Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Date Night

From Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson.

A neglected blog is such a sad thing, really.

I think it being summer (albeit a rainy one) has something to do with it.

Tonight is date night and Erika is taking me to the ICA (which is FREE on Thursday *hint* hint*) and then she is taking me to what looks like a delicious restaurant in the area. I won't tell you where though. Some secrets are meant to be kept. The food looks amazing, too.

I fell in love (again) with Craig Thompson. His upcoming 900+ page book HABIBI is due out later this year and I envy his delicate brush stroke and beautifully evocative lines.

Also, for those of you who might need inspiration and a jolt of believe-in-yourself! (I myself have needed a LOT of kind words these days) Neil had this to say to me yesterday morning.* I quote:

When I was a young writer I would come up with stories, and then put characters into them. And each of the characters would often feel like, in Thurber's words, "a mere device".

I think the breakthrough for me came when I started writing comics -- because I believed in them. Because sometimes I would be using characters I hadn't created, but simply cared about. And over the next few years I learned that if you cared enough about your characters, what happened to them was interesting.

I'm not sure that's much of an aphorism, but it's important to care about them, about who they are and what they do. And (for me) for them to be people I would want to spend time with -- I don't really care whose side they are on, and they can be monstrous on the outside or, worse, on the inside, but you still have to want to spend time with them. If you met one of these characters socially would you talk to them, or make an excuse and flee?

(As a sidenote, I think the years I spent as a journalist doing interviews for magazines really helped as well. I learned a lot about speech patterns, and ways of describing people, and letting their words describe them. But more importantly, I learned that if you are actually interested, and not faking it, people will tell you anything, and you will take pleasure in their company. So my suggestion for any young writer is, talk to people, especially people you would normally avoid talking to. Find out their stories. Figure out how you would put them into stories, if you would, or just describe them with a few words.)

SO, get out there and enjoy this weather.

The sun is finally shining and i have a date to be getting to.

*(me and about a million other people reading his blog-o)

Friday, June 19, 2009

The 500th Ball Kerfuffle

Couldn't ask for a better day

It was Katie who told me it was the 500th sold-out game. I had called her to ask if she would be my date to a baseball game on the 17th and she said yes then awhile later told me it was Fenway's 500th straight sell-out.

"They usually do something special for stuff like that. Maybe we'll get some swag."

"Thank You" postcard from the Red Sox

Erika brought her friend CJ whose birthday it was, we ate at Who's on First (some greasy goodness) then went to find our seats. Typically, the two sets of seats I get tickets for are pretty far apart, couple of rows away, but for whatever reason the people in front of us didn't show up this game so we all got to sit together the entire time. We flip-flopped seats the whole game. Me next to Katie, Katie next to Erika, Erika next to CJ passing Swedish fish and cheering on our mighty Sox.

I tell you, I haven't laughed so much during a ball game in I don't know how long.

We ate the whole bag of Swedish fish, some peanuts, a hot dog I couldn't finish, sipped the red wine I smuggled in out of their secret Dr. Pepper bottles and after that, beer from the Guinness girls (it was Harp, let's be honest). We were adopted by the most adorable old lady who sat across the aisle from us, Katie coveting her extremely athletic legs. This sparked a comparison of all our legs to determine the canklyiness of each (hint: mine are NOT cankles). It was her first Red Sox game ever and I knelt in the aisle chatting her up and laughing at the toolbox of a kid bellowing out nonsense in front of her.
And all she wanted was a Guinness.

I told Katie that the security guys must be cracking down. The boy that prodded my bag gave it a thorough once over and if I hadn't been so damn good at disguising my counterfeit vino we might have been busted. She said in the future, if you want to get by, just put a tampon in that bag. The kid will see it and hurry you right along.

I never thought of that!
WHY have I never thought of that?!
It's brilliant!

Cheersin' up our Dr. Pepper bottles

Being our fantastic, hilarious selves we befriended the people behind us and were shocked when the 40-something very pretty lady behind us told us out of nowhere that she hated her husband. He was kind of a blow-hard and a dink but confessing something like that to a couple of complete strangers seems a bit over the top to me. What do I know? She asked where we got Dr. Pepper's and I told her the truth behind our beverages identity. She told me "Next time just put a tampon in there or something," I nearly exploded.

Do all women know this?!


The game itself was stupendous. The night sky faded from summer blue to auburn with the city haze. Orange clouds. Warm air. The smell of hot dogs and human breath, the reverberation of the smallest stadium in America packed to the rafters with fans shouting and pumping their fists in the air. I hollered for Hanley Ramirez when he got up (even though he plays for the Marlins now) I said I wished we never traded him but thanks for Beckett and old man Lowell! Ellsbury made his first major league error, the first in 232 starts. In the 7th inning Bobby Orr himself walked out of the green monster onto left field to shake hands with Jason Bay, who had said when he first moved to Boston that one thing he'd really like to do now that he's in Boston is meet the great Bobby Orr.

Wish come true.
I call this one: Stairway to Heaven

Red Sox employees handed out commemorative postcards marking the 500th sold-out game to every fan as we entered on Wednesday night. On the back was a nice note from the team's owner's to Red Sox Nation thanking us for our continued support. During each inning of the game randomly selected sections of the ballpark got prizes like gas cards, or Dunkin' Donuts cards or (my favorite) a tape measure from Stanley tools. Although we weren't in any of those sections (bummer) we still had a great time.

