Sunday, November 22, 2009

the flames burnt blue & green...

the evening ran according to plan, almost scarily so. I guess no one disobeys the Fabulous Lorraine...

Betsy mulled the wine:

we had hot chocolate with whipped cream:

and chocolate sushi:

downstairs, KB & Caitlin shoot the Boss in (one of) his library:

NBBill started the bonfire:

and Birdchick Sharon fans the flames:

The Guy is pitched on the bonfire:

our most gracious host:


and lo, the sober camera got mulled wine spilled on it (thanks Bill!) before the really big firebooms but here is a taste of the smaller bursts:

look here for fireworks

Merry Housekeeper's mister concocted the color-flame mix, resulting in some hypnotizing shades, while Quiche & Adam serenaded us fireside:

sparklers came out:

and then the smores (Bill forages off the ground):

this morning, breaky is a big hit:

now we are off to see MAddy's recital...
back home tomorrow, i will miss the evil Princess:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

pre-bonfires and fireworks

it's been a week of preparation here at the Addams Family Mansion, as up to fifty people will be coming to the house tonight for a belated Guy Fawkes party...

we filled two shopping carts with makings for chili, vegetarian and vegan (not that you would know that by this photo)

we made soup from tomatoes from their garden, this city kitty was very impressed.

Q's spider ring!!

Neil has professional quality chef knives, makes cooking such a pleasure:

The chili was white hot and then simmered down to perfection...As I understand it, Quiche does the ground work and Neil comes in to season the chili pots as he sees fit:

wild dog!

here are some of the honeycombs from the last harvest, all piled up ready for eating:

I got to share the bed of the Princess:

more awards arrived in the mail while I was here:

Zoe (is not) in a swimming pool:

mirror in the bathroom! me in way back, behind Maddy & Quiche:

in the front yard, a Twilight pumpkin competition (Edward Cullen is the clear winner!):

Quiche in her new "deadly nightshade" hair color:

NonBirding Bill and Cabal guard the bonfire pile:

Bill and Hans took me to the GIANT fireworks store, where I got my own fireworks permit, but I still don't know how to get these home, i bought some for my brothers and now I am finding out, can't transport legally---thoughts?

at Quiche's we fed the beautiful Royal Bengals:

@Birdchick continues her search for the Golden Eagle, no photos yet, but I believe in her..

Neil wrapped in the 20' Doctor Who scarf, made by Ally :

young David on the trampoline:

and now the party is starting, NBB is rarin' to go burn things so i best get out there, will show more...

as for the 100 WORDS TO TALK OF DEATH print, Neil's haunting poem as drawn by Jim Lee--

(click on image to make it bigger)

I am going to leave the $10 off sale for the weekend, to order it go HERE

Friday, November 20, 2009

so, Neil crashes yet another website...

I am out visiting Neil and Quiche this week, here in the midwest, surrounded by bees and bonfires....and we are getting some work done.

this morning when I announced the new Neil/Jim Lee team up print "100 WORDS TO TALK OF DEATH", some cyber quaking went on.

the truth is that Mr. Neil Gaiman has over 1.3 million followers on (@neilhimself) and when he so kindly sends out am alert, sometimes it cuts a path of destruction...

I had included a sale on these hauntingly beautiful prints, if ordered in the first 24 hours of my post (there are about ten hours left at this point) you would keep ten dollars in your pocket. ten bucks! you can almost buy a movie ticket for that-- you can definitely buy popcorn...

Neil suggested that I extend the sale for a few more days, so I thought I would keep it up throughout the weekend,
'til Monday, when I fly home from this winter wonderland.

click on image to make it bigger...

order it

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

new NEIL GAIMAN/JIM LEE PRINT! 100 WORDS TO TALK OF DEATH... is the time of year when the veil between the worlds seems the thinnest, and departed souls can navigate their journey onward with the most ease. In China, November marks a celebration for the spirits of the dead, where paper money and offerings are burnt to express the happiness of the living that the dead have gone to a better place.

Neil Gaiman’s poem “100 Words” has long been one of my favorite reflections on the inevitable passing through the veils...

A hundred words to talk of death?
At once too much and not enough.
My plans beyond that final breath
are currently a little rough.

The dying thing comes on so slow:
reluctance to get out of bed
is magnified each day and so
transmuted into dead.

I dream of dying all alone,
nobody there to watch me pass
nothing remains for me to own,
no breath remains to fog the glass.

And when I do put down my pen
my memories will fly like birds.
When I am done, when I am dead,
and finished with my hundred words.

Earlier this year, the CBLDF and I approached one of my personal art heroes Jim Lee about illustrating Neil’s poem. Jim's attention to detail is riveting, from the tiny etched bottles on the shelves to the faint hint of a skull hiding under a beautiful face.

We now share it with you- (click on image to see it bigger)

Five dollars from each print will benefit the CBLDF, our steadfast friends in the east who are there in the light and in the darkness, fighting for our civil rights.

Featuring ever-precise lettering by Todd Klein, who brought Neil’s words so vividly to life in Sandman.

I have followed Jim Lee's career since the early 1990's, his Xmen characters breathed life for me like never before. I finally met him at a CBLDF panel at WonderCon in January, here is a little clip of him doing a fantastic job drawing the mighty Wolverine. The bidding was fast and furious on this drawing, and he is always raising money and awareness for the Fund. We thank you, Jim!

