Saturday, September 29, 2007

post 381. at the dunhams.

continuing on our theme of the best summer ever, clark dunham and his wife had us out to their place in the middle of the adirondacks for a cast party this past week. mr. dunham is a tony award-nominated set designer and a pretty swell train guy. his biggest project has been running every christmas at the citigroup center in nyc for the past thousand years; when we arrived last monday, it was still being prepped for its annual trip south on the northway.

in the upper right of the picture you can see the green control tower that runs the whole operation. mr. dunham's studio was huge - with whole set sections lying in wait to be assembled. here's me with just one of the sections.

the detail was awesome, and there are plenty tricks up mr. dunham's proverbial sleeve: the drive-in movie theatre above, for example, plays the good, the bad, and the ugly.

here you can see the drive-in movie theatre in its environment; to the right, you can see a spot where another section of railways would fit. if i was getting my info correctly (i was a bit overwhelmed with the thing and didn't listen as best i could) there are four "major" sections to this particular project, each displaying a season. so, in other words, we're standing at the summer section. there's never been anything in my life that i knew i couldn't touch more.

joe and i plot out our own train set. unfortunately, we couldn't find the conductor's hats.

and talk about a spread! the dunhams live in wonderful comfort in the middle of the forest, by a small river, and here, joe and i illustrate the benefits of a walk-in refrigerator. you're never too far from the yuengling.

zoey, the dunhams' dog, enjoys the property. and take a guess as to which one of our crew stripped down to his boxers (always good for a swimming emergency) and took a dip in the bracing waters?

at the clothes-line, where i hang my boxers to dry. joe, on the other hand, slipped and got his shoes and socks wet. amatuer.

with eliza and katarina, who took all these pictures with her new, fancy nikon.

with vicki eastwood, producer of the lake george dinner theatre, and all-around awesome gal.

here mr. dunham turns the brauts with leanna, our stage manager.

Friday, September 28, 2007

post 380. a flavor explosion.

huh. whaddya know. the germans made themselves a chocolate bomb. it's actual chocolate, with a candy-steel 'splosion-y center.

post 379. a little doodling on the side.

in my spare time i've been having fun drawing, of all things, a comic book. nothing much, just the usual story: you know, four strangers who wake up in a desert together. why a desert? because i'm too impatient to draw backgrounds.

i wouldn't even know where to begin as far as inking this stuff, but maybe, if i actually finish enough pages, i'll try it. so far, my drawing style hasn't advanced much since i was drawing comics with jun kuramochi back in grade school; and i'm obviously more interested in the look of the page as a whole rather than the actual story. hence the rushed look of the second page here (the four different sizes of mr. lexington's head being the prime example) and the dialogue, which isn't as natural as i'd like. in other words, i had the drawing before the words, and was more excited to get to the punch-line than anything else.

i will say this, though: one thing i have learned in the...what? fifteen years between my mack styles, p.i. comic of 1980-something (about a bedraggled private detective who's a chicago bears fan and has a friend that looked an awful lot like hawk from spencer, for hire) and this is the ease of using the stick-figure outlining of how to draw comics the marvel way, a book i had as a kid, but never really heeded; instead of reading it, i just copied the drawings, learning nothing. but, as you can see here, it works well. i mean, it's not ashley wood, or know. for me.

so. i think that men should never ever ever write dialogue for women. i've broken my own rule and put three women and one guy alone in the aforementioned desert. where is it? i dunno. again, i don't really have a plan in mind, but i think it might be on mars. i guess we'll find out. there's a career girl, a tough lady, and a woman that sleeps a lot. the guy is a fancy-pants metro guy who's a complete jerk. so far, i've got about ten pages.

lots of fun to do. nice stress relief. and nice practice.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

post 377. at wal-mart.

post 376. the adirondack museum.

the delightful and charming ms. westra and i took a drive up to the adirondack museum this past sunday to enjoy terms like "rustic" and "dioramas." easy to get to? take the northway up to warrensburg, take a left, and drive for an hour. beautiful country.

the adirondack museum loves its dioramas. and i'm not talking about those chintzy, life-sized ones. never liked them, personally. but those minatures? true works of art.

now, i was about to blow the lid off the cover-up and expose the adirondack museum for its rash of swastikas everywhere - suddenly the bearded fellas who were in the museum with us took on a slightly more menacing tone - but just as i was about to go siphon gas from the car with which to burn down the place and its nazi-coddling, we found a sign next to this chair that told patrons that the swastika is actually an ages old symbol to many religions meaning things like goodness, long life, etc, but was unfortunately copped by the nazis and turned into a symbol of hate, fear, and a tiny little failed dickweed painter. suddenly the bearded fellas who were in the museum with us looked as harmless as weekend woodworkers.