On our way out of the park every fan was supposed to get their very own free baseball marked with the 500 logo. As we filed out slowly, bumping shoulders in the herd of people heading to the doorway, things started to get hairy though. It became clear that instead of handing out the base balls one by one, there were open boxes of baseballs sitting right in the middle of the concourse and entryways where masses of people were converging to grab a ball. These random distribution points were mobbed by the time the 4 of us made it through the exit crowd and by the time we reached the center of the nearest nexus there were no balls left for us.

Confused we hurried to the next exit, Gate A, where there was a thicker mob of people. Katie and I lost CJ and Erika. This is what we saw:


The crowds weren't rambunctious at all, there wasn't much shoving per se, just masses of grumpy people, straining toward the center of the place. Being somewhat lithe I weaseled my way to the front just as the box had been emptied. A haggled looking man in a Red Sox jacket announced "No more balls people! No more balls! Everyone out! No more balls here"

It was (to say the least) a disappointing way to end an otherwise spectacular night.

No harm no foul, though, beacuse first thing the following morning I wrote an email letter to the head of the Red Sox organization and who but TOM WERNER himself (one of three Red Sox principle owners!) emailed me back from his blackberry saying they were sorry and that they are working on a solution. By 2pm that same day they had agreed to send along 4 custom balls for me and much chagrined friends.

Did YOU talk to the head of the Red Sox organization yesterday?
Oh no?
Well, I DID.

In yo' face!

This has caused in my household, much rejoicing.
My dad keeps telling me to say hi to ole' Tommy boy for him.
I say, "I'll put in a good word, dad. Don't worry."

I'm looking forward to my very own special, straight from 4 Yawkey Way, Red Sox package with my name on it.

I'm already planning on cutting out the packing slip and framing it, along with my ball, my postcard and my ticket from Wednesday nights spectacular game.

Peace out cub scouts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Too Much To Do

Artwork by Josh Middleton

The past week (or two) has been a busy one and whenever I think - hey that'll make an interesting blog entry! Something else happens to take my mind away.

I got a sunburn for the first time in years and years, and quite accidentally. Not only am I the den-mother type that reminds my family and friends to "reapply! reapply!" but I was consistently DOING the reapplying for others. Shoulders, arms, babies, you name it. Except, inexplicably, of myself.

So, that happened.

I'm dog-sitting for one large and rather annoying animal while my girl is off camping at a music festival with her ex. What a joy. (<------sarcasm) This morning I awoke to the cascading urine waterfall happening on my bedroom floor. It was exactly 4:30am. In a true testament to my mature, non-murderous nature I simply let the animal outside, cleaned up the mess, then put him in my truck for the rest of the morning. Worry not, the windows were cracked. Only 5 more days of this.

Matthew and I are having a date this Friday night. We are going to grab some burritos from Anna's then head over to the movies. This particular theater sells beer during the show! Oh, joy! If Star Trek is playing I am going to see that. I didn't get to see Watchmen in the theaters, or Wolverine, but god dammit I will make time for Star Trek. What kind of nerd would I be if I didn't? Speaking of nerdiness the graphic novel hit the 101 page mark today. If I wasn't such a chicken I might even post some artwork from it, but well... "Bucaw! Buc-bucaw!"

If you are interested in art, specifically comic art and the process of creation I recommend checking out the podcast Sidebar Nation. They feature interviews from some of my personal favorite creators; Skottie Young, Dustin Nguyen, Jon Foster and Josh Middleton (the guy who did the artwork up at the top there) to name a few.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The GUR!

My body still hates me.

My legs have cramped up, my blisters have blisters, I'm sun-kissed and dog-tired but man was it worth it.

The Boston GUR (Great Urban Race) was only my second official race ever. And I have been looking forward to this one for some time. May was a busy month for me, with Memorial Day weekend followed by Dave Matthews Band playing at Fenway Park (We had 8th row seats! I'll tell you all about it in a minute) and babies and Softball and gardening. Oh, my!

The GUR is a relay race all over Boston. This one sent us to James Hook and Co. to find a 27 pound lobster! Fenway Park to find a certain jersey and stand under the Cy Young 1903 banner, we solved a murder mysetery, raced to Bunker Hill and the freedom trail and over the Museum of Science to pose in fron tof the T.Rex, it was great fun. We ran our hearts out. Our faces were red and sweaty, my feet had blisters, the backpack got real heavy, and we scarfed down Cliff bars on the T while chugging water. It was awesome.

The night before was the Dave Matthews at Fenway Park concert. I have never been to a DMB show but it was amazing. We sat right up front in the 8th row, literally on the left side of center field inside Fenway Park and it was rad. You turn around and see a packed stadium swelling up behind you. It was amazing!
Huge crowds! Great Show! Busy Weekend!

After drinking all night and screaming (er- I mean, SINGING ALONG) at the Dave show we had to get up and get ready for the Great Urban Race which started at noon the following day.

Then it was off to have beers and food and the following morning it was a crazy baby day working in the garden, playing in the yard, hanging at the beach and eating ice cream off the ice cream truck.

It's Tuesday already, I have softball tonight and boy am I beat.
Here's to having a quieter week.