30 December 2005

An After-Thought

When I posted the various new figure pics earlier last evening, I had a brain fart(very common with me)and forgot to post a couple of samples from my penultimate figure pic set, "Outdoor Concert".

Ain't nothin' huge nor excitin' 'bout any aspect of the pics, but, I think they're a lovely little way of endin' out 2005's batch of figure pics, and I hope you'll think so too.

Anyhow, Happy New Year to You and Yours out there, and may you have many more so for many more years to come.

Outdoor Concert 8.

Outdoor Concert 5.

29 December 2005

Late Season's Greetings and Pics

Well, even though the holidays, or Hell-O-Days as I like to refer to 'em as, are nearly over, thought I'd post some of the figure pics I've been working on over the past two weeks.

The ones you'll see as going from the top of the page downwards are Hell-O-Day related, with some, like Christmas Greetings Pic 5, more in the traditional sense of holiday pics, while others, like Ho, Ho, No 2 and There's No Place Like Hell For The Holidays 10, take a more irreverent, or nastier, aspect on the subject.

Below those, are three pics from an espionage thriller series that came about quite by accident, called Scarlet Angel.

The reason I say it came about by accident is because I was initially going to do another erotically-themed shoot using the same figure as I had for the "Red Dreamer" series of pics, only in a scarlet body-suit, rather than the silver sparkling cat-suit she wore in the former set.

However, and the reasoning process behind this was murky at best, I can assure you, I decided to change the set into a sort of spoof of Bond-style spy pictures and the like, with, I think, mixed results visually.

Had wanted to get a kind of high-keyed lighting, and, especially, colour effect in the pics that would really bring out the colours of the figures' uniforms, etc, and especially of the main character's clothing and hair.

Am afraid that the lighting didn't really come off very well in the "Raiding The Secret Lair"(the first set of "Scarlet Angel" pics I shot), nor the "Jerks All Laid Out" set, either, but I think I got my best results with the "Nearly There" set(a sample of which you'll see just above "Raiding The Secret Lair 3" pic), in which the editing treatment I gave it really brings out those features, as well as the character's really well-done face sculpt.

But, I could be wrong on that score.

Incidentally, the order of the pics is slightly messed-up, with "Nearly There 4" actually being supposed to come AFTER "Raiding The Secret Lair 3", but, I had a brain-fart and reversed the order.

At least, you'll know that the order IS screwed-up.

The last sets of pics are from my "Ignorant Armies" set, for which the Lebanese za'im and his body-guards pic of two weeks back was a precursor, and which inspired me to do a set devoted to paramilitaries of all sorts, including, though they'd by no means fit into the dictionary definition of a paramilitary organisation, various criminal outfits, such as the Mafia, or, as seen in the two pics below "Raiding The Secret Lair 3", the assorted Chinese Triad organisations.

Also did three more figure shoots besides these over the holidays, one of which was a birthday present for an old and dear friend whose birthday fell on 20th December, and two for a Christmas card that another friend was going to send out.

However, as those, especially the last two sets, are of a private nature, I won't be posting any of those onto the 'Net, without the express permission of those friends.

More of a respect bit than anything else on my part.

Anyway, just want to wish all of you out there Happy Holidays(whichever ones you choose to celebrate), and especially the Happiest of New Years to you and your loved ones, whoever and wherever they happen to be from Annabelle Lee and Amigo the Cats, and, of course, from myself.

Be Seeing You in the New Year, and hope your hang-overs on New Year's Day ain't too painful.

Ho, Ho, No 2.

Christmas Greetings Pic 5.

There's No Place Like Hell For The Holidays 10.

Jerks All Laid Out 1.

Nearly There 4

Raiding The Secret Lair 3.

Triad Members, Vancouver BC, Canada, 5.

