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Found on my old private family blog, dated August 27, 2006. Scott was out here in San Diego, a month into the new job. I was back home with the (then) five kids, trying to get the house sold. Rilla was only a few months old. Rose would have been eight, Beanie five. Scott and I did not bear the separation easily. I created a little daily-snippets blog just for him so he wouldn’t feel like he was missing everything. At night, after the kids were in bed, I had a gig writing parenting articles for a medical website. Scott and I would keep a chat window open and ping each other back and forth as we worked away on opposite coasts. Sometimes we’d go to audio and listen to the sound of each other typing. Four months, and it felt like forever.
August 27, 2006
The Conversation Went Like This
Bean: Why did SHE get to sleep in your bed last night?
Me: Just because. You may tonight, if you wish.
Rose: But won’t she be lonely, waiting for you to come to bed?
Rose, breaking it to her gently: If you sleep with Mommy, you have to wait a long time in the dark before she gets there.
Bean, brow furrowed: Oh…
Rose, kindly: Do you want to sleep in Mommy’s room, or do you want to snuggle up with me?
Bean’s reply? She threw her arms around her sister. The hug went on long enough for me to snap it.
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
Oh sure, I can write the date, but that doesn’t mean I can believe it. I’d have laid money we weren’t past the 6th or 7th yet. Blink. WB goes back to school on Thursday (!) and Rose starts a Spanish class at the community college next week (!!). I will probably wake up tomorrow and discover that Huck has enrolled in graduate school.
On the forums for my Phone Photography class, someone (possibly my friend Stephanie Elms?) recommended an app called Timehop that, once connected to your various social media accounts, will compile for you each day a look back at what you posted on this date in years past. Thus it was that I discovered today is four years since we (sans Scott) visited Rocky Ridge Farm, where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote all her books.
In which we continue the family tradition of being unable to all smile for a photo simultaneously, unless Scott is standing behind the photographer working his magic.
It has been a BIG four years. Three of those girls are taller than I now, and that chubby little side of beef is a long, lean boy. There’s a lot less pink in the laundry these days (nearly all of it Rilla’s).
Here’s what we did this weekend: I was asked to be on a panel at WinkieCon, an annual celebration of the Oz books, which I grew up loving as wildly as I did Little House. You can imagine my delight, then, at encountering none other than Ozma herself.
Is that not the most incredible costume? She nailed it perfectly. In addition to being a talented costumer, Natalie makes wonderful jewelry and art.
And that’s not all. My young Polychrome was tickled to meet this fellow:
After the “Playing in Someone Else’s Sandbox” panel there was a booksigning for the authors (Edward Einhorn, Caroline Spector, and me). Look who kept me company at the table!
The convention was a delight for me and my girls, especially Miss Rilla, who dove into a ribbon-hunting quest with considerable verve. She had to seek out attendees with Doctor Who “Companion” ribbons on their badges and ask them to pose for a quick photo; for every five Companion photos she brought back to the game table, she earned a new ribbon for her own badge—starting with Dalek and working her way up through several levels, past Time Lord to a Companion badge of her own. She made a lot of friends that day, let me tell you.
One of the highlights of the convention was—I can hardly tell you how fluttery I felt, walking into this room—a collection of Judy Garland’s costumes. Meet Me in St. Louis, The Harvey Girls, Easter Parade—so many treasures there. And we met Judy’s son. Such a nice man. It was quite a day.
If you ever get a chance to go to an Oz convention (especially Winkie Con, which is such a class act), I highly recommend it. Fascinating people, gorgeous books and costumes and handmade wares, really interesting panels—Jane particularly enjoyed “Oz and the American Musical,” which I wish I’d attended myself—and all in a venue MUCH less crowded and overwhelming than, say, Comic-Con. Many thanks to Eric Shanower for the invitation to speak on the panel.
One of the many long galleries at Balboa Park. Assignment: In a Row.
