Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not Much To Say...

...lately. Things are moving along as usual. The in-laws left on Tuesday so life is slowly returning to normal...or at least normal for us. It's been unusually chilly of late making me wonder if we're going to even have a decent summer this year. I'm not complaining. I remember summers in the southland.
I am dropping off the art for my next show on Sunday. The opening is the following Saturday. Then I have to get ready for the next show which will begin to go up on August 18th or before. I need to find time to do some new stuff. I am trying to transition from collaging on mat board to canvas. We'll see if I'm successful.
The band has a bunch of gigs coming up. We're having to split our focus since we're helping with worship at our church which doubles our workload in having to learn new songs. We're also contemplating changing the name of the band. That'll be tough because the name we have now...Midlife so cool. But there's a band in CA that has the same name and if we want a future web just makes sense to change it now rather than later. So, if you have any suggestions for a group of middle age guys playing rock and roll, let me know.
That's about all that happening right now. I think that's enough really. Hopefully I'll come up with something to rant and rave about in the next few days. Otherwise you're stuck with my geeky movie and book reviews.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Fourth World Omnibus Volume 2 by Jack Kirby
I got too ambitious and checked Volumes 2 thru 4 out of the library. I'm going to have to take 3 and 4 back and get them out later. I just didn't have time to get to them all. The story is a bit cheesy so it's hard to take in large chunks. The art, however, is pretty magnificent. His people always look a bit quirky but his monsters, aliens and mutants are great. And nobody draws alien technology like Kirby did.
I don't know why I've been on a comic book kick lately. Just have.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Hardly Know What Day It Is

This has been a busy couple of weeks for me. It has been a miasma of band practices, leading worship, gigs at banks, lots to do at work, and a visit from the in-laws. I also have an art show coming up in August that I need to prepare for. I don't know when that's going to happen. Not to mention trying to remember to take all my various medicines and such during the day. I'm tired and I won't have a real day off until August 4th. I really hope Sarah and I can swing a mini-vacation in the fall. We'll need it by then.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Pharmacy is Open

Went to the doc yesterday about my sinus trouble. Turns out I do not have a sinus infection. She suspects I'm just having severe allergy reactions. I am congested, I have fluid on my ears and the inside of my nose is inflamed. I was given a new allergy medicine to try, steroids to shoot up my nose in spray form, drops for my ears, and a new medicine I wanted to try for my heartburn/GERD issues. The spray (for the nose) usually takes a few days before you notice the effects. So far, the new heartburn meds are doing great for gas but not so much for heartburn. I think I'll have to email the doc about that one or I might give my Uncle Terry a call. He's a pharmacist and knows his stuff.
On other fronts, I was congratulated by my doc for having lost weight, changed the way I eat, and using a Neti Pot for my sinuses. If we can get my gut and sinus issues situated I'll be in great shape. The only other issue we had to deal with was my ears. My left ear had tons of wax buildup (which I knew and couldn't get out myself) and my right ear has fluid built up. The doc tried to pull the wax out herself but it was so painful. I don't know what she was pulling with but it felt like she was sucking my brains out thru a straw. A nurse ended up flushing my ear and out it came. At least that ear feels better. The fluid will hopefully go away as the medicines take effect. We'll see.
It was pretty funny when the nurse came in to flush my ear. As she walked in the door, she dropped one of the trays and it bounced over and hit me on the leg. I told her if she was trying to jar the wax loose she'd have to go higher. After I gave her a hard time about that she loosened up and we joked thru the whole procedure. As I was leaving she was looking for my paperwork and asked if my name was Vicki. I said, "Do I look like a Vicki to you?" She said you never know. I told her to look for Robert. She found the paperwork and then I told her my middle name was Vicki. She had had a bad day so I was glad I was able to make her laugh. Apparently they had all had a bad day. I heard that they had to send many folks to the hospital that day and that other people who had to wait were getting angry. I'm so glad I don't work in the medical profession.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
"In 1973, a 14-year-old girl named Susie Salmon is raped, murdered, and dismembered by a neighbor. Over the next few years she watches from a personalized heaven as her family and friends deal with their grief. She sometimes becomes angry and frustrated from the choices her family makes while looking over them."*
I really liked this book. I had heard it compared to To Kill A Mockingbird. Well, it's nowhere near as good as Mockingbird but it does tell a coming-of-age story that rings similar to it at times. I guess if I were to mention one negative it would be that it seemed too ethereal to me. Granted, the main character is a ghost/spirit throughout most of the book. Perhaps the author meant for there to be a contrast between her spirit world and her interaction with the real world. It works for the most part. It just got to be too much a couple of times. It distracted me from the story and that's a no-no.
The story is very engaging. You really invest yourself in the characters. Going into the book I knew Susie would be killed but I didn't want it to happen. I wanted her to escape death somehow. And from that point on, everything that happens to her family affected me. I was pulling for them...hoping everything would turn out alright. And as for Susie's murderer, you can't wait for him to get his comeuppance. Does he? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Better Batman

