Monday, December 27, 2010

Over The Rainbow

Tomorrow is my birthday and as such I am looking back on this past year.

This year was the year I decided to take my Oz collection seriously. It was originally an accidental collection, like my Cinderellas, just things I had picked up because I liked them.

Last year for Christmas my family all joined forces to collect the McDonalds/Madame Alexander Oz dolls for me and that marked the beginning of my mission. They did a wonderful job and I was lacking three dolls when they were through: Glinda, the Winged Monkey and the Winkie Guard. For awhile I was completely okay with this, in fact Glinda was the last addition to my Oz collection this year.

The next nudge came in January when I was visiting my pen pal. We were in a bookshop and had come across a copy of "L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz." I did not buy that day, writing down the ISBN to order it from the store where I work on a later date. I forgot about until nearly June! When I did finally order it and start reading it became painfully obvious to me that I had only read the first book in a very long series.

So I started ordering the books in from the library, thinking "I will save money this way"- thinking I would not like the "new" illustrator, John R. Neill, having always been fond of Denslow's drawings for "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." It took about two books to realize that Neill was more my thing than Denslow. By November I had all 15 of Baum's Oz books. I also picked up the second Marvel comic book (The Marvelous Land of Oz) when it came out in hardcover and a copy of the silent film collection somewhere along the line- and by complete coincidence my godmother gave me a poster book with lovely prints from the MGM film.

Before this, I should mention, my collection was pretty big. I have the 50th movie anniversary commemorative book, the Judy Garland flim, The Wiz (with Diana Ross, of course), the Original Broadway Cast recording of The Wiz, the soundtrack to Wicked along with the Vocal Selections, the book Wicked, the original book, the new Marvel comic in hardcover and a magnet with Ray Boldger's Scarecrow saying "Oh Joy! Rapture! I've got a brain!" (my motto.) As said above... I did not collect these things with the intention of amassing a collection. I got them one by one because I just happen to love Oz in nearly every form it takes.

I still do not really consider myself an Oz collector. I do not desire special editions of any of the forms Oz takes, as long as I have the stories. My copies are all Dover Thrift Editions because they included the original illustrations and were reasonably prices.

There are only a few things I would consider adding to the collection: the soundtrack to the MGM film, the VHS to "The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True" (with Jewel, one of my other guilty pleasures, as Dorothy and Nathan Lane as the Lion) and the next Marvel comic when it comes out in hardcover (Ozma of Oz is possibly my favorite book in the series so it seems a wise investment.)

Other then those? I am over the rainbow already.

It's been a good year, I think. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An Update

Yesterday I launched "Miki and Sir" (see the link on the left side bar), a writing and art project. I am not 100% sure what audience I am going for, but I am going to try and keep it child friendly as well as hopefully amusing to all age levels that encounter it. The first story arc is mapped out and partially sketched and I hope to update at least once a week. I still do not have my own scanner though... so we will see.

My other project, Tam-a-lyn, stems from my last entry's frustration.  For this story I am NOT fighting the urge to switch mediums and writing styles, instead I am scrap-booking my creative process on the fly. So far this is mostly for myself and I am not ready to share the story publicly, we'll see later down the road I guess.

Yesterday I also tweaked the layout here and at the art blog so that the links outward are less boring and easier to navigate. Apparently the twitter gadget stopped working- I will try and fix this later.

The last project I am working on is my Christmas cards. :)

That is all.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Shiny Ideas, I Have Many

The worst part about being a multi-talented person with lots of creative outlets for me is formatting. My brain is full of stories, themes and ideas and, well, that is DANDY. So let's just pick a random idea out of my brain- my, isn't it shiny? That Colleen, she is so IMAGINATIVE. What are you going to do with this shiny new idea Colleen?


Well, maybe it's going to be comic. No... a poem? Too short, methinks. A novel? Screenplay? Mural? Theater production? Come on now, chose one! COMMIT ALREADY.

