Thursday, July 31, 2008

All Done

Today was the last day of the Bar. My hand is slightly numb and I am tired but I made it through. My good friend Aldo who has run a marathon and I agreed that today was eerily similar to mile 23 where you are pretty sure you are going to just fall over.

I am a big believer in good luck clothing so I was prepared. On every day I wore a shirt that belonged to Granddad in hopes that his knowledge would somehow seep into me. I also wore my favorite long sleeve shirt which is my 2002 patriots shirt from the wonderful Denver Culkins. I topped it all off with my warm Tulane sweatshirt that Dad bought me. Why so many clothes you ask? Well it is 100 degrees outside and about 45 degrees in the Alzafar Shriner Temple.

We took the bar in a large room that had an awesome disco ball in the center. The lobby was full of pictures of kids with scary clowns. I do however think that is is good luck for me to take the bar in a Shriner Temple since they did help me walk straight.

Jerry and I are going out tonight for margaritas and I am sleeping all day! Thanks for all the good thoughts.

Don't Ask Me Why

but this morning I was able to turn on my iBook using Neilson's battery. I don't know if this is a long-term development, so I immediately backed up everything that hadn't already been backed up. I am happy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Aidan

Belated but fun! Aidan's birthday was in April, but due to other family events, Floey and Joseph waited to have his birthday party in July. A great time was had by all, but especially by the birthday boy with his new camera.

Opening Presents ...

Taking pictures with new camera from Floey and Joseph

Blowing out candles

Three Cousins

Project Runway

I didn't see the second show of the season for the new crowd of designers on Project Runway until last night due to crappy cable in hotel (why is it always so bad- oh, I guess pay-per-view). I was sadly disappointed to see that the bad clothes on the first show were not a fluke- this group does not seem to be that talented.

I guess there is still time for things to pick up, but I noticed Tim Gunn is not saying his usual "You are the most talented group of designers yet." In fact, he looks pretty frustrated with this group- they are slackers as well as not-that-talented.

Photo on Fantagraphics site

Calvin uses a lot of my photos in PW Comics Week (look for panel mania). Eric Reynolds of indy publishing giant Fantagraphics linked to my picture of Love and Rockets creators Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert's daughter Natalia.

As a geeky comic book fan, I am really excited to be on the Fantagraphics site. As a favorite picture of the con! (Excuse the shameless self-promotion.) And did I say what a huge fan I am of Love and Rockets?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Bar

Hey everyone!
We found a great picture of Molly to represent the bar but the Mac here is not reponding. John thinks it is the connection to the computer was affected by a lighting strike we had two days ago. We have had problems connecting to the mac since then. We will be home tomorrow and post the picture then. Meanwhile thinks positive thoughts for Molly who will begin her three days of testing tomorrow. More posts tomorrow.

Comic-Con Wrap-up

Calvin and I are stuck in San Diego due to the weather in New York yesterday- at least that's what American Airlines tells us. Could be worse, it is pretty nice here. Anyway, it gives me a chance to post a few more pics.

I enjoyed this con, many favorite books were celebrated at the Eisner awards, and I found many new treasures (and tee-shirts). One thing, the tv and film panels are now so mobbed, you have to commit hours of waiting in line to attend them- and I am not willing to do this. Gone are the days when you could slip in a room and listen to David Cronenburg or Guillermo Del Toro for a few minutes before you went back on the floor to click a few cosplay photos.

Many many many more pictures on flickr

Not surprisingly, there were many Jokers at this con.

Comic-Con is tiring.

Kevin Pereira of G4's Attack of the Show. I am not a fan, but Calvin is, and their panel in the same room as Calvin's (which announced a new comics imprint coming from Abrams).

Reggie Hudlin of B.E.T.announcing 2 new animated series, Black Panther and Hannibal.

Steve Zeitchik of Hollywood Reporter and Calvin exchanging observations about the con.

Many of the PWCW team converged on Joe's Crab Shack right after the floor closed.

Poketo had great stuff and a much larger booth. I always stop here and bring my friends.

There were many military costumes this year.

Bags of Comic-Con

While many people debate whether Comic-Con is about Hollywood or comics, I know that at its core, Comic-Con is about BAGS! Fans will wait hours in line to get a Watchmen or Pushing Daisies bag, or of course a Viz bag (my favorite, the red one from several years back, is going for $50. on eBay).

There are plain old plastic bags.

A detail of one of the large plastic coated paper bags.

But people will fight over the cloth bag.

Warner Bros. had a new one every day.

Yes, a new Viz bag! Like the color?