The Dark Knight

Warning: Spoilers!
Sarah and I couldn't resist the hype so we hit the 3:30 matinee yesterday to see The Dark Knight. I enjoyed the movie very much. I was riveted to my seat (and I had to use the bathroom real bad) until the very end. Did the movie live up to the hype? No. Here's why.
I am not a fan of the first film Batman Begins. All the problems I have with it are based on my biases. Sue me. I can't help it. I hated the whole Ra's Al Ghul storyline. I hated Katie Holmes. I hated the way they portrayed Scarecrow. They didn't give Gary Oldman anything to do which is a crime. I saw it twice before rendering my final judgement. For me, it just wasn't Batman. It was closer but it just wasn't there.
I was, however, happy at the prospect of having the Joker in the next one but I worried about who they would cast. Eventually they cast Heath Ledger and I was like, "What?" Sorry. I didn't agree with the choice. Then they started showing us pictures of Heath in his Joker attire. Sorry but no. That's not the Joker. Even Jack Nicholson didn't have the look down pat. Maybe back in his One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest skinny body but not chubby Jack. Are you sensing that I'm opinionated about it. You betcha!
For me, up until recently, the best Joker interpretation in a comic was in The Laughing Fish storyline by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers. Recently I have read The Killing Joke and have revised my opinion. Joke is first with Laughing Fish a close second. So, needless to say, I am skeptical from the beginning. But I still give it a chance.
It's a very good movie. The story is captivating and dark. BUT...
- It's too long. They should have tightened it up.
- Maggie Gyllenhaal was better than Holmes but the character still left me cold. I didn't care when she died. I was actually glad of it.
- Michael Caine as Alfred. Give the man something to do.
- Ledger as the Joker was good. I enjoyed his performance more than I thought I would. Oscar-worthy? Nope. Did I get sold on the look? Nope.
- Batman's costume sucked. It's worse than Clooney's nippled job. C'mon people!
- What's with the whole Clint Eastwood with the flu Batman voice. Over the top.
Okay, that's enough negative. How about some positive.
- They finally gave Gary Oldman something to do. Bravo! Love that man!
- Eckhart as Two-Face was pretty good and they got the look right.
- Morgan Freeman could read the phone book and be captivating.
Okay, so I thought I had more positive. Sorry. So, in the end, I enjoyed the movie but it was still nowhere near what I think a Batman movie should be. One day I hope they get it right. I'll be waiting.

Black-Eyed Sarah

My wife has a shiner...and I had nothing to do with it!
Friday night while I was at CHURCH practicing for Sunday morning's WORSHIP, my wife was apparently enjoying strawberry margueritas at a work-related dinner. A co-worker brought her home and as she got out of the vehicle, she turned to speak to the person and - WHAMMO - she clocked herself on the door frame of the car. I don't know if having her sunglasses on helped or hurt the situation. It's a beaut! The pic doesn't do it justice. It's got all the colors of the rainbow...if the rainbow was a sickly yellowish bruise color.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Anybody Remember These Guys?

