the art: surreal + symbols

Welcome to the archives (2004): I'd forgotten how serious I took keeping the website up-to-date. LOL. So very earnest and SO very intense about it all. You will NOTICE that there are Many, many entries below. It's not too late to back out now. You DON'T HAVE TO READ IT. LOL. I warned you earlier that there were NO prizes for going all the way. Quit while you're ahead! Ok. It's on your head man. Lots of dusty thoughts. Reflections of another day (or two).


  • Your Xmas e-card is posted!

    Dec. 14, 2004: The annual Eisenbraun Christmas e-card is posted, click here to get your Christmas greeting! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Festivus (for the rest of us), Frohe Weihnachten, Feliz Navidad, Happy New Year, etc. Ditto (as in Best Wishes) for all holidays not mentioned and for the new year too!



    Nov. 15, 2004: Give the gift of ART! The online art galleries contain very recent, just completed artwork as well as very old pieces from way back <lol>. Most of the older stuff is more fantasy based and this is where you will find the least expensive works of art (prices start at $110 :) For a long time every single piece was so precious to me, because I wasn't really creating many new works. At that time I felt a great reluctance to part with anything. I've changed my mind since then. Can you believe that I want to be an artist again? <g> The plan NOW is to be create a LOT, so I've posted EVERYTHING on the website (even the stuff that is somewhat primitive comparatively speaking <g>). I'm cleaning out my closets, so I have a LOT MORE wall space to fill up :) This can be to your benefit, if you care to take advantage of it :) Support a local artist, buy a work of original art! Let me know if your purchase is intended as a present and I'll gift wrap it for you. Okie doke? In the in between time: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!


    Oct. 10, 2004: I gave up trying to update the website after Ivan, because by then Jeanne was headed our way. Up to the last minute she was supposed to completely miss us. Then, about 5 a.m. the new national weather advisory says she's headed our way after all. And we weren't even IN THE CONE anymore. Jeez. Anyway there was a lot of furious packing once again and then "hunkering down" (that's the new phrase this year) for yet another hurricane. Jeanne was actually worse on us then all the previous but not near as bad on the Tampa Bay area as elsewhere. Like a lot of people, we lost power but not for long. The power people have been absolutely heroic. They were working VERY long shifts after EVERY hurricane, which adds up to 6 weeks of overtime with another load added by Jeanne. These people have to be EXHAUSTED. A lot of the out-of-state power crews had actually headed elsewhere (or back home) by the time Jeanne headed our way. Our power companies were telling us that because of this it was going to take even longer this time to get power back up because the closest (supplemental) crews they could find were coming from California! I was telling this to my sister in Texas. She knows of a power crew that headed our way after the first storm. She told me that this crew was NOT one of the ones coming back. They were supposed to come back after the first one...and they stayed...and then they stayed after the NEXT hurricane. She told me, THIS time they sent flatbed trucks back to get the rest of their equipment from Texas and drag it down to Florida. Man, it's things like that that remind you that there are some VERY decent people out there. Jeez but it's unbelievable. No major hurricanes for QUITE a while, then we get: Charlie, Frances, Ivan AND Jeanne.

    Anyway. For some of us in Florida it's back to life as normal, while for many it's not (and won't be for a while). By now, you either REALLY appreciate why you're here or you're packing one final time to get out! Poor Lake Wales saw THREE hurricane eyes pass overhead. Jeez. We, in the Tampa Bay area, are some of the lucky ones. Not only lucky for Florida but the whole Northeast. Floods, winds, rain and mudslides. Man. But, life is getting back to normal. Weekends are spent watching the Bucs games (we actually WON one <g>) instead of Dr. Steve on the Weather Channel and Halloween is just around the corner. It took me a whole day to find my art stuff (all of those disaster preparing packings had stuff EVERYWHERE) but I finally got to do some drawing this Sunday. more hurricanes this year. That would be nice.

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  • REOPENED! Ivan heads west.

