Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Katie!


I'm sorry you always got short-changed on having a classroom birthday party. I agree that it stinks that you were born the day BEFORE school starts everywhere. My condolences.

But now that you are all growed-up you can celebrate however you want to!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

And might I suggest NOT going to see Inglourious Basterds. I thought I knew what this movie was going to be about but it turns out I had no idea. Essentially it is an extremely gory revenge fantasy featuring a troupe of Jewish men (Americans and Germans) and Brad Pitt playing a caricature instead of a character.

I'm not sure, now that I think about it, whether or not I believe Brad Pitt can act. I remember loving his work in A River Runs Through It (which is a brilliant film) and I find him entertaining, but I think with this terribly flat role coupled with the last film I saw him in Burn After Reading I'm not sure the man has much emotional depth anymore. Has he, like Julia Roberts, become skilled at only being able to play himself in movies? Brad Pitt as Brad Pitt?

I don't know.

Next time I'll do a little more research before I movie hop. I don't see that many films out in the big city (or anyplace) so I might as well enjoy them.

Speaking of films, this weekend I caught The Land Before Time in its entirety on the Disney Channel and I am happy to report it totally holds up. The animation is beautiful, the special effects (such that they are) were well done with every splat and splooch through muck and tar and raindrops being executed perfectly. All before the Computer Generated Images that we see saturating movies nowadays.

The weather is changing and already Marshfield has cooled down significantly. The sea-breezes bring in the smell of the ocean every morning and there's a fine mist that lingers now. All tell-tale signs that the dog-days of summer have passed. With some luck we'll have good weather this weekend and I'll be able to sit out at the beach and soak up as many rays as possible before it's time to don the sweaters and hoodies again.

On to work on Duck!
I'm so close I can taste it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN KATIE C.!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Swept Up

Nick-o PITCHED?!

The Red Sox didn't sweep the White Sox. It had to happen right? The boys played good but Tawaza dropped the ball (or more aptly lofted in some meatballs) and they slugged the hell out of him.

BUT!

Nick Green our sometimes shortstop PITCHED for 2 scoreless innings! He got himself a 0.00 ERAand the shining, unbelieveable accolades from fans and friends alike.

The Red Sox haven't had a non-pitcher pitch since 1944 (or thereabouts) unbelieveable right? And yeah, The White Sox slugged the hell out of Tawaza but we put up a fight. With homeruns slamming out of Fenway all the way into the 9th. 9-5. If the Red Sox came back and won the game in the bottom of the ninth Nick Green would've gotten the win. He did his job and gave the bullpen the rest that they needed as they prepare for a series with Toronto to cap off the homestand.

****

Also if you want a laugh, click HERE!
It's fruity lime flavored porn. Be Warned!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Dogs Days are Disappearing

Me golfing!

It is already the end of August, only 5 more days to go and I am not ready to say farewell. I've been driving around town listening to a book called TAMAR on CD which is really good, but quite depressing. It's about WWII Holland and I know it ends tragically because I have listened to this story before, but it is beautifully written and narrated by British guy and let's not forget I am a sucker for an accent.

I golfed for the first time ever 2 weekends ago. I don't want to brag or anything, but this may have been the best first time golfing of anyone ever on the planet. I'm just sayin'. Tiger who?

Business is good in that we are busy but the Marshfield Fair is in town and with it comes the Fair people; the toothless, white trash lot known more commonly as Carnies. And with their arrival comes my perpetual anxiety about break ins, property destruction, stolen tools, smashed windows, broken dreams and all sorts of nonsense.

The babies are great. I realize I haven't written about them in a while. They now live with us full-time and although raising a family is exhausting it fills me up in a way I can explain. This morning Matt said "I know what you mean, they are about 99% pure joy and 1% pain-in-the-ass." We laughed because he's totally right.

Me, sweaty. I will miss this.

It's muggy out.

Mom was complaining yesterday about the damn humidity. It's like breathing in soup, it's terrible. I love the heat but I can do without the oppressive humidity, man. The beach has been gorgeous all summer but a little bit on the rocky side. This Saturday Hurricane Bill was moving up the coast and the waves were HUGE, the riptide was scary and almost everybody who dared go in (myself included) ended up with scrapes all over their feet.

Last night I watched Sex and The City movie with my mom. I loved it. I said, that I saw what she meant about it moving slower than the series, but it seemed to me that what they had done was to roll up a whole season of episodes into one long movie. And laying on the most comfortable couch in the world I was happy to watch all of it unfold before me, mandatory galss of red wine in one hand, bowl of homemade popcorn in the other.