Elvis and Audrey in the Tub

Here are the pictures of Elvis and Audrey in the tub and Audrey staring down Elvis in the tub. Also, a picture of the flowers my lovely neighbors Barbara and Duncan gave Elvis--although Audrey, who loves flowers, was the one who really appreciated them.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Computer Woes/Elvis Update

My iBook seems to have died. The battery life had been getting shorter and shorter, and the computer had taken to shutting off without warning, so I had just been using it when it was plugged in. On Friday, however, it shut off while plugged in, seemingly for good. I was hoping it was just the battery, but Neilson subbed in his battery from his old iBook and the computer still won't start. I am going to take it to the Apple Store, but my hopes are not high. I actually don't mind buying a new computer, as I had planned to buy one within the next 6 months anyway. My iBook is well over 3 years old, an eon in Mac years. But I keep hearing rumors that the new MacBook is going to be a complete redesign, and I don't want to spend $1000 on a computer that is instantly obsolete. Rumor has it that the there will be a release sometime in the fall, perhaps late September. Even if it isn't a major redesign, I don't want to buy in at the end of a Mac cycle. And since Dad gave me an external hard drive for Christmas, I have most things backed up. But I need a computer, especially as I start to gear up for the fall semester. Luckily, I am a pack rat. My old original iBook--the clamshell with the handle and neon colors--still works. It took a while to get the internet working, but I can check my e-mail and write on it, which is all I need for the short term. I don't think I can get an internet browser to work with the old operating system that will do everything I want it to--for instance, I can read Blogger blogs, but I can't post or comment. (I am writing this at the library). But it should work until Apple releases whatever they are going to release.

In Elvis news, he is doing a little better. He has staked out the bathtub, which is much preferable to the litter box. I made him a bed in there, and he has his own litter in there as well. He is eating a ton and has started drinking water again; I am getting a little better at the IV, but he is getting stronger so it is still pretty hard. He feels more comfortable and has been very chatty and social when ever I go into see him. Poor Audrey, though. The bathtub has always been her turf, since the day them moved in (8 years ago last week). I have some funny pictures of her staring at him and jumping in the tub with him; if I can load them onto my old/new computer, I will post them.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


So the debris pile, fondly nicknamed Dollywood, is mostly complete, although we did add quite a bit after these pictures. At this size, however, what we added doesn't really show up on camera. It only took about 26 hours of work spread over 3 days, but only about 2 of those hours were in the last day, today. The power came back on this morning and Matt and I, being a little overcooked from the last week, took most of the day off. More pictures and a full account to come later, but we thought these fit the current theme best.
Our pile stretches across the whole yard right next to the street and is about 6 feet tall.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oswego cellar cleanup

As you can see from the photo much trash has been removed from the cellar. Many papers mostly old checks and financial records have been shredded. You are now able to walk around the rooms in the cellar and they are somewhat organized. This was accomplished with John's help and Bikram Yoga Oswego at 150 W 3rd St. Sandy continues to be a fabulous instructor. The classes are at different times than before. MWF 7:00 9:00 5:30 TT 4:00 Sat 9:00. I have really enjoyed going and I have improved. HarborFest is in full swing so hopefully more photos of that tomorrow.

tales of trash


Kym and Matt held the house together with nerve and perseverance. The wind tubans blew off the house early in the storm and the water poured into the living room. Kym told me the doors in the car port no longer lock due to 10 hours of severe shaking by the heavy winds and the front bedroom is full of water which came in the windows. We were planning on replacing the windows a little at a time but now we will have to replace at least several of them. John did get a generator ordered and Kym and Matt had to brave the flooded roads to go and pick it up but it has helped some. Kym reported to me that as usual the Necks have the biggest debris pile in the neighborhood. We also may have the most trees. or at least did have the most trees. Kym and Matt are my heros at the present time. They really took care of us. Kym said that it is possible that the electricity may not be back on until after we return home next Tuesday. She will post when she has internet access and tell her tale of Hurricane Dolly.

Comic-Con 08

Comic-Con, as always, is fabulous, as well as a little bit exhausting. Highlights for me so far are Will Wright, the designer of Spore (he is the creator of the Sims, too.) I don't think I can get this game, making art work will be over for ever. I won't be able to tear myself away to eat, sleep or go to work. Chip Kidd had a great presentation on Bat-Manga, a book he is working on that shows the Japanese interpretation of Batman in the '60s.

Lots of fans, great costumes. The hallway in our hotel, which used to be a bank, looks like the hallway in Barton Fink. Hopefully there will be no catastrophic incidents.

Will Wright

The Dharma Iniative had a presence on the floor.