    Sept. 13, 2004: The studio has been reopened for business. Apparently we dodged the bullet again (or so it seems). There is still a very small probability that Ivan could head for Tampa Bay, but it is highly unlikely. Man, he is one MONSTER of a storm. Friday, when the last message was posted, mandatory evacuation orders were expected to have been posted by now. Hotels from here to (and including southern) Georgia were completely booked up as people began to flee their respective cities -- it took a LOT of effort to find even one with a few rooms to spare. Rumors circulated the state that the governor was going to ration gas and everyone panicked. Gas stations all over the state began running out of gas. Again. You could feel a slightly unstable edge in the air, people's eyes were NOT normal. Of course we KNOW that hurricanes come to Florida -- it's part of the price you pay for living in paradise. It's just been an unusually volatile season and everyone in Florida is mentally exhausted from nonstop survival efforts. It would be nice to get a small rest. Our best wishes go out to cities in the "cone of probability," aka Ivan's path. Anyway, life goes on and we're trying to get back into it :)

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    Sept. 10, 2004: The studio will be temporarily closed Monday - Wednesday, due to the approach of Hurricane Ivan. IF everything goes well and power is on, the studio will reopen Thursday. Your patience is appreciated. A note to fellow Floridians: BE SAFE.

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    Sept. 06, 2004: Well, ok. I didn't get started on the new drawing (as planned) because ANOTHER hurricane (Frances) decided to head for Tampa Bay. Jeez. Enough already. The whole state is saying this right now. Enough! BIGtime. Frances just wouldn't go away! Most communities were under the gun for more than 18 hours because Frances kept threatening and stalling out and lingering and lurking and loitering and.... You get the picture. It was just so damn BIG it covered the whole state. Thank goodness she downgraded at the last minute, from super nasty monster to major nuisance. It was the largest evacuation in the history of the state. By the end of it all more than 1/3 of the population was without power and a LOT of people were searching for gas (the stations ran out during the evacuation). Man. But, again, we were VERY lucky here in St. Petersburg (FL). Most of the nasty stuff went around our part of the peninsula. Tampa wasn't as lucky. It was so trippy: at the beginning a lot of the water was actually sucked out of the bay (because of wind direction) and we were staring in disbelief at mud flats, then Frances goes by and the next morning it was overflowing. The next morning. You know the time when you wake up AFTER the hurricane has gone by. That's when it got really nasty. ugh. At least we had power. Couldn't turn the computer on because we kept getting power surges. A few of those and you just say screw it and turn the computer off. And watch the TV for the next 36 hours. I'm not a big TV person so I just felt like the whole weekend was such a waste. But you just didn't know if it was going to suddenly turn really bad, so you kept watching the TV. But we were lucky. Lucky to be SO bored :) Lucky is good.

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    Aug. 17, 2004: boy did Charley hand out head trips. Gary and I were part of the mandatory evacuation order sent out by the county in preparation for Charlie. We had four hours to get our act together, prep the apartment, pack the car, grab the cat and GO! I was living in Orlando when the evacuees waited until the last minute to take off...and ended up in a congested pile across Floyd's predicted path. I remember how horrified the Orlando newscasters (and everyone) were by the situation. The congestion was worsened by the fact that cars had been in line so long they had run out of gas. It would have been a massacre. We DEF wanted to miss that sort of mess. At the beginning of the evacuation (Tampa bay = 2.5+ million people) it was already taking an hour or two just to get across any of the three bridges connecting the peninsula to Tampa. So we headed for the Skyway and went East. We've lived in Florida for a while and hurricanes have a habit of following the majority of the evacuees, so we decided to skip Orlando. The entire morning (Friday the 13th) we were convinced we would head home Saturday to utter destruction and devastation. I was already writing the epitaph for most of the paintings and drawings that had to be left behind: "Destroyed by Charley." But we were lucky. Charley spared Tampa bay and headed for Punta Gorda instead. Jeez. You can bet we have survivor guilt here. Everyone is just so damn glad it missed us...and so sorry for those who had even less time to prepare. Driving home took us straight through the devastation of Lake Wales. Neither one of us will ever forget those images. It was so surreal. We're talking about making the trip down this weekend and volunteering. Some of the smaller towns are REALLY being overlooked. If you're in the area, giving is a GREAT way to be thankful for what you still have. Help those who need.

