9.30.2005

weather report

On Wednesday Bram picked me up at the airport in Albuquerque. It was dusk, and it had rained earlier. Amazing low clouds on the Sandia Mountains, more low clouds to the north, and dramatic lightning in the clouds as it got dark. It rained Wednesday night, and all day Thursday — cold (45 degrees) and windy, with all kinds of crazy low clouds obscuring the Sangre de Christo Mountains:



Late in the afternoon, it cleared and when you could see the mountains again, the tops were covered in snow. Yes, snow. Here's a pic from today. Those brown areas further down the slopes are the aspens, turning:

9.29.2005

selected pix from the trip

Woman reading the paper at ABQ Sunport:



The DCC table at SPX:



(For more of our SPX photos check out the DCC blog.)

Super-pampered chihuahua-type dog in Shirlington, VA:



I-95 north of Baltimore:



Bram has convinced me not to post the terrible photo of Raphael.

For now.

9.25.2005

Back

I've returned from the SPX weekend, Monica's staying on a bit longer to visit her family.

Time zone-addled and sleep deprived. And she's got the camera (though I have the cable to connect it to the computer). It was a pretty terrific time. Busy, crowded, a flurry of activity, no time to stop and get one's bearings, a lot of time on our feet. We had a wonderful time catching up with friends in the DC Conspiracy. Met some new creators and visited with some we knew. We sold a few books (and traded or gave away about as many) and learned about how to do it better. We had a blast staying with Jake and Laura, keeping them up far too late visiting, catching up, and getting previews of new work. Erin stopped by on Friday and even agreed to head out with the group afterward. Raph made it by on Saturday for some shopping and some lunch. It all went smoothly, marred by a few logistic difficulties at the end, but overall, a great weekend with some pretty wonderful folks.

9.21.2005

going2spx

Tomorrow, we're off to SPX back in DC, exhibiting with some of our old buddies from the area. Our book of collected Raised By Squirrels has succesfully shipped to Maryland, and so now all we have to do is convince people to buy it.

Our first trip back, it'll be a quick hit. Now that the weird prefs thing seems to be solved with the laptop (not without its share of trauma), we plan on bringing it. Maybe we'll be able to do some updates on the road.

Let the geekfest begin.

9.20.2005

iPod!



Thanks to Andy + Liz for the birthday present. It's loading with songs right now.

9.16.2005

... if it wasn't attached

So. I'm at Albertsons today, picking up a prescription, and getting miscellaneous groceries and sammich makings for tonight. I pay for my Rx at the pharmacy, then proceed to the self-checkout. Scan + bag everything, get $10 cash back, and head over to the customer service desk to exchange the $10 for a roll of quarters.

While I'm waiting for the woman in front of me to buy 3 bottles of Midori, Anita — the cashier who was overseeing the 4 self-check stations — asks me, did you have a prescription? Dang! I'd set it aside while I was scanning the rest of the groceries, and had forgotten it. But it was ok, Anita had returned it to the pharmacy for me. No problem. Thanks, Anita.

The girl behind the customer service desk is very apologetic, she is out of quarters, maybe one of the cashiers has some? Ok, as I turn away to go pester them, I realize I forgot to scan my Albertsons savings card, thus overpaying for the on-sale-for-savings-card-members bottle of tequila I just bought. This isn't chump change, people. Those Albertsons folks are serious about their liquor discounts for savings card-holders.

So, I tell Anita I forgot to scan my card, is there any way I fix this? She says, yes, she can refund my order, but then I'll have to re-scan everything. Great. But first, back to the pharmacy to pick up my Rx. Okay. Got that. Back to Anita's little command station.

She is entering the items off my receipt, when another worker walks by and hands Anita my wallet, which had fallen off her little counter area onto the floor. Oh. My. God. Apparently, I am incapable of holding on to anything today. I thank the drive-by-wallet-returner-worker guy profusely.

