November 24, 2012

SOUND + VISION: 'Madness' by Muse

I am crushing HARD for this band right now! Muse, an English rock band that has been together since 1994, had always been one of those groups for me that I'd hear on the radio and think, "That's a cool song...", but for some reason would never actually buy the music. And I'm not really sure why? Of course I'm kicking myself, now. I mean, when you think of the time I wasted NOT listening to all of their awesome rock, it's really a pity. With a flair for dramatic intensity and guitar riffs that could send shivers up one's spine, it's no wonder they've had such long-term success. Needless to say, I finally DID purchase their latest CD titled, 'The 2nd Law', and it is AMAZING! Please, listen and watch a sample of their greatness above. It's the first video to come from the album and it's for the first single, 'Madness'. Enjoy!

October 30, 2012

Finally, all moved in... to the garage!

Yep, that's pretty much what OUR garage looks like at our new home. You can hardly get around, and forget about parking a car in there! It's really odd to think of the fact that just about everything we own is boxed up and sitting out there just waiting to be unpacked and given life again in a whole new environment that we now call "home".

Of course, we HAVE been chipping away at the stuff, bringing a few boxes into the house here and a few there. But the problem is, just because it enters the house does not guarantee a box will get immediately unpacked. It's all just SO overwhelming, you guys! Know what I mean?

September 26, 2012

I'm baaack...

Boy, it's been four (4!) months since I last posted anything, and I must admit that I'm feeling a bit rusty. So, please, bear with me! I told you all in my last post that I was going on hiatus in order to find a new home for me, my husband, and our little chihuahua-mix circus dog, Esther. Well, I'm happy to finally be able to report that the house hunt is officially over...

We're now the proud owners of our very first house and it's quite exciting! Of course, the whole process of preparing to move (packing), the actual move itself (Thank heaven we're using professional movers!), and then ultimately unpacking everything on the other end is just completely overwhelming. But, fortunately, things worked out in such a way that we'll actually have the entire month of October to move everything into the new house. I can't even tell you how nice that's going to be! And after eighteen (18!) years of duplex-living, having our own house without any common walls is going to be beyond nice. Our own indoor laundry room, too! Aaaah... Oh, and our little Esther will have a huge backyard to run around in. That'll be fun to see! Can't wait 'til we're finally all moved in!

So that's it for my update. Stay tuned for more about the house, and maybe even some photos, too!

May 24, 2012

Please, stand by...

Hello, my ever faithful viewers (and those not-so-much... You know who you are.) I just want to say I'm sorry that I haven't been blogging regularly. You see, my husband and I have been looking for a house to buy and, well, it's rather time-consuming. We are having a fun time of it, though, as frustrating as the whole process can be... So, just so you know, I'll probably be tied up with this priority for a while... But hopefully not TOO long. I miss my circus.

April 15, 2012

SOUND + VISION: 'Heart's a Mess' by Gotye

Continuing on with my recent Gotye obsession, here's another great song and video that I think you'll like (That is, if you haven't already seen it - Like 'Thanks For Your Time', it's also been out for a few years. But, hey, it's all new to me right now!). Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

April 12, 2012

SOUND + VISION: 'Thanks For Your Time' by Gotye

Gotye is a Belgian-Australian multi-instrumental musician/singer/songwriter whose voice has been compared to both Sting and Peter Gabriel. I just discovered him while surfing YouTube and I'm sure glad that I did. So far he's done 3 studio albums and the range of creativity expressed is quite impressive. This song is actually on the lighter, upbeat side for him, too. It's an older one, I believe from around about 2007, but both the song and video are SO fun that it seems timeless to me. Plus, considering the collage technique used in it, it's no wonder that I like it like I do! Enjoy!

April 7, 2012

Pho-TOY-graphy: Some exceptional photos of vintage Fisher-Price toys found around the internet

Photo by Dutempsaperdre78

Fisher-Price absolutely takes the cake when it comes to picking my favorite vintage toy brand. Those toys made me very happy as a child, and they still comfort me as an adult. Even just seeing them in a photograph tends to really excite me. And this li'l group of toy pics is a fine example of some that have turned me on lately...

Photo by Chris White

Photo by Lolie Jane

Photo by Cracklin Tulip

Photo by The Aunt with Gum

April 1, 2012

Naughty Bit: Madonna's 'Girl Gone Wild' video

It IS a bit naughty, but it's not really THAT bad. Is it?

March 31, 2012

What A Book!: 'Mail-Order Mysteries' by Kirk Demarais

This colorfully eye-popping book exposes the "real stuff" kids got whenever they ordered something from old comic book ads back in the day. You know, stuff like the Secret Agent Spy Camera, X-ray Spex, Sea-Monkeys, etc. Sometimes they'd get pretty much what they expected, but MOST of the time "disappointment" was the name of the game. By documenting more than 150 of these "extraordinary, peculiar, and downright fraudulent collectibles", Demarais also reveals the secrets behind these too-good-to-be-true widgets and gizmos found only advertised within the comic books of yesteryear.

