Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Xmas

Here's our Christmas card for 2008. My idea brought to life by my wife's lovely hand. About the only things I enjoy about the season anymore are working on the card, decorating the tree and Xmas Eve itself. The screwheads have pretty well squeezed all the fun out of the rest of it with their desperate greedy suck machines that were switched on before Halloween this year (I was in a Walgreens that was playing Xmas music before Oct. 31).  We talked to some friends in Scotland last night and they are "on holiday" until January 5 along with most of the rest of the country. I think we should do the same and at least close it all down for the week between Xmas and New Year's. Let people rest and have some time with their families. Step off the crazy hamster wheel and recharge for a bit.

Hope you have a restful, safe and fun holiday season whatever you do.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dada Slime

The sixties were a strange time for science fiction films. Sure there were epic, mind-benders like "2001: A Space Odyssey"  and "Planet of the Apes" that took the genre up and out of the ghetto, and then there were other films like "The Green Slime". Now I have never seen "The Green Slime" unfortunately, but I have wanted too since I was a young lad flipping through the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland and saw the fantastic photos of some crazy, stout cyclopean aliens with tentacles in heated battle with spacemen. Recently I stumbled on the trailer for GS and was completely blown away by the amazing depth of absurdity and pure dadaism contained therein. Watch for yourself:

Whew! Shake it off, or don't, maybe better to just give in to the Slime and sink in letting it work it's awesome magic. I'm not sure I want to see the film now as this trailer gives me enough to imagine what the film is like and I have a feeling the actual movie can not possibly live up to the weirdness it suggests. I love the cheesy special effects and miniatures and sets and costumes and acting. The total disregard of science and the pasted together layering of spacemen battling the aliens in space the aliens marching along neither group actually interacting with the other. Finally, dig that fabulous theme song! Remember when that hit the charts, perhaps knocking the "Hey Jude" out of the #1 spot? Pop a beer. Reflect and enjoy. I give you "THE GREEN SLIME".


Friday, August 29, 2008

A reminder...

... seize the day 'cause you never know when it's  time to go. Been a good long while since I've seen a dead thing on the beach and even longer since I happen to be carrying a camera to capture the moment. When I see a dead bird like this (and I have no idea what kind of bird it is) I always wonder why it is dead. Old age? Dog attack? (there are lots of dogs on the beach) What else? Ate something bad? I find a sad beauty in these frozen forms and enjoy studying the tender details of beak and feather and twisted form.


Monday, August 25, 2008

ZANK will not die...

ZANK is a short animated film that I made a few years ago and features music by my pal Neil Bruce. You can watch it in it's entirety on youtube, or if you want to catch it on the big screen you're in luck if you happen to find yourself near Roanoke, Va tomorrow night (August 26th) as ZANK will be shown at The Grandin Theatre as part of their "Open Projector" night.

Long live ZANK!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Taste of Fall and the July hiking report

I love this time of year. The sunsets are often so amazing they stop me in my tracks and I make sure to carry the camera with me so I don't miss capturing images like this. Reminds me of a Maxfield Parrish painting. It's been a coolish summer here on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and that's good, facilitates the hiking. Extracted 55 miles out of July giving me 344 miles for the year, just 6 miles behind the average.

So, has this blog become merely a hiking report? Where's the film and art and travel stuff? It's in my life, just need to roll it down here to the glowing screen. For example; I've submitted "ZANK" to be screened at the Open Projector Night at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, VA. Not yet a done deal, so I'll keep you posted as things develop.

In art news, my wife's art opening went well in NYC. Good attendence and it was a blast to be in the City for a weekend. Our friend Lori whom lives there, was a great hostess and took us for a stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge and fireworks Friday night down at Coney Island. You can check out a few photos here.