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  • A WORD...OR TWO...ETC.

    Aug. 02, 2004: a new word, or two? Coming soon? Yes! A new definition to the studio symbolism dictionary will be compiled and posted (relatively) soon. To be honest, it's been MUCH more important (and more fun) to get NEW ART posted then sit down for a couple of hours and put together a new definition <lol>. But I will REALLY try to get a new word posted too, because this is something that I am behind 100% (no pun intended <g>). It just happens that when you turn the computer OFF on Sunday to create new art...then you have less computer time. Oh well :) It is ALMOST becoming a habit (the creating new and original fine art thing <g>). Before you know it new, surreal art will be popping up all the time! ...and that's what REALLY matters :)

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    July 11, 2004: Well, disaster has narrowly been averted <g> and another original work of art is not only completed but named and framed too! Click here for behind-the-scene sort of details, photos charting the progress of the work and an artist blog detailing high and low moments along the way (including the part where everything gets all f%$#@!! up <g>). I'm still working on the online artist studio website keywords (a long job that will be in-progress for a while), the online painting gallery is the current focus for this part of the art website upgrade project :) Another surreal drawing is in place to get started on and another one has been laid out, however I'm going to take a small break while I put together TWO CD covers for Gary. Jeez but he's been busy. He just finished putting together an acoustic CD and while waiting on the artwork he also put together an instrumental music CD too. Both are guitar oriented, it's just one is electric and one is acoustic; both are AWESOME. Click here to visit his website:

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    July 01, 2004: This is the fourth year the website has been online. WooHOO!!! This site began as an online fine art studio with only three original works of art posted and more pages of art links than anything else <lol>. Four redesigns, the addition of the commercial graphic design studio, the fine art sales aspects, a whole lot of artwork ...and about 600 pages we are <g>. It's kind of appropriate that a surreal symbolist artist would declare a kind of artistic independence on this particular holiday :) Happy July 4th everyone!

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    June 20, 2004: Right now keywords are being added into the online fine art studio side of the website and while I'm at it, I decided to fix something else: the original artwork enlargements. They were fine in the beginning and were thought of as "cute." Well, eventually cute wears off and reality sets in. Eventually I saw them as a BIG problem. Well, now there are new and improved artwork enlargements in the works. As the keyword process washes over this side of the artist website, the new and improved enlargements are arriving too! It's a slow process and started in the drawing gallery. Eventually all of the online artwork galleries will boast new and improved artwork enlargements :) Your patience (as always) appreciated :)

    As for new art, an interesting discovery has been made. What started out as a simple doodle (to get my rusty chops back into shape) has actually turned into the end piece of a surreal series started way back in 1996. Very cool :) I won't reiterate the details, click here for more.

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    June 01, 2004: Finding that my drawing chops were SO rusty was a BIGtime reality check <ugh>. I hear echoes from all the people I've ever met who say, "Oh yeah, I USED to draw really good but that was a long time ago." NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOOO! It's time to get serious about this stuff. It's time to DO THINGS that will make this happen! I just can't believe I let things get so out of whack <double UGH>. At this exact moment I am trying to get a small business off the ground (the website has been around for a couple of years but the business ends of both studios are relatively new additions). In the evening I'm (currently) working the keywords for the fine art side of the website AND practicing drawing in-between. Keywords for this side of the site were put off somewhat (during the recent redesign) because that is the LEAST fun part of any website design project <lol>. But it's something that NEEDS to be done. As a result, I've been updating my knowledge of search engine optimization procedures. Whoosh, what an eye opener :) So, as you can see, things are a tad bit busy around here. BUT, I'm trying to get used to putting in an hour or two during the week for ART (so I'm trying to turn the computer OFF on Sundays). Eventually this is going to get up to an hour or two EVERY day/evening :) BIGtime :) According to a popular slogan: "Ya gotta eat." Yeah, that's right but I'm going to make MY version: Ya gotta eat, ya gotta ART :) The Chinese have an ancient curse, "May you live in interesting times." Well, it's pretty darn "interesting" on this end <roflmao>.