I am proud to report I taught my mom how to make a stir-fry last night (not that it's hard). She prefers her veggies more cooked than crispy, which is the opposite of what I like. The babies devoured all the savory summer squash and fresh garden zucchini, green bell peppers and chicken and peanuts in a garlicky honey-soy marinade. It was delish. I have been eating much better since my marathon training began a week ago.

Speaking of which, I feel good. I have about 7 solid months of training to do (a little bit more maybe) and my athletic base is building back up nicely. I can feel my legs becoming exhausted after only a mile and a half but my mind is strong. I know how to listen to my body, which I think will be the key to doing this thing right. I don't want to get injured, but that is much less of a concern than getting used to putting up long miles. The longest run I have ever done at once is 6 miles. I will have to do more than 4 times that for the marathon. But I am physically on track. There's no word yet from CJ about getting the bib number but she's seems confident that if we can't get one organization to sponsor us, we'll get another. "It's all about raising the money," she says.

DUCK! is finishing out nicely. I have 2 more scenes to draw, right at the end of the narrative, then I can kiss it and call her done. I thought I'd post some pages, in no particular order, just to give a little taste.


















Katie and I are working on another graphic novel project, one that I am really enjoying. Lots of literary crossovers, a pinch of this and a dash of that. We'll be well under way on it by the time DUCK! hits the press.

Now, go enjoy the sunshine.
Before you know it, it'll be October.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Training begins

Last night my marathon training officially began.

I felt like a stranger in a strange land entering my gym last night after not-entering it for so long. Thankfully it was was mostly empty. Being warmer now most people (I imagine) are spending more time working out outside. I am one of those strange people who likes running on a treadmill.

I ran a mile and a half and decided mid-run to pause, stretch my twanging knee and come back to the treadmill after I did my core work. Some arm weights, ab work, agility stuff. I know that in order to make a serious effort towards running long-distance (something I have never been good at) will require the nimbleness of my joints.

I ran the last mile and a half with a much smoother stride.

The schedule (for those of you who want to play along at home) goes like this for the next 2 weeks (in miles):

MON 3 | 3
TUES (REST)
WEDS 3 | 4
THURS 3 | 3
FRI (REST)
SAT 4 | 5
SUN

Can you read that?
No. Don't worry about it.
It's just easy miles until the real training begins.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Boston '09

I have decided to run the Boston Marathon this year.

Excuse me a moment, I just shit my pants.

(***)

Okay, I'm back.

CJ, Erika and I are all going to raise some money for American Stroke Association or something like that and that means, if I raise enough money, I can legitimately run the Boston Marathon with a number without having to qualify for it by running some super-fast time in a big qualifying race.

That's terrific!

Beyond the initial Oh-my-god-I-can't-do-this! feeling I'm really excited.

My great grand father came in second in the 1902 Boston Marathon and the silver cup sits atop a knick-knack cabinet my father made for my mother years ago for her birthday. I have always wanted to run the Boston. I have been reading about it in Runner's World for years now. I once dated a girl who did run it and marveled at the staggering lifetime accomplishment of it all. I have been to watch the race on Marathon Monday every year since 2002 (One hundred years since JJ Kennedy took second place) and I have decided that this year is the year.

SO it begins.

I've got my nerves packed away and my running shoes tied tight. Lorn is running it too which means between the 4 of us, I should always have a buddy to train with. It'll be nice to have a goal in the long winter months as well and this morning in the shower I was surprised to realize just how much I like running. I was loofa-ing up grinning to myself, thinking about the staggering amount of work this is going to be, but actually smiling about it.

I like running.

Erika joked that according to the half marathon training schedule we are starting with it is lucky we picked a Tuesday to decide to run on. Tuesday is a rest day according to the plan.

Tonight however I have Piano Club. So the actual business of training for a big race will have to begin later. Maybe I'll squeeze in a run before 6:30 though. We'll see.

Meantime, get your stop watches ready. One way or another I am about to set a personal record for a marathon even if it takes me 5 hours to do it.

Peace.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Limericks

True to the Irish blood that flows half lit through my veins I wrote a few limericks for my ex-roommate friend Ellen a while ago and she recently unearthed them. I felt compelled to share.

(please note: my are a BILLION times clever-er than hers)

****

My old roommates nickname is elle

when i think of her parts of me swell

i curse and i swear

and i hump mr. bear

but i get no relief and it's hell!

*****

My friend Tana's a clever gay

I told her to limerick and she said "no way!"