Finally, I've noticed I've been getting a bunch of hits from different parts of Spain, so Hello SPAIN!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Art Exhibition in the Big City

This piece of art was created by my wife, Janet Shaughnessy and will be one of two pieces of work included in The Bowery Gallery's 16th annual juried competition for 2008. The opening is this Thursday (July 31st) from 5-8, so if you find yourself in NYC in the Chelsea neighborhood that night, pop in and check out the show. Here's some more info from the gallery's web site:

The Bowery's 16th annual juried competition for 2008 will be juried by Jed Perl who has written on contemporary art for a variety of publications including Salmagundi, The New Criterion, The Partisan Review, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review, Elle, and Modern Painters. Among his books are New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century, Gallery Going: Four Seasons in the Art World, and Eyewitness: Reports from an Art World in Crisis. The juried exhibition will be held from July 29 - August 16, 2008 at the Bowery Gallery. The opening will be held on Thursday, July 31st, 5 - 8 pm.

We'll be making the drive up and look forward to the event and catching up with our friends in those parts.

Janet's been doing some really wonderful work this year (yeah, I am biased) and you can check some it out on her blog Daily Drawing.


June Hiking Report

Looks like this blog has become the once-a-month-hiking-report-blog. Yawn. Well for now it's what I got. I know, I started regaling you with tales from "The Box" set and then left you hanging big time, that will be corrected in due time. For now, I toss you this shot of my knee and hip you to my June numbers before July disappears.

Ah hmm, June was not a bad month for me hiking-wise. Slapped out 46 miles in the hottest weather we've had this year and brought my total up to 289 miles year to date. 11 miles shy of 300 and where I needed to be to maintain the average. Here's a sneak preview of July; I'm catching up. Eating up those 11 extra miles, but will I get them all? Stay tuned.


Monday, May 26, 2008

April's Hiking Report

Seeing that it's nearly the end of May, I thought it was high time that I made the hiking report for April. Forty-Seven miles added and that brought me to two hundred and two for the year. One of my 2008 goals is to do more hiking out among the trees and in the mountains and I managed to do just that last month with a trek to the top Mt. Rogers, the highest point in Virginia. The photo shows the marker surrounded by the boots of me and my comrades, Jeff and Mike. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, but not too hot. It felt good to get some righteous trail dust on my boots for a change instead of pounding the all to familiar sand and streets of my regular neighborhood routes. The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and fresh air really charged the soul. To get to the top of Mt. Rogers, we had to follow the Appalachian Trail for a few miles and encountered lots of other hikers. Some just day hikers like our group, some sectional hikers and a couple of honest-to-goodness through (or is that thru?) hikers who had set foot on the trail a couple of months back down in Georgia. We also came across wild ponies, some with foals so new they were wobbly-kneed and wide-eyed at the world and unafraid of humans. On the hike back down to the car, we took a slight detour and did the mad scramble that is the Wilburn Trail, which was more interesting and fun then the gentle slope and tree-covered summit of Rogers. Weary from the hills and thirsty from the trail, we headed into town for a a couple of well-earned beers before retiring to our mountaintop cabin where we watched a storm move in. Yes, yes, an adventure it was.


Monday, April 07, 2008

March Hiking Report

March was a good month for hiking. 57 miles fell under my boot, bringing me up to 155 for the year, just a touch ahead of the curve and I'll need it as I just picked up a sculpting gig with the Scene Shop. I'll be hard pressed to find time and energy to get the miles in on top of my day job and the extra stuff, but I do have something up my sleeve. A trip, a hiking adventure to the west of Virginia to hike to the top of Mt. Rogers, the highest point in this state. That will lay a couple of hard miles in this month and keep me on track.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Background for "The Box"

Last month a big time Hollywood production was using NASA Langley as a location. The film, "The Box", is Richard Kelly of "Donnie Darko" fame's latest and is based on a Richard Matheson story about a couple that receive a mysterious box. There is one button on the box and instructions explaining that they will be gifted with one million dollars if they push the button, but someone they do not know will die. The film expands on that theme in ways that, for the moment, are under wraps , but what we do know is the story takes place in the 1970s and the lead character, played by James Marsden, is a NASA scientist. Richard Kelly choose NASA Langley for a location because his father worked there in the 70s as a researcher.

A call went out for extras, especially men with long hair and sideburns, so I threw my application in and landed one day of work playing a member of the press. Instantly I envisioned getting a tiny, but nevertheless, critical speaking bit and hobnobbing with the stars. I was ready for my close up.