Triad Members, Vancouver BC, Canada, 2005 3

Michigan Militia Members, Michigan USA, 1994 14

Michigan Militia Members, Michigan USA, 1994 9

Michigan Militia Members, Michigan USA 1994 7

15 December 2005

Here's another version, only in black-and-white. The zuama(Arabic plural form of za'im)dominated Lebanese politics from the French Mandate period(1920-43), until the 1980s, when, due to death, exile and general irrelevance during the Lebanese Civil War(1975-90), they were shoved aside by other Lebanese and foreign political forces.

From yet another new photo set taken to-day, comes this little bit depicting a Lebanese za'im(a kind of cross between a feudal lord and political boss)and his bodyguards in Beirut Lebanon circa 1978.

14 December 2005

New Stuff and All That

If anyone out there actually reads this blog, then you may've noticed that I haven't posted very much in the last month or so.

In fact, I've posted nothing until the last few days.

Part of it is due to the ending of a friendship that was entirely my fault, due to my putting my hand on the friend's throat in a surge of ill-temper.

Not to worry, he's OK. But, the friendship is definitely over, as I haven't heard anything from him since then.

Without going into details, which I'm still pretty loath to talk about right now, I grossly over-reacted to my perception of him getting pushy with me(not physically. Verbally pushy, that is), which is why I put my hand on him.

Haven't dropped off the 'Net, after that. Far from it. But, have been very reluctant to discuss this with anyone, though I have with a very few people.

Also, hadn't taken any new figure pics in nearly two months until Sunday last, and am glad I have, as it's helpin' me to get out of procrastinatin' mode, which I so often tend to be in.

There are several more such batches I really haveta get 'round to doin' before the Christmas holiday strikes upon us, so I need to get crackin' here.

In the meantime, please check out and enjoy, or not, if you will, the new pics taken and edited on Sunday last and to-day.

An old and very dear friend of mine's moved back to town with his life and two kitties, all the way from Ol' Kaintuck'(Kentucky), after a two-year hiatus from this silly Sin City.

Heard from him via the phone(Yep, there are still some people out there who use it)yesterday, and, while I don't know when and if I'll get to see 'im and his wife(whom I haven't yet met)in the flesh, I hope it will be relatively soon, once they get settled in and all that.

A friend of a dear friend of mine, Terri, that is, died on Sunday last, and it's got her and her long-time lover very upset indeed, as he was both a dear friend of theirs, and this is the second death of an old friend of Terri's within the past three months.

This year really has been a bastard for a lotta people out there, and am sorry that it's been one for you, Terr.

My sympathies are with you, Dino and your Kitty-Boys right now, and my love is with you always.

Well, had a great Thanksgivin' courtesy of Tom and Ana Maria, a wonderful First Friday(For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a once-monthly arts gathering in the Arts District of Down-Town Vegas), and, just 'round Thanksgivin', got the good news from Social Security that am still disabled under their rules, so that means my disablity benefit continues.

Gave myself tonnes of Plumber's Nightmares and the like about what could happen if that hadn't been the case for the past three months prior, and just about drove myself three-quarters crazy with worry.

Really need to stop doin' that.

Not too much else happenin' here right now, so that'll 'bout do for this entry.

However, will probably post a rant about the recent race riots(Talk about alliteration gone mad!!!)in Sydney, Australia over the week-end, and maybe throw in a couple of other bits as well in the next entry.

Of course, there'll be more piccies to come, too, so, stay tuned, Bat-Fans.

'Til then, Be Seeing You, as they used to say, with a very ironic tone of voice, in The Prisoner.

Last shot in the set. Not bad, except for the actor behind the director on the pic's centre-right being obscured.

Third verse, this time in colour. Check out the Hawaiian shirt worn by the director!!!!!

Another shot of the same bunch, only closer and a little more personal.

The first pic from a set devoted to a Japanese film cast and crew setting up for the next shot of their project in Tokyo, circa 1970.

Innocence, Experience and Sexuality: who says they can't be combined, eh???

Red reminds me a little of Gina Lollobrigida in this one. See for yourself if you can discern a resemblance between her and Ms. Lollobrigida.

Red in the Black-and-White World again.

Red again, this time, in sepia, for your vintage-style delectation.