She came up with a sick rhyme

pretty easily for her very first time

speaking of which, she's also a pretty easy lay

******

I know ellen wants to kiss women

cuz it's always the boys that she's dissing

so i suggested some play

in P-Town this may

with a girl who is all into lickin'

******

Ptown is so not my style

Granted, I've walked the gay mile

Commercial Street's gaudy

and the lesbian erotica's naughty

But the trans-divas sure make me smile

*****

ellen was Queen of the kegs,

til the boys came and drank to the dregs

her camera got stolen

her temper got swollen

i hope the thief smells like bad eggs!

*******

It's true, I throw one hell of a fest

My green beer and jello shots are the best

But if you steal my shit

I'll put out a hit

and tell them to kill you with zest


Hilarious.
And No, I do not want to talk about my game. We lost. We play the next game on Tuesday. Bring your beverages and come cheer us on.

Meantime, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!
You look pretty damn good for a guy who just turned 70.
(wink)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bite the Iranian Bullet?


-Sigh-

I have a confession to make.

I held out for as long as I could but yesterday, after Erika teased me about having posted something I couldn't read because I didn't have an account I finally joined Twitter.

That's the excuse I tell myself, anyway. The truth is almost all of my favorite creators tweet. From the guys on Around Comics and 11 o'Clock Comics to Rachel Maddow and Neil Gaiman. I had been feeling like this was one thing I could afford to resist. I didn't need to know the momentary play-by-play thoughts of these people (even if the attention I pay them is borderline obsessive). I ought to control this urge. Besides I can spot a time-suck from a mile away and I had to ask myself, can I really afford another Facebook-sized distraction?

That part of me that I recognize as grandmotherly, the same part that likes to weed the garden and pat the children on their heads and bake apple pies, that part of me resists this sort of frivolous technology. I never have the newest phone or the faster computer. The ipod I own was a Christmas gift from my mother. The phone I have is not touch screen or internet ready. I have no data plan. And although it's true that I spend a rather LARGE portion of my day gchatting (and stealing surreptitious glances at the hilarity over at TextsFromLastNight) when it comes to the big interconnectedness of things you can usually count me out.

But then the Iranian revolution began to happen.

I watched as Rachel Maddow marveled at the spontaneous uprising of the Iranian people who tried to peacefully decent against a rigged election. Masses of peaceful protesters taking to streets locating each other through their cellphones and blackberry's and their hand held devices. In a country that was locking up every journalist and cameraman here were the people videotaping themselves, posting it to youtube and yeah, tweeting.

The revolution will not be televised but it will be tweeted?

Whatever the reason, I joined.

If you'd like to follow me search for tana fjord (note the 'j' in there) or plain old tanaford one word. I'm such a newbie you'll be amazed. But maybe as things go along, and perhaps when I upgrade to a phone device capable of televising the revolution I'll get better.

***
In the meantime, there's some new art.
It's for a Harry Potter Book Club (hence the initials!).

Peace.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Joshua Bell

The Washington Post performed an experiment that (although a bit wordy) is too SHOCKING to ignore.

The test was this: Put a musician on a busy terminal in Washington DC. and have him play at rush hour and see who pays attention. Up the ante by making that musician one of the best in the world, a child prodigy in fact, who sells out every concert he plays. A man who makes roughly $1,000 an hour. Have him play one of the rarest and most revered instruments in the world (made in 1713) and now, see who notices.

(The whole ARTICLE)

The article, in fact, the whole experiment is quite unbelievable.
Of a little over 1,000 people, no one, not one person stopped for more than a moment.

"Bell doesn't mention Stradivari by name. Just "he." When the violinist shows his Strad to people, he holds the instrument gingerly by its neck, resting it on a knee. "He made this to perfect thickness at all parts," Bell says, pivoting it. "If you shaved off a millimeter of wood at any point, it would totally imbalance the sound." No violins sound as wonderful as Strads from the 1710s, still."

Every time a child tried to stop and listen it was scooted away by a parent.

"The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother's heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too."

Piano club was moved (thankfully) to Not-Today so I can both play in my playoff softball game AND hopefully pluck at some ivory keys in the near future. Date as yet undetermined.

"Koyaanisqatsi" is a Hopi word. It means "life out of balance."

If we can't take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that -- then what else are we missing?

One lady does recognize him actually. Right near the end. And an old Irish guy, I think it said, who used to play the violin as a kid. And a third woman who listen for a few minutes during her coffee break then scooted away.

Way to go, guys.

I think you have to ask yourself the question: would I have stopped?