Dread Zeppelin does the Immigrant Song. Awesome!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Would Jesus Glue?

We just returned from my opening at Bouncing Wall in Upper Queen Anne. Many of our friends stopped by, looked at art, nibbled yummies and just visited. It was a fun event. The shop is little so we pretty much filled the place up. A couple of times I saw people want to come in but they thought better of it and moved on. Quite a few new folks stopped by and I got a chance to chat briefly with them. I'm hoping I have some new fans to spread the word. I saw a number of my prints being purchased so that's a good thing. I hope she sells out and we have to order more. That would be great! All in all, a successful opening. Big thanks to Kim who owns and operates Bouncing Wall for this opportunity.
Sarah and I hope to return to that neighborhood (voted Seattle's top 'hood by Seattle Mag) for some exploration time. We've yet to hit all the major 'hoods around Seattle. We've done a few but not all. Before the show we ate at the Thai Kitchen. Good stuff. I think my body is reacting badly to the peanut sauce but it was still a good meal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

King of All Media

My friend Phyllis handed me this article at church last Sunday. If you look real close you'll see me standing left of center. This was taken back in May at the Wallingford Art Walk.
Man, in the last few months I've been in the paper, on the radio and the internet. I suppose if I were to conquer television and film I could be the King of All Media.
I can dream, can't I?

Art News

I got another show lined up for 2009. It will be in March at the Phinney Center Gallery here in Greenwood.
I have been chosen as a featured artist for July thru September at The Levee Breaking.
And last but not least, my show at Bouncing Wall begins tomorrow night with a reception from 6 - 8 pm. Come on out and say hello if you have the time and the gas.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Prayer Request

For those of you who pray, I'd like to ask you to pray for Nick, Violet and baby Roland Haddow. Roland was born premature on Sunday morning and Violet is having extremely high blood pressure problems. I understand that Nick is very down and worried. Sarah went by just a while ago to see her but she is not allowed visitors at this time.


Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
"Watchmen is set in 1985, in an alternative history United States where costumed adventurers are real and the country is edging closer to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. It tells the story of a group of past and present superheroes and the events surrounding the mysterious murder of one of their own. Watchmen depicts superheroes as real people who must confront ethical and personal issues, who struggle with neuroses and failings, and who - with one notable exception - lack anything recognizable as super powers."*
Believe it or not, I had never read this before. I tried to read it one time and couldn't get into it. Someone told me to try I did. While it's not the greatest comic I've ever read, it is pretty interesting and different. I think one of the reasons it was hard for me to get into it was the art. While Dave Gibbons is a very talented artist, his style is not one that rings my chimes when it comes to comic art. Part of the reason I read it was so I could be ready for the movie version that's coming out next year.

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
A one-shot comic featuring an alternate origin story for the Joker.
Here's another one I've never read but knew about it. This is the first time I've been able to track down a copy without having to buy it. This book is pretty amazing. Brian Bolland is an incredible artist. I've been a fan of his since his Judge Dredd and Camelot 3000 days. The story is pretty grim but creates a sympathy for the Joker that hadn't really existed before. The comic is legendary and is regarded as perhaps the best Joker story ever told. I would have to agree but I would rank The Laughing Fish by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers up there too. I understand that Christopher Nolan provided Heath Ledger with a copy of this comic to consider for his interpretation of the Joker. Too bad they didn't go with the look as well. This comic clearly illustrates what the Joker should look like.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