Our little Red, in black-and-white!!!!

The first pic in a new erotically-themed set called "Red Dreamer". The "Red" in the title refers to her hair colour, not her politics, whatever sort of politics an action figure has, that is. Personally, that's none of my business, nor is it any of yours.

More Junky Money.

Money For Junk-in Colour!!!!!

Yet more idiocy, up close and personal this time!!!!

More idiocy, in black-and-white,from our Moron in Havana.

11 December 2005

This is part of a series of new figure pics shot and edited to-day, called "Our Idiot In Havana, 1961 1", all of which depict, from various angles, a CIA agent in Havana, Cuba, circa 1961, probably a few weeks or months prior to the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of that year. Other versions of this will follow in the next day or so, so stay tuned, Kiddies.

This is the first pic in the other new set of figure pics I've done in nearly two months. It's entitled "Money For Junk", and depicts the kind of nasty small-time drug buy found just about anywhere in the world these days.

This is the second pic in the Money For Junk set I did to-day. Just played a little with the contrast, brightness, and, of course, converted it to black-and-white.

18 November 2005

Las Vegas Indy Media Link

Added yet another link, my 20th thus far, to the Links list here.

It's to the Las Vegas Indy Media web-site, to which I was once a contributor of both stories and figure pics, as well as bein' an Editorial Collective member on two separate occasions.

The site, which is part of a network of left-wing Indy Media sites found 'round the globe, was an important part of my life here over the last two and a half years until early September of this year, when I very publicly resigned from its Editorial Collective and a local peace group over inter-personal disputes within the latter, with which I allowed myself to get too involved.

Without going into detail here, I resigned after giving one of the peace group's leaders a written hiding on Las Vegas Indy Media and in the group's Yahoo Group.

While it might have been therapeutic for me to do that at the time, it didn't exactly do me any honour or credit, just as what the leader said on Yahoo and on LVIMC didn't exactly do him any honour nor credit either.

So, why even bother putting a link to the site up????

Not sure, save to say that, as one of the few left sites in Las Vegas, and Nevada in general, and, as a member of the Nevadan Left, I'd be doin' folks a dis-service by NOT linking to it, so they can see the range of opinion and debate on the Southern Nevada Left for themselves.

Also, I have friends who still are, as far as I know, involved with LVIMC, so, why be un-fair to them because of something that I and another person did two months back????

I also did it, because I wanted to.

I may never know the precise reason why I linked to LVIMC again, much less posted a comment, on a story about an action figure play-set offered through the JC Penney Christmas Catalogue.

Actually, on the latter, I do know the reason I posted my comment, and that was because, being action figure-related, it was in my line of country, as far as that goes.

My commentary on the article, really on the comments following it, is far from immortal prose, and the reasoning probably sucks.

My thrust was that toys, like comic books and other cultural products, reflect the hopes and fears of the cultures that produce 'em, and that, rather than just sitting back and complaining about those products, the Left needs to organise, pool whatever time, talents, resources and money they have into creating enterprises that can create and distribute cultural products that will counter the ones put out by the powers that be, and distribute 'em to as wide a public as possible.

This has to be done along with the classic techniques of boycotts, demonstrations, etc, to pressure cultural producers into making products more beneficial to the general public as a whole.

Otherwise, the only other practicable alternative open to the Left is to sit back and complain, which really doesn't do anyone the least good.

My re-statement here of my opinion posted on LVIMC is actually more coherent and better organised, with slightly fewer words, than the original was.

Well, that's my opinion, anyway.

In a way, it was un-easy for me to go back there and post that opinion, especially after I'd said, in the local peace group's Yahoo Group, on LVIMC, and via e-mail that I was done with the group and LVIMC, given after my very public resignations and what-not.

I probably won't post on LVIMC ever again, but, I also reserve the right to change my mind about that, if need be.

Either way, don't let this affect your decision as to whether to go to LVIMC from here or not.

If anything, I would encourage you to, if you're interested in Left Politics, Culture, etc.