Here, take a look at some of the fun inside...

(And it's all FREE... for only $1.00)

                                                                                                                                          Just add water!
Guaranteed to
grow disappointment!

                      Not X-actly what
kids X-pected...

I absolutely love this book! It's SO up my alley it's not even funny. Great layout/design, colorful, fantastic photos of everything, AND it's totally retro! I give it an A+!

So if you're at all intrigued by this mini-review, go get yourself a copy. Or, heck, you could mail-order one... At least now you'd REALLY know what you were getting BEFORE you got it!

March 24, 2012

Ain't nothin' but a clown dog!

I absolutely LOVE dogs, so I thought it would be fun to see what some of them were up to out 'n' about the internets. Here's a bunch I found just "clowning around"...

Yikes! I'm not JOKING,
this one is scary!

        Won't you laugh for
sweet Snuggles?

"Do you like my rrrruffles?"

"I really need a drink!"

I've heard of the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat,
but THIS is ridiculous!

~ All photos via Google Images ~

March 13, 2012

On the Dark Side: A clown's notice of departure

Hello, friends! I must inform you that, today, the tent is dark. But not in the traditional way. No, the tent is definitely open for business. Er, uh, SHOW BUSINESS, that is! And we certainly have something to show you. It's just that what we have to show you is a bit on the darker side of things, especially compared to our usual fare. But remember, this is Pop Circus. Even dark things seem lighter here, somehow... That having been said, I also want to strongly preface this next presentation with the fact that NO ONE here at the circus finds the subject of suicide to be funny. This is simply an experiment in absurdity. I mean, who takes the time to write out their suicide note AND illustrate it rebus-style?! As far as I know, only one very sad clown named Happy.

Just click on each page to enlarge...

March 10, 2012

"Oh, boy! Tin toys!"

Tin toys are certainly among my favorite types of toys to collect. I find all of the colors and different characters quite charming. Not to mention how neat the mechanics are on the ones you can wind-up. But just as interesting as the toys themselves, is their rich history.

Tinplate was used in the manufacture of toys beginning in the mid-19th century. The toys were made from thin sheets of steel plated with tin, hence the name tinplate. They were a cheap and durable substitute for wooden toys. The toys were originally assembled and painted by hand. Spring activated tin toys originated in Germany in the 1850s. In the late 1880s offset lithography was used to print designs on tinplate. After the colorful designs were printed on the metal, they were formed by dies and assembled with small tabs. The lightweight of the toys allowed them to be shipped less expensively and easier than the heavier cast iron toys.

Germany was the major producer of tin toys in the world during the early 20th century. The most famous German manufacturer of tin toys was Ernst Paul Lehmann who is said to have exported 90% of his toys. France and England joined the fray and it wasn't long before hundreds of thousands of these tin toys were being manufactured.

Production of tin toys in the United States started earlier, but began in earnest when tin ore mines were opened in Illinois providing easily available and cheap raw materials. A number of manufacturers scrambled to catch up in the beginning of the 20th century, but it wasn't until after World War I, with anti-German sentiment high, that they began to make real gains. There was a growing demand for American produced products and by the 1920s American firms had overtaken the competition. The largest and most successful firm from the 1920s to the 1960s was Louis Marx and Company. Marx produced a huge number of designs and depended on large sales volumes to keep prices down.

The production of tin toys was discontinued during World War II because of the need for raw materials in the war effort. After the war, tin toys were produced in large numbers in Japan. Under occupation and the Marshall Plan, manufacturers in Japan were granted the right to resume production. The idea was to give Japan all of the low profit; high labor manufacturing and the US companies could sell the imported product. It worked better than they had expected and Japan became a tin toy manufacturing force until the end of the 1950s. In the 1960s cheaper plastic and new government safety regulations ended the reign of tin toys. Presently, China has taken over the role of the leading tin toy manufacturing country.

And there you have a brief historical summary of where tin toys came from and what they went through so that you and I could enjoy them today.

What I wouldn't give to be that kid for a day... He's just having SO much fun with his robot! And those goggles, I wonder what he's seeing through those? X-ray vision, perhaps? Whatever the case, today is Saturday and we should all go out and play, with our tin toys, or not!

~ Information Source: Wikipedia,  Photo Source: Google Images ~

February 26, 2012

Coming Attraction: NEW Madonna album, 'MDNA'

March 26th, 2012 is the magic date, everyone! Mark your calendars, tie a string around a finger, write it across your forehead, do whatever you have to... For that is the day Madonna's NEW album drops, and you don't want to be left out, do you?? This is exciting stuff, people! Have I ever mentioned that I'm a BIG Madonna fan? Well, I am. Aaand it turns out that rumors were right about the William Orbit collaborative reunion, not on the entire album, but a good portion. So I'm quite happy about that, as well!

