Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tiger Beat

I've been waffling a bit on what to paint on the 4-Wheeler as it's basic design. I decided late yesterday afternoon to just free-hand some tiger stripes. Why not right? It's just for the babies. But as everything with me goes, one thing leads to another and another and so on until I have made more work for myself than I bargained for.

It's not as bad as it seems though. I am actually having quite a bit of fun with this. I hid a few Egyptian style eyes in places, and on one hand cover I painted a tiger stripe "E" and on the other a tiger stripe "S" for Ethan and Sekiah, of course. I went light on the places where I know the luggage racks will attach and I framed in a number "99" for our address.

At the end of the day yesterday, as I was cleaning my airbrush and the paint jars I saw the area near the fake vents calling out to me, saying "Wouldn't it look really cool if you made it look like a sheet of metal was bolted to the sides?"

Indeed it would!So that is what I will be doing today.

I am still waiting on the shipment from the Peg Perego factory to come in with the rechargable battery and seat and all the things I need to make this little machine go. Wouldn't it be some cruel ploy of the universe for me to have done all this work only to find out the thing doesn't move? Luckily Matt tested it on a portable battery before I began and the wheels turn fine.

In other news the rain finally stopped which is nice because I am getting sick of hearing the plop plop of rain inside the office. The water in the park next door is overflowing the whole place. The water wheel is churning a mile a minute.

And the overflow is running up out of the river and across the Veteran's Park lawn. It's craziness out there. I guess I should be counting my blessing that our leaks can be caught in little pots and pans and that I don't need a boat to get to work. Anyway, time to get back to it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

4-Wheeler (Take 2)

It's raining again today. What a shocker.

The good news is that we were able to "get 'em in get 'em out" this morning, since I had 5 people waiting for cars. But by 10:30 or so I was able to get myself in the spray booth and start laying down some paint. I mixed a 2-to-1 combination of opaque black with transparent purple to warm up the shadows a bit. I went with purple instead of say dark brown or blue because I think it'll harmonize with the red nicely.

For the side panels I just laid down some curves and shadowy bits. I'm not planning on going back in with any highlights or midtones since this is a pretty easy, kid-friendly project.

I could probably spend a little more time making the foot panels look grungy but I'm happy with the results.

I read a tip online that mentioned using tufts of fake grass as an airbrush holder since you often find yourself trying to move something of shift something but you have this airbrush that just wants to slide right off the table. So the last time I was at Michael's Crafts I picked up some fake grass and what do you know? It works like a charm. No more broken fallen airbrushes, you guys. Hooray!

See the little grass tuft?

Right now I am going to start masking off the body of the 4-wheeler and laying in some designs. This whole things should be operational by the end of the week.

More to come.


In other news I went for the longest run of my life this weekend and it really didn't kill me. I gave myself plenty of time, waited for the warmest part of the day and set out. 8 miles later I had managed to clock in at about a 9:50 per mile pace and although my legs were a little rubbery I felt great.

Maybe I can actually do this Cape Relay after all.

Next week we start double sessions.

Friday, March 26, 2010


It's not cheating, exactly.

If this were a professional job I would use high end automotive paint that has to be mixed with a base maker and put into a spray gun and sprayed on evenly using compressed air, but this is a 4-wheeler for the babies! They're going to crash it into the house and every tree they can find and soon as they step on the pedal. So spray paint in a can it is!

Some might call it the easy way out, I call it common sense.

First, I took all of the dark gray primed luggage racks and cleaned them up, then sprayed a test coat of plastic adhesion promoter (from a can) onto the surface then hit everything with a few coats of medium gray.

I let them dry until after lunch then I moved the 4-wheeler itself into the spray booth, along with the head piece (or whatever it's called that attaches to the handle bars) and I sprayed a base layer of white paint down over the white primer. The idea is to get the red I will eventually use to really pop. But to do that I want to make sure I have as bright white a base as I can get.
After the white paint set up for a few minutes (somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes. It's hard to keep track since I'm technically doing this while working) I shook up the red and laid down the first coat. Sometimes the spray paint part of the can fucks up and starts fizzing and popping out paint droplets, which is death to a good paint job, which is exactly what this can of red began to do. So I had to stop and order more.