As a result a lot of my "Drafts" skip from format to format with the winds, much like my handwriting likes to switch from print to cursive in the middle of a word. Anyone else out there have this issue? 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In Light of Current Reading, a Poem

I don't need nice things
fine things, expensive ones
I love me some cheap words
the gooey ones
that stick to cement
and drugstore paperbacks
bubblegum to theater seats
or bleachers or diner booths
they mean nothing more
than what they say

(c) Colleen Rauch, October 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Power of a Well Stocked Dress-Up Bag

This morning I unearthed my blue pinstriped vest. One of the buttons is loose (it is a hand-me-down) but I have never bothered to fix it. It is one of my favorite articles of clothing, I can wear it with pants or with one of my school girl skirts and it will always look dashing. (At least in my mind.) This vest is my Tobias vest. I wear it and the silly musician I write about is just that much easier to access.

The vest is not the first article of clothing to "be" a character for me. For years I kept a pair of worn through shoes because they were Daphne's. I always have a green polo shirt somewhere for Blair. One shapeless, gigantic green sweater I wear around the house (it is really too beat up for anything else) when it is cold out inspired Sammy MacJay. Every pair of ballet shoes that wander into my life are Ryan. My closet is, in many ways, my character database. I do not NEED these clothes to write, but when I want that extra nearness and understanding I take them out.

Some things are characters that are not born yet. I have kept a blue and white stage-Victorian dress in my closet for years. I have written many things I like while wearing it, but never enough to know exactly who is wearing the dress. Similarly, I have a "Von Trap" sailor dress that keeps calling to me, then changing its mind.

I do not turn into my characters, mystically, by putting these items on. It just helps to know I am wearing something they would chose to wear. What sort of person wears a vest with a loose button and doesn't give a damn? Tobias. He probably could mend it, if he really wanted to, but he has much better things to do. Besides, it adds to his rag-shag appearance and therefor helps bring in some coin.

Anyways, I was just thinking about this as I get ready for work and thought I would post about it here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Project: Recovering the Hero

Recently (as anyone following my twitter or facebook may realize) I have fallen in love with a fantasy book series: The Lee and Taro series (sometimes called the Heroes series because of the titles) by Moira J. Moore. These books are wonderful ‘light’ fantasy in a believable world with believable characters and I have been devouring them ever since Felicia Day mentioned them on her blog. (I figured, having a similar sense in humor, she would be a good person the book stalk.)

Almost everyone familiar with the books can tell you that the cover art is terrible. It is inaccurate to the characters within, plot elements, ect. AND they are just unattractive in general. (Really, google it! I don’t even want the pictures on my blog!) Honestly, I have been thanking various deities that the books are small mass markets because it makes them easier to hide from customers, friends and enemies. Carrying around these covers with me is actually mighty embarrassing!  Especially for someone who is usually carrying around the prettiest copy of a classic novel she can find.

Luckily, today I remembered that I am an artist. Not only that, I have recently been a student and worked in libraries, I have a pretty good idea of how to construct a durable book jacket. In case you cannot see where this is headed, here, I’ll spell it out: my next art project will be to make new covers for these books to my own liking! I will probably make a PDF of some sort (with folding instructions included) so others can print them out for free as well, if they like them. I may do this for other poorly cover-illustrated books in the future, now that I have overcome my fear of the fantasy and scifi mass market section at Boswell’s.

Anyways, that’s the plan. This probably means I WILL be updating Bombshellcat Studio again in the near future with concept sketches and the like.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Covers I Like Better Than The Original Song

Confession: I love making lists. Somehow, even though they rarely are on the subject of anything useful, they give me the illusion of being a very organized person. (I assure you this is only an illustion, unless we are talking about my personal library.)

This morning, as I was listing to some Pomplamoose on YouTube, I started thinking about cover songs. Hence this list, as entitled above, in no particular rank/order:

(links to video/songs, enjoy!) 