The top image is, I believe, the standard cover and the second image is an alternate (perhaps for the deluxe edition?). That might be totally backward, so don't quote me. Anyway, I think they're both stunning images. But then, with Madonna as your model, how could you NOT end up with something so striking and beautiful? By the way, have I mentioned that I'm a BIG Madonna fan?

February 22, 2012

Movie Moments: The Artist

My husband, Tommy, and I took my mom to see 'The Artist' for her birthday and, boy, were we ALL glad that we did. It was such a fun, up-beat (except for a portion near the second half), "feel good" movie that you almost want to see it again as soon as it ends. Yep, it was that good!

Being that it is a silent film, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the audience behavior wise. For example, I didn't know if people eating snacks would be too noisy, or whether people would be rude and talk? Fortunately, we didn't experience ANY of that. Although, I must say that the accompanying musical score probably did help a bit in that department... Speaking of the music, wow! It was absolutely beautiful, and I will definitely be acquiring the soundtrack soon.

Jean Dujardin as the always dapper
and incredibly charming, George Valentin.

Berenice Bejo as a very peppy, Peppy Miller.

The basic plot summary is as follows:
It's 1927. Arguably Hollywood's most admired movie screen idol, George Valentin, is enjoying the success of his latest picture, The Russian Affair. He enjoys his work and the adulation he receives by being a movie star immensely, as witnessed by how he hogs the spotlight during The Russian Affair's post-premiere bows. Peppy Miller is an aspiring young actress, who literally runs into Valentin at the premiere, which ends up being the launching pad to her Hollywood acting career. The advent of talking pictures brings a reversal to their fortunes as Kinograph, the movie studio where Valentin is under contract, is looking for fresh faces such as Peppy Miller to star in their talking pictures, while Valentin resists the entire notion of talking pictures. Peppy, who appreciates everything that Valentin did for her career, tries to help him as much as she can, but Valentin may have to decide on his own where and if he fits into the Hollywood machine, one where he doesn't think people want to hear him speak.

Now, like I said, that really is a very basic summary. It doesn't even make mention of "the dog", and he alone is so adorable he practically steals the show. One good thing, though. I just read online somewhere that the doggy actor (Uggie) who played the part actually won an award (like a Golden Globe, or something) for Best Canine Performance. How cool is that?! I can't help wondering if an Academy Award might also be in his near future? He certainly deserves it, in my book!

Adorable Uggie plays the role
of George's canine sidekick. 

These two are practically
inseparable throughout the movie.

John Goodman as the head studio
executive at Kinograph Pictures.

A young new starlet on the rise to fame and fortune...

In conclusion, let me just say that, "You NEED to see this picture!" It's a fun, light-hearted romantic comedy that I think even people who don't like romantic comedies would still end up liking. It's also fresh and different for these times. I mean, "feel good" movies of this magnitude and quality don't come along very often, so catch it on the BIG SCREEN while you can. You'll be glad you did!

The End

February 15, 2012

Photo 'a Go Go!: Yet, even MORE of my 365project

Yes, it's that time, again, folks. Time to shake and shimmy to the photographic stylings found only right here in the Pop Circus "Photo 'a Go Go!" gallery. Well, actually you can also view them on the official 365project website, but it sure sounds more cool and exciting the way I said it at first. Anyway, let's carry on with the show...

Kaleidoscope ball 

I really dig this water-filled bouncing ball with its
myriad of colorful little balls floating inside. I had
a feeling that it might make an interesting photo subject.

Super Mushroom 

I couldn't believe it when I walked out my front door
and found THIS sprouting out of the lawn! I sure did
a double-take. I even looked all around a bit furtively,
half expecting to see Mario or Yoshi peeking through
nearby shrubs!

I'm quite tempted to take a little nibble, just to see if
this real version of Mario's magic 'shroom provides
the same super-growth powers as the ones you find
in Nintendo's virtual worlds. Oh, heck! What's the
worst that could possibly happen, anyway? It always
works for Mario...

Water's edge 

I'm grateful to be living close enough to the ocean
that it's only about a half-hour's drive from home.
That's a real good thing since I'm using my camera
a LOT more, now, and there are so many different
types of photo ops to take advantage of at the beach.

Like my previous shot of the Balboa Pier which I
photographed several days ago, this too was taken
in the late afternoon sun. Do you find it as hypnotizing
as I do to watch the waves come rushing up the sand
and then slowly drift back out to sea, only to repeat
the cycle again, and again?