    Every piece of original artwork, every web design sold from these studios goes directly to supporting an emerging artist (and family)...and believe me, your support is deeply appreciated :) SUPPORT THE ARTS!

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    May 02, 2004: This morning I read an article in the local newspaper about ART, "When your art is work" (appearing in the St. Petersburg Times, byline Washington Post). It was quite interesting and very perceptive. The article discussed the fact that a day job is a must for most artists and how many serious artists are very serious about keeping craft and commerce separate. (Did you know that the Poet T.S. Eliot was a banker and that the Novelist J.R.R. Tolkien was a university professor?) The author discusses how easily "How does this look" morphs into "Will this sell?" ...and this ultimately means that your creative craft becomes driven by the whims of your roof or car alternator. The author then goes a step further and offers a few good suggestions on how to accomplish this separation of art and commerce. I found it to be a pretty good article and very appropriate <g>.

    That's where I am right now (the separating phase) and it's good to see that sort of reinforcement when you're trying to find your way. The tact usually taken with this subject is mainly concerned with asking IF an artist is "selling out" and not the reason this happens or how to avoid it altogether. So this is a pretty good article, especially if you ARE an artist :) This process is especially difficult, in my situation, because COMMERCIAL art is how I pay rent and I'm trying to make room to get my FINE art back into my life on a regular basis. I let things get out of proportion and allowed myself to take creative satisfaction from my day job while smugly congratulating myself on keeping my fine art separate. Yeah, it was so separate that I managed NOT to do it way too often until I almost lost it! Self-delusion is SUCH an easy of a trap to fall into <ugh>. Of course this is the simplistic view, there was a lot more going on (it's also important to maintain an ART-friendly nurturing environment, etc.).

    Oh well, this is going to take a while, but that's partly because I started my own business too (and that's a HUGE commitment all by itself). I'm still struggling to find my way back to where I want to be, but I'm getting closer :) It DEFinitely keeps me busy <lol>. BUT, some dreams are worth working VERY hard to bring about :)

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    Apr. 18, 2004: Apparently it wasn't just the online graphic design artist portfolios that needed upgrading, but the entire commercial graphic studio side of the website. I didn't mean to do it, but (oh well) it's done so NOW I can get back to work on that brand new painting <lol>. I've needed to take a moment and construct a more complete price list for that side of the site anyway, so I'm REALLY glad that's all done. I've been putting it off FOREVER. Anyway, at some point during the upgrade I happened to take a really good look around. Man, it's just amazing how far this website has come. Almost four years ago, when the website first went online, it was just a fine art gallery, prints for three drawings were posted and there were about 50 total pages (most of those were ART LINKS pages <g>). Now, between the two online studios (fine art gallery and the commercial graphics studio) there are 636 pages to the website...and it continues to grow daily. Wow. I'm figuring it will hit the thousand mark somewhere in the next couple years <g>. By the end of the week it will be at 637 (once I get done putting the new symbolic definition together :)

    <btw> Have you checked out "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"? I don't normally endorse movies, etc. but this sort of difference should definitely be encouraged. "Being John Malkovitch" is another favorite so it's not surprising that I like this one (since they were both penned by Charlie Kaufman :) If you like different, artistic sort of indie movies check this one out. I'm not a big Jim Carrey fan (although I did like "The Truman Show"), but he REALLY came through on this one. He seemed to finally break all the way through the plasticity and let you get close. Yeah! They also seemed to take great pains to shoot him from different angles (at the beginning of the movie) to separate the character from any presuppositions. Nicely done :) Frodo got a makeover too <lol>. I REALLY enjoyed the movie, which is too rare of a thing nowadays. Too cool. SUPPORT THE ARTS!