Yes, I saw Ari from Entourage! Gerard Butler was also signing, but I couldn't get a picture

Calvin forgot his charger, but the Sprint store was just a block away.

Ev from Viz Media. She is the Queen of Swag.


Kym and Matt were in Laguna Vista at Bets and John's house when the hurricane hit, it looks like the eye went right over the house. When I spoke to Bets this morning, the power was out, there was some damage to the house and a couple of trees down in the yard, but they were otherwise ok. I hope they get some power (and air conditioning) very soon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Elvis update

I have heard there is some desire for an Elvis update. It is kind of a two steps forward, one step back situation. On the plus side, he is eating a lot, using the litter box (which I am sure you are thrilled to learn), often being interactive and social, and, as of today, walking around the apartment a little and even lying in the middle of the apartment floor for awhile. (He has been sequestering himself on the bottom bookshelf since I got back, moving only to use the litter I set up next to the shelf). The bad news is after walking around the apartment, he goes and lies down in the litter box in the bathroom, which was what he was doing last week and which the vet said was a sign of a kitty being pretty sick. He first moved back to the litter box sometime last night--when I woke up, it took me a while to find him, which freaked me out. I took him back to the vet first thing this morning. He did not seem as concerned about the litter box behavior as I feared he would be--Elvis's vitals were all much better than last week and he seemed well hydrated. The poor kitty had to have a catheter inserted for a "sample," which he was not happy about; the results were that his urine was in good shape--no sugar, no blood, very acidic, which is apparently as it should be. I need to keep giving him a daily IV--I'm getting a little better at it, although as Elvis gets stronger, he is more resistant. (I still feel a little sick to my stomach each time I see the needle). So I really don't know what all this means, although he at least seems more comfortable, even when sitting in the litter.

I have since moved the books and the rock to make more room for Elvis.

Neilson giving Elvis his IV. Note use of antique art deco lamp as hanger for IV bag.

Blogs O Friends

My friend Sarah is blogging about her "Green Zone" gardening project in Providence this summer. The Green Zone is "an organic vegetable, herb, and flower garden installation located at Firehouse 13 in Providence, RI for the summer of 2008. It is planted in the detritus of wartime consumption: used tires, shopping bags, shoes, and other repurposed containers. The Green Zone blog will provide updates on Green Zone and survey civilian wartime gardens, edible landscapes, community gardens, and the like." She started at the beginning of July, and so far it has been really interesting.

My friend Jen is the writer behind Book Club Girl. She works for Harper Collins, but blogs about new books from all publishing houses, as well as giving book club tips and updates about movie and tv adaptions of classic novels. There are regular opportunities to win free books, as well, and she hosts an online radio show with an author regularly. I've won two books this year already.

Neilson has returned to work on his NYC restaurant review database, Gaping Maw, after putting it aside to work on his thesis. Contributions are welcome! ETA--I meant contributions of reviews, not dollars!

Video about Anti-Immigration Groups

Here is a video that John showed me when he was in New York with background on some of the anti-immigration groups.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bets and John in NY

Bets and John came to the Big Apple for a whirlwind visit. Much tasty food was prepared and eaten, even though it seemed to be about 110 degrees in my apartment. John is now an expert on food shopping on the Lower East Side (and the Union Square Farmer's Market). We also went to the Met, looked at a historical photography show and visited the roof garden. Kate came by for dinner Saturday night- we had a 6 or 7 course meal- I forgot to take pictures. As I said, it was hot.

I also tried to convert Bets to the cult of Wii Fit. She excelled, particularly at Wii yoga and strength training.

Dr. Horrible

For all the Buffy, Angel, Firefly fans out there Joss Whedon has done it again. During the strike he made an awesome three act musical short all about Dr. Horrible and his nemesis Captain Hammer. Neil Patrick Harris is Dr. Horrible and he does not disappoint. After today it will no longer be free so watch it today and often.

If you need a silly summer break I highly recommend Mama Mia, I saw it on Friday after a brutal day of studying and it was hilarious.

Friday, July 18, 2008

James Marguerite and Crosby at Max Fish

Our friends James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook have a show up with their son Crosby at Lower East Side Bar Max Fish. James and Marguerite are artists who are also involved in comics. It is not exaggerating to say they are legendary figures on the Lower East Side, as artists, activists and gallerists. Also, they are recent graduates of BMCC! Both transferred to Columbia where they are studying now, Marguerite just won a poetry prize and scholarship. Crosby is an MC as well as an artist, I have never heard him perform, but Calvin assures me he rocks.

Here is a link to their book of maps of the neighborhood.