Suddenly Anita gasps. I look up, and the last item she entered, up on the register screen, says credit: $3600.00. Oops. She gets the special keys and tries to fix it. Another $3600 credit. So she calls over Tito, one of the managers. He boops and beeps things and... another $3600 credit. So, by now Albertsons owes me almost $11,000. They joke: I should just move into the store and live there, since now I'm rich. I apologize: if I'd remembered to scan my fricka-fracka card, none of this would be a problem. The automated voice ("Please! Scan! Your! First! Item!") at the self-scan even reminds you to do it. "Have! You! Scanned! Your! Albertsons! Card?" No! I! Forgot!

Tito gets things squared away, Anita finishes the refund, and I go back to re-scan + re-bag everything. I'm halfway out the door when I realize, I never got the roll of quarters. Arrgh. Back inside, I ask Anita, who has no quarters, then over to the next cashier, who has no quarters. What, is there a quarter shortage? Then she tells me to go see Tito, the manager, who happily gets me my roll of quarters.

But it was all worth it, because now I can do laundry and drink margaritas (although not necessarily in that order). And, because I got to see this car in the parking lot:

9.12.2005

clarification

Today Bram recieved an email from someone who objected to two of the posts from September 8th: the one where I debated going to Zozobra, and the one where I reported on the event, once I had decided to go.

I would like to clarify that I wrote those posts.

Me.

Monica.

I was not speaking for Bram, I was speaking for myself. Any former employer(s) mentioned were mine. And, unlike Bram, I don't really hold some of them in high enough regard to care what they think about my posts; I have no problem "demonizing" people by mentioning that I burned some of their paperwork, and some of my old business cards.

Actually, Bram asked me not to burn anything related to his former employer(s). The things I ended up burning for him were of a personal nature — which is why I didn't mention what they were in the post (nor in the subsequent comments). My reference to Bram's "past year's gloom" referred to how extraordinarily stressful this year has been for him (and for me). Deciding to give up steady jobs, and a nice home, and moving halfway across the country — away from family and many, many friends — wasn't easy.

To the emailer (and to anyone else, for that matter): If you have a problem with my previous (or future) posts, please feel free to leave a comment here at the blog, OR email me directly: m [underscore] meehan [at] mindspring [dot] com, OR you can just, you know, bite me.

fiesta: the end

Sunday we made it up to the suite at Eldorado in time for the Desfile de la Fiesta - Historical/Hysterical Parade (although, with the street closings, and my dawdling, it was a close thing). This was the Jay Miller + Friends Float Building Society's original raison d'etre. Before the group retired from competition, they'd won more awards for the "Most Hysterical" float than anyone in parade history.

We had a nice view from the rooftop terrace:



Absent a wacky/funny/political entry from the JM+F folks, the floats were the usual fare: local police and fire departments; high school bands, cheerleaders, sports teams; local businesses; candidates' campaign floats; churches and other civic groups. But there were a few that were probably unique to Fiesta, including "conquistadors" and "monks" on horseback, members of the Santa Fe Rodeo, and the "Royal Court." La Reina and the Princessas (that's the Indian Princessa up front):



Bram liked the gullwing Hummer and the Vote-4-Jesus-Mobile:





And, of course, you know the parade's over when you see the street sweeper brigade.



After the parade, we stopped by a BBQ thrown by one of Bram's co-workers, then were off to our comic creators' group meeting. By the time it wrapped up, we could have headed back up to the Eldorado one last time to see the candlelight procession up to the Cross of the Martyrs, but I was beat and ready to call it a night. ¡Viva la Fiesta!

9.11.2005

Fiesta, cont.

Last night, dinner at the big ongoing party at the Eldorado came courtesy of The Pantry — meatloaf (with either fungus or green chile gravy) and mashed potatoes; side dishes were provided by attendees, and Monica's carrot salad was well received.

Met some more folks, heard more stories, and were strongly (to say the least) encouraged to head up to Pecos for our next hiking outing. Also hung out with Kathy a bit.



Entertainment was courtesy of fellow attendees — yep, the karaoke machine was out. When all that wrapped, Scott stepped back out onto the stage . . .



and, as it got later and the crowd thinned, Monica joined him for a few songs:

9.10.2005

¡Viva la Fiesta!

This weekend brings the annual Santa Fe Fiesta, the centuries-old celebration of the return of Spanish rule to Santa Fe in 1692. It's another big Plaza event, but this one's more local and much older than the others.