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    Mar. 26, 2004: I took a week off to let the latest painting dry. If I had more room I'd probably always have a couple different ones going at any time (per my high school art teacher's advice). But the reality is that this HUGE apartment, just isn't big enough to accommodate that too <g>. So, I took a week off and planned on getting some work done on the drawing (posted in the NEW ARTWORK section). But that didn't happen either. Apparently it was time to upgrade the commercial art design portfolios. Surprise! I just meant to fix a few things....<ugh>. It's kept me VERY busy for the last week and a half <double ugh>. BUT, the upgrade IS a BIG improvement :) One of the pitfalls of being your own designer and webmaster...within a VERY short time of completing your redesign...your mind has already found three ways to improve it :) Oh well. The new online design portfolios are posted (visit the Commercial Graphics Studio side of the website if you want to peek) but I still have to work the front and pricing pages. The timing is about right. It seems like a year is about the right time to live with a web design. After you've lived with it for a while, it is time to tweak it for a custom fit. I'm going to try and squeeze a little FINE ART time in this weekend. Gary has a new amp to play with and a few acoustic songs buzzing ' the muse will DEFinitely be hopping around here (and I hope to catch a wave or two myself :) Stay tuned to the NEW ARTWORK section, that's where I'll post any goodies :)

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    Mar. 06, 2004: you know, I think I felt a little guilty about my recent absence from the website. Believe me, I've been busy, just on other things. Anyway, as a result of that (completely misplaced <g>) guilt, the last couple of days have seen a lot of little behind-the-scenes improvements that add up to quite a LOT of work <lol>. Oh boy :) The most recent addition to the symbolism dictionary alone took a couple of hours to type and research. I knew that SNAKE/SERPENT was a potent symbol but I didn't realize quite HOW potent <jeez>. I thought I'd add this particular definition in honor of the fact that I'm VERY near to actually completing my first painting in a decade (or more): The Garden, featuring...a snake (among many other things <g>). This painting was actually started in 1996 <roflmao>. I also went through and added posting dates to every portion of the reference section (to make it easier to track additions, revisions and updates :) PLUS, I went through the art links section and added two whole new categories into each area (FLORIDA and EVERYWHERE ELSE) and assorted new links in other categories. SUPPORT THE ARTS! The two new additions are: artist resources and independent films! Anyway, I'm exhausted so I'm outta here for the night. The plan is to try and finish up the new oil painting tomorrow so keep your fingers crossed :) I'll post the updates by sometime Monday so check back then if you're interested in seeing the finished artwork :) Click here if you want to see the photos documenting the different stages, etc.

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    Mar. 01, 2004: I'll sit down sometime this week and get everything updated AND post a new symbolic definition. Expect this to happen sometime before Friday :) If you want to see WHAT I've been working on, cruise the NEW ARTWORK section and check out the latest oil painting or click here :) Your patience is DEFinitely appreciated.

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    Feb. 16, 2004: Well, I got started on ALL of these things (new artwork) and then had to put everything to the side for a couple of minutes (relatively speaking). We've been VERY busy getting everything ready for Gary's latest release "Seeds." This is the fourth CD release from his Indie music website and we are both VERY proud of it--my husband is VERY talented--click here to visit his website :) One of the beauties of the internet is that it allows an artist to take control of their own artistic destiny...which is what we're BOTH trying to do <g>. There is NO CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP on either of our websites, so your support (buying a drawing, painting, music CD, etc.) is deeply appreciated. BIGtime :) Anyway, back to "Seeds." This CD is a mixture of heavy Mississippi Delta Blues, 70s Soul and riff-based Rock and it's going to be released tomorrow. So my work there is almost done (some publicity package stuff still needs to be done) and then I can get back to my painting, drawing, etc. It's all good anyway, I'm having a small problem with the snake in the oil painting "The Garden" <lol>. I think I've drawn and redrawn at least 50 snakes in-between everything else. Oh well. I'll update the symbol dictionary sometime this week and I hope to get some painting (or drawing) done by this weekend. Ok? :)

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  • Official "Artist's Statement"