At Comic-Con two years ago (or was it three? they begin to blur), I dropped my camera in the street, and it has never been the same since. Even before that, I was finding myself more likely to reach for my smartphone than the camera when I wanted to snap a pic. I gather I’m not alone in this. As phone cameras have improved and apps like Instagram make uploading and sharing easier, more and more of us are relying on our phones to capture the memories we want to save.
At times, though, I’ve been frustrated by the frankly mediocre quality of my phone photos compared to the kind of pictures I used to get with my camera. When I saw that Big Picture Classes was offering an online course in phone photography—and furthermore, that my fellow former ClubMom blogger Tracey Clark was one of the instructors—I decided to take the plunge.
Oh you guys, I am SO happy I’m taking this class. The “Before and After” videos, in which various instructors walk you through the editing process on a single photo, using their favorite apps, made an immediate difference in my pictures. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the biweekly lessons with accompanying photo challenges, all based around themes like “In a Row,” “Lines,” or “Fill the Frame.” I’m much happier with the quality of the photos I’m getting out of my iPhone. Almost every image I have posted here in the past two weeks was influenced by the course.
The class runs through August 16 and you can sign up right until the end. You move through the lessons at your own pace. There’s a pretty active message board with lots of input from the instructors, and several bonus videos in which guest photographers spend some time talking about their phone-photography process.
Here’s a selection of my class assignments. There’s a gallery where students may upload photos, but the best place to see others’ work is on Instagram, where we’re tagging our work #bpcphonephotographyproject and adding tags for the individual assignments, such as #ppp2inarow or #ppp2shapes.
Taken at Seaport Village in San Diego. Assignment: Rule of Thirds.
I always swoon over the orchids in Balboa Park’s Botanical Building. Assignment: Fill the Frame.
Snapped in a corner of the music studio where my kids take piano. Assignment: Lines.
Another take on the Lines assignment.
I’m always admiring these beautiful succulents in my neighbor’s yard. Assignment: Fill the Frame.
There’s a man who stacks these rock towers at Seaport Village every day. Assignment: Shapes.
Another take on the guitars…Assignment: Black and White. (I think this may be my favorite of the bunch.)
Rose found this feather and we decided it was meant for my blue jar. Assignment: Light.
Another Seaport Village shot, but I’m not saying where exactly. Assignment: Fill the Frame.
I posted this one here last week, but I tried a slightly different edit when I shared it on Instagram. I think I like this faded version best. (I prefer the taller crop on the original, though.) Assignments: Vantage Point and Rule of Thirds.
I happened to read the Vantage Point lesson right before our trip to Seaport Village, and it’s what nudged me to get down on the ground underneath Beanie as she took a stab at flying this kite. I like how the kite is about to sail right out of the frame.
One of the things I’m appreciating most about this class is the way it makes me notice things in my surroundings that I might otherwise have glanced right past. I passed these cars in a parking lot behind the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con and was struck by the reflection of the slats on their windshields. Submitted it for the Black and White bonus challenge.
Thanks to the class I learned how to straighten the horizon in this formerly very tilted shot! I didn’t tag it for any of the assignments, but the way the wind was whipping that seaweed around, it could almost qualify for the Action challenge.
Tomorrow brings a new lesson—I can’t wait!
Robots were everywhere in the Children's Room this summer. Our robot photo-spot offered our patrons a chance to be a "robot". The fun was not limited to our patrons, however. Your library staff also got in on the fun.
Take a look:
Thanks for being such good sports everyone!
Posted by Amy
The fun is over, and it’s back to regular life. Which is also pretty darn fun, in its own way. My parents and niece departed last night after a short, action-packed visit following on the heels of our other niece-visit. I won’t say it feels like summer is winding down—not on the 6th of August, I won’t—but the crazy-busy part is behind us now. Doctor, dentist, orthodontist, optometrist, audiologist appointments mostly all caught up. And Wonderboy does start back to school next week, which boggles the mind a bit! The rest of us will remain in low tide for a bit longer. Especially Jane, whose sophomore year doesn’t begin until mid-September. Then again, this summer she has an internship, a babysitting job, and an online psych class, so “low tide” is relative.
