Thursday, June 30, 2005

Play. Listen. Repeat.

I can't stop listening to this track. Sounds like a queer mix of TATU (yeah, that's what I said) and Zero 7 (not Remy Zero, for chrissakes). They're called Telepopmusik and the name is only half the fun.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

As you were.

We were driving back from somewhere, sweltering, in our own separate moods, and I asked of the glove compartment, "I wonder whatever happened to -----?". I got no response and expected none. I was talking more to myself and was abashed that I spoke aloud at all. My remark wasn't based in nostalgia, but God forbid I get falsely accused of sentimentality.

So, we drove on. Not four minutes later, my copilot, in a tone of suspicious blandness, said: "Hey, lookee. It's -----."

I turned, looked, and started to crow something about my innate precognition or latent superpowers or blah, but stopped on seeing the person. S(He) was at a bus stop, looking at a cell phone, dressed for summer, oddly changed and unchanged in the way people get after the years, and rocking back and forth. You know. Like a Cray-zee.

And my snide comment fell short. Way short. And I may have gotten misty. But who's to say? And we drove on in a different sort of silence.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Another hill?

It really is a book about walking, isn't it?

I'm a bit of a stickler for artistic fidelity. If you're going to illustrate something, you'd better have done your reading. Granted, I'm not sure that there's mention of fairies, but some liberties are allowed. But there will be no jester-Schmendricks in blue tights and patches here. And every harpy is drawn according to her mythic blueprint.

Is now the time to leap onto my soapbox regarding the differences between artists and illustrators?


Crazy grandma quote of the day.

"So, Grandma, when are you going to stay with your sister?"

"Oh, bah," waving a fat little hand, "later. When the corn is out."

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Seven in the morning?

What's more embarassing than being completely schooled in a run by a five foot seven, forty-eight year old greyhair?

When said greyhair is your dad.

Pertinent quotes, in order of increasing offensiveness:

"Good pace: Nice and easy."
"Pretty good for a starter run."
"So, tomorrow? Pick you up at seven to do your route in the city?"


Friday, June 24, 2005

"Ehh-vreee-thing will change."

I was standing in line at Wegman's forever, apparently not having learned my lesson about blonde checkout girls and their lack of work ethic. Ten minutes in, I had resolved to not throw the Requisite Fit. Fifteen minutes in, I was successfully distracting myself with Mars bars and thoughts of Batman. At twenty minutes I was singing "Brand New Colony" semi-out-loud, looking like a wacko, but not caring and holding firm.

At the second heartfelt "Oooh-ooooooh" I met the gaze of a neighboring toddler and stopped short.

Good lord, she has white hair and violet eyes. So help me god, she has violet eyes.
Not in the Easter Bunny sense. Not even in the scary albino serial killer sense. But in the "oh-mum-Shiva, swallow your soul" sense.
And she was having none of me.
It could have been my blatant, animal fear that put her off.

But we've finally come to it. When the little daemons no longer keep to their designated hiding spots, but sit in the open, sizing us up and kicking their feet against shopping cart booster seats. Bold and smug and daring you to point them out.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rhymes with 'duck'.

And it's not 'suck'. Though that would do just as well.

Christ. I don't know what it is with this picture. This is the second botched attempt. I'm guessing that I should move on, but lord.

Maybe it's my checkered history with barnyard fowl. But I can't find it in myself to forgive the bastards.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"Are we going to Addis Ababa, Mr. Luthor?"

Holy Horus.

Did anybody else hear about the twelve year old Ethiopian kid that got rescued by lions? She had been kidnapped and beaten and was being taken away for marriage. They were in the middle of nowhere when three lions drove off her assailants and stood guard over her for half a day. When the rescue team finally found her, the lions simply got up and walked back into the forest.

Am I wrong, or did this girl just fall into folklore?

Either that or she's an X-Man in the making.

Update: Uh. Followed by this . I don't know what's going on over there in Africa, but I kindof like the sound of it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

All better.

Fixed those misbehaving links.

Are they turn of the century aircraft? Are they prehistoric sea life? Space ships? Math equations?

Shrug. Dunno. But they are pretty effing awesome.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ever tesser?

It was a beautiful and complicated creation of steel wires and ball bearings and Lucite, parts of it revolving, parts swinging like pendulums.
Madeleine L'Engle A Swiftly Tilting Planet

If there were ever representations of the fifth dimension (the cube cubed and cubed again) in art, these would be them. The artist is Lee Bontecou, and wowza.

