Letters to Holly

Friday, November 13

A Bit

I'm doing much better, and I credit everything Your Sis did and my cheap lunch of two bananas. Only 30 cents at the nearby Ingles. Your Sis has, not surprisingly, picked up a variation of the icky ick and only worked a half day. I tired to pamper her, but she did demand the panned dinner of fajitorittos. We've got it down to a precise formula of ingredient increments: six shells (wheat and corn), two peppers, one small onion, and a half-pound of [protein vehicle].

I've heard no more about the library signs since I sent the sketches. I passed along my cell phone number and wait to discuss the signs in detail. I was also asked to contribute an art piece for the school arts magazine. I still need specs for that. I'm thinking of doing a comic story about running.

We didn't get the magazine out yesterday, and now I'm swamped at work. Ta.

Noisy Picture of the Day
And now: Instant Chewbacca.

Thursday, November 12

Slighty Ill Babble

If this is a flu, it's the mildest case I've ever had. The headache is gone this morning, and my face has that fuzziness usually associated with horrible congestion. Your Sister leapt into spouse-nurse mode and fixed me up with tomato soup and popcorn (try it). I took some vitamin cocktails and Vitamin C pills and ginger ale. DayQuil and NyQuil were employed. The sick bed was used. I know I slept heavy because I woke up in the same position I had laid down. For lunch yesterday, I bought bananas and wolfed them down. I think I'll be OK by the weekend. I wonder if my running hiatus helped this sneak in. I haven't run since the Halloween race.

+ + +

We watched half of a Russian vampire movie called Night Watch. It's disjointed in a way that suggests aggressive editing. Or it might be a Russian sensibility. It's stylish in what many used to call the "MTV style" back when MTV showed jump-cut videos. Now it's more likely to be called "video-game style" as it looks like the animated narrative scenes between playable parts of games.

This director went to to make Wanted last year, and I liked that film's energy. That guy and the one who made District 9 this year have enjoyed big-studio success. Combine them with Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth), and big-action films are no longer the territory of domestic film students. The action movie is truly going global.

Technically, it's going global again. John Woo was the master of low-budget Hong Kong action films, but his American productions are scattershot. China and Japan have cranked out some nice genre films in the past 20 years, mostly period films with samurai and wire-fu, and thank God for them because they indirectly gave us The Matrix. The director of those films, the Wachowskis, are clearly American kids who are influenced by movies from beyond our coasts, and that's why their films (V for Vendetta, Bound, Speed Racer) are distinctive and exciting. They have a new movie coming out this holiday season called Ninja Assassin. Looks dumb as rocks, but fun dumb.

Picture of the Day
From Big Picture: Miranda Galan (center) was one of 80 third grade children from the North School that made a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston on a field trip from New Hampshire on October 30th, 2009. In the spirit of Halloween students got a surprise gift from MFA director Malcolm Rogers and Bob Gallery, Massachusetts President of Bank of America when they handed out Egyptian masks and toured the "Secrets of Tomb 10A" exhibit.

Wednesday, November 11


Maybe I have the bug. You know, THE bug. Hamthrax. Maybe not. It's possible I have allergies from Gulf of Mexico gunk thrown our way by the hurricane.

Your Sis has the day off while I work. We're trying to get as much work done and mailed before Thanksgiving. We're still packaging convention coverage in print and online, and I'll be glad to have it our from over my head. No, I don't mind being at work today if it gets me closer to that.

Your Mom is bouncing between Your Sis and me for Thanksgiving arrangements, and we're telling her the same notions independently. There's no reason to contact any hotels when we live just an hour away. I do that commute practically in my sleep.

Picture of the Day
Observe and learn the chart everyone.

Monday, November 9

Mister Fix-It.

Because of a recent episode of This Old House, Your Sister was paranoid (her word) of the dryer causing a house fire. Some installations use a vinyl duct to connect the dryer to the outside vent. Lint can get stuck there, and if a gas dryer's intake line is to close to the outtake connection, the vinyl can melt, and the lint can catch fire. Our dryer has a pipe extension that goes under the house. I went to Lowe's for a new dryer duct and clamps. I also bought gutter sealant for the leaky gutters. Saturday morning, I went under the house and found the dryer's outtake is a solid pipe. We're safe there.

I got on the ladder and saw the gutters needed more than a sealant. They needed spackle. I'd rather replace that bad section, but the gutter spanning the back of the house seems to be all one piece. It would take three people just safely remove it before a replacement connection can be made. I took the dryer stuff back to the store and traded them for a hardcore spackle. I caulked the gutter with that and let it dry before sealing it the next day. We should get rain this week, and I'll see how it worked. I also gave the lawn what will likely be its last mow this year and mulched and bagged the leaves with it. Could be the last hurrah for our ancient mower, and it's served us well with its insatiable grass hunger.

As we ate at the soda shop on Saturday morning, Your Sister said, and I'm paraphrasing here slightly, "For the love of God, get me out of the house." And so I got her out of the house for the love of God. We window shopped. We browsed. We shared a Starbucks drink. We talked about Thanksgiving and students. The senior and I were to meet that afternoon, but he informed me that he hadn't done the homework I assigned him, and I told him to get it done for next week's rendezvous. Your Sis thinks I handled it right.

Meeting without that work in hand would be a waste of time, and this kid now has a month to write and draw and package a comic book among all the other assignments he'll receive. I want to help him, but he has to learn that you don't simply vomit through a pencil and make a comic. I told him this early on: It's a research paper that you draw. There are outlines and rough drafts. Plus, I argued, he ahs to show a progression of ideas and art to fill out his project portfolio. Without it, it doesn't matter that the finished comic looks like. Fail the portfolio, fail the project, fail senior year.

We walked along the county bike path Sunday enjoying, as you noted on FB, weird-ass November weather.

I've seen many references to the Wall coming down 20 years ago, and I can tell you exactly where I was when I found out: In my drama classroom, five days later. I missed the whole thing as we were on a drama trip to Columbia, and we didn't turn the TV on once. It wasn't mentioned in my house when I got back, and My Parents hated watching the national news as it was "always depressing." So, no, not until my drama teacher mentioned it Monday morning did I have a clue that the world has changed. And I made myself a promise that I would never be that clueless again.

Picture of the Day
I like to get all my opinions at the same time.