Sunday, June 29, 2008

Not a complete failure

So the charity thing was sort of a mixed bag. I sold very little, but the books I gave for door prizes were one of the first things to be chosen (winners got to choose what prizes they wanted). Besides that, I got to see Star Wars re-enactors (is that the word for this?) wearing bowling shoes and throwing a few down the lane. By the way, Darth Vader bowled very few strikes, but he was picking up spares willy-nilly. I got to hang out with some very nice artist types and got a funny caricature of myself in the bargain. With the voluminous free time I had today, I made real headway on the Dalton proposal. And then to top it all off, I got to come home and have Oscar fall asleep on my shoulder. Good day.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Town and Country

I meant to write about this, but I forgot because I'm a big jerk.

I am taking part in a fund-raiser for the Marion/Polk counties Foster Parent Association. It's taking pace at Town and Country Lanes in Keizer, Oregon. The bowling and shoe rentals are cheap, there will be some other comics folks on hand, and A. C. Gilbert's Discovery Village is going to have some vintage comics artwork on display. It should be a hoot. If you're in the area, come by and say hi. And bowl.

Sunday, June 29
4 - 8 p.m.
Town and Country Lanes
3500 River Rd N
Keizer, OR 97303
(503) 390-2221

Monday, June 23, 2008

American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle

This is, to me, very exciting news. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has announced that it is commissioning a cycle of 37 plays which will explore various moments of American history. There are some major playwrights involved including David Henry Hwang, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Naomi Wallace. The first play will be staged at OSF's 75th anniversary season in 2010.

The number 37 is, as some of you may know, the agreed-upon number of plays in Shakespeare's canon -- it's a nod to the importance of his plays and especially his history plays. I hope, like Shakespeare, that the modern playwrights focus on characters rather than events, and don't feel they have to be slavish to "true" history.

Here's the press release about the program from OSF.

I thought my finding this news was interesting timing for me personally. I had been considering to reread all of the Shakespeare plays (something that took me years to accomplish the first time). This news and it's tenuous connection to Shakespeare was all it took me to decide to do it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The return of bullet points

It has been many, many days since last I wrote about the doings in Oscar's life. Let's roll:

•The boy now weighs in at 11 lbs., 13 oz. This measurement is several days old and I suspect he will shatter this number at his next weigh-in on Tuesday.

•We've had visitors a-plenty: Devon came and had dinner with us; Stephanie and Alex brought us some more baby clothes; Sean came by and made us brunch and spent the day' Michelle and Delaney Cheney got to meet the Sprout; Beth, Tess and Colm came in from La Grande; Oscar's great-aunt Barb visited from Reno; Lani flew in from San Francisco (by way of Portland); and, winning the distance traveled award: Kaly Soto came to us all the way from New York. Man, that's a lot of people who want a peek at the little one.

•We figured out that Oscar is allergic, slightly, to milk protein in Melissa's diet. Melissa is now completely diary-free. In a related topic: Ice cream made from rice is not so good.

•We've (or I've) successfully fed Oscar from a bottle several times. It's important that we master this before Melissa returns to work as she cannot leave her boobs behind when she leaves for the day. Believe me, I've asked.

•I celebrated my first Father's Day. Melissa and Oscar took me out to breakfast. And then they let me go to the movies. Fantastic.

•Oscar and I were interviewed for a radio show.

•We continue to be the social animals we were before Oscar's arrival,and he seems to enjoy, or at least not mind, all of our outings. The places we've been includes: Fox Blueprint, Sonic Burger, Ranch Records, the comics shop, the Wednesday and Saturday farmers markets, a birthday party, and various coffee shops. This is on top of our daily walks around the neighborhood. Oscar is extremely portable.

•On top of all of this, Oscar is still giving me time to write.

Stay tuned for further bulleted bulletins.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Studio 360

The piece for which I was interviewed is now up on the Studio 360 website. Oscar and I are at the very end, but listen to the whole thing.

In case you don't want to go to the site, what the heck, here's the audio for you:

Through radio trickery, I come off sounding halfway intelligent. I see another journalism award in someone's future.

An award-winning blast from the past

Back in November, I wrote about Jake Tenpas's feature article about me which he wrote for the Corvallis Gazette-Times. Well, Jake wrote to me this evening to let me know that that article garnered him an award from the Society of Professional Journalists in the art/art criticism category. Congratulations, Jake!

Any other journalists out there looking to win prestigious awards -- please form an orderly line and remember to have your wallets out as you approach.

Note: There's audio that goes along with this article. I'll post here as soon as I figure out how.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Radio Goo-Goo, Radio Gah-Gah

This is sort of fun.

As some of you know, I am an NPR junkie. When I'm not listening to a band over which I am obsessing (currently, The Thermals), then I'm listening to NPR. One of the shows I catch every week is Studio 360, hosted by Kurt Andersen. The show occasionally features a question to which they ask the audience to reply. Two weeks ago, the question was:

"If you had the skills or talent to switch jobs and your career -- right now -- to become a musician, painter, filmmaker, actor, singer, playwright or novelist, and you would earn at least as much money as you do now, would you do it?"