I enjoyed HBII. It was a lot of fun and it's visually stunning. There's a lot to see and be impressed with in this movie. The problem (and it's perhaps the only problem) is the script. The story is too straight forward. No twists, no turns just a bulldoze your way ahead to the end story. With a better script, HBII could have been the best flick of the year.
I love the characters. HB and his cohorts are the most lovable bunch of freaks you'll find this side of the Addams Family. They let Doug Jones (as Abe Sapien) use his own voice this time. Why they dubbed in David Hyde-Pierce in the first one I'll never know. Doug also plays a couple of other characters in the movie as well. Selma Blair is perfect as Liz, HB's gothish pyrokinetic girlfriend. I'm not sure why her fire is regular color now. (it was blue in the last film) I hate continuity problems. Ron Perlman is pitch perfect as HB. He is HB, 'nuff said. I venture to say if Ron wasn't around who would play the monsters with a heart of gold that he's so good at portraying. He's underrated...that's all there is to it.
Last but not least I must talk about the visuals. Holy crap! Good stuff. And not as much CGI as I thought. There were many creatures that were done physically thru animatronics and such. Amazing stuff. I want to be a sketch artist for Del Toro so I can sit around all day creating creatures. What a job that would be.
Once again, Del Toro proves he's the man. I just hope his future projects have stronger scripts. That's my only beef with HB. Because of that, I have to rank it a little below Iron Man. But it should have been at the top.

Vanilla Life

Life of late seems a bit too vanilla. Perhaps that's why Sarah and I (mostly me I think) nearly devoured a whole bag of almond M&M's a the movie last night. I had been craving chocolate all week.
No, what I mean is that life seems plain of late. Vanilla plain. Lacking zest. It's like I'm trapped in vanilla world and all the other flavors are out of reach. How do I reach that other land where diversity exists? How do I find the people who want to try the chocolate and cinnamon and raspberry?
I have a big bowl of vanilla ice cream and it needs some sprinkles. It needs a big dollop of chocolate sauce. It needs to be turned into a banana split.
Save me from this vanilla life.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More Frustration

Today, I picked up the bulk of my art that has been on display for the past month in West Seattle. I found out that not a single piece sold. Out of the whole show of three artists, only one piece sold total. The economy may be hurting you but it's killing us artists. If it's between filling our bellies and the gas tank or buying art, art loses every time.
I don't make art to make money. Money would be a very cool thing and I welcome it with open wallet but it's not why I make the art. Sometimes I get a bit discouraged when I get news like today. I start to doubt myself and wonder if I'm any good. But I know I am. I have confidence in my talent. And I've had good feedback from folks whose opinions I trust about art. So, I have to keep my focus on the art and not get swept away by the business. Business will kill creativity if you let it.
I have a new show going up next week. Cross your fingers that some folks with disposable income happen to see and love my art. A few sales would help me buy some much needed supplies.

This Made Me Laugh!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Week of Frustration

And it's only Tuesday.
Gah! Yesterday I tried to prep some frames for my upcoming art show but they didn't work out. Luckily I was able to return most of them. So, now I have to pull some old images out of some frames to make room for new. That feels like going backwards to me and I don't like it. But that's what's got to happen to make it work.
I used to buy my frames at IKEA. It seems they are discontinuing them. Smart move. 8X10 black frames are so unpopular. As a result I am going to start doing my collages on 5X7 canvas from now on. That way I don't have to worry about buying frames. Meanwhile, I'll still have a few collages done the old way that I'll have to find frames for.
Today found me attempting to hang 8 framed Norman Rockwell lithographs at the theatre. We had to get special hardware that secures them to the wall (for insurance purposes). Someone donated them to the theatre and they are to be auctioned off. We've made a special place for them in the upper lobby. Well, I'm here to tell you, I am an artist but that doesn't mean I know anything about hanging art. I'm the one that makes it and lets other people hang it. Those security hangers are a booger to use. I managed to get 5 hung today. I have to tackle the other 3 in the morning. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it but I hope this doesn't become a habit. Like I said before, I prefer making the art over hanging it.
Oh, and did I mention that Big River opens on Friday and I also have all my regular work of getting the theatre ready for opening. And getting ready for the art show which includes wandering all over Seattle retrieving all the work that has been in previous shows. And...
I think I'll stop now. It makes my brain hurt.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Graffiti in Seattle

Graffiti has become a big problem in Seattle of late. And it's not the good kind of graffiti. Don't know the difference between good and bad? Well, it's all a matter of personal opinion anyway but some graffiti artists are superb artists and their graffiti is beautiful stuff to behold. Unfortunately Seattle doesn't seem to have any Michelangelo's of street art. All the good stuff is hanging in the urban galleries around town. No, the taggers that are bombing our streets are basically less talented than a kindergartener with color blindness. It's total vandalism no question. Our neighborhood especially (Greenwood) has been getting nuked of late. The McDonald's that shut down recently (Yay!) is now covered with tags (Boo!). I just read an article about Seattle Sound Transit putting one of their new trains on display and it got bombed. (they didn't include a pic in the article) The funny thing is that someone called them before that and said you shouldn't put that out there, it's gonna get bombed. They blew off the warning, said they had 24 hour security and guess what? They got bombed! SIGH! The only thing worse than crappy taggers is cocky transit people.
What is Seattle gonna do about it all? I have no clue. Maybe if they had some artists paint some planned murals or even planned graffiti on some popular tag spots it might curb some of the bombing. Taggers usually respect public art and leave it alone.
Here's an article from the Seattle PI about the situation.

Low Tide

The Seattle area is experiencing extremely low tides at this time. It's a great time to explore the beach. I went out this afternoon, camera in hand, and had a great time. I spent about 3 hours wandering around Golden Gardens and Carkeek Park. It was my first time seeing starfish, anemones and sea cucumbers in their natural habitat. There were naturalists from the Seattle Aquarium at the parks today to assist people in their nature watch (and to protect the wildlife from idiots no doubt). I heard one naturalist tell a little girl as I walked by, "This is like a forest of cool stuff when the tide comes in." I couldn't have said it better myself. Another funny sight was two little dogs who thought they could get the best of a heron. I think if it wanted to, that heron could have had doggie skewers. But it just flew away from the yapping beasts. I had a really great time. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Sarah was there to share it with. She's working today. Bummer. She says she has to work tomorrow. The tides are low tomorrow. I was hoping to take her out to see all the cool stuff. We'll see.
I've posted a couple of pics here but if you want to see more, head over to my photo site.


This is a photo of my Papa. (pronounced paw-paw) It was taken of him while he was on a break at work at the L&N Railroad yards in the late 60's or early 70's by a photographer I can't identify. The photo was in the newspaper and won an award. It's a fantastic photo to be sure and it captures the type of man my Papa was brilliantly.
I don't know much about my Papa. He was a very quiet man and not openly affectionate. He liked his beer and cigarettes and apparently also drank a little whiskey which he kept hidden in his bedroom. When he spoke, it was sometimes laced with obscenities. I remember my Nana telling us that one of the ministers from our church came over to visit Papa one day. Papa didn't attend church but church folk were good about coming to see him on occasion. As the two men sat at the kitchen table and visited, my Nana, seated in her chair in the living room, heard Papa using too many questionable words so she rebuked him saying something like, "Clyde, that's a minister you're talking to." My Papa replied, "Oh hell, I know who he is!"
I don't remember much about my Papa but I do have a few very vivid memories. I can remember what it felt like to be kissed by him. His rough skin and stubble hurt my skin but I cherish the memory all the same. I used to love to watch my Papa shave. He would bring an old pan of hot water, a mirror and his shaving kit to the kitchen table to do it. He used an old shaving brush (which I have) to lather the soap and apply it to his face. I also remember going to Pete Clark's old store in Papa's old car. (don't remember what it was) Papa drove like a bat out of hell and I guess that was thrilling to a young kid at the time. Whenever Nana and Papa went anywhere together, Nana drove the white Chevy Biscayne. My dad told me this about Papa when we were home in April. In the late 60's my dad was transferred from the Pensacola Naval Air Station to the air station in Warner Robbins, GA. Dad says when we pulled away in the moving van it's one of the only times he ever saw my Papa cry. Also while home in April I got to read some of Papa's old letters to his first wife. The handwriting was beautiful and although mushy, the declarations of love were eloquent. I was stunned (as were some of my cousins) that the Papa we knew had written these letters in his early 20's. His first wife was killed in an automobile accident and apparently he was quite bitter about it. Mom says he was angry that she left him. When Nana died I think he died with her. He lived on for another 10 years or so but he hardly ever left the house, ate little and just withered away into nothing.
So, there's just a little bit of history about my Papa. I don't know much. Our family is so private about things. But my parents have been giving me the old family photos to scan and save so I'll try to share what I know as I get to them.

Cat Nap

We wish our cat Mickey would learn to relax.

Life Rolls On

Well, it's been all book and movie reviews from me lately. I just haven't been inspired to write about anything. Life continues to roll on but nothing has happened to give me pause to rant or reflect. Is this good or bad? I don't know.
I do have an art show coming up in a couple of weeks and that means this week I've got to kick it in to gear and get ready. I've got frames to paint, art to frame and mat, prints to order, art to pick up from this venue, art to switch out at that venue, etcetera, ad infinitum. I would also love to get a couple more new pieces finished for the show. I'm excited about this show...not sure why. I hope the reception draws a good crowd. I think the title of the show, "What Would Jesus Glue," is a draw. If I saw that on a postcard I'd be curious. Wouldn't you?

Friday, July 04, 2008


Fourth World Omnibus Volume 1 by Jack Kirby

After co-creating comic book heroes including The FantasticFour and The Hulk, legendary writer/artist Jack Kirby came to DC Comics in 1970 to write and illustrate four interlocking series known collectively as "The Fourth World." Now, for the first time, DC collects these four series -- THE NEW GODS, THEFOREVER PEOPLE, MISTER MIRACLE and SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN -- in chronological order as they originally appeared. These comics spanned galaxies, from the streets of Metropolis to the far-flung worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips, as cosmic-powered heroes and villains struggled for supremacy. Volume 1 features the debuts of Orion of the New Gods, the evil Darkseid, super-escape artist Mister Miracle and many others. It also features numerous appearances by Superman.
I never read these comics when they first appeared. Heck, it was 1970 and I was only 8 years old. I didn't read any comics on a regular basis at that time. I do remember either my mom or day would take me to get a comic after a visit to the barber. (or was it the dentist...I can't remember) Anywho, didn't read these. Besides, I was a Marvel guy back then. Still am. But that doesn't diminish the impact of these books on the comics world. So, I'm catching up. I can't say that Jack Kirby was an accomplished writer. This stuff is pretty cheesy. But the scope of the project and the art are epic. I don't know whose idea it was to start publishing old comics in hardback form but it's a fantastic one. These are must haves for die-hard collectors. They are beautifully books. I hope Marvel will follow suit with some of their classics. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled.


We just got home from seeing Hancock. If you haven't seen it, don't read this. I can't say that I'm going to reveal anything but you're better off going into the movie knowing nothing. You'll enjoy it more. Trust me.
The movie was alright. It had great superhero action, humor, cool effects, and a great cast. Will Smith and Jason Bateman are both excellent in their parts. So, with all that you sense that I won't give it a glowing review. You guessed right. Why not? I'm glad you asked.
Hancock was a pretty good movie. It's worth seeing. But it could have been so much more....oh, so much more. One major problem I had with the film was the camera work. It was all herky-jerky with lots of way-too-close close ups and artsy-blurry stuff that don't belong in a superhero movie. To me it just looked shoddy. What else? Well, the story was a good start but it needed punching up. It was very depth. You know, a superhero/action movie doesn't have to be all action. We will enjoy it if the story is good and the action propels the story along logically. Iron Man is a prime example.
Now, let's talk about Will Smith. He is awesome but his last couple of films haven't been up to the level they should be. I Am Legend was very, very good but it wasn't incredible because it had too many flaws. This one also could have been incredible but it was flawed. I hope he'll be more careful in the future. I will watch him in anything but I prefer to watch him in a great film.
I don't know what else to say about this film. My big disappointment in it is that it had so much potential and they didn't reach it. Not even close. But it is a very entertaining summer film. You will have fun.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Waterfalls Over NYC

This is really cool! I wish I could make it to see them before they come down but that's not going to happen. I guess a video will have to do.