Thursday, February 28, 2008

Something Old, Something New...

...something scribbled, something blue.

I have sketchbooks chock full of my random doodlings. They generally sit around collecting dust, but this weekend I decided to put them to work as coloring books for the girls.* Here are some of the results:

Illustrations by moi. Colors by Lulu.

Illustration by moi. Colors by June.

Since the median age of our "art collective" is six, do we qualify us as outsider artists. Will we become a flash-in-the-pan New York sensation with a much-hyped show in Chelsea—the "must-attend" event of the season? Will the New York Times write an enamored article about us? Will the price of our work surge skyward in a grossly inflated bubble? And then burst six months later, selling for cents on the dollar? Will we return to our humble Southern roots and discover that we are, in the end, happier just making our art in peace, far from all that big city hoopla? Will that happen?

* Art projects are an essential tool in my parental keep-the-kids-busy arsenal. They grab the young uns' brains for at least a good forty-five minutes or so. (Time, precious time!) And it doesn't cause that post-staring-at-a-screen-for-a-long-time behavioral hangover that DVDs and other more expedient (but mildly nefarious) techniques often cause. (Not that I'm in any way above using the aforementioned mildly nefarious techniques when necessary.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Middle-Eastern-Southern Gothic

The delivery guy showed up at our door with styrofoam cartons full of middle eastern. I recognized him: his genial stoop and baseball cap and grey Prince Valiant hairdo. He'd delivered to us before—from this restaurant and others. I'd seen him around town for years: the Eternal Delivery Boy.*

It was an ugly night, and I gave him a good tip.

"Oh, thank youuu," he intoned in his odd nasal drawl. "You must work in the businessss."

"I did for many years."

"Yesss... You can always recognize one who's sufferrrred."

He handed me the plastic bag and turned. His hunched frame descended the steps.


If this were a Flannery O'Connor story, what would happen next?**

* And somewhere, years ago, I saw him in a strange locally made movie short that ran before the main feature. But, besides the fact that he was in it, I remember nothing about the clip.

** We actually just went inside and ate our hummus and grape leaves. Eternal Delivery Boy drove his puttery little car off into the night. But I'm not sure that rates high enough on the Ironic-and-Disturbing-Conclusion Index.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Our dwarf bottlebrush plant. (Spring is sprung-ish.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Your Early Evening Agenda

Stop by Octavia Books tonight at 6 p.m. to hear our dear Ms. Roahen read from her fine and fabulous Gumbo Tales. Make it so.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Going to the Chapel and We're..."

June is contemplating her marriage prospects:
"Maybe I'll marry Obama."

"He's married."

"Maybe I'll marry Ashley from the snowball stand."
Would we get free snowballs for life? If so, the union most definitely has my blessing (though they'll have to hold off for a couple of decades to resolve various age-discrepancies and legislative obstacles).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Slimbotorialist: Lady Lulu

Our (highly erratic) series continues:

The stripes, the print, the—um—more stripes. Très très but not très très très. Don't you think?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sh-Boo-Boo Number Two

So, Sh-Boo-Boo Number Two turned four today. Happy birthday, lil' darlin'.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rat Tales

We've spoken before of strange rat-spectacles* and their potential as omens. Yesterday, as the girls and I walked Penny around the block, we came upon a rat. It ignored us; its full concentration was set upon its tail, which it chased with great persistence.

We stood and stared. Penny pulled her leash taught. It spun and spun and spun. We watched for a minute. It stopped, started, and spun some more. Finally, we went on our way. It spun and spun and spun and spun...

What ungodly foreboding is that? I can only assume the Apocalypse is nigh.

* How do you say that in German?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

RSfMS(wC):* What're You Havin'?

Here's the question: what's he drinking? I have a few theories of my own, but I'll keep them to myself so as not to prejudice your responses. (And besides, my own thoughts are wildly divergent, leading to radically different notions of who this man might be.)