If you aren't, then I'd advise you not to go, simply because you aren't interested in those sorts of topics.

That's, in my opinion, the best, if not only good, reason for doing anything or nothing at all, because it's what you wish or don't wish to do.

Any other reason just doesn't quite cut it, I think.

17 November 2005

More Forging Links For The Chains

Yep, I did it again, got four new links up, for your delectation and amusement.

All four are action figure links, two of which are to an MSN action figures' group of which I'm a part, with the latter member of the duo being a link to my own figure pic folder there.

Doesn't have the greatest number of pics in it, but, it is accessible to the public without needin' to be an MSN Groups member or havin' to sign in, or any of that good nonsense.

Just click and enjoy, or gag, as you will.

The other two are action figure photo-stories by the one and only Miskatonic Nick, one of whose sites is the second from the top of the list, I think.

The first one, Toyvile 2: A Tale Too Far, is a sequel of sorts to an earlier story set in the mythical town of, you guessed it, Toyville, and features all sortsa gags about action figures, pop culture, the reasons behind the Iraq War, and all that good jazz.

Kinda like a Bulwinkle episode, if it'd be done with action figures instead of cartoons.

The other one is a short comic story called The Vengeance of Godzilla, and should have something of an appeal for all you kaiju(Japanese monster flicks and tv series)fans out there, and even for some of you non-fans, too.

It's very short, and rather sweet, really.

Have been reading news articles from a variety of sources on-line to-day, including the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Times and the Guardian, among others, about various topics, including the recent French riots, the Iraq War and all the machinations behind it, China's high-tech army within an army, and lots of other good garbage like that.

No wonder my brain's turned to mush right about now.

Will be postin' some of my views on these topics and more within the next few days, once a lot of this info's had a chance to lie fallow and act as intellectual humus(not to be confused with hummus, the delicious Middle Eastern chick-pea paste that goes so well with a squeeze of lemon juice and pita bread).

Then again, my brain may just wipe all of this from the ol' memory banks, and will be back to Square One on that.

Stay tuned, Kiddies, for more links, weird posts, and, of course, figure pics, when and if I finally get around to doin' 'em again.

Some people lead quite interestin' lives, but, I'm not one of 'em.

Filing Cabinet, My Eye!!!!!

Just checked the page, like promised in the last post, and it's to a science-fiction forum site called Ex Isle, which was originally created a few years back, by and for fans of the now-cancelled Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda tv series.

Well, one can discuss a lot more than Andromeda or SF in general in these forums, as there are forums devoted to the arts, science, culture, politics, and lots of lovely creative forums where one can find fan fiction for various series, original fiction, and visual artwork of all inspirations and sorts.

Am a member there, and find it well worth it, too.

G'wan over, check it out, and set a spell, iffen ya like it.

I think you will.

More Links For The Chain

Added five new links to the chain am creating for myself here.

The first of the new lot is to the Argentine Navy's official site, where, by clicking on the "Marchas"(Marches)link in the home page's upper right centre, you can go to the site's March music page, where you can down-load MP3s of Argentine naval marches and songs for nothin'.

The second's a Blogspot blog run by a US Army sergeant stationed in Iraq. Before you think that the guy's gonna give you nothin' but the usual Red-White and Blue rhetoric, think again.
The blogger's posts are thoughtful and humane, and far from the sort of over-heated super-patriotic thought and rhetoric common to right-wing Web Warriors based safely at home.

Two of the latter links are devoted to a talented, and, in my opinion, lovely, Canadian actress named Lexa Doig, whom many of you SF fans out there will know as the actress who played the title role in Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.

The first of these is run by an on-line acquaintance of mine from Canada who's a lovely human being.

One of the bits I hate most about getting older is not being able to remember everything as quickly as I want, and this applies to the link I posted between the two categories I mentioned.

Will post this, then check the blog and see precisely what that link is, then put up another post telling you its nature.

The Filing-Cabinet Phenomenon in human memory's a Real Bitch.

