Wednesday, September 29


Dirty old man

Just got in from Alumni Studio Night at MICA. Not bad for the first figure drawings I've done in about eight years.

I'm definitely one of the younger ones there; lots of silver-haired matrons and former young turks past fifty. The way some of these guys act near an unclothed female you'd think they'd just left the monastery. Oh, Grow up.

Anyway, I opted for drawing several short poses - five, ten, and twenty minutes long. Mostly vine charcoal, charcoal pencils, and some drawn with good old graphite.

I burned through both of my Canson colored charcoal papers and used one of my Rives BFK.* Next week I'm coming armed to the teeth with a block of paper so I can get my quick-and-dirty stance kicking.

*Ah! The ro-mance of figure drawing!

Tuesday, September 28


A little different

Yeah, just a little facelift on the ol' sig. Whaddya think?

Monday, September 27


The things I've seen

Friday was a playdate for me and Heather. She got the day off as a reward, so I took the day too. We went to see Hero at the Rotunda Cinematheque. Acatually, it's the same Sony theatre that was there, but when The Senator Theatre buys it up, it becomes much more froofie and is given a French name. Go figure.

So, as for the film. Wow! Great visuals, great story telling. As you would expect, great martial arts fighting sequences. If you don't know already, color plays a major part in the story. It concerns one scene replayed from different points-of-view, so each color represents a different narrative. Very striking. Also the scenes with the archery attack are really quite spectacular as well.

That night we visited Jon and Maria and Clara for the last time in their home in Rodger's Forge. This Wednesday they're relocating to Richmond, so we went over with some bread and cheese for a little good-bye party. We're already speaking about visiting next month so we won't be out-of-touch for long.

The big deal Saturday night was the Old 97's show at the Recher Theatre. A great show, even though Rhett's voice was a touch raspy. They played a bunch of old and new and gave two encores. What was wierd was the proponderence of Nap-town middle-agers in attendance. I suppose all the tattooed wierdoes make the trek to D.C. to the 9:30 Club show, 'cuz it was a straight-up Parrothead reunion from our vantage point.

Our first batch of DVD's via Netflix arrived this week. We watched the Aussie independent Rabbit-Proof Fence. It's a drab story of three mixed-race Aboriginal girls who are relocated from their mothers to be acclimated into 'polite society' circa 1930. Naturally, they escape and follow the titular fence on foot for a gajillion miles or so. Very sad, and very disturbing, especially when you learn this type of thing happenned into the 1970's.

On the guilty pleasure T.V. tip, I've caught-up on all the goings-on with The Surreal Life.* Here's a disturbing mental image for you: Brigitte Neilsen and Flavor Flav making out.

I'll give you a moment...

Okay, all together now. ----Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!

*shout-out to Bill D. for the tip

Wednesday, September 22


Retail Purgatory

Yeterday evening I found myself at Wal-Mart. This was out of necessity, not choice, mind you.

Since Heather and I car pool up to Hunt Valley, I had to tag along as she shopped for necessary items available nowhere else. I entertained myself by browsing the toy aisles. Lots of neat action figures I hadn't seen before: Spawn, LOtR battle sets, Xevos, G.I. Joe knock-offs and the like.

Two discoveries, though. Firstly, the Darth Vader and C-3PO carrying cases have been reissued. Star Wars action figures are a sore-spot for me; as a kid, my folks wouldn't get them for me. I got Lego instead. Not necessarily a bad thing. But it was difficult to re-enact climactic scenes armed only with snapping blocks. But now, dare I live the dream? Will I procure the long-coveted cases and blissfully embark on the excitement that is action figure collecting? No. Probably not.

The second discovery was the staggering amount of toy vehicles emblazoned with the West Coast Choppers logo. I knew the Discovery Channel helped make the monster that Jesse James is today. I just never realized how big of a corporate c*ck is in his mouth. As if the t-shirts* weren't ubiquitous enough, now there all manner of R/C cars and motorcyles in all sorts of scales for you to collect and be cool. That ain't Punk Rock!