Kathy hooked us up with a group that's been throwing a weekend-long party for years, a tradition that grew out of building floats for the Hysterical Parade. Now, they get a couple suites at the Eldorado Hotel with a balcony overlooking the main parade route. They've got all sorts of lumber stored at the hotel, and set up a big construct to cut the sun, set out tables and chairs, and hook up a musical stage. All weekend long, there's food and drink from caterers and volunteers, and a series of musicians.



Yesterday, Monica headed over in the afternoon to help with the setup and decoration. I joined after work in time for Frito Pie and music by Scott Damgaard. We met and visited with plenty of folks, many of them long-time Santa Feans, but a fair number of recent residents (including the inevitable fellow DC-area escapees). The night cooled, but was pleasant, and we ended by hanging out by the stage, coming up with requests, and meeting the musician, all the way in from Boston for this event (and to visit family).

Saturday morning of Fiesta is the Desfiles de los Niños — the Children's/Pet Parade. Kathy recommended that we head down early, and go to the staging area to see the craziness there.



Each entry was numbered, and there were at least 163. Each group had multiple people and one or more animals, all milling about, among several high school bands warming up. Most pets were dogs, but there was a cat or two, some rabbits, a guinea pig, a few reptiles and amphibians, and . . .



We found a spot on the curb at Sena Plaza and met up with Janie.



And the parade went by.









A cage full of chihuahuas:



Pirate beagle:











And those without a pet weren't prohibited from participating:



Back to the Eldorado for a taco lunch, and music by a terrific young mariachi group (oldest: 21, youngest: 13!). We've been home, catching up on some stuff and preparing our contribution to tonight's meal (cumin + garlic marinated carrots, to go with the meatloaf from The Pantry), and now we're back off again.

Emi y Steffen y Isadora

Emi and Steffen announced the birth of their daughter last week, but only revealed the photos today. We have a nice message on our machine from Steffen, and everyone is doing wonderfully.



In the meantime, we're trying to figure out what to do about all our server space apparently being filled up.

9.08.2005

zozobra!

So, I decided to go. The idea of burning stuff from [--insert name of former employer(s) here--] appealed more and more to me as the day progressed. Nice and pagan; exorcise the people who have been living rent-free in my brain. Collected some paperwork, old business cards, stapled them up in to a bundle that I then decorated with certain people's names.

Armed with the camera, and my package of gloom for the bonfire, I drove to the mall around dusk, parked, and joined the crowds walking to Fort Marcy Park. After getting thru the "security" bottleneck (mostly checking for contraband: booze; glass containers; and — oddly — strollers), made my way up onto the baseball field where the pregame band was playing in front of Old Man Gloom. Not bad, they had a kind of rock/blues/jam band thing going. After depositing my gloompack, found a spot for myself along the foul line, up against the fence. The people watching was pretty entertaining. My favorite were all the kids (and I swear these had to have been 10-year-olds) with thier cell phones. Hilarious.



The band finished, the announcer sentenced Zozobra to "death by flame," the guitarist did his best Jimi Hendrix-esque version of the Star Spangled Banner, the lights went out, and then... the liturgical dance! Not really sure what it was all supposed to mean, but there were kids in white capey things, a guy in red streamers, someone with black+white stripes, and a whole bunch of people brandishing torches. Zozobra was waving his arms and groaning and growling the whole time. Burn him, already!

Finally, a lot of ground-based fireworks, and they lit him. It took maybe a minute for the entire 50 foot guy to collapse in sparks. The fireworks they shot off after lasted probably 10 minutes. Pretty cool. Here he is, before he collapsed; I dig the flaming skull effect.



By the time I got back, Bram was home safely. He saw some of the fireworks as he drove up the hill. Time for bed now.

Goodnight, gloom.

first nite of Fiesta...

Well, Bram's presscheck ran into today, and he probably won't be home in time for tonight's Burning of Zozobra:



For which he even bought us tickets. Rrrrrrr. Stupid presscheck. Bram says I should go anyway, but I'm not sure I will. If anyone deserves to see the past year's gloom burned up, it's him. Maybe I'll go and put anything I can find that says [--insert name of former employer(s) here--] into the pile to be added to the bonfire.

happy birthday, Opa!