I look forward to returning to regular daily posts here. I have so many topics saved up, including a rave review of the Phone Photography class I’m taking via Big Picture Classes, an endeavor that has greatly enriched my summer.
How about you guys? Whatcha want to talk about? Dare I admit I haven’t cracked a book in weeks? So unlike me!
While at SDCC I could not help but notice the grumbling across Social Media of how little seemed to be coming out of SDCC in real time, and how deeply missed G4 was as a result. For those of us trying to bridge the gap, their seemed to be insufficient band width in Downtown San Diego for bulk loading from personal devices. This is a question worthy of its own article, but right now, it’s my pretext to finally upload more images from the Exhibit floor and Outside the Convention.
For the 75th Anniversary of
Our 20-year-old niece flew out for Comic-Con and stayed a few extra days for some San Diego fun with her cousins. This turned into a delightful little staycation for us: Balboa Park, Seaport Village, Coronado Beach. She left last night, but our fun continues: another contingent of family just landed and will arrive at the house shortly. In between excursions, I’m trying to catch up on work that got shoved aside during SDCC. So not much blogging time this week, but I’ve been tossing lots of things up on Instagram. Poor old neglected Bonny Glen, I’ll dust you off soon, I promise.
I’m wiped out.
Chris Gugliotti of Thicklebit fame
Lunch with Jock
Zander and Scott pretending they have a mean bone in their bodies
Entertaining ourselves with selfies while waiting for Stampylongnose to come onstage
The girls’ turn
Couldn’t leave this guy out
He’s finally here!
Whew, time to relax
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About all I can grow during this drought.
Here’s a pretty awesome photo gallery of the Dan Clowes art show opening at the Wexner Center for the Arts All photos including the above by Katherine Spengler © Wexner Center for the Arts, 2014
It was a busy weekend for comics in and around New York City, with EternalCon, New York Comic Fest and Special Edition: New York all taking place, as well as a few satellite events. All three cons were a success, judging by comments from participants, and online reports. I think it’s fair to say that all three would have been bigger had there not been two other events that weekend, but most people had fun. Next year, obviously, scheduling will have to be worked out.
I went to EternalCon on Saturday and Special Edition on Sunday, which was exhausting, but could not match Amy Chu’s exploits, which included a panel at SE:NYC on Saturday morning, hopping on the train to Garden City, LI, doing a panel at EternalCon, training back to the city and then back to SE:NYC on Sunday. She’s a go-getter. I didn’t get to go to the New York Comic Fest but you can read numerous reports here and on other sites; by all accounts it was a fine event with lots of stellar comics talent on hand.
My weekend of comics kicked off Friday night with the awards presentations at the Society of Illustrators for their Comics and Cartoon Annual. I arrived bedraggled after merely running across the street in one of those massive flash flood type downpours that often hit in the early evening in the summer. Despite the dampness, it was a lovely evening, I felt (I was one of the judges in the Short Form category.) Several of the winners were there, including Ruben Bolling and John Martz, and several like Martz had travelled to NYC for the occasion. This was very much an inaugural prize, and I’m sure there will be changes and evolution as the awards continue.
I jumped in on someone else’s photo of Silver Medalists Miriam Katin and and was rewarded with this epic photobomb. No idea who the fellow in the middle is.
John Martz shared the Gold Medal in the Single Page category. Although we all miss Drawn, it’s great to have more of Martz’s art out there. I wanted to chat to him more about his currents deeds but got caught up yapping with other people and never had a chance.
Silver medalist Talya Modlin and her boyfriend whose name I didn’t write down and I forgot because I’m a horrible person. These two filled me in a bit on their view of the Chicago comics scene. By all accounts this year’s CAKE was a hit, so things are happening.