Hence the time I found to blog, today!

But the other cans of red just showed up and I am going to go lay down some more layers.
Until then,

Peace out muchachos.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I have to give credit where credit is due.

I wouldn't even have this 4-Wheeler if it hadn't been for Erika, a Bank of America dumpster and a perfect iced coffee on a warm afternoon.

Last summer Erika and I were pulling out of a Dunkin' Donuts or a Bank of America parking lot (they are both right next to each other and it's entirely possible we banked, then got iced coffees, or else got iced coffees then banked) when she spotted something yellow poking out from beside the dumpster.

I distinctly remember many, many leaves blocking my view, but she backed the car up and we saw this little beauty just waiting outside in the blistering sun for some trash man to throw her away. We just couldn't let that happen.

Granted, she was missing a seat and the battery was nowhere to be found but I felt certain I could track those things down. And I have two three-year-olds at home who would love to scoot around the neighborhood on one of these. And free! Who can beat that?

Fast forward several months and now the time has come for me to paint it.

With things for the book being set in motion I am resolved to spend the better part of April painting things. It's the perfect weather for it. Not too hot, certainly not too cold. I started by taking apart as much of the 4-wheeler as I could. Matthew helped and said, as we fought with one stubborn plastic part after another, that it was his professional opinion that these things are only meant to go together once. I would just have to leave much of it in tact and paint it while assembled.

I cleaned the odd pieces we were able to get apart, mostly the trays or racks or whatever they are. And the foot panels that are modeled to resemble actual engine parts. I primed these in dark gray and let them dry, then masked off the body of the 4-wheeler so that only the parts I am going to be painting will be exposed and moved it all into the spray booth.

I figure I don't have to be too dainty with the tape, after all this is a project that is going to get routinely menaced by kids, but I still wanted to do as good a job as I could. As they say, painting is 90% prep work, 10% talent.

For the engine compartment pieces I used a dark gray primer but for the body I am going to use a white based primer. I plan on using a red base color and doing whatever sort of details strike my fancy (flames, the kids' names maybe, "Built Ford Tough" maybe) but for the red color to show up I have to really coat the plastic well. Otherwise you'll be able to see the sun-faded discoloration right through the paint.

So begins another project.
And oop! It's time for the second coat.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Best Night Ever!

To celebrate my nerve-wracking but still celebratory good news I put on my bullet vest (A vest made of bullets? Katie would say) and went to Dorchester to visit the lovely Katie and Beth.

And as Katie puttered around the kitchen doing the dishes and talking nonstop and pulling things out of the fridge I perched between the counter top and the washer machine and marveled, positively MARVELED, at how gorgeously LONG her hair has become. I just couldn't get over over it. I had to stop her on several occasions just to say "Katie. Your hair! It's so... " And words having failed me I'd shake my head and sip my wine and continue to gape open mouthed.

"You belong in a Botticelli painting." I finally said. "You do. All you need is a harp and a picnic or a seashell to emerge from the sea." Her hair was tied back in the middle and I'm telling you. Lovely.

She made 3 pepper pork roast which was about 2 peppers too hot, and sweet potato fries and broccoli and it was all magnificent. Beth joked that "We always make pork when you come up, Tana. It's like we don't want to splurge on you." And Katie said "It's because we're cheap. Steak tips?! It's just Tana!" We laughed and they decided to spoil me the next time.

It was a wonderful night. We decided not to watch The Wire, but instead to eat and talk about everything all night long. Simmons, and the first homo party Beth ever went to. I hadn't realized before how much we had in common. Our family backgrounds, the uncouthness of our parents and the overt Catholic banner we were raised under (A crucifix on every wall!). Where as Katie's parents went to every Parent Teacher Association conference or meeting ever invented, Beth's parents stuck out like a sore thumb at Simmons College orientation. Where Joyce and Warren were shaking hands and on a first-name basis with half the staff Beth's dad bragged about dropping a double deuce in the men's bathroom with a buddy of his.

I could not stop laughing.