* On the t-shirt tip, I recently procured a fine parody via Now I may angle for this one, too.

Sunday, September 19


Where the hell have I been?

Well, nowhere, really.

The biggest excitement this week was on Thursday night. After a quick stop at the Barnes and Noble in Towson, we returned to the Maxima for the short drive home. Only problem was the Nissan wouldn't start.

After two attempts from two seperate battery chargers from mall security, I gave AAA a call. The whole time while waiting Heather pretty much had to talk me down from the ledge. I tend to nut-up in stressful. Luckily she was there to calm me down and buy me a water from Trader Joe's.

About forty-five minutes later, Bob the mellow tow truck guy appeared. He was a forty-plus cool cat with a bandana, shades and a beard like Billy Gibbons. Once he situated the truck near the carpark entrance, he was all business. Within ten minutes, we rolled the car out and onto the back of the wrecker and it was on it's merry way to our man Foertsch. After an unsuccessful cab procurement, Jon Betts did us a solid and trucked us back to Tyndale Avenue.

So for the past few days we've had a Hyundai Elantra as our chariot of fire, thanks to the folks at Enterprise.

I've also caught the early Fall bug from Heather. Actually, she got it from work. With so many auditors travelling from all corners of the country, lots of germs and such spread around the corporate H.Q. Sorta like Kindergarten.

Monday, September 13


Three years later

Maybe because it was on a Saturday this year. Maybe because it was a weekend morning filled with appointments and errands. Maybe because I've had to live with three years of this administration's mission of making this date a commercial for the President. Whatever the exact reason, September the eleventh felt like another day.

Don't get me wrong. It's not like I didn't forget the signifigance of the date. I happenned to be near a television with the coverage of memorial events at Ground Zero near the fateful time of 8:47 A.M. I felt that familiar mix of anxious sadness and doom when I first heard about the planes hitting in New York and others falling from the sky elsewhere. I felt the same welling melancholy and dread from the two years prior on this anniversary.

Then, that feeling left and I went on about my day.

We had plan to see friends, go shopping, play with infants, listen to music, make jokes. No round-the-clock news vigils, no candle lighting, no head shaking dazed looks.

Look, I'm not saying I want to forget. I can't forget. I have one-degree of separation. Even though I'm from the wilds of North Jersey, I think of Manhattan as my hometown. I'm not going to forget. I just think it's getting easier for me to remember without the awful fuss.

On a happier note, it was also Mona's fourth(?) birthday. Happy Birthday, Sweetie.

Saturday, September 11


All burglars stop reading this now.

When we got home last night we saw this adorable black kitty in our driveway. "That kitty looks like Mollie," said Heather. The thing was, it was Mollie.

For those that don't know, our cats are strictly indoor creatures. With the army of feral strays who are camped in our neighborhood, we decided long ago since the girls were kittens they would stay locked in the ivory tower, uninjured by the wilds of Tyndale Avenue.

Fortunately for us, she was in a mood to co-operate and walked right up to us, rather than tear all over creation. Once safe and sound inside, it was then time for me to figure out how she got out.

It turns out I was the cause. The night before I propped open the basement window over the washing machine to circulate some air in the laundry area. And open it stayed, all night, with the screen half-attached with a hook-and-eye. Ooops. I won't do that again.

Friday, September 10


Visitors, part 2

So, where was I? Oh, right...

Sunday was another planned day of shopping, but not until after a leisurely breakfast of eggs, coffee, fancy-schmancy bacon and a package of Rapa scrapple. I'd been having the scrapple itch for some time. As it turns out, Connie is a fan from her youth near Philly, so I had a partner in questionable pork-product crime. While I go for mine with a dash of Crystal sauce, she goes for it smothered in maple syrup. Okay, enough about scrapple.

Then we piled into the car for a visit to Valley-View Farms. Everybody loves some plants,we thought, so let's go to the spot with so many beautiful specimens. VVF is also known for their huge koi pond stocked with some huge, colorful fish. We got there in time for Cooper to particpate with feeding time, which was really cool.