I love books. (memed)

(tagged by Swish)

Number of books I've owned: Oh, lord. Well, if it's any indicator, our next big purchase is going to be another bookcase. To relieve our overstuffed coffee table, and night stands, and pantry...
Last book I bought: Two on the same day--a collection of Rackham-illustrated Aesop's (four dollars, worth every damn penny and occupying a place of honor by my colored pencils), and Wesbster's Dictionary of Word Origins (yet to be cracked).
Last book I read: I'm currently in the throes of Donald Kagan's (brilliant) The Pelopponesian War. This is after a failed attempt at Thucydides' masterwork on the same topic. I guess you've gotta start somewhere that's right for you.
Five books that mean a lot to me:
Achilles by Elizabeth Cook (the closest any modern writer has come to imitating the classics--it's poetry masquerading as prose)
The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (once a year--I try to start them in September, in honor of--well, you should know)
The Iliad by Homer (because The Odyssey is for chumps)
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (the reason that I'm such a wack case over the movie is because the screenplay was done by Beagle himself--this book is like a series of pictures)
East of the Sun, West of the Moon written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer (I still have the same copy that I got when I was three and I credit it with jump-starting my fascination with illustration and with all things magic. A must have.)

I'll hand this off to Crunchy, the Toybox, and Marshmallow world.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Glad I wore my sneaks.

There's an odd phenomenon that occurs in summertime Buffalo.

Each Saturday, the lawns of Hoyt Lake are dotted with afternoon brides and their entourages. They descend from every church within a twenty mile radius, choke the streets with their SUV limos, and stand in lines to get the perfect shot on the museum steps. It's all very pretty and very glam as the bridesmaids press together and the photographers buzz and the groomsmen puff out their chests.

But if you look closely enough you can see the cracks, and this is why I like to watch. Because really, those bridesmaids are all eyeing each other up. And those in Vera Wang smile and strut, and the losers bow their heads and mutter hatefully against their own bride-queen. And the groomsmen are sweating and painfully aware of the smell of stale vodka seeping through their tuxes. And the photographer is fending off the mothers while trying to keep that loose cocker spaniel from getting into the shot. And as the day gets hotter, the sewage running from Forest Lawn starts to warm and stink.

And it all becomes something of a comic performance, set before a stern panel of old men and speedwalkers. And everyone is applauded or assailed before being sent off to his respective reception.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

"Buffalo here we come. Whooo...."

I don't know what we did to offend, but some little god of travel seemed bent against us this past Thursday. We performed all the right rituals*, but it was the Worst Drive Ever.

It was as if we had a checklist of misadventures to complete:
-Get lost at first exit.
-Throw tantrum (broken sunglasses, mangled atlas, and banged knees a plus).
-Conclude that one and a half hard rolls and eight warm Coca Cola's are not sufficient travel fare.
-Get redirected into the dark heart of West "Is that man leaning on a shotgun?" Virginia.
-Exhale in relief crossing over the border of Pennsylvania before being plunged for two hours and a mile and a half of PA traffic.

That evening found us staggering like madmen into my mother's kitchen and grunting for a good hour over chicken cordon bleu before regaining our senses and heading back out.

*Shit. It was Hoist. We forgot Hoist.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Towheads underfoot.

I've been a fan of the Virginia Dare story for quite a while and was ecstatic when we stumbled onto Roanoke Island by chance.

The facts are interesting but tame:
She was the granddaughter of the founder of Roanoke.
She was the first English child to be born in America (1587).
Roanoke was part of the Virginia colony, and is in modern day North Carolina.
Roanoke disappeared without explanation.

But the myth is absolutely fascinating.

When the inhabitants of Roanoke disappeared, legend has it that they settled with the local natives. Virginia was fair and lovely and much admired, especially by one determined brave who tricked her into a boat and rowed her to the island of Roanoke, vowing to kill her if he could not have her. Trapped and distressed, she changed into a white doe as soon as she touched land and escaped. In the succeeding years, it became tradition for young indians to travel to the island in hopes of killing her. She evaded her fate until a certain hunter brought her down with a silver tipped arrow given to his father by Queen Elizabeth. He approached the animal and was appalled to hear her whisper her name before she died.

Pretty sweet. And a nice combo of European and American style. For a modern interpretation, read Neil Gaiman's 1604.

And I found it both unnerving and appropriate that all of the children I saw on our trip to the Outer Banks were exceptionally fair.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Thursday, June 09, 2005

What are the odds that any one of them was radioactive?

My lower left leg has been acting the part of Tasty Morsel this summer, proving to be absolutely irresistable to insects. First there were the multitudes of mosquitoes that left what I assume to be some satanic pattern of bites around my ankle. Then there's the violent welt on my tendon that I've simply been calling Mr. Spidey. And now the bee sting on my heel.
Who's to say what the injection of three types of insect poison into one area of my body is going to do, but I'm hoping for great things, people.

In the meantime, I'm playing dutiful invalid and occupying the couch. The baking soda poultice helped not at all. The ice pack served only to turn the entire foot blue. Perhaps some Mr. Veggie pizza will do the trick. Updates on my progress will be coming, but keep your fingers crossed for the appearance of either wings or the intense desire to eat my progeny.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

X and Why?

Coldplay's new cd? Horrible. Unaware. Over-produced. Treacle.

