The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark


Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

Last Thursday, I gave an online presentation on the basics of contracts, invoices, and saving money for taxes. The last one is so simple most people don’t give it any credit. But it has proven itself a winner for me. I save 25¢ of every dollar I own. I then either pay taxes, or buy deductible business equipment, or put it in my retirement account. This and other pearls of wisdom fell from my lips into the ears of students and Shoreline Community College. I hope they enjoyed the presentation; I already deposited the check. How did I already deposit the check when I just did the presentation? Because they suggested I invoice them early, which I did.

Krista and I left for Alturas, California, right afterward. This was a very late start for us. Why Alturas? Because that is where Aunt Christine lives, and a visit was long overdue. It’s a long drive, 8-10 hours, depending on breaks, meals, and traffic. We had bad traffic all the way through Olympia, and then as we approached Oregon. It was slow going, and we didn’t arrive in Alturas until 2am on Friday.

We didn’t do much on Friday. We mainly sat on the couch and caught up with Christine. We also went out to dinner at a new-to-us Thai/Japanese place. We really liked the Pad Prik King with Chicken and the Pad Thai with Shrimp. Christine stayed home because she didn’t have much of an appetite. We took her some leftovers.

I can’t remember if it was Friday or Saturday. We had fun gathering up leaves in the back yard. This last winter had been very windy, and a lot of leaves and branches got caught up in the outdoor furniture, pots, and decorations. Between the three of us, it didn’t take long to bag it up.

Krista brought gnocchi and squash sauce. Since Krista normally cooks chicken breast to go with the squash sauce, I was surprised when she brought home hamburger instead. On Saturday, she made a new dish I’d never tried before. Even though it was squash sauce, the richness of the hamburger gave it an Italian flavor that reminded me more of tomato sauce. I had to resist from overindulging.

Aunt Christine has a small black dog named Tucker. He’s half pug and half chiwhawa. His body is very pug-like, as are his ears. The rest of him is a fun mix of both. His underbite has his lower teeth poking out like a bulldog. I think Christine was surprised to see how quickly Tucker took to Krista and me. He spent most of our visit on one of our laps. And he loves playing tug.

Alturas is a small town with only one red blinking traffic light. It has a wildlife refuge. We beat ourselves up for forgetting to bring our binoculars. Thankfully Christine had her handy. Deer in the street and yard is a daily occurrence. There are a lot of birds as well. I added sand cranes and cinnamon teal ducks, and ringneck ducks to my life watch list. There were lots of other ducks and birds, but they were already on my list. The wildlife refuge has had several improvements made to it since our last visit. I’m a little ashamed to think that it might be over ten years since our last visit. It’s a nice town.

Sunday, Krista cooked some salmon. There were snowpeas and pilaf on hand at the house. I loved it as it was just how I liked it. Krista says it was easy to prepare because it was so thick, and she didn’t have to worry about it drying out. It was moist and delicious.

All fun vacations end. Krista and I hugged Christine goodbye Monday morning. We had breakfast at the Black Bear Restaurant in Klamath Falls. Eggs, sausage links, hashbrowns, and biscuit. We timed our arrival perfectly as a table opened up. There was a line forming after us that was just as long when we left. This time we go home at a reasonable time. It wasn’t even dark yet. We grabbed a couple of Shrimp Geisha Bowls at Zen Ramen Sushi Burrito for dinner before we unpacked the car. And boy, did we have a lot to unpack. Christine was very generous with her gifts. A full-size realistic statue of a bulldog now keeps our fake Doberman “Fluffy” company in the living room. Both looking at the front door to startle the Bejezus out of the delivery people. We are still trying to find the right place to put the giant glass pig with a cork nose. The obsidian rocks are hanging out next to the Azalia in the backyard until my friend makes good on his promise to teach me how you flint knap. The bales of hay will come in handy in the backyard. We’re going to be giving Christine reports on what we do with all the other stuff.

Tuesday, I ended up canceling Epic Sketch Time. Bill and I were the only ones in the room for the first twenty minutes, and we set the rule that we wouldn’t record or stay open if it was just the Mark and Bill Show. I then got an email after we closed the room that someone who arrived 25 minutes late was waiting to get in. I sent them an email that we closed due to lack of participants. I think this was the same person who tried to get in last week when I had to cancel due to technical difficulties. Things like this happen. But the event is free, and in its seven-year history, there has only been a handful of cancellations.

There were a lot of birthdays this week. And while I did call him up to wish him a Happy Birthday, I forgot to mention my oldest brother Randy’s birthday last week. Happy Birthday, Randy. There was also Olga’s birthday. And, Jeeze, my niece Melina’s birthday was last week too. I really need to get better at reporting the calendar. Happy Birthday, Everybody!

Alley News

Don was lying on a car repair cart under the back of his car. He didn’t get up when he called me over. I went to the front of the car and picked up an electrical diagram off the hood of the car, and took it over to him. Don’s weak point on cars has always been the electrical. He was cursing the car manufacturer. Apparently, most brands of cars follow the same color guide system for their cars. White for this, red for that, green for this, black for that. But this brand of car uses brown wires with different type of thin little white lines on it. You know, the hardest thing for an elderly man with failing eyes, laying on his back, with poor lighting under the back end of a car, to see. Don is trying to get the wires working that will operate the signal and brake lights of his trailer. The right light works fine, but the left light is not operating properly. It certainly gives him a reason to curse.

The replacement for the lawnmower battery I ordered and then returned finally arrived. The battery was giving me mixed signals. At first, there was no light, then I finally got a light. Then it said it was failing to charge. I put the battery into the charger for a third time before going on vacation. When we got home, I saw a solid green light. A flashing green light would have been bad. The button on the front of the battery then lit up all the lights that indicate the amount of charge. I guess it’s good to put in the mower and see if I can finally get that puppy started up.

I listened to some books:

“Paladin’s Grace” by T. Kingfisher, Rating: 7

A quirky fantasy in which humor and attraction can have the reader rolling their eyes as hard as the hero and heroine's friends. Wonderful fluff that is meant to be enjoyed for its simple escapism.

“An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good” by Helene Tursten, Rating: 7

This series of stories is about an elderly lady who brooks no fools messing with her life. She puts on the facade of being feeble and a bit senile, but her mind is sharp, her body healthy, and she's actually quite formidable– deadly even. My wife and I listened to these stories during a several hours-long drive at night, and we were kept awake and very alert as we followed Maude's interesting life.

I had some dreams:

June 14

#IDreamt Hugh Laurie and I were in a department store. He commented that hide-a-beds were designed to tell your guests to leave after a few days. And if you really didn’t want guests, you should invest in a futon.

June 17

#IDreamt I was one of five people hired to dismantle an office trailer on an oilfield in China that was closing down. Then one of the rigs struck oil, and we were fired.

June 20

#IDreamt I took my luggage to a parking lot photo shoot. But it was filled with Chris Pond’s clothes. James Stowe thought it would be hilarious if I wore them for a photo. #walkamileintheirshoes

June 21

#IDreamt I was doing time at a working ranch. There was a plot to release the prisoners early before anyone could figure out the owner was missing. The prisoners were torn between early freedom and the possibility of bearing testimony. #vampires

I watched a movie this week:

Feast (2005) Rating: 6

I love a fun creature feature. This is just what I was hoping for, with over-the-top splatter, and comedy was a perk. So I gave it to points for that. But I'm taking away one point for all of the scenes in the dark. Still, there was a fun creature reveal after putting it mainly off shot. I had fun watching the CD extras with the edited and deleted scenes. I watched this film on a Netflix DVD.

More next week,