After about an hour there, we trucked on down to Columbia Mall. For years, Joe and Connie have been receiving the Restoration Hardware catalog, but never had an opportunity to visit an actual store. We took the time to make sure they saw every corner of it.

That night's dinner was an amazing meal at Tapas Teatro. We were seated immediately out on the sidewalk, cafe style. That was great until the rain came. Luckily, they moved us inside so we could continue to devour plate after plate of fantastic little entrees with bottles of wine. Good livin'.

Thursday, September 9


A crash course in Meteorology

Heather turned me onto this demo of hurricane anatomy from BBC News.

Monday, September 6


Visitors, part 1.

Well, the family-in-law is safely on their way back to Lexngton. The weekend jaunt was action-packed, lemme tellya.

Been to BWI lately? My, God -- it's huge! The short-term garage is finally done, complete with vacancy lights over each spot and a skyway to the terminal. (Awwww, our little Friendship Airfield is all grown up!)

Once they were on the ground Friday night, we made a beeline for Hampden to eat some dinner at Golden West. That was a fine way to welcome everyone to town.

Refreshed with coffee Saturday morning, we took them to the 33rd Street Farmer's Market to buy fresh fruits, white corn and a few boutique sauces I usually ignore. Planning to grill later on, we rounded out the grocery list at Fresh Fields. Between both markets, Connie was quick to point out how prevalent organic food is around here. Perhaps I should eat more of it. Hmmmm.

Then we stopped for a hearty lunch at _______ _____.* Afterward, it was now time for the games to begin: an afternoon at Towson Town Center. First about an hour at Nordstrom Rack, then while the ladies shopped Anthropologie, the boys spent our time at The Sharper Image, mostly inside the super-deluxe massage chairs.

By this point we were shopped out**, we rolled home and continued the fine tradition of cocktail hour.

*That's right, I'm keeping it secret. You want to know the name of the place, well, tough darts, Farmer.

** until Sunday. Duh!

Friday, September 3


Our special guest...

Last night, neighbors Mike and Meg had their sitter bail last minute, so we were left the keys to their fresly-turned two-year-old daughter.

Catie had a small meltdown when Mom and Dad tried to leave. They made a hasty retreat out the back door once Cartoon Network was dangled in front of her nose. That was good for about an hour and a half. I'm sure at this point it's all just colors and noise, 'cause she didn't get freaked out about the cartoon that has Death as a main character.

I attempted to settle her down with a few good books and a review of animal noises. That fell through, so we hung out upstairs as she got alternately tired and maniacally active. (Jumping is fun!)

She finally hit the wall when I told her to not chew the pillow. And then, the crying began, the exasperated flop onto the bed came right on cue. Heather showed up just in time to be the good cop. Catie was put on the guest bed and five minutes later, was sound asleep.

She's a good girl.

Wednesday, September 1


How soon is now?

With my in-laws making touch-down on the tarmac in two-and-a-half days, the mad dash to get the house in order has begun.

At least the guest room curtains issue is handled. This weekend, trips to Ikea, Target and trailer-iffic Overlea K-Mart proved fruitless. We even went into White Trash --- I mean --- White Marsh Mall to to raid Sears, Macy's, Hecht's and JC Penney's. All for nought. If we wanted to outfit the house in fake velvet or ugly brocade, we'd have the hook-up in spades.

With our options running out, last night Heather made a run to the ghet-abulous K-Mart off Moravia Road. Forty-five minutes later, she returned triumphant. As it turns out, she was able to re-outfit the entire second floor for dirt cheep.

Now the fun begins: cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Not that we live in a frat house or anything, but, things have to move away from 'serviceable' to 'guestworthy'. If I get my White Tornado psychosis on, things might get to 'Martha' staus, but I make no promises. I already reaquainted myself with the Dyson last night. We have a second date set up for this evening.

And with the mild weather today, the house has a chance to air-out.

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