And then Katie pulled out the old Simmons yearbook. Do I even have one of those, I wonder. And all three of us huddled on the couch pointing out this one and that one, and what they are doing now, and her husband totally sucks, and what about that girl, do you remember THAT girl? It was great.

The sweet potatoes were burnt a bit on the bottom which is just the way I like them. And after about the third time refilling all of our glasses Katie just brought the Bota Box out into the living room. Stories and wine flowed. I told Katie how the reinvented ending of the book had a surprising effect on Johnny and how much he loved it. Their extremely skittish and suspicious brown dog Molly was finally won over by my months of gentle behavior and sweet talking and ample amounts of treats (in the form of crunchy vegetable scraps) I have plied her with, to the point when she came over to lick my hand before scurrying away I was frozen to the spot.

"Did you see that?!" I interrupted
"What? See what?" asked Beth alarmed.
"Your dog!" I hushed ,"Just came over and licked me!"

Molly was now peeking at us from the doorway.

"Right here! Right on my fingertips!" I said.
"Oh,that." said Katie. "You smell like food."
"This is a breakthrough!" I pretended to pick a piece of potato off my plate and hold it in my fingers to see if she'd come by again. And she did. And she licked me!

It was a tremendous night.
And one, that I am happy to report, ended with the Earth shifting on it's axis.

What I am talking about is Katie and Beth both deciding that they would in fact love to come to Provincetown, for Memorial Day weekend, and stay with us and have oodles, simple oodles of fun. That's right folks! Katie and Beth are spending their last weekend as unmarried ladies in Provincetown Massachusetts! Where they will be staying with ME and Matt and Meghan! I sent them the link to the gorgeous house we'll all be sharing and they love it. Not wanting to jinx things I kept it to myself that one of the duties of a person's Best Man is to take the bachelor(s) out for their last night of big party freedom which is essentially what I am doing!

SECRET BEST MAN for life~!!

And then the following weekend they get married and the celebration of love, and life, and everything good continues.

I absolutely cannot wait.

Barbecues, and lovely weather, and the smell of the salt water ocean off the docks, and to be wandering around Commercial street talking to Beth about our shared Portuguese heritage and the heavy Portuguese roots in Provincetown, sipping our iced coffees (or hot coffees if it's chilly) and drinking at noon, oh, it'll be grand.

What, I axe you, could be better than this?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Let The Nail Biting Commence!

As of approximately, oh, 5 minutes ago I postmarked the entire Xeric application and sent it off to be reviewed.

Perhaps more importantly I ordered an advance copy of DUCK from which ought to be here in 5-7 business days. The actual book! Actually done! With a title page and a dedication and 115 glorious pages of art and story together at long last!

Let the trumpets blare! Let the horns sound! Rejoice, my friends in the tintinnabulation of the celebratory bells! I declare today, March the 23rd a national holiday. Ding Dong the wicked witch is dead. Long live Duck! Long live getting things done!

That felt good.

The application process is only just starting of course. The first step, beyond simply finishing the book and putting together the application package, was to get it all postmarked by March 31st. Since The Xeric Foundation is located in Northampton, MA the package I sent out today ought to arrive tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. So we've made it in under the wire.

Once the dummy book gets here and I give it the ole' stamp of approval I'll set up a link or something here from which you can purchase the book for yourself. Details to follow!

The review date is scheduled for May 1st and the winners will be notified by the middle of June.

From now to June feels like a lifetime away.

Although if I start thinking about my crazy race the month of April feels like it's slipping through my fingers at an alarming rate despite the fact that it hasn't even started yet!

As of this weekend we are supposed to have our mileage up to 8 miles on the long runs but all I've done so far is 6. 4 I can manage. 6 will become necessary. But it's going to be 8 miles in a row by this weekend.

I am afraid.
In other news, I went rollerskating! How fun is that? My cousin's friend threw herself a 30-something birthday party at a roller rink a few towns over. I discovered that she used to be an actual Derby Dame and that I might have seen her play (or skate, or whatever they call it) back when I used to go watch the Roller Derby (that one time).

Also, check out how funny their pseudo-names are: NAMES.

How clever!

In any case the application is done.