8 September 1919

9.07.2005

wooohooo! kegger!!

Well, Bram will be in Phoenix today on a presscheck, which may run into tomorrow as well. He has tentative plans to meet up with Mando (who totally needs to start her own blog, dang it!) for dinner if that's the case.

"what are you doing to help new orleans?"



This week's strip
from Lulu Eightball, my favorite alt-weekly comic. While you're there, check out the archives.

9.06.2005

no such automobile



Well, the trip to the MVD took less time than getting the right size screws. Bram wouldn't let me get the one-way bolts, so I had to settle for ones that can't be removed with a screwdriver, only a socket wrench.

9.05.2005

Labor Day Weekend

Friday
Worked and stuff. The Perfect Storm from the library (a practice that will go on hiatus soon with the gift of three months of Netflix from Mel and Em). We're both in agreement that the book is one of the scariest things we've read. The movie fell way short.

Saturday
Not really much worth mentioning. Errands and paperwork and such.

Sunday
For my birthday, I wanted to go to Café Pasqual's, where we've not been since moving. For their brunch they have a smoked trout hash — shredded potatoes, smoked trout, poached eggs, tomatillo salsa — that's been a favorite since I stumbled onto it at our first visit in 2002. The wait can be substantial, so we went armed with the Sunday paper and agreed to sit at the first available table, which can mean the big communal table in the middle. We did, with a pretty uncommunicative bunch of folks at our end. Still, though, a marvelous meal.

From there, wandered Canyon Road (also not done since moving). We've decided that, if you just approach the galleries all as museums to walk in and out of as you wish, the whole thing's less intimidating and a whole lot more fun. So we did just that.

A great, well-lit piece of graffiti from that trip:



Other than my license plate getting stolen (we got just the one here) while my car was in the office garage, it was a nice day. Back home to kick back and have tuna tacos and chocolate birthday cake.

Monday
A hike. Some looking through the books, deciding in the morning on, per the Santa Fe Sierra Club's Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area, Ancho Rapids.

First, though, breakfast at the Santa Fe Baking Company (which we'd just pinned down the location of the day before). They're the folks who make the breakfast burritos we're so fond of at the Farmers Market. And we made it there to catch the end of the Santa Fe Radio Café, the local NPR morning talk show that broadcasts from one of the tables there.

So fortified, we headed out to the outskirts of White Rock/Los Alamos.

And hit the trail, the first couple miles follows the power lines to the canyon edge.



Which also offers a view of the basalt columns on the opposite mesa.



From the canyon edge, you can see the Rio Grande.





From here, it didn't look like a big deal. A half hour later, we're still descending through the loose rock switchbacks, and opinions change, and I start wondering about how much water we brought. The book said there was a spring-fed creek that made for a good break; the book also said that this hike was "moderate" difficulty.

We stopped for lunch; the view from our spot:



Had our peanut butter and jelly and banana sandwiches. And headed back. That white spot up there in the upper right — that's our destination. Probably just shy of 1000' feet up.



Cliffs on the way up.



Was only probably about 85º, but it was a relentless sun. Around the time the trail leveled back out for the walk back to the car, we could see and hear the thunderclouds in the distance, and it clouded over just as we were nearing the end of the trail (where we made a new lizard friend).



About six miles round trip, 1040' elevation change, four-and-a-half hours. Started raining just as we got to the car.

9.03.2005

...but we're huge in Santa Fe

The Sante Fe newsweekly has included an article on the local comic creators group and the anthology we've put together in its annual Fall Guide. And our first page is one of the illustrations, complete with a misspelled credit (in the print version, anyway).

Unfortunately, the article doesn't really go too much into the anthology. The only real restrictions on submissions to Hospital Stories were size and color (black and red) — and the story had to involve a hospital in some way. The group pulled together (and Monica designed) a 100-page book in about two months; the result is a pretty amazing range of styles and approaches and an impressive display of talent. But if the Xeric grant doesn't come through, it's going to be a while until it gets printed.

In the meantime, we've made a PDF of Autumn, our contribution, available for download.