1. Pomplamoose - Mrs. Robinson
This is the song that started the list. Nataly Dawn's voice just makes it for me.

2. The Sundays - Wild Horses
I am not sure WHY I like this more than the original, actually. I just do. (Maybe because it was on Buffy? Am I really that shallow? Well, yeah, probably.)

3. Tori Amos - Strange Little Girl
At this point on the list I am beginning to notice a trend: most, if not all, of my favorite covers are female vocals covering a song originally with male vocals. This song is a favorite of mine in either version, but Amos is preferred because of the haunting quality of her voice.

4. The Greencards - 50 Ways To Leave Your Love
Specifically? I like ladies covering Paul Simon. Seriously though, this group brings a force to the song I really find entrancing.

5. Sara Radle - Sweet Talkin' Guy
Sweet Talkin' Guy (Chiffons cover) by SARA RADLE - new song from upcoming record posted!
What?! Female soloist covering female group?! I am actually not sure if I like this one more than the original. Equal if not superior.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Childrens Books

This week is all about childrens literature in the Chateau Chez Bombshellcat. Picture books, chapter books, series books… I just have them on the brain and, frankly, it really is not that uncommon around here. Two of my seven bookcases are devoted exclusively to childrens books: Juliet for chapter books and BoPeep for picture books. Most of Dorothy, my series case, is devoted to American Girl, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Narnia, Prydain and other books I grew up loving (and a few teen series and the Master and Commander books, the only “grownup” series I read.) Clara, the special collections case, has a shelf just for the Oz books and related literature as well as a shelf for “The Secret Garden” (which I collect illustrated versions of) and more versions of Cinderella than it is probably healthy for one girl to own.

This obsession is part nostalgia and part parenthood/aunthood planning. My children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews will have only the best books at their disposal- I insist! Growing up the only I loved more than reading was being read TO and I want to make sure both opportunities are amply supplied for any young ones that wander into my life.

This week has seen a few additions to my collection:
The Marvelous Land of Oz
Ozma of Oz
Madeline et le Chenapan (Madeline and the Bad Hat en francais)

The Madeline is significant in that I am only just beginning to find my favorite books in French. I love the language and want to encourage the browsers of my library to fall in love with it too. I have a few French novels as well as Le Petit Prince and the French edition of the first Harry Potter book. My younger sister is a devoted Spanish student so I have always kept an eye out for good Spanish books for her- I am twice as likely to buy a book for my sister as I am for myself!

The Oz books have been a long time coming. I was hesitant to start collecting them outright for awhile, unsure if I would like the series enough. Last summer I read the first five through the library and fell madly in love… and asked for the big Books of Wonder hardcover set for Christmas. Needless to say, I never got the set. It is expensive and impractical. Maybe someday I will save up and get it for myself but, for now, getting the first fifteen (the L. Frank Baum ones) in used paperback will be more than enough to keep me happy. I am still being picky about which editions I get- if the illustrations are not included I do not want it! I have had a horrible non-illustrated copy of “The Road to Oz” for years now and I really cannot stand it. Half the point of an Oz book is the humorous, lovely illustrations that match the humor and loveliness of the writing.

Any other childrens book enthusiasts out there? Any favorites? I would love to hear about them! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Historical Society Library Project: Phase One!

You know you are me when you are looking for a new/used computer… to donate to your local historical society so you can better re-organize its library. Sometimes the level of “sucker” I reach astounds even me. Mind, no one has told me to do this! This is entirely my own idea, just like volunteering for this recataloging project in the first place.
Tomorrow is my “official” start date for this task. This means I will be heading in there, guns blazing (anyone got a spare USB barcode scanner hanging around?), to EVALUATE what needs doing. How many index cards will I need? Should I type them up or handwrite them? (I am thinking typing them on the typewriter would have a particularly cool “historical” feel and be more legible. My handwriting slips in and out of cursive abruptly, sometimes several times in the same word.) How well are things cataloged to begin with? Is the Dewey system actually working at this locale or should I consider something else? Is so, what? (What did Ben Franklin use?)
I take my volunteer work very seriously. Any expenses for this project I intend to come up with myself, including a computer if it comes to that. I think it SHOULD, since half the reason I am rehauling the library is to make it more user friendly. I am a fan of using both card catalogs AND computer databases, it is great to have the option of using either one!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I am an old fashioned girl... she tells her blog.... on the internet... using a netbook.