Signed, sealed and (almost) delivered.

If you'd like to send a congratulatory bottle of champagne my way, be my guest! All donations kindly accepted. And if you are looking for me tonight, chances are I'll be watching The Wire from the bottom of a wine glass beside the inimitable Katie C.


Monday, March 15, 2010

One Year Later

Osita. My new favorite friend.

The race wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Either physically or emotionally.

The sad news, of course, is that Erika and I broke up.
It was over a month ago and things have been rocky and incredibly sad but that's life.

I have done every race I have ever done (which before yesterday was a total of 4) with Erika. Every one. And more than that this was the anniversary of the very first race I ever did. You only get one first. (Although the same can be said for the second and third and fourth and so on...)

My updated Race Wall

In any case, the universe went ahead and decided that, since I was in such a melancholy state of being than everyone should also be in a sad (or at least uncomfortable) state of being as well and so it rained and rained and rained. All weekend. During the race and after the race and right on through until this morning. Torrential rain and sideways rain and fat droplets of rain; just rain, rain, rain.

But the race.
I was nervous.

Truth be told I had to swallow a few bites of banana and English muffin with peanut butter while my hands shook on the drive into the city. No coffee. A little water. How would I do? Who would I see? My belly did a flip flop.

The plan was to meet up with Meghan, see Chloe and the Reverend* (although he had been pub-crawling the night before and all bets were on him not getting out of bed) and Meg and I would line up to do the race together. I was plumb shocked when Meghan showed up sopping wet wearing split shorts and no pants at all. You have to understand. She is ALL legs. For my part I was layered up like a Christmas cake. Warm pants, under armor wicking shirt, green tee (for St. Patty's day!) a zippy jacket, a bandanna under a baseball hat with the hood over the top of the hat (the bandanna was there to keep my ears warm. It worked amazingly well.) But all Meg had was a rainjacket and the tiniest shorts you can imagine. No, even tinier than that. And then all legs all the way down to the ground and then shoes. New shoes even. Ones that didn't come with laces from what I hear.

We got into my truck and put on our numbers and warmed up a little. Chloe told me the hilarious tale of How She Got to Boston. Which included canceled flights, a rental car, a family that fought and a 5 year old named Alex, who kept her company all the way from New Jersey to Logan. It was quite a story. She hadn't slept but was all smiles, running on fumes.

Then, before I know it I am standing in the crowd, shoulder to shoulder with about two thousand people (Let it never be said that runner's are sissy's. Despite the horrendous weather it appeared that not ONE person stayed home. The road was as packed as it had been last year, maybe even more so!) The cheers go up from the crowd signaling the start of the race and as the people around us sort of bob and jog in place waiting for the leaders to get out in front and let those of us in the back get started Meg looks at me.

"Why are we just standing here?"
"It takes a minute to get started."
"But why aren't they running?" she stands tip-toe and looks at the mass of people glacially drifting into the race.
"Oh!" I say. "You've never been in the way back with the slow people," I laughed. "It always takes us a minute to get to the starting line. You can go," I say. "I'll see you at the finish line."
"You don't mind?" She looks really concerned for me and I'm touched. It's really sweet.
"Go! Go!" I say and she smiles and finds a path on the edge of the crowd and she's gone.

The rain actually helped.

I thought that my fingers would freeze that my eyes would be blind and that it would be slippery and nasty and terrible but it wasn't. It was almost nice. It certainly matched the mood I was in. My hat (A Red Sox hat with a shamrock, mind you) worked perfectly for keeping the rain out of my eyes. And my ears stayed warm under my hood and bandanna. My legs felt... if not strong exactly than capable at the very least. I had no injuries, no twanging knee or popping IT band, I just ran my race. There were people dressed up like Leprechauns, people running under trash bags and rain slickers. There was a guy dressed up as the Green Man (from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia). Just tons of people. All different sizes and shapes running together.

Races are neat.

My shoes stayed surprisingly dry until we reached the home stretch. A bike path made of a wide open corridor with a thick path of red brick up the middle. The brick path is uneven and there were puddles the size of lakes that everyone essentially was forced to stomp through. Just before that though there was horse-ish man who flat-foot-stomped his way past me spraying my whole left side with a wave of dirty water. Thanks, guy.