16 November 2005

More Links In The Chain

Just givin' y'all a brief heads-up that I've posted two more links to this blog.

One is just above the link to my Yahoo Photos album link(second from the bottom of the Links list), and the other's just below it.

Both of these sites are left-wing in nature, with the first being a blog based out of Montreal Quebec, that I got the link to in an article about the Paris riots a week or so back.

Of course, Sketchy Thoughts' blogger deals with a lot more than just those riots, as he covers political and cultural bits of news and info from around the globe.

Well worth a look, I think.

The other's a site called SovMusic.ru, and, yes, Virginia, it's based out of Russia, and is devoted to old Soviet and other Communist songs of the 20th Century from over a very wide portion of the world.

You can down-load either song lyrics and sheet music or MP3 recordings of these tunes for nothin'.

You read me right-nothin', zip, zero, nada, bupkis.

So, whether you're an old nostalgic longing for some of the tunes of your youth, an up-and-comin' Commie looking to get in touch with the musical heritage of your movement, or simply a curious cat who'd maybe like to get a glimpse of what folks in the "Evil Empire" and so on were singin' about, this is the site for you.

Not to mention, you just can't beat the price of down-loadin' these tunes anywhere, period.

Three and a Half Stars. Joe Bob, if he were here, would tell ya to check it out.

Since he ain't, I'll tell ya to check it out.

One last bit: if you click on the Yahoo Photos link, all you have to do to access the sucker is enter in your Yahoo ID, if you're a Yahoo member.

If y'ain't, well, you can register with Yahoo, which is free to do, and go from there, or decline and exit.

Will soon post a link or two I have to some more of my figure pics in other on-line action figure groups, so you can see for yourselves, without havin' to register with any on-line service.

Sorry I didn't post this before, when I first put up the link. I should have, and have no excuses(none believeable)for not doin' so.

Be Seeing You, as they used say in The Prisoner.

And Furthermore.....

Really, there's not much more to the "And Furthermore...." of this post's title than to point out something which's really glaringly obvious, except to dunderheads like me, and that's the blog's template's been changed.

Didn't set out to do so when I started adding links this mornin', but, because I'd screwed up the placement of some of the links, because am completely un-familiar with HTML code, well, had to do it just to get the blog's look better sorted out.

So, here it is, the new, and actually, however accidentally, improved look for the blog, which I think makes it much easier for anyone to read than the previous template.

Hope you like it.

Forging My Chains, Link By Link

Well, still yet to get off my lazy arse and re-do those Iraq War counter-recruitment flyer pics.

But, in the meantime, here're some links for you to play with.

The first is to one of the most remarkable action figure sites on the Web, in terms of story-lines and over-all creativity, while the second is just as remarkable in its own fashion.

The only real differences are the site owners' locations, political points of view, and their choices of figures to use in their photo-stories.

What those are, I won't tell you, as you'll be able to guess pretty bloody quickly what they are when you hit those sites.

The others belong to friends of mine(Terri Neish is a very long-standing and dear friend of mine from my university and theatre days up in Reno, from which I originally hail, and Layne Mathiesen(Mr Uncle Dad Is Mad) is an old and dear Vegas friend of mine), relatives(Allen Bramhall's site, which got me into blogging, even if by accident, is a great poetry site), acquaintances(Josh Ellis, whose Zenarchery.com is one of the best Vegas blogs), and complete strangers whose work interests me(Gennifer Hirano's Asian Princess Artifacts, with her own particular take on porn, sexuality, "Yellow Fever", and so much more).

So, check these suckers out, have fun, and stay tuned, Chilluns, 'cos there'll soon be more where THOSE came from.

In the meantime, take care, and, if you're a hard-core Bushite, ravin' Neo-Nutzi, what have ya, don't forget to go gargle with razor blades. It's GOOD for ya(Ha!!!!)!!!!!

27 October 2005

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show

After posting all the Iraq War-related pics over the past two days, I think it's time for a little break in the subject matter of the figure pics posted here, so, I shot and edited a little set of pics this evening, entitled "The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show", which is a sub-set of the "Night And The City" photo-series.