Distressing Elvis news

Poor Elvis is quite sick. I found a lump on him a few months ago, and was told it was nothing. But a week or so ago, I realized it had suddenly started to grow at alarming rate. I took him to the vet and was told it was probably cancer. The vet wanted to wait for test results to make sure an older cat like Elvis could handle surgery. The timing was horrible. It was Thursday, and I was supposed to leave on Sunday to go to a workshop in Concord, Mass., to study the Transcendentalists. As the tests wouldn't be back until Monday, and the vet seemed to think it would be ok to wait a week for the surgery, I decided to go. Elvis at this point was acting completely normal--eating, drinking, batting me in the middle of the night for an extra snack. Neilson was put on cat watch duty. On Monday I spoke to the vet, who said Elvis might have diabetes, and his urine would need to be tested. So Neilson was set on monitoring the litter box. But Elvis wouldn't produce and suddenly on Wednesday evening started to act very odd and sick. Neilson was at the vet first thing Thursday morning. The immediate problem that Elvis was very dehydrated--Neilson had to learn how to put in kitty iv and give him one yesterday afternoon. I decided to come back from Concord (luckily it was run by real pet lovers, and most of the critical events had taken place). Elvis seems better than he did Wednesday, but still far from normal. The vet told me he was a "real sick kitty" and doesn't really know what is wrong with him. So keep in him in your thoughts.

Elvis in healthier days.

P.S. With the exception of my distress over Elvis, the Concord workshop was wonderful. I'll post pictures, details, etc., soon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Project Runway

I have been so consumed with studying that I totally forgot that Project Runway Season 5 started last night. I didn't realize until I looked at the DVR and saw the little red light showing it was recording. I asked Jerry what it was recording and he casually said, "OH Project Runway started tonight." Thank goodness for DVRs.

I must say that I was not impressed with the designers. How could they all be so dumb and use a tablecloth. Some of them genuinely seemed surprised that other designers had picked a table cloth. Also had Stella never purchased a trash bag, why didn't she know that cheap trash bags wouldn't work.

I must admit that I was most excited about the return of the great commentary of the boys at Project Rungay. As always they didn't disappoint. At least I have a few things to look forward to in the next week and a half besides studying.

Monday, July 14, 2008

New Yorker cover in the News (again)

What does everyone think of the New Yorker cover of the Obamas?

Our Amazing Jane

We all know how amazing Jane is. Ever since she was three and was protecting the slugs in Grandma's garden she has been looking out for the enviornment and all of us. Finally others are recognizing the awesomeness that is Jane. This article was in the July 3rd Rocky Mountain News and Jane, being ever humble didn't post it herself so I am bragging for her.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oswego Pics

Yes, even more Oswego photos.

Farmer's market

Kid's choir at Farmer's market.

Bridge construction


Oswego in July

We are back in New York after our upstate tour. Unfortunately we missed hot yoga- Sandy has different hours in the summer and I foolishly didn't call her to check. I got up at seven and started drinking water for nothing- we got there fifteen minutes late rather than fifteen minutes early.

Other than that, Oswego was great. We visited the bookstore several times, bought vegetables at the farmer's market, I took pictures of items in the house, and we had a little dinner party. (Wii Fit is perfect for the tv room, in case anyone else wants to travel with their console and balance board.)

Bill Reilly at the River's End Bookstore, which is surviving the temporary closure of the bridge.

Calvin waiting for his sandwich at the Roscoe Diner.

Tasty ginger and lime cocktail at Sunita's bar. We stopped by after arriving back in NY. Sunita lives upstairs with her daughters over this tiny bar on Norfolk Street close to our house. She is lovely and makes very delicious cocktails

Wheels on the Bus...

Anders spent the night with us Friday. he's playing in the backyard pool, aka "car wash", in this clip and there are more Flickr pics here. A good time was had by all!

Mica and John

As many of you know two of my very best friends are currently living in Belize working with the Peace Corps. Mica and John have a great blog with wonderful pictures and descriptions of life in Punto Gorda.

Mica is a regular reader of Red Peonies, as Sarah found out at my wedding when Mica knew everything about Anders. I encourage you to take a look at their experience it is pretty cool and their pictures are amazing.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Road Trip

Calvin and I have been motoring through New York State since Monday- it feels very 19th century. We visited friends in the Catskills, now we are in Oswego.

First we visited Jim and Tiffany and adorable Marlo.

Next Laura and Eric and adorable Leon.

The seagulls at the stands were particularly aggressive today. Calvin was divebombed. Can't tell from these pictures, though he is huddling protectively over his food.