giving my hostess a hug.

 

Gypsy Jenn with the Queen of Hearts

Gypsy Jenn with the Queen of Hearts

 

Gypsy Jenn enjoys her tea.

Gypsy Jenn enjoys her tea.

 

 

Time to leave. I slip away and depart after about 2 hours of partying.

Time to leave. I slip away and depart after about 2 hours of partying.

It was a short party, more of a party lunch. By 2 p.m. people were starting to leave. I was feeling uncomfortably warm in my several layers of clothing/costume, and so took my leave.  My thanks to Jenn Czep for inviting me. I think her party was a grand success and a good time for all.

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If you’ve ever gone to a costume party, especially one with a particular theme, why not leave a comment?

–end

 

About Grimtooth’s Traps   3 comments

Normally, my blogs start here and go to Twitter and Facebook, but this is something I wrote on Facebook this morning that I think might be worth preserving as a blog here.  Putting it here also gives me a good excuse to expand and elaborate a little more.

sorcerersapprentice1

This is a another project in which I have a minimal involvement, but can actually claim that it wouldn’t have happened if not for me. Ok, secret history time. Things actually start with Rick Loomis. In 1975, Rick was running a play-by-mail game called Starweb, and he published an irregular newsletter for it called SuperNova. I became his editor for SuperNova. At about that time Dragon Magazine was taking off and doing great things and I began telling Rick we should do something similar to promote Tunnels and Trolls. I was already running the occasional sf cartoon in Supernova, so when I convinced him to make the jump to a better format we started a new magazine called Sorcerer’s Apprentice, of which, I was the first editor. I wanted some cartoons for SA, and my two dependable artists at the time were Liz Danforth and Steve Crompton.  So, I asked Liz for a cartoon, and she did the first Grimtooth cartoon featuring a troll. From all that sprang the Grimtooth’s trap books. Most of the traps were created by Flying Buffalo (i.e. Rick Loomis’s employees). I wasn’t on salary, but was part of the crew, and I had a few simple traps of my own in the first book, and maybe some of the others–it was a million years ago, and I don’t remember. Decades later, this project appears, and I have a couple new traps in it too, and I signed a special autograph page to be inserted.
Now, I didn’t invent Grimtooth, and I didn’t create the Traps books, and most of the creation/work was done by other people, but . . . none of it happens if I don’t do Tunnels and Trolls and get involved with Rick Loomis publishing my game, and making me editor of SA. Liz Danforth came to work for Flying Buffalo because she and I met at the Phoenix Friday night science-fiction fans gatherings, which I helped Terry Ballard start back around 1970. When T & T needed to go into a second edition for its first publication by Flying Buffalo, I got Liz to do the art for it, and from those first fantasy pictures, she soon became the main artist for Flying Buffalo. And on and on. Everything is connected. So watch this, and support the project if you like the idea.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1409961192/.

 

KICKSTARTER.COM
I’m thinking you can really blame this all on Rick Loomis, as he is even more seminal than I am, but still, tooting my own horn for the sake of history, none of this happens without me–a claim that several other people including Rick Loomis, Liz Danforth, Joseph Goodman, and most especially STEVE CROMPTON.
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If you ever used one of Grimtooth’s Traps, or if you ever contributed one to the 505 traps collected in this new release, why not leave a comment?
End

 

The Year (2015) in Pancakes   Leave a comment

Heh! Any excuse to get out of the house and eat at Denny’s.  My (beautiful) niece, Kristina Eckert, posted this picture on Facebook this morning. It inspired me to do my own version of “the  year in pancakes”. Cookery and photography and cool idea on this first one all by Kristina.

Kris actually cooked them in these shapes and got them all on one plate--something far beyond my artistic capability.

Kris actually cooked them in these shapes and got them all on one plate–something far beyond my artistic capability.

 

My first thought on seeing this pic on Facebook was that I’d have to eat the pancakes into shape if I did that. My second thought was: why shouldn’t I do my own version of the year in pancakes. It seemed like a good excuse to get out of the house this New Year’s Day morning (11 a.m. Arizona time). Since I pride myself on being a troll of action the following events were inevitable.

The sky--the sun is breaking through the clouds left over from last night's storm, and it very bright and cold (for Arizona).