Rather, I am a very NOSTALGIC girl- just ask anyone who knows me! It's one of my more annoying/endearing traits (depending on who you ask.) I even get nostalgic for things before my lifetime. This is part of why I want to work in museums for the rest of my life...

... it is also why I love typewriters.

I picked up a Smith Corona Skywriter a few years ago at a tag sale- amazing condition, came with its original travelling case too! (Oh, "portable" typewriters!) It's grey, it's small and it hails from the 1950s. The original warranty card still resides in the pocket of the travelling case, though the previous owner apparently never made good of it. (The postcard is still in there. Would have been nice if they had at least filled in the date so I could know the exact make of this little beauty.) I had a slight problem with it shortly after purchasing, but managed to fix it with scotch tape. (Can I do that with my netbook? No.) Now all it needs is dusting and a new ribbon and... voila! I can type away to my heart's content.

Today I ordered the new ribbon. This is where NEW technology is wonderful. I know of only one typewriter store "near" me and it is very out of the way. I will still try and get out there, maybe for maintenance. In the meantime I have found , which helped me find the ribbon for my exact model fairly painlessly. They also have some beautiful restored machines for sale, including some early electronic typewriters. Best of all... they have a list of famous authors and their typewriters, which is probably how I would shop if I did not have my dear little Skywriter.

(Isn't Skywriter an awesome name for a typewriter?)

Anyway, I am pretty excited about this today. Just thought I would share.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Because I Am Not Online Enough, Right?

O shiny new bloggity blog... oh what shall I use you for?

For BLOGGING? (Heaven forbid!)

I am always making plans and lists and dreams and only occasionally follow through. It's alright though, really, since dreaming is the fun part.

Right now I am dreaming about going to Italy next spring/summer. Why? Because I read "Brideshead Revisited" and "A Room with a View" back to back in '08 and then read "Where Angels Fear to Tread" this year. My reading list requires that I be a tourist in Italy. That I be altered by it.

I am altering already! I have been teaching myself Italian using three programs simultaneously: Hugo Italian in 3 Months, Berlitz Self-Teacher and Gimmick Italian in 32 Lessons. Each has a key strength: Hugo has CDs for listening comprehension, Berlitz has a pronunciation guide even I can understand and Gimmick... loaded with vocabulary AND puts an emphasis creating your own "style." Still in the first weeks of practicing... but maybe some future entries will be in Italian... and occasionally lapse into French. (I have taken about four years of French in school and have a third grade reading level, isn't that nice?)

My other big personal project is my ever growing LIBRARY. Yes, I actually call my collection of books a library. I have seven overflowing bookcases, I believe I have hit upon the right to call it a library. Or THEM a library... whichever. I am keeping a card catalog as well as a computer record of all my books. I have "library cards" for my friends so I can keep track of who has been lent what. I am single handedly keeping the people who make index cards in business. It's a hard job, but most everything is cataloged. The biggest task this summer is arranging my nonfiction by Deweys.

And while I am all Dewey-eyed, let me tell you about a VOLUNTEER project I have signed on for this summer: reworking my local historical society's research library card catalog. I will not only continue with the Dewey-ing, but I will be building a "key word" file for cross-referencing. Making my own job harder and everyone else's easier.

My paying gigs are also along those lines (you did not think I was living off my art, did you?) as I am a substitute librarian and a bookstore clerk. Books, books, books.... and thus my world goes round.

I will keep you all posted on how things do or do not develop! Ask me questions, I might answer!