* Random Stuff from My Sketchbook (with Commentary)

Gumbo Tales

So, our dear friend, Sara Roahen, has written a book, Gumbo Tales, and gotten it published,* and now it's for sale.

And I can personally testify that it's A-1 good. (Plus, we show up in it a few times. That's always fun.) It's—what is it?—a culinary reminiscence? It inhabits that special intersection between food and the rest of life. And it's superbly written. Read all sorts of fine things about it here, read a good interview with Sara on the Wall Street Journal website here,** then buy it here.

In addition to being really good reading, it will almost certainly convince you that you need to move to New Orleans. You'll pack up all your earthly possessions and hop on a plane and swoop across the bright vivid sky and down across the lake as the low afternoon sun lights the sinuous arcs of the Mississippi on fire like molten silver, and you'll step out into the blessed February heat and kneel and kiss the pavement and live gloriously ever after in the joyous down-and-dirty tussle of our happy hometown.

How many books can do that?

* Two books in six months—dang, our friends are fancy!

** If you scroll down that WSJ interview, you'll see a photograph of a Sazerac, made by yours truly, sitting on our counter in our very own kitchen. Boo-yeah!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ain't It Grand?

Have I mentioned that every few months our gas appliances cut out because of residual floodwater in the lines? Each time, the power company comes out and pumps them clear again.*

At this point, we've lived so long with the big pervasive obvious consequences of the storm—the empty houses, missing neighbors, blight and disrepair—that they're something-like-invisible to us.

But every now and then, an unexpected little quirk of an after-effect pops up—like two-and-a-half-year-old lake water shutting off our heat—that reminds us just what a weird (and slow) business this all is.

It keeps things interesting.

* After the most recent episode, we received an automated courtesy call from the company's president apologizing for the inconvenience and enumerating exactly how many thousands (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of gallons they've already pumped out of the system. I wish I could remember the number, but it was something ungodly huge.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Indians, Mardi Gras 2008

Golden Comanches, First War Chief and youngster

Golden Comanches

Golden Blades

Golden Blades

A Slight Difference

"Daddy, you have a nipple on your chin."


"You have a nipple on your chin."

"Um... do you, by any chance, mean 'dimple'?"

"Oh, yeah. You have a dimple on your chin."

"Whew! Okay, I can live with that."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bands, Bands, Bands,

There are countless glorious facets to the splendiferous spectacle of Mardi Gras, but the best (in my opinion) is the high school bands. Yesterday, I found two utterly engrossing band-centric websites:
  1. The bands forum: discussions, rankings, and trash-talking by various band-loyalists and devotees.
  2. The Marching Network, essentially the YouTube of marching bands featuring parade highlights, half-time clips, practices, etc. (It's not specifically local, but it has plenty of regional gems.)
They're both fascinating, but my favorite bits are the behind-the-scenes video clips of drummers warming up, trumpeters showing their chops, and in particular, this one from the O. Perry Walker band bus showing an impromptu rap of the children's song, "Wheels on the Bus":*

I love it.

* The video, if I'm reading the caption correctly, was filmed by our favorite visitor-blogger, Dan Baum, who wrote extensively about the O. Perry Walker band.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

That's a mighty big drum to carry halfway across the city, wailing on it all the while.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

That glittering arc is the swing of the drum major's baton as he high-steps it.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Coiffe-Semiotics: The Donny Osmond of Hairstyles*

The other day Louise told me:
"Daddy, I like your hair. It's kind of rock but not too rock... sort of regular on the sides and rock in the front."
Three things:
  1. Aw, shucks! Thanks darlin'.
  2. "[R]ock but not too rock...." I'm glad my jam is in keeping with the code of Aesthetic Neutrality.
  3. That's a pretty sophisticated (and pretty hilarious) coiffe-analysis to hear coming from a six-year-old.
Looks like we have another coiffe-semiotician in the house.

* I can't tell if this reference is reasonably straightforward or hopelessly oblique.