OKAY the scene shifts to Long Island! As I entered EternalCon I greeted showrunner and mastermind Frank Patz. This was definitely a throwback show with an updated vibe, with dealers, a lot of toys, and all kinds of artists, world famous and not, all scattered around an aviation museum. It had the basics plus cosplay and live lightsaber duels. Frank told me that despite all the competition, attendance for Saturday alone ws up from 2013. I got to interview Once upon a Time’s Rebecca Mader and Lee Arenberg at a panel so that was fun, as the audience was very enthusiastic. I also did a panel on the diversification of comics with Amy Chu, Amanda Conner and Alitha Martinez, and that was also fun.
The thing about EternalCon was that it was a comic con set in an aviation museum. (The Cradle of Aviation was built at the spot where Charles Lindbergh took off for his historic solo crossing of the Atlantic.) So basically you had booths full of tschotkes and comics and toys set up in the middle of the displays. Throw in the fact that museum had it’s own kind of wacky dioramas from what seemed like the early 70s—let’s say the original Space Mountain era—and you have a one of a kind experience.
For instance, this was a display of someone’s detailed hated house model and other horror stuff, set in front of a display on manned space travel. The child is real and not part of the display.
What can I say…this was like a fun house, as the Planet of the Apes mixed with Spitfires and Blackhawks.
One of the museum exhibits. No idea.
THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO.
The Empire Saber Guild, a Star Wars enthusiast group, but on a live performance, with video drops ins and voice overs and LOTS of stage combat. It was impressive to begin with, but they staged it at the bottom of the museums IMAX theater, a very narrow area at the bottom of a steep bank of seats. This isn’t the kind of event I normally go to but I got caught up in the story and enthusiasm.
A rare view of a sun dappled Rodney Ramos.
Artist Ken Kelley was there with some of his iconic covers for KISS albums. I know we use the word iconic too much but these are really iconic.
I just could not get enough of this museum.
There was a significant cosplay component and this Alien was probably the best. I did see one of the more complicated cosplayers stopped for a photo only to blurt out “I have to pee first” and then sprint to the bathroom. I imagine getting in and out of those things isn’t easy sometimes, so waiting until the last minute is a bad idea.
The con truly had a chamber of horrors.
Exhibiting artists John Cebollero, Nelson de Castro and Jimmy Palmiotti.
AND NOW FLASH FORWARD TO SUNDAY! I arrived about 1 pm, which was pretty late, so I didn’t expect to see a big crowd going in and I didn’t. I think I mentioned this in y BEA coverage—or else Torsten did—but the area opposite the Javits Center is being developed into a huge Rockefeller Center-like area that in coming years will be full of apartment buildings, shops and restaurants. The imminent arrival of the 7 train will make it all possible. Right now it’s a hole in the ground but in a few years you will walk out of the con and have tons to do.
Wow, the Javits center was nearly empty! Special Edition was held in the North Hall but you had to enter at the south end anyway and walk through the eerily spooky emptiness. Panels were held at the OTHER end in Hall e, however, meaning even with no crowds you had at least a 10 minute walk from one end to the other. I guess Hall a was under construction.
As I walked along, I realized that this awful building was meant to look nice and not to actually have people in it. I’ve noted my distaste for the buildings of I.M. Pei many times here so I won’t belabor the point but read on.
And here is the North Hall! Despite being a temporary shed, compared to the regular Javits, it’s light airy and habitable by humans!Everyone loves it and natural light elevates the mood. Sunday was a very slow day at this show by all accounts, and there was no jostling. The reports I heard is that Saturday was great up until about 5 and then was very slow.
Artists Alley was all over the place…some people had bad days, others their best ever. If you came t chat up artists though, this was a great day to do it. The front 3/5s of the room was dealers and a smattering of publishers.