    Jan. 24, 2004: Salvador Dali and many of the surrealists tried to bring the subconscious to the conscious world by using drugs, alcohol and not sleeping for days on end. I understand what they were trying to do but I think (ultimately) the method is heavily flawed. This can only bring a crazed and unbalanced sort of subconsciousness forth to the light of day (kind of like dragging a vampire, kicking and screaming, into the sunlight). I've been there, tried that. Estés interpretation of the red shoes fairy tale (in Women who run with wolves) is VERY on target. This time I've picked a slightly different path, one paved by Joseph Campbell, Estés, Jung and many others. These are my teachers, they show how to take the stories and mythologies of the world and read below the surface to find the human answer underneath. Part of that whole process involves interpreting symbolism. It's hard for me to explain but it's kind of like stuffing the subconscious full of information on how to communicate ON PURPOSE (learning the language of the subconscious, so to speak) AND learning to listen to the little voice that says "Do this and just don't ask me why." The stuffing of information is for the understanding of the why--which comes AFTER the creative part. The hardest and MOST important thing: learning to hear that little voice that comes from your gut/heart and then following it, without question. The voice inside your head (the socialized animal aware of all the RULES) usually has a much LOUDER volume. Which is why Dali and them got drunk and inebriated: an effort to shut it up! The important part isn't being educated OR drunk, it's JUST hearing that little voice and doing something with what you hear <g>. Sometimes drinking, drugs and etc. help you hear the voice and see the dreams. You do what you have to. But, ultimately, I found that to be a path for dreamers, not doers. And I got tired of dreaming, I want to DO. I don't want to be Rip Van Winkle and wake up one day and realize that my hundred years passed. Once upon a time I was able to dream without all that stuff and I'm trying to remember how that worked <g>. NOW it's time to "follow my bliss" and get back to where I was (always) supposed to be. Anyway, you can think of this as my "artists statement." I hear it's traditional to have one <lol>. So...wherever you go, there you are ...and so we're here :) Enough talking.

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  • Another resource added!

    Jan. 18, 2004: slowly but surely the symbolism dictionary is growing! It's GREAT because part of trying to refind my art involves rediscovering old pastimes (including favorite subjects and authors). I've always been an avid reader, or at least I was (once upon a time). But I'm a VERY busy person and it's been a long time since I've picked up a book by Joseph Campbell, or Clarissa Pinkola Estés (to name a few). Putting together the surreal reference is allowing me to SLOWLY reacquaint my conscious mind with symbols in small, but potent, spurts (while giving my subconscious plenty of GREAT ideas to play with <g>). Plus, the reference section provides a way (for the interested) to find an answer to the question, "But what does THAT mean??" in reference to the artwork featured on this site :) Anyway, I've sent another letter/email off asking for permission to keep your fingers crossed. I want to keep the author list small but potent and would hate to give ANY of these up. If you haven't been by the symbolism dictionary, stop by and check it out! I've added my own definitions as well as quoting my (own) favorite teachers on the subject. I hope you find it useful :)

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  • Resolution #1: make time for art!

    Jan. 03, 2004: went to an art festival in downtown St. Petersburg today. Too cool :) The weather is SO fantastic right now, almost 80 degrees! It was one of those days you just HAVE to get out of the house and what a wonderful way to do it :) Saw some ultra cool art and picked up a few business cards. As soon as I have a minute I'll post new artlinks (I'm a tad behind on them <lol>). <btw> I REALLY liked the stuff by Lena Reznick, can't wait to take a peek at the artist website. Anyway, when I got home I picked up the paintbrush and got to work on "The Garden." I'm really happy with the progress and it feels GOOD to be painting again :) Hopefully I'll be able to bring ALL of my new year resolutions into play on a permanent basis!

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  • The studio archives.

    Well. That was quite a LOT of stuff. It's kind of fun to go back through these. Unfortunately I didn't really get to "read" them...I'm too busy bringing the words over into the newly coded's a LOT of work transferring the old news into the new page formats. So, I've just skimmed bits and pieces here and there. Maybe one day, when I have a second to spare (3030 AD) ....I'll sit down and peruse the memories. Tooo too funny. Well, if you're STILL game to go on...let's do it.

    MORE >> go to 2003.