And considering that I've spent the last few years kicking myself for enjoying them, this comes as just the reprieve I needed.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I got home from a walk to find a petitioner on our neighbor's porch looking at me with intent.
You're next, buddy.
I swore silently and went inside knowing that I couldn't hide behind the blinds and wait this one out.

So I opened the door, smiled for the kid and let her deliver her schtick--something about cleaning up the Lakes and children dying of mercury poisoning and Governer Pataki being some kind of puppy-eating ogre. And I stood there, giving her my most unsettling look, growing increasingly jealous of her perfect complexion, feeling more and more like a sweating, beasty amazon, all while losing track of what she was saying.
That bee is coming closer. I don't really like her jean skirt. I think I need a jean skirt. I wonder if Banana Republic...Oh, shit. Did she just ask me a question?

At which point I muttered something about working on mercury in a lab a couple years back to test blahblah and that I thought the whole matter was "not that great an issue" (secretly thinking that if the "scientists" these yahoos had hired to run their tests were anything like the dumbass freshman version of myself, they'd better do some serious rechecking).
"But why do you think that?"

Sorry? Did she just ask me why? Didn't I just use the phrase "performed toxicity tests"? Shouldn't that have sent her running?

And here is where I came dangerously close to revealing that I hadn't a clue as to what I was talking about. That I had no real opinions on the matter. Or on much of anything at all outside of summer fashion. So, I mustered all of my archness, tried to avoid using the term "liberal hysteria", repeated myself more slowly, and thanked her before I disintegrated into a stuttering mess.

And returned with real concern to the issue of drawing a bear with pants.

Monday, June 06, 2005

"When they clean the street I'll be the only shit that's left behind."

There were many obstacles between me and the Gay Pride Parade yesterday. An allergic reaction to the finger I had plunged into my eye to fish out a lash. A much needed phone call from Milwaukee. The general protestations of my housemate ("I don't care that you're dressed like a girl today. I am not walking down Elmwood. Now put a washcloth over your cornea.").

So, instead I retreated to the porch where I found two new objects. In the center of the table was an ashtray and in the center of the ashtray was a bottle opener. My first impulse was to examine the ashtray in fascination--I hadn't seen an actual one since the mid-nineties and it was strange to behold. My second was to look around for the Bad Habit Fairy--that redcheeked sprite that trips madly onto deserving porches and leaves little gifts with nicotine-stained fingers.

And then it occurred to me that these were more likely the offerings of a landlady that had taken note of our summertime habits. That she, either as a sign of graciousness towards her accommodating tenants or in a fit of anger over her empty, much abused flower pot that had been serving us so well, had decided to plant her tokens. Whatever the reason, I stood on the porch facing these glaring symbols of dissipation, feeling not a little abashed as I saw ourselves through someone else's eyes.

Still, I contemplated leaving a bowl of beer on the back steps. You just never know.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Such a long way to go.

I'm going to cup my hand and very furtively whisper onto my palm the name of the song that I was so embarassed to play that I had to shut all windows and check twice for the landlady's car.

But there was really no way that I could resist. The helicopter leaves were falling and something in the air reminded me of North Carolina, and I was missing my parents and thinking about the colors of our living room from 1980. When the memories hit, you need to respond quickly, or you elsewise run the risk of wasting the day listening to soft rock and sitting on the floor with the photo albums.
And there are only so many stories about red dirt and rocket slides that The Boy can stomach.

Friday, June 03, 2005


After much stomping of the feet on Greg's part and much dragging of them on mine, the headshot for Webshite is done. Lucky for him it was finished during one of my cooler experimental phases--he came very close to being rendered as a Thundercat.

But I think it's time to get back. There's a little German girl that I left standing on the edge of a large lake. She'd be shaking her fists at me if I'd had the decency to give her any.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Part 2, part ii

The conversation that happened between the last two pics:

"You know you have to do one of me, right?"
"Yeah, yeah."
"You have to."
"I said, I know."
"And you have to make me cool. I know I'm not all that cool, but you have to do it."
"Don't be like that. You're...(faltering) (Recovering a bit) It just takes a little practice."
"Well, I just don't want to look like an asshole."
"Hm. That's a tough one. Just gimme some time."

And after it's completion:

Genuine surprise: "Hey, I thought you were going to make me look like a tool. But you made me look cool!"
"De nada."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Part 2

Haven't you always wanted a monkeee?

All right. So is everyone in agreement about Gorillaz sucking?

The band has two or three excellent songs, a bunch of crap, and the most brilliant marketing campaign ever. Who needs talent when you have a team of artists carefully crafting you into badassed perfection? It's amazing. It feeds right into the modern assumption that if it looks good, it is good. I mean, if you looked this cool, I'd buy your mediocre album too.

I think this may also be the start of the next big thing. The Resume With Headshot. Because an anime pose of you in Raybands and a yellow suit, throwing up the horns may be just the edge you need over the next guy.