Susana Polo and Rebecca Pahle of The Mary Sue, which sort of absorbed Geekosystem last week. I’ll have to say about that later but it was nice to met my fellow journos.
The Z2 booth had some books and nice prints. Keagan Kirk-Singer and Chris Hunt manned the booth when I stopped by.
Ed Catto never tired of Captain Action!
I finally got to meet Chandra Free! And it was lovely.
Tony Bedard. Can you tell that I remember names by the banners?
Grady Hendrix and Ryan Dunlavey. Action Philosophers is coming back from Dark Horse, BTW, with new material by Dunlavey and Fred van Lente.
I finally got to meet Tony S. Daniel.
That’s the super talented painted Simone Bianchi on the right…on the left is his colorist whose name I did not write down because I suck.
Nightcrawler’s costume always looks so amazing when brought to life, and this one was doubly amazing for the hobble hoof shoes!
Brooklyn’s Scott Eder Gallery had booth and piles of art by the greatest cartoonists of all times. I noted this pile of (from top left) a Bill Everett Submariner page, a Jack Davis war story, a Jack Kirby Eternals, a Steve Ditko Creeper and on top one of Winsor McCay’s way cartoons, and just about fainted to think that the paper in front of me had been touched by five people of that import. The Eder Gallery has many pieces of this calibre, and I spent a while looking at it.
There were plenty of Watcher eyeballs even by 5 pm Sunday.
Later on I chit chatted with artists Mahmud Asrar and Will Sliney.
As I walked home I caught the Javits Center in the glow of a fantastic sunset.
Again it dawned on me that the building was made to look good from outside, as in this rare sunset seen through an empty glass box. It was never meant to have the huge crowds that NYCC brings.
If EternalCon’s ambiance was entirely because of its quirky setting, Special Edition was a pleasant afternoon almost despite the drawbacks of the venue. The North Hall is definitely a hospitable place to throw a bunch of cartoonists and publishers together. At NYCC it houses Artist Alley and you cold spend a good day just there and not braving any of the other crowds. I think Special Edition was meant to be all the artists without all the fuss…it didn’t quite hit the numbers it should have, but maybe having a calm day for comic-con isn’t the worst thing that can happen.
I’m sitting here wondering if anyone turned off the soaker hose in the tomato garden. I’d like to call it the “vegetable garden” but all I’ve managed this year (so far) is tomatoes. Lots of ‘em, though: orange grape (which sounds oxymoronic but is delicious) and roma.
This morning during my blissful half hour of reading in bed, I decided I wanted to go back to Middlemarch—remember I started it (a beloved reread) months ago? And then got sidetracked? I opened it on my phone and found I had to go back fifty pages or so because I just had to read this one bit, no and that one, oh and that scene where…and eventually decided I wanted to read a hard copy instead; I’m wanting the tactile experience for this one—though you’d think an 800-page behemoth like Middlemarch is the exact kind of tome for which the Kindle was invented. Well, the only resolution I made this year was to indulge my reading whims, so mammoth codex it shall be.
I’d looked for my battered paperback copy back when the urge first struck and came up emptyhanded. We’ve been doing a lot of book purging (sob) to make space, and faded, ancient, cheap paperback copies of classics have been on the kiss-goodbye list (gulp). The reasoning here being that these are books we can read for free on our e-readers. I mean, certain treasured volumes full of margin notes are forever-keepers, but I’m talking some of these ratty, coverless copies that were decades old when we picked them up at used bookstores in the first place. When I couldn’t find Middlemarch I figured ruefully that it must have gone out in the Goodwill box.
So I stopped at the library on the way to piano, the big lovely fairly new main branch in our town. It wasn’t open yet. Later, WB and I walked back over, and I was surprised to discover they didn’t have a copy on the shelf. Must be the surge of renewed popularity thanks to Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch (which I’ve been in the queue for for ages). Amusingly, the only available copy in our system today is on the shelf at my local branch—the tiny little box of a building we swing by on Saturdays. I meant to drop by on the way home from piano, but I gave a ride to a friend’s daughter and wound up chatting in her front yard until lunchtime.