The sky–the sun is breaking through the clouds left over from last night’s storm, and it was very bright and cold (for Arizona).

The scene of the action.

The scene of the action.

My version of the year in pancakes--shaped with spoon and fork, not baked into shape.

My version of the year in pancakes–shaped with spoon and fork, not baked into shape.

the leftovers that had to be pruned away

the leftovers that had to be pruned away

closeup: 20

closeup: 20

closeup: 15

closeup: 15

2015-01-01 11.24.07

with butter and syrup

with butter and syrup

and I ate them all up. This got me to thinking philosophically–a hazard of getting old. If the pancakes are the year (metaphorically), I did not make them. They came from a higher, larger source. Denny’s Restaurant made the pancakes. God made the year.  I did not cook the pancakes. They came ready to eat. I do not create time. It’s part of the universe I live in.  But I shaped those pancakes to my will (and I will do the same for the upcoming year).  My shaping might not be particularly stylish or well-done, but it worked for me.  And I ate up those pancakes and enjoyed them–just as I expect to do for the upcoming year.

I wasn’t quite satisfied with a year that was just pancakes, so I ordered some bacon also. Bacon is a different medium–a lot harder to turn into a numeric representation of this year. But I found a way.  My attempt to resize and edit these pix into a straight line failed, so you’ll have to read it Japanese style–top to bottom.

2015-01-01 11.34.09

2015-01-01 11.34.09

2015-01-01 11.34.43

2015-01-01 11.35.20

Can you read it? MMXV. I ate that too. A year needs some meat in it.

The adventure ends the same way it began–with a shot of the sky as I came out of Denny’s. Since I’ve been thinking about the  year to come all morning, I took this sky shot as an omen for the upcoming year. Read into it what you will.

Sunshine and darkness, blue skies and cloudy--I guess we will see it all again in 2015.

Sunshine and darkness, blue skies and cloudy–I guess we will see it all again in 2015.

 

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If you ever have fun playiing with your food, why not leave a comment?

–end

 

Posted January 1, 2015 by atroll in 2015, Food, Ken St. Andre, Omens, Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Selfies in the Desert   Leave a comment

Here follows an exercise in narcissism, or at least proof that when I say I go out and walk in the desert I really do go out and walk in the desert. I arrived at my favorite hiking place about 1:30 this afternoon. The weather was clear, warm, and perfect for hiking. It’s kind of late in the day, so I don’t expect to see any animals. My goal was to hike at least 3 miles.

Start of the journey in the parking lot. I am wearing the Trollgod's hat, my oldest, most battered fedora. It will protect my head from low hanging  mesquite branches and cactus.

Start of the journey in the parking lot. I am wearing the Trollgod’s hat, my oldest, most battered fedora. It will protect my head from low hanging mesquite branches and cactus.

 

A better shot of me at the beginning. centering my face for these selfies is going to be a problem.

A better shot of me at the beginning. centering my face for these selfies is going to be a problem.

 

Behind me is the road ahead.

Behind me is the road ahead.

Behind me is the road behind

Behind me is the road behind

.26 miles into the hike

.26 miles into the hike

Troll country

Troll country

Mountain side. Missed. I was trying to do a profile shot of myself.

Mountain side. Missed. I was trying to do a profile shot of myself.

Half a mile into the hike.

Half a mile into the hike.

2014-12-09 14.03.27

8 tenths of a mile into hike. All distances measured by pedometer.

8 tenths of a mile into hike. All distances measured by pedometer.

2014-12-09 14.21.28

Turn around point. Quartz cairn. 1.5 miles into the hike.

Turn around point. Quartz cairn. 1.5 miles into the hike.

2 miles into the hike on the way back.

2 miles into the hike on the way back.

The friendly Arizona desert has places for you to sit down and rest.

The friendly Arizona desert has places for you to sit down and rest.

2.5 miles into the hike. The end is in sight.

2.5 miles into the hike. The end is in sight.

Back in the parking lot. Reflection of a desert hiker.

Back in the parking lot. Reflection of a desert hiker.

I am happy to be back at myu car to drive out of here. Total distance 3 miles. Time about 2 hours. Lots of climbing, and I am now officially tired.

I am happy to be back at myu car to drive out of here. Total distance 3 miles. Time about 2 hours. Lots of climbing, and I am now officially tired.