i learn stuff in the one-room schoolhouse. the history book went from the pyramids of egypt up to "the world war." if you want a really good challenge, skip the cup-and-ball games out front and try the stilts. i took to them like a fish out of water.

that's what i said. a fish out of water.

the charming and delightful ms. westra catches a stuffed fish with a magnet in an ice fishing shed. there was an education center that was as boring and sterile as the name implies, but this area here was for the kids and had lots of hands on stuff: a sand pit that asked you to try on some snow shoes and see what it's like to stomp around in them; the bobsled you see below that illustrated the winter olympics' trip to nearby lake placid in 1932; and a rock climbing wall that really didn't seem to have any other purpose than getting the charming and delightful ms. westra and i to giggle at each other while posing in painful positions on the wall.

bobsledding. we've almost outrun ms. westra's purse.

blue mountain lake. if you look closely, you can see the cottages on the little island in the middle of the lake; i pronounce here that some day i will live like that.

Monday, September 10, 2007

post 375. i had no idea.

why isn't this stuff on dvd? probably because george lucas knows he can hold off on it and re-re-RE-re-release the trilogy with this lost footage.

Friday, September 07, 2007

post 374. new york city.

the labor day weekend offered the shear madness crew an extra day off, so we all hopped in the car and headed south to new york city, where we consequently split up into our respective holiday adventures (jack was two blocks away before i even got out of the car, happy to once again be in the city).

having watched the royal tenenbaums with michael and joe the night before we left, i couldn't help but feel like taking a wes anderson-y picture of my stuff before packing it all up for the trip.

i stayed at beki / parz / chris' place for the weekend, generous hosts all; who else but beki would give her bff the teenage mutant ninja turtles sheets for the futon?

sunday was coney island; the legendary park's future is still uncertain, as it's being threatened with development (as it seems to have been all through its history) and the abolition of its rides in favor of condos and shitheads in polos. it was a perfect day to see it: warm, sunny, and full of people. here cecelia, leah, whuang, parz and beki await their turn on the wonder wheel.

astroland. check out the sky-writing in the upper left.

beki on the beach.

the wonder wheel, having lived 85 years without an accident. i suggest waiting in line for a swinging car; nothing like being five hundred miles up in the sky and having your car feel like it's gonna roll of the top of the wheel.

the atlantic ocean and i meet formally, for the first time.

the cyclone is the oldest wooden roller coaster in operation. built in 1927, this thing rocks. the reason i like wooden roller coasters better than the newer ones is because you actually feel like you're gonna die. pneumatics and fancy mechanics don't slow you down for the turns, you just barrel through the turns and down the drops and get the shit knocked out of you along the way. sorry, darien lake's the predator, but the cyclone is my new fave. i thought it'd be cool to take a video of us during the first drop; i had no idea what i was in for. dan, sitting behind us, thought it was a great stroke of luck that he had the seat behind us all to himself. afterwards, not having anyone to brace against for the ride, he woozied out of the ride thinking it hadn't been that great after all. awesome.

and if you pay attention, the best part of this video is us, giving the obligatory "wooos" when we first head down the initial drop; then the "wooos" turn to actual, blood-curtling screams when we realize what we've gotten ourselves into.

the parachute drop. it was turned off in the late sixties, i think, but still stands as a testament to pre-internet days, when theme parks ruled.

waiting for our connecting subway ride home from coney island.

for labor day, we went out to yankee stadium for a game with the mariners. it's a little disappointing to see the new stadium - which will no doubt be named for some faceless, asceptic organization - being build right across the street, but at least i got the chance to sit in yankee stadium. on labor day. on a beautiful labor day. the added bonus? the rocket was pitching. now i can tell my grandkids i saw the grateful dead, bruce springsteen, and roger clemens. even though clemens is obviously past his prime (he got shelled and the yankees lost), it was pretty cool to see a future hall of famer, along with all the usual suspects: a-rod, jeter, and jorge posada. pretty fun.

waiting for a good chance to go get a pretzel.

a couple cops scoping out the stadium after the game.

macaroni and cheese at enid's in williamsburg to round out the weekend.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

post 373. another day at the races.

bruce once again treated us like royalty, this time taking the entire cast out for a day at the saratoga racetrack. and this time out, i played it easy: after ten races, i was only out five bucks. good times; i had the chance to take some pics with my new cell phone:

bruce, relishing.

eva, ravishing.

jack, reading.

jack, michael, and joe make their way into the paddock.

vicki, readying.

katarina, our asm, brought her fancy-pants camera that took brilliant shots, and went around snapping about three hundred pictures throughout the day. above, we're all posing in the paddock.

elyssa and joe before the festivities begin. another reason why this summer's turning out to be my favorite ever.