After lunch, I read a chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the trio and then we had our little bit of quiet reading time. Huck wanted Up Cat to go along with Up Dog. It was in his room, on the board-book shelf. Right next to Middlemarch.
Thick as a board, I guess?
He sent me this picture. Rilla, circa 2007.
There oughta be a law.
He takes his work very seriously.
I kind of had an inkling that Guardians of the Galaxy would be the big thing at Comic-Con 2014, and after looking on the floor for a few minutes…I was right. If it isn’t the Lego Rocket and Groot, it’s dioramas or the spaceship (Owl ship?) in the Marvel booth. The Marvel booth is very “under construction” but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see more Guardians imagery. I’ll be peeking back in a bit to see what else I can find but here’s a quick look!
Some of these are blurry spy pics because workers don’t like it when you stand there and take a lot of clear, well framed photos.
All my life I have dreamed of seeing Sean Bean on an airport luggage conveyor belt. Best promo of the show so far, but I just landed.
Nice Guardians of the Galaxy display at Hasbro.
This is a video of JJ Abrams telling you how awesome Star Wars VII is going to be.
Hot Wheels, I think I love you.
Star Wars Rebels
The stars of the show so far.
Seriously the only danger is that Rocket and Groot may be approaching Poochie territory with the exposure they’re getting.
Doings at the Marvel Booth. Is that Kree, Skrull or just part of an air duct?
The Alex Ross booth is always a treat although it’s relatively unchanged in recent years.
More Marvel swagga.
Batman is the big theme of the DC booth! I tried to get a better shot of the Batman costume displays—which will be very impressive—but too many nosy parkers.
Top Shelf’s Leigh Walton is thankful his palette of books just arrived. And MArch 2 coming in January.
Yes SLG and publisher Dan Vado are here. Despite Vado’s recent money troubles, he made it to the show with a lot of merch to sell…
…including this cool shirt. Many more like it. Check out the SLG booth across from the DC booth!
And my favorite booth! The land that time forgot, New England Comics. But I got word of a new Tick…sign coming. Maybe.
Brutal working conditions thus far.
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by Brandon Schatz
If you were on the Secret Comics Illuminati Twitter Feed last night, you probably saw folks complaining about John Cena and Brock Lesnar being the anchor match at this year’s Summer Slam in among the plans to destroy your childhood. Oh, and you might have also caught wind of the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Really, it all depends on which part of the illuminati’s feed you were digging through. You all have access to those secret tweets, right?
Um… anyway, here’s a smattering of pictures from the event, and uh… forget I said anything about the secret feed, okay? I… don’t want to get in trouble before SDCC.
(Where is that damn edit button…)
The premiere, held at David Lapham’s palatial estate, one assumes. #comicsjokes
Lots of people on a stage
The body of Rocket Raccoon and Glenn Close, standing, totally comfortable.
Vin Diesel catches sight of a bird
Karen Gillen, writer of Phonogram, friend (?) to Jamie McKelvie, beloved by animals everywhere.
Chris Pratt, handsome as the dickens.
Fact: you can not contain Bradley Cooper in a suit. The suit will literally start on fire.
Zoe Saldana is just wonderful. I have not more comments other than this.
Michael Rooker thinks this premiere…
…is out of this world. #hyeeeaaaaahhhhhhhhh
A picture of a cat
“Oh you,” says Lee Pace.
Samm Levine, who has grown up to look exactly like he did in Freaks and Geeks.
Dave Bautista emotes for the camera.
Guardians of the Galaxy premieres on August 1st, 2014. Check your local theatres for listings. If you don’t have a local theatre, yell “Star-Lord!” into the void, and Chris Pratt will arrive, scoop you up in his arms, and carry you to the nearest theatre while whispering about his time on Everwood into your ears.