The examples seen below this post come in a variety of versions-scarcely edited colour versions, colour versions where the brightness and contrast levels have been played with a bit, and black-and-white versions of the same pics.

At the very bottom of this list of pics is even an out-take from the photo-shoot featuring Amigo the Cat in all his glory!!!

As for the pics' subject matter, a secret policeman relaxing at home, watching tv, well, why not???

Even murdering, torturing swine like this one like to watch tv.

As to what the exact sort of programme our secret policeman protagonist might find enjoyable, I leave that to your capable imaginations to speculate upon.

Personally, I think he might like a silly comedy, variety show, or sentimental drama.

Hey, if you do what he did for a living, would you want to watch a cop show when you got home????

No reason to bring your work home with you, nor have a reminder of it coming into your home, if you don't have to.

This is the first pic in the sub-series, "The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show".

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show 2.

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show 3.

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show 4.

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show 7.

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show 10.

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show 16.

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show 17.

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show 18, which is the last pic in the sub-series, shown here in its colour and lightly edited version.

The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show 20, a black-and-white version of the last pic of the sub-series.

This is an out-take from "The Secret Policeman's Favourite Show" shoot, featuring Amigo Rilea, who was intensely curious about just what the Hell Human-Tom Mama was doing in his favourite perch spot. Had to shoo 'im off the set(my bed-room's bay window) several times during the shoot. Kept this pic, because Amigo's body language and facial expression in this are just priceless.

Figure Cartoon Flyer

The following pictures are for an anti-Iraq War and counter-recruitment flyer I made up for a local peace group here in Vegas a couple of months ago.

The figure cartoon, which should appear on the flyer's front, is the first pic you'll see as you scroll down the page, while the flyer text, which should appear on the back, comes next.

After up-loading the cartoon pic, I realised that the bottom text in the cartoon will need to boldened further to make the message a lot more legible than it is now.

So, there's a little project for me for the next couple of days, eh???

Please, if you're involved with a peace group in your neck of the woods, and you're doing counter-recruitment efforts in your local high schools, whatever, feel free to click on the pics to bring up their own windows, right-click on the pics and down-load both pics, print 'em out, then, with a little application of scissors, glue or tape, put 'em together to make your own handy-dandy flyer.

Of course, if you want to put 'em on a sign, what have you, give a shot, and I hope it works.

Because of the small size of these pics, I'd say that a size not much bigger than 8x10 inches at largest would work best, as the resolution quality would seriously begin to degrade, the larger one makes the image.

Anyhow, am gonna work on improvin' the legibility of the cartoon's bottom text, and will put up the improved version here, as soon as I have it done.

Colour version of flyer front cartoon.

Back text for the flyer.

26 October 2005

This pic was shot and edited this morning to commemorate the announcement yesterday of the 2000th American combat-related death of the Iraq War. The fellas in the pic are casualities of the battle for Ramadi city in western Iraq that went on over this summer. For more Iraq War-related pics, just scroll down the page a little bit, and you'll see the rest.

Yesterday, it was announced by the Pentagon that the 2000th American military fatality in Iraq happened when a US Army Staff Sergeant died of wounds received on 17th October of this year. This photo, "Evening Land", and the set of photos immediately following it, while taken over the past two years, are my small way of commemorating that death, plus the other American, UK, and other Coalition losses, and especially the estimated 30-100,00 Iraqi civilian and military deaths that have happened since 20th March, 2003.

This depicts a trio of Kurdish Iraqi National Guardsmen and their dead comrade during the siege of Fallujah in September, 2004.

From one of the other sides of the Iraqi-American War, comes this little pic depicting a duo of dead Mahdi Army militiamen killed during fighting between the Mahdi Army and the Americans in Najaf in April of last year.

Yet another scene from the Iraqi-American War, that of an un-willing and very un-happy informant being grilled by American and Iraqi Government troops and police on the street.