I responded that I had done just that -- quit my day job to concentrate on my writing. And on top of that, I would be taking care of my son, too. They called me just a couple of days later to do an initial interview and find out more of my story. The intern to whom I talked warned me that they were doing a lot of these interviews and they wouldn't necessarily be using my story -- or even contacting me again. I told her I understood. The very next day I got an email requesting to set up a time to be interviewed by Kurt Andersen.

Long story short, I'll be part of a story Studio 360 is producing based on responses from that query. I gave about fifteen minutes of interview over a couple of days, but we'll see how much makes it into the piece. However much they use, it's been a fun experience.

The episode will go live on their website on Friday. It airs on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on Sunday nights in our area. Here's a page where you can find when and where to listen to the show in your area.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Pooh hat

Pooh hat I Many new photos up on our flickr page. Some sort of text-based update in a day or two.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A minor victory

We gave Oscar a bath today and it was the first bath since his very first bath that he didn't cry. A thing like that really makes you think you've started to get this child rearing thing under control. And then you remember how it maybe took you three or four diapers to get his changed in the middle of the night because of the unexpected peeing and the projectile poop.

You take your victories where you can find them, I guess.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mill Race

I'm just back from my first music show in months and, despite Melissa having to nearly force me out the door, I'm so happy I went. One of my favorite bands, Mill Race, had a CD release show for their new EP. Only 25 of the CDs were pressed and of those, 13 sport hand painted back covers -- and the CDs themselves are hand-painted as well. I scored #2 of 25. Su-weet.

The show itself was fantastic. Salem has, what feels to me like, a small music scene. But for it's size, it is fierce and inventive and varied and loyal. There was a moment when the band launched into an audience favorite, In der Hand, and, as one, the audience closed its eyes, swayed its bodies and bobbed its heads. There was something transportive about that -- nearly magical or religious. And these moments seem to happen often at Mill Race shows with singer/songwriter/keyboardist/guitarist Julian Snow acting as shaman to the assembled crowd.

For years now, I've wanted to write a comic about a band, about people who make music -- and seeing a band like Mill Race perform always revives that feeling. I've never seriously started the project, however, because I know that I could never capture in a script or on the page, even a tiny sliver of the holy energy I feel surround me at a show. Maybe someday I'll be that good a writer, but not today.

For now, I'll just content myself with the knowledge that there will be more shows in the future where I can get close to that energy again.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

How's the writing going?

The plan, started just this week after a hiatus from writing, was that I would take two hours each day and get out of the house and write. So far it's worked like gangbusters. I'm working on the Gear School script, and it's just pouring out of me. Maybe it's being focused, maybe it's the awareness that what I am doing is for the family, or maybe it's me needing the money I'll be paid once I write the script I'm working on. There's some element of truth in the last two, I'm sure, but I think the first reason is the most likely. Writing, at the moment anyway, is a real joy.I'm looking forward to it each day, and am a little let down when it's time to stop. And I'm wondering what I'll work on once this script is done. That's always a good sign.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Los Lobos

I recently figured out that there is a minor treasure trove of videos (promotional and live performances) from one of my favorite bands on youtube. I spent some time last night and tonight dancing around with Oscar and singing along with Los Lobos, one of the best bands to come out of the L.A. music scene. I remember that as a young man, I was astonished to see a group of guys performing music that looked like me and my brothers and cousin. Of course, unlike me, they spoke fluent Spanish. But that didn't stop me from snatching up everything I could find by them. I even had ...And a Time to Dance on vinyl.

This video is from their album, By the Light of the Moon.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Catch-up, part deux

Let's see, what's happened since I last wrote that I might want to mention?

Oh, right, I got laid off. This was actually a pretty good thing all things considered. It means that I get to spend more time with Melissa and Oscar as I look for work. I can also devote a few hours each day to writing, which is what I've been doing (this last sentence for the benefit of any editor or artist to whom I might owe a script). All in all, I'm very happy with the current situation.

OK, let's get to the bullet points!

• As of last week, Oscar weighed 9 lbs, 13 oz., with all his clothes on. I'll update the weight again after tomorrow's clinic visit.

• Last week was my birthday (your gift must have gotten lost in the mail). Melissa managed to go to the store and bake me a cake while I was out for a little while. She is Superwife! She also got me some cool presents: Raising Arizona (one of my favorite movies) on DVD, the next volume in The Complete Peanuts, and the new Mates of State CD (to which I am currently listening). It was a good b-day.

• Lots of visitors! Oscar's great aunt, Pat; his grandpa, CB, and CB's girlfriend, Rebecca; our friend, and the man who officiated at our public wedding, Scott Hossner; and his grandma, Sue, and her friend, Cindy. Oscar is quite the social butterfly.

•I had my first solo outing with Oscar. We went to the grocery store and the hour passed in a state (for me) of abject terror, but without incident. Oscar was content to sleep through most of the trip.

• We went to a Memorial Day BBQ at the Blairs and hung out with (mostly) other new parents and their progeny.

• Oscar officially outgrew the newborn diapers and has moved on to the stage 1. He is working hard to fill these new, larger diapers.

• Saturday found us at the Saturday market where we ran into, seemingly, everyone we know that lives in Salem. It was fun showing off the Sprout to everyone.

• Finally, Vicki visited and, being an excellent guest, brought Blizzards from DQ with her. She is always welcome in our home.

There should be new photos up on the flickr page in the next day or two. And I promise to update more often. Honest.