The first taste of Hollywood was the costume fitting. On the application we had to fill-in all of our measurements, many of which I had no clue (hat size?) and had to have my wife break out the tape measure. The day of the fitting, I arrived, filled out more paperwork and was handed a suit matched to my size (sort of). It was a fine polyester relic from a simpler time and fit me like a glove, a small, rubber glove that only allowed for some breathing and movement. I joked with the costume person that I hoped my character didn't have to do any action scenes or even bend over quickly, as the suit was likely to explode at the seams. She failed to see the humor in that idea and assured me that I would probably be standing still.

For shoot day, we were warned that it could go as long as fourteen hours and with an 11 am start time that would mean up until 1 am. I arrived a little early and was glad I did as there was quite a large throng of folks there all ready for their fifteen seconds of fame. The extras were herded into a gym that was the holding area. First order of business was to check in, fill out more paperwork, get your costume, then get into the very long hair and make up line. While making my way through this obstacle course, I ran into an old friend, Tom Nuckols, who had caught the extras bug while working on the HBO series "John Adams" and jumped at the chance to further his craft when he heard about "The Box". Here's a shot of Tom and I, a picture that always makes me think, "would you buy a car from these men?". Tom said that he modeled his 70s look after Tony Orlando and I think he nailed it.

Tom had worked on "John Adams" for weeks and had played a variety of background characters. He knew the ins and outs of the extras scene and helped me navigate my way through the maze. He was through hair and make-up and sitting down eating a doughnut, while I was still trying to shimmy into my threads. I waited for a couple of hours in the hair and make-up line only to get to the end and receive no make-up and just a comb pulled through my hair. After seeing lots of other extras, especially the women, getting really cool hair-do's, I was a tad disappointed, but that's show biz.

We waited for a couple of hours before anything happened , snacking from the craft table and meeting other extras. I was surprised at the number of NASA people there, lots of closet actors on center. The first scene requiring extras, or "background" as we were referred to, was an outdoor scene showing scientist arriving at a building. Tom and loads of 'scientist' extras were herded away and not soon after it began to rain. HARD. After a couple of hours, they all came back soaking wet.

More soon....

Sunday, March 09, 2008

My Monthly Posting

Actually, I hope that won't be true, but lately it has been. I will not bore you with excuses, instead how about the hiking report? February was a better month for me and I even managed to make up a bit for my slow start in January by coming in with 52 miles, bringing my year-t0-date total to a whooping 98 miles. Still a couple miles shy of what I need to average, but I'll make those up this month. Been on a weekly routine now of hiking with my friends Mike Wingfield and Jeff Maisey. We are in-training for a trip next month to hike Mt. Rogers in the western part of Virginia. Down here on the coast, we don't have many or any hills to climb, so in preparation for the mountain, have been hitting the stairs and once a week paying a visit to Mt. Trashmore to march some laps up and down that hill. My legs and lungs felt solid today and I know I'll be ready for Rogers.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Good Morning Sunshine

This was breakfast the other morning. I was half asleep when I laid the plate out and didn't see face until I sat down, but when I did register it I had to laugh out loud. Good beginning to the day.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Hiking Report - 2007 Wrap Up and into the New Year

Yes, I am still hiking. If my blog were your only indication of what is going on in my life, then you'd think I was in a coma. Not true, not true, loads of stuff happening on this end of the glowing screen, I just have fallen out of the practice of relaying out into the many tubes that make up our fine internets system, what those events are.

2007 is shrinking fast in the rear view and all I can see are the road signs of the future up ahead with the present a purring blur moving too fast to get a proper bead on. Some of you, ok, maybe one or two might be wondering, "Did he do it? Did he actually reach the ambitious goal of 600 miles in 2007?". Yes, well, I'll tell'ya, it was close literally down to the wire with the final six miles falling beneath my boots on December 31st. I entered that month with 534 miles, leaving 66 miles between me and the goal and despite the short days and holiday distractions, I pulled it out.

So what of 2008? How many miles shall I try for? 600. Yep, not going to increase it for now, but not backing down either. 50 miles a month average works with my life and work style for now and in January I managed to clock in with 46 miles, so already a little behind, but the days are growing longer and I am in training for an April trip to hike Mt. Rogers, the highest point in Virginia (5729) feet, so it won't take long to make that up.

Happy Trails,