This piece will measure 10” x 28” printed in soy ink on heavy 100% recycled archival stock, with an inch of white border around the art for breathing room. There will be a limited print run of 750. It will ship out within 10 days from original order. For the first 24 hours that it is posted, I will make the print $35 and then it will go back up to the price of $45.

order it

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the windy city, mixtapes & a Neil mailbox post...

it’s 3 am and I am sitting in the O’Hare airport, my rental car guy told me to be here two hours before my flight—and I am, but they won’t let me in until 3:45 so...I sit and I write.

Here in Chicago to see my family and to try to be a comfort to them as we all try to come to terms with the loss of Julia. When I bought the ticket, she was still alive, my plan was to come and just be with her. I talked to her ghost in the homes of her parents and her husband. I stayed with my aunt & uncle and poured over old photos and memories as we laughed and we cried. When her husband asked if I wanted anything of hers, I said no. Then he suggested I take her ipod, and I thought, what a gift. Loaded to the gills with every kind of music imaginable, it will be a most treasured last journey through the mind and ears of my cousin. I can’t wait to just put it on shuffle...

My beautiful niece was hosting a charity for rock event that fell in the time I was visiting, and I was impressed with the turnout and her tenacity. I willpass her the roadie crown...One of the bands A Kidnap in Color was a real stand-out. It was so good to spend time with all my beautiful cousins, Vicki, Kathy, Stacy, thanks for everything.

The Chicago book launch for the new book which I have a story in CASSETTE FROM MY EX also fell within the time frame of my visit so I was happy to be witness to the event.

In an industrial part of almost- downtown Chicago, the Hideout is now officially one of my favorite places.

All lit up like Christmas in July, it sits on the edge of a big warehouse lot. Marked only by a big Old Style sign, it brought to mind my dear old roommate Geo. Since it took me an entire three passes to park my boat-sized rental (I am used to driving baby little Ghosty) I didn’t pause long enough to get a photo of the outside.

Jason Bitner, mastermind of the book, greeted me in the crowd, a confident master of the ceremony, decked in plaid. He kicked off the event with a radio show he had taped on Chicago Public Radio, which featured a discussion of the art of making a mixtape. An important question came up, whether this art is lost forever in light of electronic Genius mixes or will it experience a revival? Obviously, it has evolved.

“nothing says longing better than a mixtape...”

he got the idea for the book when he came across a suitcase full of cassettes that he had hung on to, with no ready means to play them. I still have a good size collection of tapes too, like him, i felt they were perfect compact “memory holders”, However, I retained my cassette player. There are tapes of my father telling me stories of his life in Greece, and mixes that I made in the old days, mixes for new love or heartache or to mark a certain time, like a tattoo. Cyn was the president of perfectly blended mixes, while I was famous for cutting off midsong, Nancye would go ballastic over my abrupt DJ style... each tape still resounds with a time from my life.

“when a tape breaks, it’s a tragedy” says Jason, and he was right. Remember that crushed feeling while attempting to spool the wounded crinkly magnetic strip with a sharpened pencil back on the reel, only to have it stutter and woo on playback.
(I also recall the pure magic of burning my first CD, a real landmark!)

Jason called a panel of “experts” up to the stage, and they were hilarious in their memories of the do’s and don’t of mixtaping.

The cleverest response of the evening was one panelist saying he would woo a girl by going to the thrift shop and buying up to fifteen “cass-singles” and taping over each one with Velvet Underground’s “I heard her call my name” and then paying a pizza man to deliver them to her house.
Whether this was based in fact, i can’t be sure, but sure it stirred my heart.

The recollection of waiting for a certain song on the radio to tape it, fingers paused over the record & play buttons, Jason likened it to our generations “walking four miles uphill barefoot in the snow”-- “We actually had to reach out our arms and wait...” (you kids today with your iTunes)

When my tape cover was shown, the lady panelist mentioned that they had a section in her record store of spooky music, and that my tape looked like it would be full of this spooky music...Jason asked me what was the first song on the tape. I admitted to the packed house that I didn’t recall, but that he could check in the book...he did...”I put a spell on you” by Screaming Jay Hawkins.

The night ended with a clever story told in post-it notes by Arthur Jones, the lost innocence of a cassette-expectation falling short.

if you want to get the book, which features 60 tales of the tape by Claudia "Magnetic Fields" Gonson, Rick Moody, me and 57 others-- go HERE

I am back home now, Mr. Neil Gaiman's birthday was this week, and he got some presents in the mail,
warm presents.

these toasty mittens were made by Kate from Maryland, she says they are "for cold mornings in the gazebo.." and she offers to make miss AFP her own pair if she wishes:

this came for Neil in an orange Doc Martens boots box, and while I didn't measure it, Ally from Montana claims this handknit Dr. Who-esque scarf is 20 feet long. It is beautiful in so many colors:

Nat from Minnesota sends @neilhimself a beautiful bottle of honey mead:

that's about it from the treehouse, tonight we are going to revisit the stomping grounds of my youth, the Rainbow on Sunset strip--
Jozie is leaving this weekend, and we are going to have an evening of it. Drew is working on the Lady Gaga rehearsals so I think it will be girls night. Those reports will be up on the furrytiger blog...