I finished at 30:49 official time.

It's slower than I did the race last year but I will blame the conditions. Both heartache and rain. I am still the slowest person I know but what can you do? Just run more. The silver lining in the clouds of course, is that running is something that you can always get better at just by doing more of it. What will my time be next year, I wonder.

We found our way to an Irish pub, had a free beer, then left to find ourselves a less-crowded lunch. The Reverend* high-fived his good-byes and that was that. We ate and drank and talked. I met up with Zee when she got out of work and we went over to play with a fluffy little Bernese Mountain Dog, 8 weeks old. It was a perfect puppy play-date with a brindle Boston Terrier, a mutt named "Kiko" of speckley, black and white lineage, and this fluffy little bundle of puppy-breathed joy. It was the perfect end to a rainy day.

So all in all a sad but sweet race day.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Osita! Not a stuffed animal but a REAL dog!

*He is not a Reverend in the sense you are thinking of, but rather the send away in the mail sort. Still, he is technically a Reverend

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Race is On!

The wall of Fame! Minus my Race for the Cure number.
Where did I put that?

Evidence that bib 920 actually exists.

The deadline doth approach. My application for the Xeric Grant has to be postmarked by March 31st and it is looking like we are going to make it right under the wire, if we make it at all. The final scene is about 14 pages long and with one addendum to a middle part of the story it'll be a much tighter story. But can we do it? Can I pencil and ink and scan and letter and edit and print almost 20 more pages in time to make the deadline?

The race is on.

Another race however, is off.

It's time I give up the ghost on doing the Boston Marathon this year. I don't want to run it bandit, I want to run with a number. And with some better planning next year I can find a way to do that.

In the meantime, I am supposed to be running the Ras Na hEireann (Race of Ireland) which is the one year anniversary of the very first race I ever ran. This year it is bittersweet. Mostly bitter, still working on the sweet. For one thing, it's the first race I'll be running alone. Erika and I have run all four races I have ever run, together. And although Meghan will be there and a smattering of other friends will be there they are all lightyears faster than I am.

It's better that I run it alone anyway.

If I run it at all.

I also have the Cape Relay Race coming up which is pure insanity as far as I am concerned. It's 202.7 miles, the distance between Quincy and Provincetown, and it'll be run by a full team of people of which I am one. And the one with the shortest leg(s) I might add. 12 people in 2 vans over 24 hours will run 202.7 miles all the way from Quincy Mass (past my house in Marshfield more or less!) all the way to PTown. Where, when we eventually make it, we'll party until we pass out. I may already be passed out, however.

Running is hard. Training is hard. But it can be done. I can do it.

One day at a time, baby, one day at a time.

But I have some pages calling out to me, so I gotta go.


(Also this is kind of funny. And political. Both things I like)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Teeny Wines

Today I have to go to Micheal's Crafts and get myself some colored markers. A girl is really hindered when the only colors she has are red (and the small tip end is all dried out!), light gray, cloud blue and some weird fleshy gray. Where's my green? Where my yellow? Primary colors? Secondary colors? And this is the first time I've doodled with a sharpie that I can think of.

I found this inking demo by the god of Hellblazer and Joe the Barbarian (not to mention my artistic dreams) artist Sean Gordon Murphy to be absolutely stunning. Watch what this man can do with straight up ink. No precious lines, no miniscule detail just perfect brilliant painting. The man is a pro. Really. He's the type of guy who makes you think your life is a complete waste, why are you bothering with art anyway? But, after a day of that, you hit the paper and the inks and try and learn something from him.

He just blows me away.

Duck and Cat didn't make it to Fenway park in this book but they will in the next one. Fo' sho'. And Duck probably tries to teach herself to ride a longboard. I found myself drawing them yesterday and it seems natural. (For her, not me. I'd bust my ass.)

Back to it.

And thank god it's Friday. I have had absolutely all I can stand of this week. Bring on the weekend. And do I have any vacation time coming up? I need to get the hell out of Dodge. Brazil's nice this time of year, isn't it?