My mother's
"handsome" cat

This is Handsome, my mom's friendly little
feline companion. As you can see, he's an
attractive long-haired kitty with piercing eyes
and wonderful markings on his coat.

I miss having a cat of my own, so it's nice to
be able to visit with Handsome whenever I go
over to see my mom.

(Psst! It's also nice never having to clean out
his litter box, since I'm not his owner!)

There's our Matt, again!

Ya gotta love this guy 'cause he's just so
odd in all the right ways. Here, Matt is
proudly modeling his 'They Might Be
Giants' fez that he got at one of the band's
concerts, years ago. Interestingly, Weird
Al Yankovic was at the same show, and
for some admittedly strange reason, Matt
felt compelled to buy a second fez that he
could personally give to Mr. Yankovic
with his compliments... so that's what he did.

The End.


Once I was able to excuse myself from the
others, I immediately went upstairs to the
attic so I could take another peek through
the window that was not there before. What
I saw when I pulled back the little curtain
was disturbing in ways that I cannot fully
describe. I knew about the alternate
dimension that lay just outside this mysterious
window because I had already made that
jarring discovery the first time I peered through
it. No, this was something entirely different.
What I saw and felt as I strained to focus my
gaze out amongst the pine trees in the darkness...
well, it was... WRONG. Somehow, I just knew
that deep within my bones. But this wasn't the
only knowledge I had gained that night.

A delicate-looking green insect landed on the
window pane before me, and I swear it was
actually whispering something to me. As I stood
there entranced, and concentrating on every tiny
whisper from the strange bug, it suddenly
disappeared. It was only a moment or so later
when I realized the damned thing had actually
reappeared inside my head! Once it was digging
around in there, it was no longer a struggle to
understand what it wanted me to know - Evil was
coming to pay us ALL a visit, soon. Very soon...


I've always felt that one of the best aspects of
photography is how you can focus in on what may
seem like an everyday boring subject/object, such
as a knothole in an old wooden fence, and the
results can be fascinating. I like these rough textures
and subtle colors, but most of all, I like how you
could almost (maybe?) be convinced that this was
an entrance to a cave, somewhere...

If you didn't already know better.

Kewpie doll bubble jar

Here's another shot inspired by something I made
(assembled, really) and gave to my husband as a gift.
The subject matter is a clear glass jar filled with
dismembered Kewpie doll parts floating in blueish-green
liquid. All I did was simply shook it up a bit to create the
bubbles, and then turned the jar on its side so I could
see this little cutie looking back at me. She looks fresh
and clean... and happy to indulge my (slightly twisted)
photographic tendencies.


This is my first attempt at doing a water droplet shot...
I'm pretty happy with it. Not only do I find simple,
natural beauty in the droplets, I'm also fascinated by
the detail seen in the rich green leaf on which they sit.

Canna, or can't I?

Continuing with water droplets, here's another shot
taken of some clinging to the leaf of a plant. This time
it happens to be a vibrantly colorful Canna plant.

One bad penny

I was taking a nice morning walk with my mother-in-law
when I happened to look down toward the ground and
spotted this wonderfully beaten up, scratched, and
repeatedly driven over penny. At least, that's what it
looked like to us.

The first thing I thought, and said was, "Oh! I could take
this and shoot it with my macro lens for the 365project!"
And with that, I shoved poor, defiled Lincoln into my
front pocket, anxious to retrieve him later for his
photographic close-up!

Fiery red

This is a Canna Lily that I found to be exceptionally
vibrant and beautiful in the late morning sunlight.

Are you still with me? I know that was a lot to share, and I appreciate your interest. Truly. Unfortunately or fortunately, however you happen to see it, that is all for today's 'Photo 'a Go Go!' gallery visit. Thank you for coming, everyone! And, please, remember to retrieve your coats and umbrellas upon exiting.

~ All photos were taken by Anthony (AKA antvision), and are not to be used or reproduced without written permission from me. ~

February 10, 2012

Happy Music: Give Me All Your Luvin' by Madonna (Feat. M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj)

Hello, everyone! It's so nice to be back in the ring after such a long break away from it all. Sorry I was gone so long. I didn't really plan it that way. At first, I was just distracted by some other project. But then, before I knew it, I'd realized that a whole month had gone by with the circus tent just sitting empty... Then two months went by... I guess I really needed the break. Whatever the case, my batteries have been re-charged and I'm back in the game!

Now, about this video... It's for Madonna's first single, Give Me All Your Luvin', from her forthcoming new album titled, MDNA (to be released this March 26th), and it's a whole lotta fun. I have to admit that I'm not too crazy about Nicki Minaj or M.I.A. being a part of the whole thing, but even they don't manage to spoil the uplifting, happy vibe that's going on here.

If you haven't already, go ahead and push play. I think you'll enjoy it!
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