Black Olive Ornamental Peppers…


… photographed this incredibly sunny
and beautiful afternoon during our
walk at Brookside Gardens, in Wheaton,
Maryland. As you know, UD is
growing from seed both Black Olive
and Black Pearl varieties of
ornamental peppers. She discovered
these plants at Brookside.

After infinite agonized waiting…

UD watches her Black Pearl and
Black Olive pepper seeds start to take off.


(The kitchen window’s all messed up because
I compulsively spray the plants.)

I promise the quality of photography
will improve as these plants grow.


Regular readers know that UD is
Morticia in the garden. She’s always looking
for black stuff. And this stuff is black.


I know I’m planting them at
exactly the wrong time – it’ll
be getting cold soon. I’ll
transfer them to containers
and keep them inside (assuming
they continue thriving).

I love the way some of the
shoots come up still holding
aloft their seedpods. Victory.

A Day on the Bay.

UD‘s off to a day boating on the Chesapeake.
She will blog about it.



A walk around Annapolis and
the Naval Academy; a boat
trip around the Bay; lunch
back in Annapolis overlooking
the Bay. Back home now, tired.

“Sunday Comics are a Pit of Despair.”

The man sitting across from me at this long white laptop-use table in the lobby of the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel has just read very carefully through the Sunday comics in USA Today, closed the paper, and announced to me and everyone else (the table is full) what I’ve put in this post’s headline. A pit of despair.

UD is currently having one of those experiences you can easily have if you live in a place like Washington DC. She left her house this Sunday afternoon because Mr UD’s holding a seminar there for a few hours; she went to the place she always goes to, this pleasant hotel with a Starbucks and free internet and comfortable seating.

What she turns out to have walked into is this year’s Small Press Expo, “North America’s premiere independent cartooning and comic arts festival. SPX brings together more than 4,000 cartoonists and comic arts enthusiasts every fall in Bethesda, Maryland.”

What this means on the ground is lots of people (average age twenty) in black tops and jeans and tattoos and heavy black glasses (it’s got me thinking of Portlandia) walking back and forth in front of me in the lobby. Some of them are sitting with me at this long white laptop table. Their sketchbooks (comic book art boards, I should say) are out and they’re all drawing cartoon panels (“Yeah that’s gonna need a darker line. That’s not gonna read.”) They often consult their smart phones (for image ideas?) and they chat among themselves. The vibe is nerdy, friendly, in-group. They talk about how bad most of the comics out there are.

“The British Dennis the Menace is terrible.”

“It’s disgusting. The kid’s just farting all the time.”

“I hate that kid. He’s the worst.”

“Remember Space Cases?”

“I remember that show.”

“There were only a few seasons.”

“When I was a kid I had a crush on Catalina.”

“I had a crush on the guy with the long hair. What was his name. Rolf.”

They discuss the most disgusting thing they’ve ever eaten.

Winner: Dog treats.

I see a lot of Rug Rats t-shirts, but also NASA and Goth and Anime and Heavy Metal. People have dyed their hair way black.


So I’ll describe a guy who just came by and who is, I now see after spending a couple of hours here, the Ur-Cartooning and Comic Arts guy.

He is 19, 20, years old. Rotund. Pasty. Under his black baseball hat he has dyed his long hair purple and yellow. His backpack is ratty. He lumbers rather than walks, his eyes (behind big black-framed glasses) firmly down, fixed on his electronic devices. He wears jeans and a black t-shirt. He expresses to UD the following thing: I spend most of my time inside watching tv.

Here’s another guy. He wears raggedy bright green resort clothes (his fly is open) and carries a fabric bag that reads Schulz Library, Cartoon Studies.

A very excited much older guy (but dressed like everyone else) shows a friend a new comic book. “I love it – sorta like Dave Cooperish.” He wears a purple TROUBLE TOWN button.

Every single one of the skinny women all in black and all sort of pulled in on themselves who pass in front of me emanates a strong creative genius vibe.

A woman in a long shimmering red skirt wears a black top that on the front says SAME SAME and on the back BUT DIFFERENT. On her head sits a patterned red mob cap that looks homemade.

La Kid…


…turns 25.

UDville on the first perfect day we’ve had in ‘thesda in awhile.

(Forgive the out of focusness.
I’m still learning.)



UD‘s front stoop.


More front stoop.



A typically messy God
knows what container
planting in the foreground;
in the background,
pachysandra, driveway,
lawn, butterfly chairs,
and a family
walking their dog.

Whoa Nellie.

This ain’t no sunflower.


What is it?


As promised, a progress report on my whatever. Sunflower?


Here’s the bud today,
Click for a
clearer image.
I’m thinking it still looks

La Kid auditions for …


… and gets into the Washington Chorus.

UD’s cousin Karen stars in the softest of …

soft core.

This seems to be the other thing (besides the …

… rampantly happy Black Eyed
Susan Vine
) that I bought at
Brookside Gardens weeks ago.


After some research, I think
it’s a sunflower. A sunflower
that’s about to bloom. And
that’s doing really well in
mixed sun and shade.

I had forgotten what
seeds I bought.

In honor of UD FINALLY…

… getting a smart phone:
Her first picture with it.


This is her recently acquired
Picasso’s Paintbrush.

In 1813, Mr UD’s great-great grandfather got a slightly higher-level…

Légion d’Honneur than these guys.
They got Chevalier; he got Officier.


Click on the image for details.

A new gargoyle …

… for UD‘s garden…


… is a gift from UD‘s sister,
the (increasingly famous)
Morrissey fanatic.

thanks La Kid
for taking the pic.

“Box turtles are slow crawlers, extremely long lived, slow to mature, and have relatively few offspring per year. These characteristics, along with a propensity to get hit by cars and agricultural machinery, make all box turtle species particularly susceptible to anthropogenic, or human-induced, mortality.”

Well, UD did her own small turtle-reclamation bit this morning while walking her dog along Rokeby Avenue. A turtle was simply standing there in the middle of the street. While trying to decide whether to pick it up, UD watched as through pure dumb luck it survived two cars passing over it.

One of her neighbors came by. Let her do it!

“How do you feel about picking up turtles?”

“I’m fine with it.”

UD gestured downward. Her neighbor scooped it. “They say,” she said, “you’re supposed to take them to the direction they were walking in.” She even knew shit like that!


Update: Well, it’s Nature Day for ol’ UD. She just watched a rare bald cardinal thoroughly soaking itself in her Black Eyed Susan Vine Buddha Birdbath. Looked like this.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE