Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Florida Trip: Day 3

We started our day at 7am. That was yucky. But we the reason we got up was not. We went on a Waverunner Dolphin Excursion with Boogie Watersports and we had a great time. We saw many dolphins and would have seen more if the guide hadn't wasted some of our time just riding around. Despite that, we still had a great time. Unfortunately, the waterproof camera we bought was a piece of junk. The pictures turned out terrible. Oh, well. We have our memories. We really have a good time on the water looking for marine life. I think we may have missed our calling as marine biologists.
After that, we did a little shopping, picked up my mom and sister, did some more shopping and then everybody went out for seafood. We went to the same place we always go (Fisherman's Wharf) and we had a great time. After that, Sarah and I took a short walk. We've overdone it on the greasy food so far and had to do something physical. Then we returned to the condo and played Chickenfoot with my parents.
Tomorrow we'll probably just hang out by the pool until it's time to head back to Milton. Tomorrow night we are having dinner with a bunch of old friends of mine. Well, their not as old as me but they're getting there.
Having a great time. Wish you were here...but I'm not sure where we'd put you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Florida Trip: Day 1 & 2

We're here and having a blast! Day 1 (Sunday) found us on an airplane at 6:10 am. All the flights went well but I have to say that I am not impressed with Houston's airport. It's laid out like it was designed by a blind rat with a piece of chalk strapped to his belly. But we finally arrived in Pcola where my parents picked us up. We headed to Milton to pick up their luggage and, after a quick stop off in Crestview to eat chicken (the Gospel bird) at Cracker Barrel and see Uncle Terry at Publix, headed to Destin. We stopped along the way to buy groceries. We eventually made it out here (Bay Club in Sandestin Resort), unpacked, visited, and hit the sack.
Today was laid back. We spent most of the day at the pool, then went to Golden Corral for some southern buffet food. (you can't get that stuff in Seattle) After supper, Sarah and I went down to the gulf to watch the sunset. It was gorgeous!
Tomorrow morning we rise early (7am) to get ready for our Waverunner Dolphin Excursion. Should be fun! More updates and pics as I'm able to post them.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Florida Bound

In case you haven't noticed, we're flying to Florida tomorrow for a week. (I've run it in the ground on Facebook) We're spending the first half of the week at my sis and bro-in-law's condo in Destin. Second half we'll just be lazing around my parent's house in Milton, seeing friends, maybe some fishing w/ daddy, etc. It's going to be great. It's a well needed break for both of us, mentally and physically. Sarah's been working her tail off on Enchanted April so expect she'll be sitting on the beach with a book every chance she gets. We hope to do a dolphin waverunner excursion while we're there but other than that we don't have any real plans (except dinner plans with family and friends).
This time tomorrow we'll be in Florida. Can't wait.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton
The art market has been booming. Museum attendance is surging. More people than ever call themselves artists. Contemporary art has become a mass entertainment, a luxury good, a job description, and, for some, a kind of alternative religion. In a series of beautifully paced narratives, Sarah Thornton investigates the drama of a Christie's auction, the workings in Takashi Murakami's studios, the elite at the Basel Art Fair, the eccentricities of Artforum magazine, the competition behind an important art prize, life in a notorious art-school seminar, and the wonderland of the Venice Biennale. She reveals the new dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for meaning in life. A judicious and juicy account of the institutions that have the power to shape art history, based on hundreds of interviews with high-profile players, Thornton's entertaining ethnography will change the way you look at contemporary culture.

Okay, I don't have time to really go into this book at length. I wish I did. Suffice it to say that if this is what the art world is like (and I'm not at all shocked by it), I want no part of it. Based on this book, it's a world of money, snobbery, and sucking up. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I read the book. It's insightful in that it shows the art world how I always imagined it. I've always had illusions of fame in the art world but I don't want to be a part of this world. The only chapter that I took anything of worth away from was the one titled "The Crit" where she visits a critique class at CalArts. It reminded me of art school...all the good, bad and ugly of it. The beauty of art school is that most students are still struggling to make art. They haven't "arrived." (although as an artist we should never reach this point or we'll stop growing) But you can sense the hunger, the passion in them. I've sat thru many a crit but never like this one. It started in the morning and lasted until late at night. Crazy! But I enjoyed the chapter because it was the only one where I sensed people still enjoying art.
The chapter titled "The Studio Visit" is infuriating to me because we visit the studio of Takashi Murakami. He is a moody perfectionist who is more factory foreman than artist. He employs countless assistants who do the work for him. I am just not for this at all. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems wrong to me. It would be like if I planned a collage but I gave the instructions to my assistant and he/she did all the cutting, pasting, etc. Is it really my work? I don't think so. Maybe I feel this way because I believe an artist should be in there with his hands, manipulating the medium, getting dirty, leaving fingerprints all over the work. Murakami's way (and countless others I imagine) assumes that the end (product) justifies the means. For me, art is just as much about the process as it is the finished piece. Ugh. I could go on and on about this. Perhaps I should throw this question out to the arts group next time I go...let them bat it around a little.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
Welcome to Gil’s All Night Diner, where zombie attacks are a regular occurrence and you never know what might be lurking in the freezer. . . .Duke and Earl are just passing through Rockwood county in their pick-up truck when they stop at the diner for a quick bite to eat. They aren’t planning to stick around--until Loretta, the eatery’s owner, offers them one hundred dollars to take care of her zombie problem. Given that Duke is a werewolf and Earl’s a vampire, this looks right up their alley.But the shambling dead are just the tip of a particularly spiky iceberg. Seems someone’s out to drive Loretta from the diner, and more than willing to raise a little hell on earth if that’s what it takes. Before Duke and Earl get to the bottom of the diner’s troubles, they’ll run into such otherworldly complications as undead cattle, an amorous ghost, a jailbait sorceress, and the terrifying occult power of pig Latin.And maybe--just maybe--the End of the World, too. Gory, sexy, and flat-out hilarious, Gil’s All Fright Diner will tickle your funny bone--before ripping it out of its socket!
This is a re-read for me. I've liked just about every book by Martinez that I've read so I thought I'd go back and retry the first one. It's still pretty good although the ending is kinda cliche and lame. I got bored with it toward the end. Still, a pretty funny twist on the urban fantasy genre.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
After seeing Wicked the other night, I was without something to read so my wife pulled out her childhood copy of Wizard for me to try. Since I've never read any of these books, my curiosity was high. It's not exactly like the MGM movie but I can see why they embellished. It moves along at a pretty fair clip. They travel, a problem arises, they solve it and move on. Pretty basic but interesting to read in context with everything that Oz has become to us in the here and now.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Lord, Save Us from Your Followers: Why is the Gospel of Love Dividing America? by Dan Merchant
Why is the Gospel of Love dividing America? Fed up with the angry, strident language filling the airwaves that has come to represent the Christian faith, author, director, and follower Dan Merchant set out to explore the collision of faith and culture in America. What is all this fighting really about? The book and upcoming documentary represent a two-year effort to "join the battlefield in hopes of getting a conversation started." The result is a book full of offbeat observations, fun anecdotes, comedic bits and in-depth interviews. From Dan's hilarious bumper-sticker interviews with folks on the street to his unique "Confession Booth" event inspired by his meeting with Tony, the Beat Poet, from Blue Like Jazz, he delves into all the hot button issues with candor, humor and balance.
I watched the movie before I read the book but I had checked out the book before I knew there was a movie. Turns out our friend Jeff had had coffee with Merchant a couple of weeks before and got a couple of advance copies on DVD. So, we borrowed one and watched it. Since some of it was repetitive I skipped some parts. Basically the book delves a bit deeper into the interviews.
I like what the book has to say but I have to say that I'm a bit tired of reading books about how Christianity is screwed up. I already know that. So, where is the book about how to fix it? What's that you say? It's already been written? The Bible, you say? Please. Christians have been reading that book for centuries...or have they?
Anywho...a good read for those who are sick of the religious status quo. Find the movie and watch it too...or better yet get a group together, watch the movie and then have a discussion afterward. I guarantee it'll be a good conversation.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


The American Painter Emma Dial by Samantha Peale
Emma Dial is a virtuoso painter who executes the works of Michael Freiburg, a preeminent figure in the New York art world. She has a sensuous and exacting hand, hips like a matador, and long neglected ambitions of her own. She spends her days completing a series of pictures for Freiburg's spring exhibition and her nights drinking and dining with friends and luminaries. Into this landscape walks Philip Cleary, Emma's longtime painting hero and a colleague and rival of her boss. Philip Cleary represents the ideal artistic existence, a respected painter, fearless and undeterred by fashion. He is unmatched by anyone from Emma's generation. Except, just possibly, Emma herself. Emma Dial must choose between the security of being a studio assistant to a renowned painter and the unknown future as an artist in her own right.
This is an interesting read for an artist. Although fiction, I can't help but think that Peale has inserted some truth from her experiences as an assistant for artist Jeff Koons. The whole idea of a painter having an assistant do all the painting is crazy to me. If you're a painter, you should love to paint. It should be as much about the process as it is the finished work...perhaps even moreso. (depends on your point of view I suppose) I have nothing against assistants. I believe an artist can make good use of an assistant to accomplish tasks which keep them from the real work of artmaking. But to have the assistant do all the work...no way. I could rant for days about this but I'll cut it off here.
As for the story, I enjoyed all the art world stuff. The relationship stuff made me sad because it all seemed so shallow and "what can you do for me" oriented. I know that's how the world operates in most cases but it makes me sad nonetheless. Even though Emma put herself in the positon she was in, I found myself pulling for her to get away and do her own thing. Does she? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out.

The Book of Lists: Horror compiled by Amy Wallace, Del Howison & Scott Bradley

I picked this up on a whim. Since Halloween is coming up I thought I could find some new books, movies, etc. to watch for the season. I found a few. The book ended up being too skewed toward hard horror...the really gory "torture porn" stuff that I don't like. But, like I said, I found a few ideas amongst the gore.

The Devil's Storybook by Natalie Babbitt
I found this book on a list of greatest children's books and I thought it sounded intriguing. It's basically a book of short stories, quite fable or fairy tale-esque, about the Devil. In these stories, he's an annoying trickster, visiting pranks on unsuspecting humans but having the tables turned on him every once in a while. It was an interesting distraction and a quick read.

The Mice Templar: The Prophecy by Bryan J. L. Glass and Michael Avon Oeming

This popular graphic novel has wonderful, Mignola-esque artwork but I found the story very wordy and boring. Very Arthurian except for it being set in a world of talking mice.